Daily Devotions


Frame The Assignment

The thing we value is the thing that costs.

Christians who have understanding established (anchored) in the finished work of the Cross know that every outcome is already accomplished; and that anything less re-opens and raises doubts about the values and truth we lay down our lives to embrace. The investment is your life. It’s who you are!

The way to invest your life this way is to invest every part of your life in the Word. Hearing it (the Word) produces faith so spend time doing just that. Give heed to its principles, instruction, and ideas. As you grow spiritually, add quality time in God’s Word to move from belief to revelation, and from revelation to impartation. You’ll gain greater understanding to rightly interpret things as they unfold, even before they unfold – prophetically.

So prepare. Glean more from the Word. Draw from that deposit both now and in the days ahead. Frame every assignment from the Lord this way, with His Word, spoken aloud, and the assignment will align with His Word and accomplish what it must.

Amen.

Jeremiah 1:12

Quickened To Speak

Prophecy and prophetic words come from the Lord. In close fellowship with Him we receive understanding of His working and are blessed to participate in those prophetic announcements. Every believer is a spokesperson, each one a speaking firebrand.

Levels of revelation are apparent as we serve Him. Mature levels of prophecy provide fresh words as the Lord speaks to the inner man and we in turn speak—announce, declare—what thus sayeth the Lord. More and more, we discover “prophets, wise men, and teachers” speaking this way, quickened to speak God’s wisdom.

Today we discern His voice and honor those who speak as he speaks.

Amen.

Matthew 23:34, Matthew 23

Ref:
Word of knowledge – 1 Corinthians 12:8
Quickened – Ephesians 2: 5-10; 1 Peter 3: 18-22
Working with Him – 2 Corinthians 6:1; Colossians 2:13
Prophetic words – Acts 2:17

Follow Me

In the early church a leader’s conduct was tied to the foundation being laid for future generations. For the sake of a strong future, church leaders responsibly set an example for new and maturing converts to follow. That was the context of Paul’s invitation to follow him as he followed the Lord. Paul was possibly the greatest simultaneous expression of strength and humility we could ask for, and a solid example to follow.

Applying the principle, we observe godly qualities in those who lead. We are blessed by their example and motivated to achieve like standards. Humanly speaking, we learn more by example than almost any other way and so, when those we esteem fall short of the mark, the burden of error is felt by everyone involved.

On the positive side, in response to these challenges, often new resolve is born – for greater integrity, sober commitment to guard personal behavior, and determination to imitate the Lord in ways others can see His example through us.

Now thanks be to God who always leads us in triumph in Christ, and through us diffuses the fragrance of His knowledge in every place. For we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing . . . And who is sufficient for these things? . . . we speak in the sight of God in Christ. (2Cor 2:14-17)

Amen.

1 Corinthians 11:1, Romans 3:23, 2 Corinthians 2:14-17, Verses@Once

Judgment: What Is Right & What Is Not

[You have called me a garden, she said] Oh, I pray that the [cold] north wind and the [soft] south wind may blow upon my garden, that its spices may flow out [in abundance for you in whom my soul delights. (Song of Solomon 6:16)

In Song of Solomon the Shulamite maiden is likened to a garden. Acknowledging the distinction, she invites both harsh and gentle winds to blow upon her – hot and cold, strong and soft; cool, soft breezes for enjoyment and more powerful winds to release her fragrance, the spices of her garden.

In a similar way you are the Lord’s garden. Matters of Kingdom life sometimes seem harsh but take, for example, the concept of judgment. Seemingly harsh, judgment often is divine means to a desirable end. Judgment brings pressure that magnifies. Judgment exposes, without discrimination, both good and bad. In the process we are free to choose . . . to discard the bad while strengthening the good.

God’s people are His garden, well-watered through biblical fasting. His redeemed people . . . shall be as a well-watered garden, a people who shall not sorrow any more at all. For us, judgment is a distinction. Our merciful Lord judges, and we also judge, our lives, producing change based on “judgment” of what is right for us, and what is not.

Amen.

Song of Solomon 4:16, NLT | Isaiah 58:11 | Jeremiah 31:12 | 1 Corinthians 11:31 | Verses@Once

Decisive

Every day we routinely make choices that ultimately lead to important decisions. Confidence to make those in a timely way is important in business and family matters. It’s also important to our spiritual growth and moving forward with God’s leading. Often the most critical part is to simply decide—make the decision only you can make! Even if it’s a difficult or unpopular call, end the process of pouring over the details again and again. Bring everything to a conclusion. Then move forward!

The process is familiar. We all must make critical decisions in life but it’s more difficult for some people whose natural indecisiveness impairs their effectiveness. They struggle with making a decision, especially hard or emotional ones, because they realize “making the call” means responsibility for both outcome and consequences . . . it’s their decision. Indecisive people truly lack the confidence to assume that responsibility.

The good news is, where you are weak the Lord wants to strengthen you. Ask Him.

The Lord empowers decisive leadership in each of us. As a steward of God-given authority, the Lord trusts you to decisively lead in all kinds of situations. You can do it! Don’t be concerned about the fall-out; instead, realize that with each passing day, difficult results will dim while at the same time you move forward, away from the fallout and toward the benefits. No more fence riding. It’s settled.

Keep moving. Don’t look back — confident follow-through minimizes the domino effect of related problems, possibly avoiding them altogether. Those problems are not as visible as they will be if indecisive delay allows them time for them to surface. Struggles that would have grown to monster-size are shut out when you enforce your decisive, God-given authority.

Remember today is the day of salvation! God’s people take the day decisively—confidently—in the Spirit’s power.

Others are waiting for you to take the lead. They cannot do their part until you do yours.

Amen.

1 Kings 3:16-26

What Was I Thinking?

Paul’s letter to the believers in Philippi instructed them to discipline their thoughts – what they think about, dwell on, meditate, etc. He said choose to “think about” right things – anything true, noble, just, pure, lovely, a good report, virtue, praiseworthy. Choosing to discipline the thought life means concentrating on right things.

To dwell on a thought over a period of time until the way is opened to believe certain things prescribed in the thought. Including background logic that comes with choosing to ponder the thought and all it brings with it. Our lives today are a composite of how we think and what we have come to believe as a result.

The principle is just the opposite for wrong thinking. To be honest, we should admit to entertaining thoughts (even obsessive thoughts) that contradict our faith and, despite knowing better, continue with the habit and its consequences, continuing with thoughts (and resultant beliefs) that undermine genuine faith and dishonor God. We don’t discern the seriousness of the snare. We do not SEE the problem. We choose not to.

God’s love in this matter is to deliver. His love extends help to overcome bondages that result from wrong thinking. The bondage basically is that we become like the things we think about! He will deliver us, removing broken and out of order conditions in the process. Looking back, those who have been delivered are shocked to realize wrong thinking held them so long. They were sympathetic to and in sync with wrong thinking.

As a man thinks, so will his heart be. From the heart flows words that govern him.

Amen.

Philippians 4:8-9

Where Did You Invest?

We invest years of our lives—in relationships, a career, philosophies or movements or doctrines—and later realize those investments claimed precious time we may never get to reclaim. All those minutes, days, and weeks, often given to something that wasn’t even God’s plan for us.

In an “aha” moment we see it.  We see our mistake and seek the Lord for a fix to heal related stresses and emotional trauma, and deliver us from the mess we’ve woven like fabric around us.

At this critical point, make time your investment – you’ll need time to undo some things and regroup. Allow the Lord’s discipline to work salvation for you. Otherwise, the heart that initially invested in the wrong thing will do it again, and probably sooner than you’d ever imagine. The flesh side is predictably like that and the soul side is remarkably cooperative.

Not so the spirit! Inspired by God’s Spirit, the human spirit is a divine spotlight, searching inner depths of the heart, revealing root causes of wrong choices and motives for why we do what we do. By His Spirit, the Lord reaches the innermost part of your being, requiring changes necessary to deliver you. Aligned with the Lord by His Spirit, this kind of delivering process is the norm!

So use this time of waiting wisely – invest it. Feed your spirit. Wait for the Lord – He is beside and behind you. If you will wait, you’ll find Him just ahead of you so don’t get ahead of Him. Your mistake before was failing to stay with the Lord; instead, you took the lead and did not believe Him. You trusted in your own strength. You spent your reserves but didn’t achieve the hoped-for result.

Another thing. Be real. Don’t reach for your wallet. Practically or spiritually, if you merely refinance the mistake you’re still stuck. So rather than refinance, re-invest: Stop laboring to receive His will from the world and learn to receive everything from the Kingdom—His is the Kingdom. He has gone ahead of you and will secure for you everything you’re going to need.

Best of all, the Kingdom of God is not shaking. The Kingdom is steady. Invest there. Receive it.

Amen.

Proverbs 20:27 | 2Peter 3:9 | Psalm 16:8-11 | 1Chronicles 29:11-13 | Hebrews 12:28 | Verses@Once

Discernment & Understanding

Understanding is basic to intellectual strength. To have understanding means you can, in a simple and basic way, take action to improve or remove, analyze and intellectually conclude things about a particular situation.

In the case of spiritual matters, understanding is a powerful key to spiritual strength and the spiritually mature person knows that in the process of understanding something clearly, the intellect is involved but we need more than intellect alone can supply.

Two Greek words, phronesis and sunesis, both meaning “to understand”, explain these levels of understanding, one basic and intellectual, the other spiritually discerning and perceptive.

  • Phronesis (fron’-ay-sis) is basic understanding that’s practical and analytical. This understanding is basic intellectual or moral insight. It includes prudence or wisdom, results in action taken, and is basic to taking correct “We do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding.” (Colossians 1:9) “Brethren, do not be children in understanding . . . in understanding be mature. (1 Corinthians 14:20).
  • Sunesis (soon’-es-is) is discernment and judging with a greater depth of understanding in addition to the basic phronesis. Jesus’ understanding was unusual for a boy only twelve years of age. He comfortably discussed spiritual matters with top leaders and teachers, impressing them with his depth of understanding. This term means the ability to put together for clarity, to clearly discern and quickly comprehend, to discern and critically assess: “All who heard Him were astonished at His understanding and answers.” (Luke 2:47)

As followers of Jesus we have sunesis, the same understanding He possessed. We gain this understanding from time in His Word and Presence—Emanuel, God with us. Much of what we call prophetic insight today is this kind of developed, disciplined and mature understanding that discerns the true nature of things.

The spiritual person judges all things and is prompted by godly discernment and so their decisions are not limited to surface pretense. For them decisions are more accurate because their insight supernaturally leads them to information they could not any other way.

In the last days, men and women with spiritual wisdom and understanding will lead supernaturally.

Amen.

1Thessalonians 5:21 | Matthew 1:23 | Deuteronomy 6:5-7 | Psalm 119:11 | Verses@Once

Forgot to Remember

Psalm 106 identifies the sin keeping Israel outside the Promised Land—forty years in a desert wilderness, going in circles, so close yet so far from their objective. Israel’s failure was they forgot to remember 1) God, and 2) His marvelous works.

Israel forgot to remember. 

It’s the same for you and me when our undisciplined thoughts tend to focus on unmet desires – all those “we do not have’s.” When our emphasis is what we don’t have rather than what we do, on dreams not yet realized more than those the Lord has satisfied, we forget to remember!

Choosing to remember the Lord and his goodness means we specifically call to mind his benefits and think about, emphasize, and meditate on those. When we remember to think this way, our entire being is strengthened. As a man thinks, so is he is his heart.

All of this points us to a sound, practical explanation of our need for the discipline of journaling. It’s why written notes about thoughts throughout the day and feelings experienced, expressed in our own handwriting, make it possible to discern aspects of our thinking and how it helps or limits us. We hold those before the Lord and test them according to His Word.

As you journal this way your story unfolds, revealing repetitive behavior or habits possibly unnoticed before. With this information—again, written by you—patterns and trouble spots are easier to see so you can steer clear of those.

Your journal is your story. Like an autobiography, it discloses common threads of action and decisions made, their impact on your successes and failures, your response to those and the ways they “marked” you. “Telling the story” helps you discern beliefs and strongholds of thought for what they (really) are.

For a heart being tempted to doubt, the discipline of journaling says “don’t go that way . . . you know what happened last time . . . this time choose to believe God . . . choose to trust the Lord.”

A journal contains some thoughts we would never share – never tell, never admit. Writing is a form of confession and private writing is naturally more truthful. As truth flows from pen to paper we discover a more truthful account of regrets, choices, values, hopes and dreams.

Like the Israelites’ journey, a life that’s off track moves in circles and without landmarks of progress (or lack thereof), we’re trapped in the same circle. Don’t substitute circles for cycles. Instead you want to glean from your past and remember at least one Red Sea crossing, at least one life and death deliverance, plus ways those changed you. Recalling them gives context to the present. In context, your focus will sharpen and you’ll see it was strongholds you allowed, not the devil, that have been blocking your view.

Write the vision and make it plain but also, don’t forget to remember.

Amen.

Psalm 106 | Exodus 17:14 | Joshua 10:13 | Malachi 3:16 | Verses@Once

Refuse Guilt

Right-standing with God persuades us to disbelieve and resist guilt; assurance of His loving presence (despite issues that condemn us) means even if we don’t see the Lord moving in a natural sense, our spiritual eyes “see” His working divine rescue.

Guilt connects a person to the judgment God assigned to Satan – Satan is judged but you are forgiven. Jesus came to give you life. Choose confidence in His love. Refuse guilt!

Guilt is based in unbelief but mature faith refuses guilt. Instead of guilt’s agent of evil, our Lord speaks by His Spirit directly to our human spirit — guilt is a death arrow, God’s Spirit the agent of divine rescue.

Guilt exalts soul-desire over the spirit walk. Guilt is a survivor, returning again and again to influence our motivations. In the same way that the loss of breath precedes the loss of life, the things we breath in sustains life but the things we feel guilty about sustain patterns of loss or lack.

Instead of allowing the spiritual force of guilt to dictate, the Lord wants to speak to your heart about any sin on your part plus your involvement in the sin of others. Sin invites guilt so never compromise the issue of sin, and never require someone else to carry blame for your sin or the sin of another person.

Placing blame assigns guilt. Release any person you’ve held prisoner through guilt, anyone you’ve judged “guilty”. Release yourself as well. Disconnect with, and refuse the influence of guilt and the evil spirit of guilt will leave you.

God has not given you a spirit of fear (of being guilty) but of power, and love, and a sound mind!

Hallelujah!

Amen.

John 16

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