Daily Devotions


Holy Spirit Presence

Christians have the Holy Spirit present as teacher and guide. The Spirit within empowers to discern what is genuine and what is not. Without the Spirit, revelation is veiled; without the Spirit, covenant relationship would be more religious do’s and don’ts, very different from vibrant spirit-life possibilities we inherit at the new birth.

The gift of the Holy Spirit is distinctive of Christians . . . they have hope, know truth, recognize God’s leading, and are blessed with understanding beyond even that of Jesus’ disciples: “While everyone was marveling at everything he was doing, Jesus said to his disciples, “Listen to me and remember what I say. The Son of Man is going to be betrayed into the hands of his enemies.” But they didn’t know what he meant. Its significance was hidden from them, so they couldn’t understand it . . .” (Luke 9:43-45, NLT)

Jesus’ disciples did not understand–since Jesus had not ascended to heaven HIs Spirit had not yet been given to them. Later, at the conclusion of Jesus’ ministry, God sent His Holy Spirit to be present in the hearts of His people. Jesus told the disciples to wait in Jerusalem for this “promise of the Father,” the giving of Holy Spirit power to be resident in their lives.

Applying this truth as disciples of Jesus Christ we receive His Spirit, literally the power and presence of God – God with us, God in us – to rise above circumstances with insight beyond that of natural reasoning or intellect. As disciples, we realize limitations of the Spirit’s presence and expression occur when too little is known about the experience of the Holy Spirit . . . or despite knowing, His presence and power are not believed.

Amen.

Luke 9:43-45, NLT, Acts 2:1-4, 16-18, Verses@Once

Midnight Cry

At midnight I will rise to give thanks to You,
Because of Your righteous judgments.
Psalm 119:62

We wake in the night and find solitude to inquire of the Lord. In the stillness of night time, clarity comes and we judge the situation as it really is. Hopeful expectation is a high road, supplying purity for our vigil but often, in the night, when least expected, clear, precise discernment opens the way for justice. Discernment aims our cry for justice—a righteous outcome.

In life generally (and especially in days like these) we need clear insight to discern, plus courage to remain focused for the finish God intends. We need a steady eye and skillful interpretation—things are not always what they seem and true motives are not always obvious. Step back. Look again. Enemies reveal what friends will not and with the uncovering, the accuser can be discerned.

Discernment with intercession opens a way for justice, a process in which time is both liability and asset. The passing of time has a wearing-down effect and too much time pressures us to compromise. But time also works an advantage for the one who doesn’t waiver, who faithfully keeps watch in the night, rising early to declare it, patiently restoring God’s order. The one who prevails this way is a king, with royalty and authority to sit as ruler and judge and determines how it will be:

A king favors the Lord’s righteous cause. Psalm 35:27
A king, with his eyes, commands. Proverbs 20:8
A king’s heart is in the hands of the Lord. Proverbs 21:1

Amen.

Proverbs 8

Power of Believing

Believing is powerful. A strong belief structure can be so powerful as to resist logic and fact. In the process, details gathered are stored in the human heart in support of what’s being considered until the opinion, suggestion, impression, concept, mental image, or plan takes hold. Emotions join in with the composite picture and (not so suddenly) the heart and mind settle in to believe and little can dissuade us from the belief now entrenched.

Jesus said what goes into a man is not what defiles him; rather that which comes out from him is the sinister part and, since what comes out actually first went in, it’s wise to guard what we allow in.

Beliefs transport us, even to the point of living out belief’s demand. Too often the Lord’s design for good is corrupted by Satan’s plan for destruction. If an idea can be sown into the consciousness, it can be developed there to the point of believing and, once we think about it often and long enough, we begin to live as though it were true, allowing everything attached to it to participate in carrying us to its conclusion. There is power in the process. Nations are born, corporations rise to prominence, armies advance, and yesterday’s consensus up-ends overnight, all because someone believed.

The Lord gave the process for good; Satan corrupts it for destruction.

Amen.

Mark 7:14-23

The Terrorist, Bully & Accuser

The person who refuses fear makes room in the heart for freedom. The LORD’s people who live this way are distinctive – living fearlessly, casting out any semblance of fear, and living life right down the middle, right now! Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil.

The terrorist is different. Terror is fear-based. All terrorism develops in a sick heart. It demands a mind that’s been tampered with. Its result is human-contrived brutality—a spiritual force based in perverted body chemistry, mental imbalance, and an enlarged capacity for hate.

The terrorist is myopic, and has a value system of lawlessness. Because of deep-seated personal terror, all terrorism operates in hiding and attacks suddenly. Terror is fear-based and intimidating fear is the platform for this Satan-inspired spirit.

Akin to the terrorist is the bully, a person or group terrorizing others to feel powerful and gain control. For the bully, “control” supplies momentary comfort to offset the deep fear of never achieving anything legitimately.

Another terrorist is the abuser, desperate to recover something lost; the abuser is dominated by the past and experiences more loss plus a future of even more loss. Terrified to risk vulnerability of any kind, the abuser cannot be objective and is unable to break life-long cycles of mental torment. The abuser is an abuse victim, living out personally experienced abuse.

All three—terrorist, bully, and abuser—have in common the fear of fear, a literal “root” of fear driving the contests they crave. Their attack on others is refined by misguided discernment—basically the difference between right and wrong. Using spiritual forces of intimidation and control, these perpetrators of fear are driven to find a victim—someone who does not deserve to be mistreated, and see to it that they are.

God is opposite to fear – God is love. He calls us to demonstrate terror’s opposite, the Presence of Almighty God, His Son and Spirit! His love delivers us and also those we minister to from fear’s cycle of torment. We are called to strengthen as many as possible with peace (shalom) and to do as much as we can, as often as we can, to shine HIS light on fear’s darkness . . . for the terrorist, the bully and the abuser.

The opposite of fear is love. That’s the plan!

Amen.

Psalm 23:4, Psalm 23 1 Peter 4:8-11, Proverbs 11:25, Proverbs 22:9,, Verses@Once

Teach Your Children To Tithe

Teach your children to give “a tenth” of everything they receive into their hands, a tithe given back to the Lord from their hands. It’s the way they learn to put God first; and as they see money as a response to value, train them to tithe the first part—the best part—of their money in response to God’s worth as loving, heavenly Father. Teach them to pray as they tithe so that they see this is not a bill you pay, but a matter of prayerful gratitude.

Teach them to put God first: “You shall have no other gods before Me.” Children come into the world with a calling. See to it that you discern that calling and sacrifice if necessary to develop it, realizing the world system will also “call” them, though not in the God-sense. The Lord’s plan is to make them head, and not the tail but the world will use them for someone else’s gain.

Teach them early. By age five affections are focused. The boy David killed a lion and a bear and his inner-knowing of who he was in God and what he could therefore accomplish, convinced him he would prevail over the giant Goliath—he never doubted it. The same is true with your children. Be sure they learn early that God’s Word is true and He will do what His Word says He will.

Declare Isaiah 61:7-9 for your children each day.

Amen.

Exodus 20:3 | Deuteronomy 5:7 | Isaiah 61:7-9 | Verses@Once

The Third Heaven

 “I know a man in Christ who fourteen years ago—whether in the body I do not know, or whether out of the body I do not know, God knows—such a one was caught up to the third heaven.” (2Corinthians 12:2)

We are seated with the Lord in a heavenly place. Paul referred to that place as the third heaven. We are seated there, with the Lord, already. There, as here, we already have a full inheritance, lived out daily by faith. Writing to Ephesian Christians, Paul described his revelation of the heavenly arrangement.

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, (Ephesians 1:3). . .which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places (Ephesians 1:20). . .and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus (Ephesians 2:6) . . .to the intent that now the manifold wisdom of God might be made known by the church to the principalities and powers in the heavenly places (Ephesians 3:10). . .For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places (Ephesians 6:12).”

Life apart from the Lord is another matter. That life can be done (even done well) without an ounce of Bible faith. Paul distinguishes between the two, explaining the natural man is prone to forfeit higher spiritual possibilities, preferring instead the proverbial bowl of soup to satisfy the immediate, momentary, here-and-now.

Natural life apart from the Lord tends to be religious, not spiritual. As in the sense of Paul’s revelation, nice people, but not those you’d call on when a crisis suddenly shifts your natural, manageable-with-the-intellect world over into intense spirit activity where natural senses do not work as well. A realm where death often wins, where ungodly authority completes for control, and where prevailing antichrist spirits blind those involved.

But as followers of the Lord, we should live according to the heavenly realm—far above all those principalities, powers and rulers of darkness. Disciples of Jesus do not choose the natural life—disciples don’t choose the soup! For one who is spiritual (again, not the same as religious) faith is the way to live here on earth, knowing that what is already established there, in heaven, belongs to me already.

God leads. We follow. Presently and eternally, we have a reserved seat with Him in heavenly places. Paul called it the third heaven.

Amen.

2 Corinthians 12:2

 

Healing Prayer

For Christians, our first response to symptoms of sickness or disease is prayer. We pray first . . . thanking Jesus our Savior for His covenant of healing, and deliverance from the spirits of fear and infirmity that accompany sickness and disease . . . repenting of anything we’ve done carelessly that gave sickness an open door, like when we disobey the Lord or choose a path not in keeping with His plan . . . and casting out every spirit of fear and infirmity because we give no place to them—none!

Christians have authority in Jesus’ name to resist sickness and disease and related symptoms, even using our authority prophetically concerning things to come – in Jesus’ name we prophetically pray against Satan’s plan for new diseases before they occur. Our weapons against sickness are prayer plus steadfast refusal to accept symptoms of sickness and disease or give them any foothold in our bodies and minds. Instead, we expressly declare God’s promises to heal and deliver us.

Holy Spirit inspired prayers create a blanket of God’s protection, blocking known causes of disease and raising His standard against new virus strains and plagues. This kind of prayer blocks potential germs or bacteria related to sudden illnesses, and the effects of terror-related catastrophes; prayer counters the fear that comes with serious sicknesses, fear that temps us to believe the symptoms are greater than anything, that present the symptoms to our mind as though it, the symptom, not God, is all-powerful and able to control the situation.

Of course that’s not true—it’s a lie. But it can seem powerfully true because fear and infirmity relate to the same spiritual root—that root is a spirit of fear. Fear works through “lying symptoms” and takes advantage of the open door created by fear to increase those symptoms. It can continue on and on this way, even gain momentum, unless believers take authority and take back command over the sickness, over the disease. God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind. Pray that way today.

Pray. Don’t wait. Don’t put it off. Today is the day of salvation.

Amen.

Hebrews 11:7, Matthew 2:12, 22, Luke 13:11-13, John 10:10, Exodus 23:25, Verses@Once

End-Time Perspective

But you, O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the Book until the time of the end. [Then] many shall run to and fro and search anxiously [through the Book], and knowledge [of God’s purposes as revealed by His prophets] shall be increased and become great. (Daniel 12:4 AMP)

For Christians in Iraq, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, and Syria in the Middle East and Nigeria, Sudan and many parts of Africa, daily life-and-death battles dwarf the problems common in other parts of the world. Theirs is a struggle to survive under brutal oppression—more brutal than most of us can imagine.

We care deeply for fellow believers where religious liberty is threatened; where persecution and murder of Christians in increasing but international protest is scarcely voiced except by compassionate organizations presently at risk as they work to help resist the oppression every way possible.

Even free and more civil societies often are veiled in ignorance, blinded to passion previous generations demonstrated on behalf of those being persecuted for their faith. Such blindness is the mentality of the times but for you and I, we grasp the urgency—we know how to pray effectively and where to offer aid.

We know because the Holy Spirit knows!

From an end-time perspective, God’s plan trumps everything. Anti-Christ strategies (that spirit “already at work” among men) will not succeed. God is at work behind the scenes to deliver his people much the same as in Bible examples of His divine rescue.

God is Omnipotent. His Spirit is at work to will and do of His GOOD pleasure. Against impossible odds, today – right now – His Church believes and trusts the Lord to accomplish His plan—in His time. The Lord leads. Discern His leading. Guard your heart and words. Remain confident in God’s Word. Pray.

Men ought always to pray and not faint.

Amen.

Daniel 12:4 AMP, 2Thessalonians 2:6-8, Philippians 2:13 Luke 18:1, Verses@Once

Authority To Change It

Prayers prayed by righteous men and women are powerful. Add to their righteous position steady confidence in a believer’s authority to move obstacles and influence situations, and everything can turn suddenly—for the good!

When you pray remember you have authority to change those things that must change. In every place of your God-given authority “say to the mountain” that stands in your way, “move!”  Answer defiant challenges with the authority given you by the Lord.

Determined to stand with Him today? Then pray with authority. Do it with confidence in the plan He shows you–focus your faith prayer there. Your words are powerfully anointed to destroy yokes placed by the enemy (Satan) or people (in ignorance).

As one who knows truth you have authority, expressed with your words, to undo wrong words, override careless and faithless activity and hold the line for truth in every place He has positioned you.

Having done all to stand, take your firm stand and stand.

Amen.

Matthew 21:21-22, Matthew 9:8, Mark 13:34, Proverbs 29:2, Verses@Once

 

The End Is Better

As we mature in faith we gain understanding for situations that affect us. and insight in matters important to our values and ethics. We also receive revelation of the Lord’s view with wisdom to address those.

Very often, because of the revelatory nature of the Lord’s communication, speaking by His Holy Spirit to us, we experience positive outcomes we wouldn’t have otherwise — hidden details we didn’t know are revealed. Life in this context proves that every individual is created to hear and receive special portions from the Lord. Thank God!

Especially today—in this end time hour—we have previously unimagined access to what the Lord has stored up for HIs people; we have revelation by the Spirit of God that reveals both open doors for good and those with potential for harm. Because of revelation and insight, He lays it out, connecting us to the future as He planned.

By revelation, we are able to see as He sees and therefore discern more accurately. He brings to pass details and timings that, before this revelation, we simply did not know. In light of His revelations, passed along to us precisely for this time, our part is to continually declare them as the objective, the end of our faith. Because the end is better!

“Declaring the end from the beginning,
And from ancient times things that are not yet done,
Saying, ‘My counsel shall stand,
And I will do all My pleasure’ . . .” (Isaiah 46:10)

Amen.

Luke 12:2, Job 8:7, Ecclesiastes 7:8, Job 42:12, Isaiah 46:10, Verses@Once

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