Bible Devotions

Think About the Consequences First

Remove your way far from her, and do not go near the door of her house… Proverbs 5:8 NKJV

The father instructs his son to avoid the immoral woman for many reasons. Let’s look a a few.

Verse 9: “Lest you give your honor to others, and your years to the cruel one;” No honor, no creditability equals bad reputation.   When our ways are evil, we live like we belong to Satan rather to God.

Verse 10: “Lest aliens be filled with your wealth, and your labors go to the house of a foreigner;” Financial ruin can follow as you divorce your spouse you end up paying alimony and child support.

Verse 11: “And you mourn at last, when your flesh and your body are consumed,” Physical health is jeopardized as well.

Do any of these sound like positive consequences?  Of course not, this is why we must think through our decisions rather than allowing our emotions, passions and lusts lead us into trouble.

The closing verses 12 – 14 speak of getting to the point of understanding the wrong decision and the humiliation that comes with it.  Take a look:

12: “And say: “ How I have hated instruction, and my heart despised correction! 13 I have not obeyed the voice of my teachers, nor inclined my ear to those who instructed me! 14 I was on the verge of total ruin, in the midst of the assembly and congregation.”

Check your self.  Are your emotions/lusts controlling your decisions?  If so, ask God for courage to stand on His word.  Ask for wisdom and discernment to make better decisions.  Then take steps to get God’s word into your mind and thoughts.

  • Read a few verses a day.  As you do, ask “What does this tell me about the character of God?”, “Does this reveal a sin I need to confess?”, or “Is this a promise to remember?”
  • Memorize a verse each week.  Write a verse down on an index card and put it in a visible place.
  • Listen to Pastors teaching the Word on the radio, while you are driving.

The more God’s Word is poured into you, the easier it is to detect when our emotions are controlling us.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your word which is true.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit who guides us in all truth.  Help us keep our mind and thoughts fixed on you that we may make godly decisions today.  In your name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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The Best Advice

Therefore hear me now, my children, and do not depart from the words of my mouth. Proverbs 5:7 NKJV

As a parent I am always trying to get my children to listen. After all I have lived longer and think I have some pretty good advice. There are just children who haven’t walked this road before. I naturally want to help them avoid potholes of various kinds.

No matter how well intentioned my advice may be, it can not compare with God’s. His ways are higher than ours. His thoughts are higher too. He knows what’s around every corner, so He’s more qualified to offer advice for any and all situations.

So now my prayers for my children are for them to hear God’s advice rather than mine. For when they follow Him, they are secure, stable and able to handle life.

Jesus said ““It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” (Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8:3) For the Lord gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding (Proverbs 2:6).

Who would you want to listen to; a mere human with limited experience or a mighty God who knows everything?

Lord, thank you for being all knowing. You are approachable and will not turn us away when we seek you. Thank you for loving us and leading us on the pathway of righteousness. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Don’t go that way

Her feet go down to death, her steps lay hold of hell. Lest you ponder her path of life— Her ways are unstable; You do not know them. Proverbs 5:5-6 NKJV

Nothing good comes from being involved with an adulterous person. Every moment spent in their arms draws us closer to death and hell.

Well, you might think at least it’s pleasurable or exciting. But stop and think about where it leads. Think about the consequences of your actions:

The breakup of a marriage – Matthew 19:6 says “So then, they are no longer two but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let not man separate.” If man and woman are now one, how can part of one stray and connect to another?

The instability forced upon children – Adultery causes children to grow up without knowing one of their parents. God’s plan for raising children includes both a mom and a dad. Without one of them, we are disadvantaging our children. What is the child learning about relating to others by watching our actions?

Your reputation is ruined – Your creditability is destroyed because of your lack of control and willingness to be ruined by mere feelings.

Your Christian witness is spoiled – Others won’t want anything to do with Jesus because of your hypocritical lifestyle; in Bible study one day and out partying or sleeping around the next day.

Your health is jeopardized – The risk of sexually transmitted diseases is high as a result of infidelity.

The list of consequences goes on and on. But rather than read them thinking “That will never happen to me”, remember everyone can fall. This I know from experience. In fact, the more strongly you believe it won’t happen to you, the higher the chance it will.

How do we prevent this? Open our hearts and mind to God. Take in God’s Word. Let His Word and His Spirit guide you. Deny self, pick your cross and follow Jesus (Mark 8:34).

Lord Jesus you know what’s best for us. Help us desire your will above our own. Help us love you with all our heart, mind, soul and strength that we will not fall into this kind of trouble in our lives. If we do, help us know you are there to welcome us back on the right path when we turn to you. In your precious name we pray Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Beware the immoral person

For the lips of an immoral woman drip honey, and her mouth is smoother than oil; But in the end she is bitter as wormwood, sharp as a two-edged sword. Proverbs 5:3-4 NKJV

There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death (Proverbs 14:12). Any who follow the immoral man or woman is on the path towards destruction. Be wise. Do not believe everything you hear. Check things out before you believe the source.

Jesus told us in Matthew 7:15-16 to “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits.” You know the type of person we’re talking about. They seem pleasant and nice at first. But once you get to know them a little better it becomes obvious they order their life around what’s best for them.

How will we know if the person is immoral or not?

Jesus offered further instruction on how to tell in Matthew 7:17-20. “Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”

Before we get involved relationally we ought to watch the person’s life and check out what kind of fruit they produce. No good fruit? Stay away. Don’t risk it. You would be asking for trouble if you got involved with that person.

If you are tempted in this way right now, remember you are not tempted beyond what you can handle. God always provides a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). Pray that you see it, take it and get out of the situation before you regret it.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your wisdom and your instruction. Help us to learn from you. May we be wise and be fruit inspectors before we become involved with anyone. In your name we pray Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Decisions


My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge. Proverbs 5:1-2 NKJV

As a parent we know what’s best for our children because we’ve lived longer. We’ve learned things over time and want to share these lessons with our kids so they might learn from us rather than make the same mistakes we did. But our wisdom and understanding is based on our experience. Therefore, if we haven’t experienced it we may not know how to respond because we have no past example to draw from.

God’s wisdom and knowledge are far greater than ours. He created everything. He sees past, present and future all at the same time. He knows how one decision affects other things later on. Plus He didn’t have to learn any of it because He made it all! Unlike our best, God’s best might include a little pain because of its usefulness in developing character in us. While we shy away from and try to avoid pain, God allows it to move or shape us into the godly people He desires us to become.

God’s wisdom and understanding help us make better decisions. This in turns helps us avoid unnecessary self-inflicted pain. If we followed everything God told us, we would be free from guilt, shame and fear. Why? Because we would know the difficulties we faced are there for the purpose of bettering us rather than from our own poor choices. That knowledge might sustain us during any difficulty as we realize we didn’t bring the situation on our self.

Which is better? A decision based on partial information or one based on all the information? That’s easy, the decision based on all the information. The more information we have the better decision we make. That’s why we need God’s Word in our hearts and mind to influence our decisions for good.

Whose wisdom and understanding are you paying attention to? Yours or God’s?

Lord Jesus, you are wisdom and truth. Help us to seek you in our decisions that we may make wise decisions based on your knowledge and your leading. In your name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Narrow Gate

Ponder the path of your feet, and let all your ways be established. Do not turn to the right or the left; Remove your foot from evil. Proverbs 4:26-27 NKJV

Think about your life. God has a purpose for it. We are not just random bits of cosmic dust that happened to form humanity. No, God created us on purpose. We have the capacity to think and reason because He made us in His image.

By taking time to consider our path, we acknowledge God and He guides our steps. Proverbs 3:6 says “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” Our part has three parts to it.

  1. Ponder the path of our feet. We must think about our destiny and choose which path to take. Look at what Jesus taught in Matthew 7:13-14 “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Living without thinking about eternity leads to destruction. Life lived with eternity in mind leads to life.
  2. We must acknowledge God. This is more than saying “Yes, I believe God exists.” It is a matter of believing what God says for He can not lie. Therefore, everything God says is true and can be trusted.
  3. We must remove our feet from evil. If God shows us through His word something we ought not to do, then we are to stop doing it. Likewise, if God shows us something we should do, then we start doing it. We respond in obedience for God’s ways are higher than our own. He knows what’s best for us.

Once we are on His path, we continue being diligent not to stray to the right or the left. We can stay the course only by keeping connected to God through His word and prayer. Dig into God’s word, join a Bible study, or listen to teaching on the radio or internet. Do what you can to get God’s word into your heart and mind. As you do, your way will be established.

Have you decided which road to take? Have you acknowledge God is God and you are not? Are you ready to live the life God intends for you?

Lord Jesus, thank you for your word. Help us acknowledge you in all we do. You are God and we are not. Give us eyes to see truth and courage to follow it. In your name we pray Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Future and Present

Let your eyes look straight ahead, and your eyelids look right before you. Proverbs 4:25 NKJV

Two things jump out as I read this verse: future and present. We are to remember we have a glorious future awaiting us. No more pain, sorrow, sickness, death or sin, just a perfect world. We will be transformed into glorious new bodies that will last forever without growing old or decaying. Best of all, we will see Him, our Lord and Savior, the one who gave everything so we could stand in His presence one day. But to look constantly at the future without balance of the present would make us ineffective.

Scripture tells us not to turn to the right or the left but to continue straight on the path of righteousness. Keep our minds are fixed on Christ and we have peace. Keep our focus on the eternal things rather than the on the temporary things. It all comes back to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. It’s all made by Him. We are His. He’ll never forsake us for He has us inscribed us on the palm of His hand. It’s all about what He has done for us. That must never be shoved to the side but kept first and foremost in our thoughts and heart.

So on one hand we are to keep this future vision in mind at all times and on the other hand we are to consider the now. The present really can be a present but it takes practice. Rather than stressing over everything that has to be done, we learn to enjoy each moment. Remember every good and perfect gift comes from the Father in heaven. We learn to be thankful for everything. We are given life. Not to squander away through self-centered living but by being led by Him to reach others who are lost and hurting, just as He did.

Jesus is our example. We are to do as He did. We can because He’s given us His power in the form of the Holy Spirit living in us to guide us, teach us, prepare us and show us the things we are to do. Think about this, every new believer joining God’s family is another pair of eyes, ears, hands and feet the Lord chooses to minister through to reach others. As we draw close to God, we will know what is important to God – people. As we receive God’s love for us, we are able to extend God’s love for others by our participation in the present.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of life. Help us keep the balance between the future and present in order for us to minister to others out of your infinite resource of grace and love. In your name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Words – Build Up or Tear Down

Put away from you a deceitful mouth, and put perverse lips far from you. Proverb s 4:24 NKJV

Have you ever been cut by someone’s words? How did it feel? What did you think?

We might have a tendency to blame others for all the cruel things said. However, we must recognize we are no better at controlling our words than they are. We can’t expect others to have pleasant speech, if our own words are cutting, belittling, critical or condemning.

James 3 tells us the tongue is a small thing but oh what damage it can do, like a tiny spark setting an entire forest on fire. Paul encourages us to not let corrupt words proceed out of our mouth, but to speak only what edifies others and imparts grace to the hearers in Ephesians 4:29.

We are encouraged to walk worthy of our calling by being led by the Holy Spirit. For we know, the Spirit knows what to say in every situation because Jesus Christ is informing Him. We need to allow our words to be Spirit-filled so we are honoring God with our speech and not causing other around us to stumble or be torn down.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone thought so highly of our words, as the writers of these verses did of God’s Word? A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver. Proverbs 25:11 NKJV How sweet are Your words to my taste, sweeter than honey to my mouth! Psalm 119:103 NKJV

Stop and listen to the words of your mouth. Would you like to be on the receiving end of them? If not, it’s an opportunity to ask God to transform your speech into God-honoring, uplifting, Spirit-filled goodness that blesses others around you. Remember, we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

Lord Jesus, fill us with your goodness. Let your love shine through us and out of us in our words. Let our speech glorify you and build others up. In your name we pray. Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Heart

Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 NKJV

Diligence requires work.  It is needs dedication and commitment.  There is much said in the Bible about the heart. Let’s look at a few verses:

  • Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. Genesis 6:5 NKJV
  • You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your strength. Duet. 6:5 NKJV
  • Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God. 1 Chronicles 22:19 NKJV
  • For the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. 1 Chronicles 28:9 NKJV
  • And he did evil, because he did not prepare his heart to seek the LORD. 2 Chronicles 12:14 NKJV
  • A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks. Luke 6:45 NKJV
  • These people draw near to Me with their mouth, and honor Me with their lips, but their heart is far from Me. Matthew 15:8 NKJV
  • For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders… Mark 7:21 NKJV
  • But Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie to the Holy Spirit and keep back part of the price of the land for yourself? Acts 5:3 NKJV
  • That Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; that you, being rooted and grounded in love… Ephesians 3:17 NKJV

What do we see in all these verses?  Our hearts are evil if not prepared for the Lord.  We must set our heart to seek Him, else it will stray naturally away from God.  Our hearts can become hardened when we don’t do our part to bring our hearts before the Lord asking Him to create a clean heart within us.  Our hearts can be deceived by Satan, if we don’t measure our thoughts against the Word of God.  Finally, it is Christ who dwells in us by faith that we have hearts desiring the things of God.  Christ in us causes us to love God with all our hearts.

Have you set your heart to seek Him today?

Lord Jesus, thank you for making our way straight, guiding us by your love to the fulfillment of faith in You.  Cleanse us from all unrighteousness and give us hearts to know you.  In your precious name we pray Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Value of Attention

Do not let them depart from your eyes; Keep them in the midst of your heart; For they are life to those who find them, and health to all their flesh. Proverbs 4:21-22 NKJV

God says to us “Do not let My words depart from you eyes and keep My saying in your heart”. In this fast paced life we lead, how do we keep God’s Word foremost in our thoughts? Let’s look at a few ways.

Make a Commitment

It starts with a simple commitment to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength. We choose to make time for God to speak to Him and listen to Him in prayer. The great thing about prayer is the instant connection with God no matter we might be doing. We can prayer anywhere and any time just by directing our thoughts.

Set an Appointment

This activity does require some time, but the benefits far out weigh the impact of time. Set aside a special time to get alone with God. These times are known as quiet times. It’s a refreshing time of prayer, Bible reading and reflection through which we draw closer to God.

See It

Look for ways to sneak God’s Word into your world. For example, write verses on small notes and place them in visible spots. When your eyes wonder, let them wonder to God’s Word. Keep a Bible handy. Have one in your purse, car or office. Next time you find yourself waiting somewhere, like a dentist office, whip out your Bible and read a little.

Memorize It

Challenge yourself to memorize a verse each month. Say the location, the verse and the location again. For example: Proverbs 3:13 “Happy is the man who finds wisdom.” Proverbs 3:13. If you have kids, have them help you say the verse by memory while driving to and from school. Kids love to help. (A side benefit, your kids will probably memorize it faster and show off how easy it was for them. That’s one way to get God’s Word into their hearts!) There is no better way to retain God’s Word in our hearts than to memorize it.

Talk About It

During your normal conversations, start sharing what you learned from God’s Word. If you repeat what you learned, you are much more likely to retain it. By sharing you also help others grow by your example.

Listen to It

Change the station on your car stereo to a Christian teaching program such as K-WAV 107.9 FM or K-KLA 99.5 FM. Let God’s Word fill your car and your mind while you drive. Commutes can be tough, but look at this way – more time for God’s Word. Use the time to thank God as you hear His Word while you drive.

The activities mentioned so far don’t require huge effort or time. They are but small steps you can take to get to know God better. Today’s verse makes it clear why we should do it – God’s Word is life to those who find it and health to all our flesh. Who doesn’t want life and health?

What activity mentioned today are you willing to try? Tell someone about your decision. Stick to it and watch how God transforms your thought life as you put Him first!

Lord, thank you for your word. Give us a desire for you and your word. Teach us what we need to know. Draw us closer to you. In Jesus’ name Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com

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