Over Christmas Break, I met with the Lord on top of a beautiful hill, in a cul de sac surrounded by large trees. When I went to read His Word, I came across this verse and could not go any further. Here is what God revealed to me.
Genesis 15:11 “Some vultures swooped down to eat the carcasses, but Abram chased them away.”
My thoughts: A kettle of vultures can pose a threat to the unaware. The carcasses Abraham cut in half would be the birthing ground of God’s covenant with Abraham. God would lower himself and move through the split carcasses in the form of a “smoking fire pit and a flaming torch” to confirm His covenant with Abraham and His people. If Abraham had not brought the sacrifice, God would not have made the covenant with Abraham. This agreement was completely on God’s end. Vultures feed on the hurt and sick. Vultures rarely attack animals in a healthy condition. Because Abraham cut the animals in half as a sacrifice, the carcasses were exposed to the birds of prey. The exposure appealed to the birds, so they swooped down to eat the carcasses. If we are not careful, the enemy will use our vulnerability and desire for God as a feeding ground to our self destruction. The enemy likes to pursue our sacrifice unto God and distract us from right fellowship with Him. The enemy wants us to focus our attention on the sacrifice and not on relationship. He does this by diverting our passion for God into a system of religious legalism. This will cut us away from an intimate relationship with God. Without intimacy, our relationship with God lacks clarity. Do not let the vultures take a bite at your sacrifice. Do not let the enemy twist your radical abandonment to God into a miserable system of rules and regulations. This leads us away from perfect fellowship with our Father!
The enemy wants to interfere with the agreement between man and God. The first covenant God made with Abraham did not have requirements. We are living in a new covenant with requirements. In order for our relationship with God to be effective, we must obey the terms of the covenant. The terms are consistent throughout the Word of God. It is only by God’s Spirit that we can carry out these commands. If our emphasis is on the rules, then we will never obtain authentic relationship. We must remember that in a relationship with God, we are given empowerment to accomplish His commands! Our security is not in following rules, but in sincere relationship with our Father!
The truth is, the rules should not be our focus. God should be our focus. If God is our central focus, then we will naturally respond to Him, not the rules. Legitimacy in our relationship with God comes from loving Him, not loving the methods used to reach Him. What seems like a requirement to one will be a natural response for others-who are in love with their Father! Our methods of devotion cannot substitute reconciliation between us and God. We are made right with God through faith in Him! The precious blood of Jesus is not something we can work for. His blood covers the sins of those surrendered to Him.
Instead of listening to fruitless religion, let us be completely sensitive to our Father in Heaven. God was not coming to consume Abraham’s sacrifice, but to move through it. He would lower himself, as Hittite tradition demanded, and make a covenant with Abraham. In the same way, God is moved by our sacrifice of devotion and wants to come and dwell among us! God’s all-consuming love wants to pass through our passionate sacrifice. Let us pursue the wholehearted love of God through complete devotion! This beautiful relationship with our Father will yield satisfaction in Him and a life abundant with peace.
When the enemy comes to attack our intimacy with God, we must chase him away with resistance. After all, the imposter is afraid of resistance (James 4:7) Yes, we owe God everything. However, do not let a sense of “forced service” become a substitute for the limitless allowance of God’s presence. We don’t serve God to love Him. We should serve God because we love Him! Let us understand the devotion needed to serve God. More importantly, let us get to know the One we are devoted to.
Genesis 27:21 “Then Isaac said to Jacob, ‘Come closer so I can touch you and make sure that you really are Esau.”
My thoughts: Jacob’s mom, Rebekah “covered his arms and the smooth part of his neck with the skin of the young goats” (Genesis 27:16). He used manipulation to position himself for a blessing never intended for him. Pursue authentic devotion, not manipulative apparel. God created us in His own image, not so we would dress like our brother, but so we would be a reflection of Him! Unlike Isaac, God can see behind our disguise. We must remember that God does not love us for who someone else is. He loves us for who we are. Do we fear intimacy with God because it might expose the position of our hearts? Are we really who we say we are, or do we wear a disguise as someone we think we are? The greatest men and women of faith allowed God to mold them. They didn’t pursue the apparel of people devoted to God, but pursued a real relationship with God! Their close walk with God resulted in great works! We look a certain way because we eat a certain way! People wonder why Smith Wigglesworth performed great miracles. It was because he always ate of God’s Word and prayer! He did not look for a shortcut to success. He pursued God! Through his pursuit of God, he discovered his purpose in God. Most Christians want the plans and purposes without the sincere pursuit. Purpose is found on our knees, in a place called surrender. Purpose is found at the end of ourselves, when all we want is God! God is calling us to come closer. He sees us for who we are and wants us to know Him for who He is! Our position before God is based on our nearness to Him. Jacob dressed us as his brother to receive Issac’s blessing. We don’t have to play “dress up” around God to receive his approval. We should only come as we are. God does not take pleasure in pretend Christianity. He is looking for authenticity! Yes, we must “work hard” to receive God’s approval (2 Timothy 2:15)! Leonard Ravenhill once said “Everyone wants to have my mantle but nobody wants my sackcloth and ashes.” We cannot be someone great in God unless we are willing to pay the price of surrender. Without sincere devotion and closeness to God, our attempts to know Him are in vain! It is time that we let God expose all of the deadness inside. Do not be afraid of transparency before God. We can’t hide from Him anyway. He saw Adam and Eve hiding in the garden. He sees the people that hide behind their brother’s clothing. Can you not hear the Father calling “Come closer so I can touch you”?
The message “Born to Be Wild” by Damon Thompson was an inspiration to me while writing this devotional. If you are interested in watching it, here is the link:
This is one of the most life changing, powerful messages I have ever heard. I encourage you to give it a listen!
Numbers 23:19 “God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?”
My thoughts: Please do not let current circumstances dictate your perspective of God. God is not your earthly father. He is your Heavenly Father! God is not a man that He should lie. Satan is the father of lies. God is trustworthy! The devil cannot promise anything that is true. His lies will always appeal to our sinful nature. Without sensitivity to the Holy Spirit, we will confuse the lies of Satan for the truth of God. Remember, God does not appeal to our feelings. Don’t let the extent of your feelings interfere with the fullness of God’s promises in your life. Do not accuse God of lying because He does not give you what you want. God never promised to give us what we want. He promises to give His servants everything they need! It is important that we understand what God, our Father promises those who love Him. All of God’s promises are true, but not everyone is in position to experience them. God does not promise success and prosperity to people who live outside of His will. God loves us all, offers forgiveness to us all, and gives everyone equal opportunity to have a relationship with Him. However, God does not deal the same way with professing Christians as He does His faithful followers. Do not expect the promises and provision of God when you live a life that contradicts His Word! The promises of God without Biblical context fascinate the spiritual harlots. These halfhearted individuals say “I can live how I want! God will give me what I want”. Do not say “I’m holding onto His promises” if you are still consumed with lust for the world. If this is the case, you are really holding onto a false gospel inspired by the father of lies! God does not change His mind like we do. We do not have control over the ultimate verdict of God. All we can do is tap into His unconditional mercy and love through heartfelt prayer and intercession (I will expand on this truth in a future devotional). Do not accuse God of lying because He didn’t act when you expected Him to. Our expectations are not God’s limitations. His perfect plans and purposes are what matter most. He does not need our assistance in deciding a time or date. He is looking for people with willingness to participate in the beautiful adventure of complete surrender to His perfect plans! Today, let us remember His promises and position ourselves to receive them.
Numbers 12:3 “Now Moses was very humble- more humble than any other person on earth.”
My thoughts: Without humility, our laborious efforts to reach God will be in vain. Our gatherings will draw multitudes looking for self-esteem preaching. Our services will attract dead people and wound them even more with selfish doctrines set on fire by Hell. My prayer is not for people to attend church, but for the church to humble itself! I said it before, and I will say it again: our nation doesn’t need the church in it’s current state. The church needs God in His continual state! The American people are “need for nothing” and expect pastors to meet their spiritual needs. Moses met with God, heard His voice, and was a messenger to God’s people. Moses could accomplish feats for God because he came to the end of himself. If I am going to be the most humble man, I must be the most broken one! Everyday must be completely about God. Every second must be directed by the God of Angel Armies! I must be completely abandoned to the plans and purposes of my Lord and Savior. This brokenness is not because of man, or a result of circumstances, but is a beautiful place of surrender before God alone. Brokenness does not come overnight, but is the result of long hours in prayer. Brokenness comes as we are crushed underneath the love of God! The love of God breaks down every high place we have built up. A sane man cannot stand underneath the weightiness of God’s love. His love searches the depths of each heart and reveals our innermost thoughts! Moses was humble and broken before God. Moses was a great leader because He followed God day and night! He prevailed long hours on Mount Sinai and was a mediator between God and His people! Moses was burdened for the people of Israel. How can we be burdened for other people if we are still bound in sin? Instead of being burdened for them, we will be burdened with them. Where are the mediators who will intercede for a broken nation bound in darkness? Don’t we understand that the Holy Spirit intercedes through His people? God’s people should be His partners in prayer. Where are the people willing to crucify themselves in prayer? Where are the warriors willing to intercede for a people on the verge of destruction? Are we really who we pray we are? Do our lives validate the depths of our prayer life? Do we let the Fire of God purge our souls and drain us of our will to live apart from Him? It takes a humble man to pray for someone other than himself. It takes a broken man to search his heart and soul for wandering. This is not a matter of how long we pray, but of how deep we pray. Depth usually results in length. However, length does not determine depth. Humility and prayer go hand in hand. God opposes the proud, yet favors the humble! If I am going to be any man, I want to be a humble and broken one! My prayer is for the humility of Moses.
1 Chronicles 29:3 “And now, because of my devotion to the Temple of my God, I am giving all of my own private treasures of gold and silver to help in the construction. This is in addition to the building materials I have already collected for his holy Temple.”
My thoughts: David gave of his own private treasures! His passion for God was evident in what He gave. His generosity would help in the construction of the Temple. In the same way, our wholehearted pursuit of God will help in the construction of His Kingdom and the destruction of darkness! I want to build His Kingdom through generous service and complete surrender to His plans. Nothing else matters! What we give to God will reflect our understanding of what He gave to us. If we believe the sacrifice of Jesus was common and ordinary, our response to Him will be passive and self-centered. Please don’t profess salvation if you only give to God once a week. Don’t expect to escape the fires of Hell when you only let Heaven touch you on a Sunday. Going to church doesn’t save us! Complete surrender to Jesus brings salvation. Jesus came to save us from Hell and get the Hell out of our own lives! Some of us look more like death and doom than life and restoration because Hell is our influence! Salvation does not begin when we pass away, but starts right now. David understood what God gave him and responded in love. He gave up his private possessions because his walk with God was more than a public profession. What will we give to our Lord and Savior? Is He more than a song we sing at church? Is He more than a prayer we pray before dinner? Before we can help in the construction of something significant, we must allow God to destroy what is insignificant inside of us. This is what really matters!
Mark 4:7 “And the seed that fell on good soil represents those who hear and accept God’s word and produce a harvest of thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times as much as had been planted!”
My thoughts: The problem today isn’t the amount of Word delivered, but its reproduction in our lives. This is not only about gathering what we need. Subsistence farming doesn’t work in a Kingdom that is ever increasing. While God is enough for us, He wants the world to know that He is enough for them. God rains down blessings so we could be a blessing to others. If we receive a sufficient amount for ourselves, our immediate response should be to scatter the seed He gave us. Everything we gather from Him we should scatter for Him. The truth is though, we cannot give a Word we aren’t willing to receive. Before His Word can produce a substance through us, it must become a sustenance to us. We cannot nourish His Word if we don’t have good soil! When the Word reaches soft soil, the multiplication effect is endless! Soft soil is the ground of a saved man; someone defeated by the love of Christ. Without cultivation the Word won’t experience reproduction. We cultivate the Word of God through prayer and fasting. Our passion to know God becomes the gateway for multitudes to know Him also. Knowing God isn’t only for personal growth, but also for the transformation of others. A large harvest sounds good to most Christians, while a lifestyle of surrender doesn’t. If we only understood that the two go hand in hand! We cannot produce a harvest without cultivation. We cannot cultivate His Word without sincere devotion to God! The Word produced through cultivation is more than mere phrases of human wisdom. It is a revelation from Heaven that is backed up by our commitment to Jesus. Our lifestyle validates the authenticity of God’s Word. It proves to the world that we carry a treasure! We cannot convince a wayward generation with tracts or social gatherings sponsored by dead religion. Without a life testimony, our meaningless attempts will intoxicate the atmosphere with compromise. This seedless Christianity will comfort sinners in their complacency, never calling them to a higher standard. Why would people live by a standard we ourselves haven’t even submitted to? Before the world will start listening to us, we must begin listening to God. Before the world will want what we have, we must desire what God has. Before they will believe in His reality, we must allow Him to transform our own. The greatest Word we will ever deliver is a lifestyle of abandonment to Jesus. The sincerity of our walk will bring forth a harvest for the multitudes.
Matthew 5:13 “You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.”
My thoughts: As the salt of the earth, we must remember- the source of our flavor comes from a relationship with God. We will not have flavor until we start savoring God’s goodness. The truth is, we cannot offer a flavor we aren’t tasting. If we don’t taste of God’s goodness, we can’t radiate His goodness. There isn’t an artificial substitute for the presence of God. The flavor and authenticity of His presence is what makes us the salt of the earth. Without it, our attempts at making disciples are in vain. Without it, we will be run down by our culture. We are worthless for building God’s Kingdom until we start showing Him worth. Salt (NaCl) can only lose its’ saltiness when it dissolves in water and materializes with another element. In fact, through this process it becomes something other than salt. In the same way, we lose our flavor as Christians when we absorb the culture. We become apart of the culture when it becomes a part of us. Through this process of assimilation, we grow into children of a flavorless, whitewashed “Christianity” run by the devil. Instead of permeating the darkness, we embrace it. By doing this, we blend in with the crowd and stop tasting of God’s goodness! Nothing distinguishes us. The world has more passion and flavor than most churches today! Although their flavors are artificial, we look dead compared to them. No wonder so many Christians are unattractive, lifeless people! We have stopped tasting of God’s goodness. How can we offer the world something we don’t even have? Why would the world stop tasting of falsehood, when many of us offer them a flavorless Christianity? Have we lost our saltiness? The world will reach us before we reach them if we resist an intimate relationship with Jesus Christ. God will make our tasteless Christianity salty again when we stop tasting of this world.