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Friday, August 22, 2014

Bending the Rules

448 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 6:4-7, “And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of God; and Ahio went before the ark. 5 Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. 6 And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God. ( 2 Sam 6:4-7) Uzzah and Ahio were sons of Abinadab and they were the keepers of the ark in the house of Abinadab where it had been for the last 20 years. Apparently Uzzah and Ahio were not properly instructed in God-given handling instructions for the ark. Evidently no one had told them of the seventy men who died just because they “looked upon the ark,” ( 1 Sam 6:19) Their first mistake was placing the ark on a cart. The instructions were clear, Levites were to carry the ark with poles on their shoulders, and no one was to touch the ark. God in His forbearance allowed the transportation by cart, but the moment Uzzah touched the ark, he paid the penalty that God had clearly set forth in Nu 4:15, “they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die.” God is holy. He has given us rules to live by, and He's not kidding. The problem started for Uzzah when he and the others were okay with bending the rules of handling the ark. Some things never change! Most of the moral mess that we find ourselves in today stems from “bending God's rules.” This “bending sets us up for more disobedience and the serious consequences that always come from unchecked sin. Someone forgot to instruct Uzzah about the holiness of God and he paid the price. There is always a generation of Uzzah's who need to be instructed about the holiness of God. To not teach them the Laws of God is to set them up for a bending of the rules in their own lives, and opening them up for the possibility of severe spiritual damage down the road. God is holy. He's not kidding about His rules. Know them. Respect them. Respect Him. Love Him. And bring all your violations to the cross where you can confess them and receive His forgiveness. Father, guard us from our tendency to bend Your rules. Keep us ever mindful of Your holiness.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

These Prime Time Devo's are heard on my radio program shortly before 6p.m. every Monday thru Friday on 91.9,91.5 The Family. When I have the day off, or when regularly scheduled programming is interrupted, the Prime Devo does not air, and I don't update it on my blog. So once again I am posting a repeat Devo. This one aired on August 21, 2012. it's called "Tell the Story." Today's Prime Time Devo comes from 1Sa 7:12 Then Samuel took a stone and set it up between Mizpah and Shen, and called its name Ebenezer, saying, "Thus far the LORD has helped us." (1 Sa 7:12) The Ebenezer stone. The monument set up by Samuel to remind the people of the Lord's help in their battle with the enemy. The name itself a testimony to a time when the people were delivered from the Philistines. This stone would give a reason to explain to all who passed by who the Lord is and what He is capable of doing. Fathers and their children could even take a pilgrimage to the spot and the father could relate the story to their children. That's what monuments do. They tell stories of what has been done. Jacob set up a monument at the place where he had the vision of the angels ascending and descending to earth. Joshua set up twelve stones at the place where the Israelites crossed the Jordan. These stones were always meant to tell the story of God's redemptive work among the people, and they were meant for all the generations that would follow. I don't have a pile of stones set up in any geographical area, but I do have a file in my computer that I call thanksgiving stones. This file is my permanent record of God's redemptive workings in my own life. When things happen in my life that can only be explained by the power of God, I make note of them. I like to take them out and read them periodically. They are great faith strengtheners and help prepare me for any future spiritual battles that I may face. They remind me that “thus far the Lord has helped me.” There is one monument, one Ebeneezer that we should never overlook. It's called the cross. Crosses are everywhere, unfortunately they have often become merely a piece of jewelry to adorn our necks, or part of the dressing of a building. But they should be used as a tool by us to tell the story of “God so loved the world.” It's what monuments do, they tell stories. The next time you see a cross, use it as an opportunity to tell the story of Christ's love for the world.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Deny, Take Up, Follow

We are hosting an event for Compassion International on 91.9,91.5 The Family today, so I will not be airing a Prime Time Devo. So I thought I would dig into the archives and re-post one from this date four years ago: # 511 - Today's Du-votional comes from: Mr 8:34b “Whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. Jesus says there are three things that His disciples must allow for. They must (1) deny themselves, (2) take up their cross, and (3) follow Him. Commenting on this passage, the 19th century Swiss theologian Frederic Godet said that “three things are necessary in traveling: first to say farewell, (to self); secondly, to carry our baggage (the cross); thirdly to proceed with the journey (follow Me). Today we will look at what it means to “follow Jesus.” It is not enough to deny self and to take up our cross, we must complete the journey. We must keep following Jesus. Through God-given faith, we are placed in the hands of Jesus for the journey, but He does not hold us with a clenched fist, we have the choice to cease following Him at anytime. The journey is long and treacherous, but He promises that no one can pluck us out of His hand. Oh the devil and his demons may swarm around us, tempting us and engaging in intense spiritual warfare, but we are safe as long as we choose to stay in the hand of Jesus, and we demonstrate our willingness to stay as we daily confess our sins, and live in His forgiveness. Father, help those today who may be tempted to give up. Thwart any and all efforts of the enemy to discourage them, give them Holy Spirit power to endure.

Monday, August 18, 2014

God's Not Kidding

447 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 6:4-7, “And they brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill, accompanying the ark of God; and Ahio went before the ark. 5 Then David and all the house of Israel played music before the LORD on all kinds of instruments of fir wood, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on sistrums, and on cymbals. 6 And when they came to Nachon's threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God. ( 2 Sam 6:4-7) Try to be a part of this crowd of 30,000 people transporting the ark of the covenant back to Jerusalem. The kingdom has been reunited, the Philistines defeated, and now the ark of the covenant, the very presence of God being transported to Jerusalem. Oh what a joyous occasion. But suddenly the joy is interrupted by an act of an angry God! Uzzah, who had been walking alongside the ark when the oxen stumbled reaches over to steady the ark to keep it from pitching off the cart and falling to the ground, and immediately he is struck dead by God! We don't know how he died, but it was sudden and there was no doubt that it was an act of God. Why Uzzah? He did the same thing you and I might've done in his place. How many times have you reached over to put a restraining hand on a child sitting on the seat next to you in the car, or perhaps an aging parent. It is a knee jerk reaction of protection for someone you care about! Well, the explanation is very simple, Uzzah disobeyed God and paid the penalty. Nu4:15b gives specific instructions for the handling of the ark, “the sons of Kohath (Levites) shall come to carry them; (the furnishings of the sanctuary) but they shall not touch any holy thing, lest they die.” Uzzah died because God's not kidding. Adam and Eve were kicked out of the Garden and death came into the world because God's not kidding. Look at the cross on Calvary and know that in the matter of sin....God's not kidding. It is only by His grace that you and I have not suffered the same fate as Uzzah. Father, restore a sense of Your holiness to Your people.

Friday, August 15, 2014

Follow God's Guidelines

446 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 6:1-3, “Again David gathered all the choice men of Israel, thirty thousand. 2 And David arose and went with all the people who were with him from Baale Judah to bring up from there the ark of God, whose name is called by the Name, the LORD of Hosts, who dwells between the cherubim. 3 So they set the ark of God on a new cart, and brought it out of the house of Abinadab, which was on the hill; and Uzzah and Ahio, the sons of Abinadab, drove the new cart. ( 2 Sam 6:1-3) With the threat of Saul's family diminished and the Philistines defeated, David turns his attention to bringing the ark of the covenant to Jerusalem. The ark of course was the very throne of God amongst the people, the footstool of the Most High God. It was the ark where God bore witness to the people and through prescribed rites and rituals in His Word dispensed mercy to His people. It was a type of Christ who now stands as the Mediator between sinful man and a holy God. Saul had let the ark lie in obscurity in the house of Abinadab for over 50 years and now David sought to bring this focal point of the God of His fathers front and center. This was no small occasion to David, and 30,000 choice men of Israel were selected to bring the ark to it's new home. We read in 1 Chr 13, that there were “songs, lyres, harps, tambourines, cymbals, and trumpets.” This was a huge festive procession! But there were some problems here. David, in his haste to bring the ark home, forgot to read the instruction manual for the ark. The ark had been returned to the Israelites by the Philistines in a new cart, and so a new cart was used to bring it to Jerusalem. The Philistines didn't know any better, but the Israelites should have known better. God's instructions were that the ark was to be carried on the shoulders of the Levites! This transportation by cart had serious repercussions as we shall see, and this whole incident should serve as a reminder to us that our zealousness to serve God should always be carried out within the guidelines of His Word. Father, you have given us Your Word for a reason. Help us to learn to follow it on all occasions.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

The Wind of the Spirit

445 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 5:22-25, “Then the Philistines went up once again and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 23 Therefore David inquired of the LORD, and He said, "You shall not go up; circle around behind them, and come upon them in front of the mulberry trees. 24 "And it shall be, when you hear the sound of marching in the tops of the mulberry trees, then you shall advance quickly. For then the LORD will go out before you to strike the camp of the Philistines." 25 And David did so, as the LORD commanded him; and he drove back the Philistines from Geba as far as Gezer. (2 Sam 5:22-25) The Philistines regroup and amass their troops for a second attempt to defeat Israel, and once again David wisely seeks the Lord as to whether or not he should engage the enemy. But God gives David an unusual answer. He says, “Don't meet them head on, I want you to circle up behind them and attack them from the mulberry trees.” Further God tells David to hold off the attack until He gives him the signal, and that signal would be the “sound of marching in the mulberry trees.” Obviously, this would be a very noticeable rustling of the leaves. It reminds me of the sound we might here in the trees here in Wisconsin just before a front moves through with a change in the weather pattern. The point is, God wants David to rely on Him so David will understand that the battle belongs to the Lord! Zec 4:6b says, “'Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,'” This battle is a great picture of that first Day of Pentecost when Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem until they received power from on high and then....”suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting.” It was their signal to leave the house and join with God in confronting the enemy with the gospel! So where is the wind of the Spirit today? Where is God moving. I can't answer that for you. All I can tell you to do is hop in the boat and hoist your sails and wait for the wind to come to you. God is just looking for some willing sailors. You might be dead in the water now, don't panic! Wait for the Lord! Spend this time by prayerfully reading His Word. That way, you'll be ready, willing, and able when the wind blows and the Spirit will take you where He wants you to be.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Like A Tsunami

444 - Today's Prime Time Devo comes from: 2Sa 5:17-21, “ Now when the Philistines heard that they had anointed David king over Israel, all the Philistines went up to search for David. And David heard of it and went down to the stronghold. 18 The Philistines also went and deployed themselves in the Valley of Rephaim. 19 So David inquired of the LORD, saying, "Shall I go up against the Philistines? Will You deliver them into my hand?" And the LORD said to David, "Go up, for I will doubtless deliver the Philistines into your hand." 20 So David went to Baal Perazim, and David defeated them there; and he said, "The LORD has broken through my enemies before me, like a breakthrough of water." Therefore he called the name of that place Baal Perazim. 21 And they left their images there, and David and his men carried them away. (2 Sam 5:17-21) On March 11th, 2011, a tsunami hit Japan. Over 15,000 people lost their lives and most of us still have the images of destruction in our mind. The breach of water on the coastline tossed cars around like game pieces in the game of Life. Ships were scattered about like games pieces from Battleship. The sheer power of the tsunami was mind-boggling to watch. This is what God wants to do for you in your battle with sin. He wants to give you the same kind of victory that David had over the Philistines. Let's see what happens when we substitute “sin” for Philistines in these passages and apply it to your life. “When sin heard that Jesus was now reigning in your life, sin sought you out. (It is the devil's counter-punch) So you went to your stronghold (the prayer closet) to seek guidance from the Lord., and you asked God, “should I do battle with sin? Will I win?” And God said, battle against sin and I will give you the victory.” And with God on His side, David describes the washing away of the Philistines as we might describe the effects of a tsunami! Sin fled and left all it's idols scattered behind! Halleluiah! Friend, battles with sin are inevitable! The victory will only come when you are willing to battle, but the battle always belongs to the Lord. Rely on Him, trust in the power and promises of His Word! It is as David wrote in Ps 68:1, “Let God arise, Let His enemies be scattered; Let those also who hate Him flee before Him.” Father, help those just now, today who are battling sin, wash it out of their lives like a tsunami!