Alive

John 1: 1, 14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us.

The reason I send you a scripture each day is because I believe the Word of God has the power to improve your life. The Word of God is alive and powerful. It is not just a collection of writings by a bunch of dead guys. The Word is Christ. He was the Word and was with God and He still is the Word. He is life and power.

You see, too many people think the Bible is just a book. But to Christians it is so much more. We can understand it at great depths depending on our own level of development. As we grow, we understand it to be a “how to” manual on how to live in this earth, a book of promises, our covenant, and it is the sword of the Spirit. The more we grow and learn the more we recognize it as vibrant and animated. For the word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4: 12a). The sword of the Spirit is not some dead thing. How much good would that do us? It is alive and viable even to the separating of joints and marrow (Hebrews 4:12b).

To those who believe the Bible is just a dead book they will only be able to get theology and philosophy from it. But, for those who understand that it is alive and that it is part of the trinity in the person of Jesus Christ, then it is life and hope and power and salvation. It is the light in dark places and deliverance in the storm. It is the answer to life’s problems and the herald of the new life.

Do not let yourself be deceived into devaluing the potency of the Word of God and the power that it can have in your life today. Grab hold of it in Spirit and truth and let God’s Holy Spirit lead you into all truth and into victory. Live your life on the Word of God and let it breathe life into every area of your life. It is not just a book. It is the life, the light and the way.

Sure Steps

Psalm 17: 4 – 5                  Passion

Following your word has kept me from wrong.
Your ways have molded my footsteps, keeping me
from going down the forbidden paths of the destroyer.

5 My steps follow in the tracks of your chariot wheels,
always staying in their path,
never straying from your way.

We are Word people, are we not? If not, then we need to make a decision, today, that we will become those who follow the Word of God because the Word guides us and protects us. David told us in Psalm 12 that every word God speaks is sure and true. Here he reveals that abiding in God’s words is a refuge and a guide. Following God’s teachings kept David’s foot on the path of success and safety because His words are always sure and true.

It is reasonable to suppose, that when we follow in God’s footsteps, or in this case the tracks of His chariot wheels, then we are going to avoid the snare of the destroyer, keeping ourselves out of harm’s way and trouble. God’s Word keeps us in the Father’s ways instead of the ways of destruction.

This is not just about wickedness and sin. That is likely what many hear. The bigger picture is God’s way is sure. There is safety in His way and His way is His Word. Jesus said, “I am the way,” (John 14: 6). John 1: 1 reveals Jesus as the Word. Therefore, to follow Jesus, to follow in the way is to follow the Word. Nothing else will do.

If you want to keep yourself from trouble, let the Word mold your steps. There is one other thing you can do as well. Verse 3 reads, “I have purposed that my mouth will not transgress.” It you want to prevent yourself from going down the forbidden paths and out of the mouth of the devourer, then you will also want to make the Words of your mouth follow God’s Word. Most of us trip over our tongues. Keeping ourselves safe, protected and prosperous is accomplished by keeping ourselves in God’s Word and His Word in our mouths. He is our shield and refuge, but it is we who must don his protection by abiding in His Words. Following in His footsteps is as easy as following His words.

Healed and Whole

2 Chronicles 7: 14

If My people, which are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.

When you read the verses which precede this one you understand that God is saying, “In your time of need, if you will call out to Me and seek Me then I will hear and restore you.” This verse comes from the point of need, the time of trouble, so the first point I would make is how much more does this apply when we don’t have our backs to the wall because of our sin, recklessness or error.

The major point, though, is that God is standing at the ready when we finally get around to calling on Him. One can see the situation unfold like this, we have run around doing our own thing, ignoring God and have not sought His counsel. The result is inevitable – trouble. All the while God was sitting on His phone watching and waiting for us to call. He says, “Look, if you will just inquire of Me, I will fix everything. I will lead you in the way you should go and I will repair the damage your ignorance created.” That is amazing to me. This is the exact opposite of the world which says, “You made the bed, now sleep in it,” which of course means, you made the mess so deal with it. God is ever ready to rescue us, even from the calamity of our own making. He actually wants to heal and restore you.

Let’s talk about “your land” for a moment. The verse refers to God healing His people’s land. The Bible is a historical record and a living document at the same time. Therefore, this verse represents not only God’s promise to Israel, which would have been the application at the time it was spoken, but it also applies to you and me through the living Word, Jesus our Messiah. You see, if it was just a dead letter, it would only show us His response to Israel. However, we know that Jesus is the Word (John 1: 1). He has breathed new life into the Old Testament for everyone who calls him Lord. That has got to make you want to shout! All those Old Testament promises, like the one from today’s verse are yours in Christ Jesus. Yea!

You are His people who are called by His name. That is the first element of this verse. What are the others? Humility, prayer, seeking and repentance. If we will humbly seek Him and pray, turning away from our ways, He will respond with all His grace and love to heal your world. Your land may be your home, your work, business, health, finances, family or any other area. It can also apply to the country you live in or are from.  They are all under God’s grace when you invite Him in through humility, seeking His face and His advice. Find that quiet space in your life and seek the Lord and His counsel. Be whole. Be blessed!

Creative Power

Genesis 1: 2

The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.

Through this Word of the Day devotional and Ivey Ministries, you are continually encouraged to learn about the Holy Spirit and to develop a relationship with him. This week, I will endeavor to assist you in that pursuit by showing you some of the verses about the Spirit and by sharing some background information.

Today’s verse represents the first time the Holy Spirit is mentioned in the Bible. God didn’t wait long to introduce him. In fact, we hear about him before any mention of the Son. Verse one reads, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Then God begins describing the creation of the earth and that formation starts with the Holy Spirit. We find out in the book of John that Jesus was in the beginning and that nothing that was made, was made apart from him, but we see that Holy Spirit is central to creation. Even now, he remains the creative power of God.

The Spirit hovered, many manuscripts say, over the surface of the waters. He was awaiting the Father’s vision and command. Then when God spoke, the Spirit created, or brought into being, that which the Father designed. This process of creation is how things work today also. Father began His book by demonstrating a key principle of life and of the workings of the Kingdom of God. Creation happens in cooperation with the Holy Spirit.

I told you that Jesus was in the beginning (John 1: 1). His role is significant but not so obvious. The power of creation begins with an idea or a vision. In this case, God had a design in mind for the earth. We know from Matthew 6: 10 that God’s idea was to create earth in the image of heaven. So, He had a clear picture in mind. The next thing He did was to speak. What did He speak, one might ask. He spoke The Word. That is where Jesus made his entrance. The Word is Jesus and Jesus is the Word. As soon as the Father spoke the Word, the Holy Spirit took that Word and materialized God’s vision.

We can do the same thing. We have an idea in mind, employ the Word of God by speaking it and then the Holy Spirit springs into action. He has hosts of angels and spirit beings who hearken to his command. This is how things get done in the earth. That is why it is so important for us to develop a relationship with the Spirit; to get to know him. Through our partnership with him, all things truly are possible. Jesus said he could do nothing of himself (John 5: 19). It was only through his collaboration with the Spirit that he could do anything. We know how successful Jesus was so there should be great motivation to learn to work with the Spirit as he did.

Today is a step towards knowing him better. We learned that he is the creative power of the Trinity. Knowing that might well change our perceptions of creating what we need in our lives as it probably affects our prayer life as well.

Shod

Ephesians 6: 15

Having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace.

What a funny word, “shod”. Of course it means having put on shoes. Shoes are part of the armor of God, part of what protects us as we stand firm against the enemy. This piece of armor, though, seems to be the most misunderstood of all. Let’s see if we can unravel the meaning in this verse and gain a functional revelation.

The key question, I have found, is, “How do I put on the armor?” Today’s verse actually reveals the answer. We shoe our feet by preparing ourselves in the gospel. Do you see that? The shoes are not shoes of peace. They are armored shoes but the way you obtain and wear them is by preparing yourself through time and attention given to the Word of God.

Shoes may seem rather mundane but think of it this way. Our feet are the one place where we come in contact with the world. We need insulation from the world and its ways. We need a barrier between us and worldly influences. Our shoes provide that protective barrier. Also, if one is to “stand” firm then not only are our feet the point of contact but they are also our foundation. Feet are required for standing so the feet are a focal point.

So far we have considered our belt of truth and the breastplate of righteousness. We discovered that Jesus is the truth, and that he is our righteousness. So, what do you think about the gospel? John 1: 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Are you seeing a recurring theme here? Jesus is our victory. He has prepared our armor so that we can stand firm against the schemes of the devil. Our part is to put on Jesus. In the case of our shoes, it is done by spending time in the Word. This isn’t a magic pill. The truth is that the Word just arms you for battle. It prepares you to stand. Your confidence is found in the Word.

Why, though, do you think Paul called it the gospel of peace? Several reasons really but the main one for this application is that peace is what we are desirous of. We do not put on the armor of God because we like to fight or want to fight. We are not aggressors. We don the armor of God because we want peace. Jesus has provided the means by which we can live in peace. It begins with truth wrapped around us like a belt, followed by a layer of protection over our hearts called righteousness or being right with God. Then we put on shoes or protection from the ills the world would invade our lives with by spending time with Jesus in his capacity as the Word. Your preparation in the gospel of peace will ground you. It will give you good, solid footing. You will not stumble when you have prepared yourself in the gospel. Invest your heart and some time in the Word. It will stand you in good stead.

Abiding with Jesus

John 15: 4

Abide in Me.

We know that we supposed to abide in Jesus, and we accept the idea fairly easily. However, how do you abide in him?

One of the easiest ways I know to abide in Jesus is to meditate on his Word. Meditation is dwelling mentally and spiritually with Jesus. Some of us were raised with the idea that meditation was a “new age” practice and thus forbidden to us. Well, it is only new age if you consider the Old Testament times “new age.” The first mention of meditation is in Genesis. Joshua 1: 8 records the advice God gave Joshua as he was about to take over leadership of the nation of Israel from Moses. It reads, “This book of the law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night.” Since this is the advice God gave Joshua, it must be good advice for us too.

Jesus is the Word (John 1: 1,14). What better way to abide in Jesus than to abide in the Word? As you ponder the Word of God, you are also effectively searching the heart of God. As you dwell on those words and thoughts, your heart and mind dwells in Jesus.

Sometimes we make Christian Theology way too hard. Christianity is really as simple as hanging out with Jesus. As we dwell with him he becomes our friend, then our best friend and finally the love of our lives. If you want to be a friend of God and a close friend to Jesus, then hang out in The Word. You will find Father, Son and Holy Spirit there and have fun at the same time.

The Bread

Matthew 6: 11

Give us this day our daily bread.
I had the opportunity on Sunday to hear Pastor Wayne Anderson of Idaho speak on his most recent book, Change the World with Prayer. One of the messages he brought to us was Jesus’ teaching on prayer which is found in what we commonly call the Lord’s Prayer. I was very much struck by Anderson’s point about this one little, short verse having the word “day”, or a derivative, in it twice. As he discussed it I was reminded of how the manna that God provided from heaven to the Israelites would spoil after one day. that really got me thinking.
God promised to provide for the Israelites daily. The fact that this is a daily event is an important point. “Then the Lord said to Moses, ‘Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you; and the people shall go out and gather a day’s portion every day, that I may test them, whether or not they will walk in My instruction’” (Exodus 16: 4). The Israelites were specifically precluded from collecting two or three days of manna. They were supposed to take only enough for each person for one day and then trust God for the bread for the other days. That is not our way, is it? The ground was literally littered with manna but God said to gather only a day’s worth and not to keep any of it for the next day. It would be normal for us to want to collect enough for several days but God said “Let’s see if they will follow my directions.” “But they did not listen to Moses, and some left part of it until morning, and it bred worms and became foul” (Exodus 16: 20).
Overnight the manna that people saved became inedible. Years later Jesus taught us to pray for our daily bread. Yesterday’s bread won’t feed you today. It was for yesterday. It was good food for yesterday but you need today’s bread for today. Thousands of years ago as God tried to get the Israelites to trust Him day to day for their provision He was also laying down a spiritual principle that Jesus picked up and attempted to instill in his followers, including us. So this is Jesus’ word to us that we need to feed daily on the bread which God provides for us. But what does this really mean? Is this spiritual mumbo jumbo or does Jesus mean this literally? What do you think Jesus is trying to get us to do about daily bread? 
 
Our fathers ate the manna in the wilderness; as it is written, ‘He gave them bread out of heaven to eat.’” Jesus then said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, it is not Moses who has given you the bread out of heaven, but it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world.” Then they said to Him, “Lord, always give us this bread.” Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst” (John 6: 30 – 35).
I believe Jesus is teaching us that we need to partake of him daily. How do you do that, you may ask. My answer is John 1: 1, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” Jesus is the incarnate Word of God so to partake of him we partake of the Word of God. But wait, there is more. Blindly reading the Bible is not what I am talking about. A heathen could sit all day and read the Bible but never partake of Jesus. Our consumption of the Word is a meditative, contemplative, spiritual ingesting of the person of Jesus Christ as he is found in God’s Word. There is, to my way of thinking, a big difference between “The Bible” and “The Word” but I will leave that to you to figure out.
At the end of the day I think Jesus is telling us that God has provided for us just as He did for the Israelites. Our manna is the living word. Jesus seems to be teaching us that we must feed on it daily. Yesterday’s manna is no good for today. It met yesterday’s need but today is a new day and we need fresh bread. I promise that Jesus is fresh and appropriate to today’s need.

One last comment, I only gave you today an excerpt of what Jesus said about being the bread of life. I strongly recommend that you read the entire sixth chapter of John. I think it will be a blessing and definitely food for thought.