Bible Devotions



He who gets wisdom loves his soul; he who keeps understanding will find good.  Proverbs 19:8 NKJV


Wisdom is something we all need.  Some of us think we have wisdom, yet in time our decisions prove otherwise.  Solomon had much knowledge and wisdom to pass on his son.  Lucky for us he wrote a lot of it down.  Now, we have the opportunity to learn from those who have gone before us. 


How do we obtain wisdom?

Some might say we study and try to learn everything we can.  Others might say you collect it throughout your life with experience that comes from each passing year.  But what does the Bible say?  James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

 What is wisdom?

Wisdom is an attribute of God.  He is wisdom.  He is sovereign and sees the beginning and the end of everything.  He knows all possibilities and how things will play out.  When we ask for wisdom we ask for a part of God.


How do we keep understanding?

Understanding comes from God too.  He has provided us 66 books of understanding for our instruction.  In order to keep understanding our first step is to read about God’s commandments.  With the power of the Holy Spirit in us, we are able to keep His commandments.  Proverbs 19:16 says “He who keeps the commandment keeps his soul, but he who is careless of his ways will die.”  Notice keeping understanding or commandments requires effort on our part.  Matthew 7:7-8 says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” If we are careless with our ways we die. 

 What is good?

The opening verse says “he who keeps understanding will find good”, but what is good?  Jesus told us in Matthew 19:17 “No one is good but One, that is, God.  But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.” Therefore, good is God.  He who keeps understanding will find God. 


Wisdom and understanding are critical components of salvation.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying read more and you’ll saved, for salvation is not based on human efforts of earning our way to heaven.  But I am saying God’s Word contains what we need to guide us into a right relationship with God.  When we have “listened to its counsel” we will find God and know his perfect will – that none should perish but that all should be saved through faith in Jesus Christ. 


Wisdom and understanding are more than just that.  They provide us guidance for every day life.  They instruct us on how to respond to every kind of problem, conflict or issue we may face.


Proverbs 19:20 says “Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.” 

 Lord, may we be wise in seeking you first in all we do, say, and think.  Lead us by your Word and Spirit that we may be wise in our all affairs.  In Jesus’ name Amen.   © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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Single-Minded Devotion


What do we devote our time and energy to?  Where do our thoughts reside during the day?  Can we say, like David did in Psalm 73:25, “Whom do I have in heaven besides You? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides You.”?


Do we believe God?  Sure, most of us could easily say we believe in God, but that’s different.  Do we believe Him?  Reading a promise of God such as “I will never leave you or forsake you”, what goes through your mind?  Is it nice to know?  Do you think it can’t possible apply to you?  Can you grasp the “never” part?  Never is a mighty long time, yet God tells us He will never leave us.


Do we believe Christ died for us?  Certainly there is no doubt He died.  But for us He chose to die, paying our sin debt while we were still His enemies.  Romans 5:6 says “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”  Does the knowledge of our pardon from hell cause exceeding joy?  It does when we believe it. 


Do we believe Christ rose again to give us life and power through His Holy Spirit?  Our life is hidden in Him in the heavenly places.  Or should we say His life is hidden in us.  Those who believe and accept Christ have been given His Holy Spirit who dwells within us.  Our power and strength come not from our own resources, but from Christ in us.  Philippians 4:13 tells us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.


In believing God, we take seriously His Word to us.  The Bible is inspired by God and written for our instruction, teaching, correction and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:15-17).  Therefore, when it tells us to put on the whole armor of God and stand firm against our enemy, we do so (Ephesians 6:10-20).  Likewise, when it says lay aside all things that hinder our walk, especially sin that so easily entangles us, we do it (Galatians 5:1).  When it teaches us to be renewed in our thinking (Romans 12:2), focus our thoughts on eternal things (2 Corinthians 4:17-18), we train to do just that.  It is in our diligent and relentless pursuit of God, our mind is wholly devoted to Him.


Here are a few tips for helping set your mind on Him:

  • Next time you are faced with a decision, ask God for wisdom to make the right choice.
  • When you drive by a car accident, pray for the people involved to be healed and for the rescue workers to have what they need to save them.
  • Waking up in the morning, say “Good Morning, God.  Thank you for that good night’s sleep.”
  • When going to bed at night thank God for keeping you safe all day. 
  • At meals time, say a simple pray of thanks to God for providing the food.


These few things, along with Bible Study, church attendance and fellowship can greatly increase your focus on God.  Yet, all of these will be worthless if your attitude about doing them is not right.  We do these things out of love for God and wanting to know Him more.  If you do these because you feel guilty or forced to, don’t do it.  Let the Spirit lead you and stay open to His prompting.

  Lord thank You for Your word.  Teach us more about You.  Draw us closer to You.  Help us focus on You.  In Jesus’ name amen.  © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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Worth It


Have you ever wondered if giving your life to Christ was really worth it?  King David did.  Let’s review what he penned in Psalm 73:10-17 NKJV.


10 Therefore his people return here,
         And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
 11 And they say, “How does God know?
         And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
 12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
         Who are always at ease;
         They increase in riches.
 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
         And washed my hands in innocence.
 14 For all day long I have been plagued,
         And chastened every morning.
 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
         Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
 16 When I thought how to understand this,
         It was too painful for me—
 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
         Then I understood their end.


David was focusing on the prosperity of the ungodly.  They seem to have it all while denying God.  “How can this be?” thought David.  He starts thinking all is in vain because of the difficulties he’s having.  Have you ever thought this way?  When we allow our minds to go to this place, it will lead us down a path we don’t want to go.  Thankfully David doesn’t stay in the self-pity mode but goes to God for clarity. 


Keep in mind the things shared today aren’t the only things God might want to say in this section of scripture, but these are just a few things worth pointing out.


First, doubt is the tool of our enemy.  When we doubt, let it be an alert warning us our focus on the Lord is slipping.  Doubt creeps in when we start comparing our self to others.


Second, depending on our own understanding will lead to disappointment and frustration.  Don’t rack your brain trying to understand how people could do what they do.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”


Third, recognizing the bigger picture can soften our heart for others and help us realize the precious gift of life given to us.  Those who choose not to accept Christ will be eternally separated from God, who loves them and doesn’t want a single one to perish.  Perhaps for the ungodly this life is as close to heaven as they will ever get and that’s why God is seemingly lenient on them.  Maybe this will encourage us to pray for them, for God to open their eyes while there’s still time. 


To recap, giving our life to Christ is definitely worth it.  Yes, there are seasons of difficulties as God chastens those He loves, but in the end we are heaven bound.  Yes, sometimes it is hard to understand why things happen as they do, but we can fully trust God has it under His control.  Accepting this in faith releases us to carry out what God calls us to do.  Maybe that’s praying for the unsaved around us.

 Lord thank you for your wisdom and clarity in your word. Help us keep our eyes on you, rather than others around us.  Enable us to lean on you rather than our own understanding.  May we trust in you and carry out your purposes.  In Jesus’ name Amen.   © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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Pure in Heart

Read Psalm 73


Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart.  But for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped.  For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (Psalm 73:1-3)


The pure at heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).  Does this mean physically see God, as we see another person? No, I don’t think so.  Instead it’s about having spiritual eyes to see God in the middle of everything.  It’s a spiritual discernment that comes upon the child of God who is pure at heart. 


This spiritual discernment helps us keep our eyes on what’s most important and not be caught up in the temporary things of every day life.  After Jesus died and rose again, He had a conversation with Peter.  During this talk Peter asked “What about him?” referring to John.  Jesus said “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?  You follow Me.”  Jesus is showing Peter the importance of focusing on Him alone.  A lesson we could all use.


Apostle Paul wrote much about focusing our minds on Christ.  Think on these things… Philippians 4:-7-8.  Keep our eyes on the eternal, not the temporary… 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.  Renew our minds…Romans 12:2.


Does being pure at heart mean we are to be sinless?  Absolutely not, for no man or woman could ever be sinless this side of heaven (Romans 3:23).  Just look at David’s example.  He was called a man after God’s own heart, yet he was an adulterer and a murderer.  How could he be a man after God’s own heart?  It’s because when he fouled up, he always returned to the Lord.  Yes, he sinned – we all do.  David turned from his sin and turned back to God.  In turning, he received God’s mercy and so can we.


Envy distracts us and takes our eyes off Jesus.  Just as David experienced we will also stumble, slip, and fall if we start looking at anything or anyone other than God.   Don’t worry about what others are doing and saying. Live your life for an audience of One. Live for God’s approval then you will win favor of not only God but man.


What did we learn today?  We learned being pure at heart gives us spiritual discernment to keep our eyes laser focused on God no matter what.  Envy is a sure sign we’ve gotten our eyes off the Lord.

 Lord thank you for your constant leading us back on track with you.  Thank you for your precious Word of Truth.  May we apply what we’ve learned in our lives today.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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Toxic People


Is there someone in your life that causes the hair on the back of your neck to bristle?  You know someone who always has to be right.  Someone who is “just telling it as it is”.  Sure, we all know someone like that.   The question is what do we do about them? 


Toxic people irritate, nit-pick us over the most trivia matters.  They are a hypocritical, legalistic, guilt-tripping, critical, condemning, judgmental lot.  These people could be our own family, friends, neighbors, or co-workers. 


How did they get that way?

Pastor Rick explained in this week’s sermon the top 3 reasons were envy, greed and bitterness.  The message was full of verses about how Jesus dealt with the toxic people of His time – the Pharisees.  It was practical and something we could all use not only to identify toxic people around us but also to self-assess our own thoughts, motives and behaviors. 


The sermon concludes with five biblical things you can do if you have toxic people in your life.  It also outlined how coming to Jesus is the only way we can avoid becoming toxic people our selves.  I can testify to Pastor Rick’s message, for I was a toxic person before I gave my life to Christ.  Everything he pointed out sounded like my old self, but oh how I thank God I’m no longer like that.  I’m certainly not perfect, but Christ has done some amazing things in me and He can for anyone else who’s willing to come to Him.  I highly recommend you get a copy of this message.  After you hear it, you just might want to buy a few extra to give to family and friends.  You never know, this message might be just what they need to hear to turn them around.


By the way, Pastor Rick will be teaching on Toxic People for the next two weeks, so you’ll have an opportunity to come hear for your self.  Join us at Saddleback Church.  For details on service times visit, today.

 Lord may we recognize toxic traits in others and our self.  By Your power may we learn to live as Christ did, always pointing others to Your truth.  Help us to come to You with the areas in our self that need Your grace, so we may be able to extend grace to others.  In Jesus’ name Amen. 



© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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parallel-roads-along-residential-area-ph121_017.jpg  Two roads before us.  

The Bible tells us everything exists for God to bring glory to Him.  Genesis 1:31 NKJV says “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”  All creation speaks of God and points back to Him.  Everything we see physically has an underlying purpose to guide people back to God. 

There are two vital principles to both the physical and the spiritual life.  Both sustaining and learning efforts must be present for an enjoyable, satisfying life to exist, whether physical or spiritual. 

For example, we must sustain our self physically with food, water and sleep, else we perish.  What happens when we don’t eat?  We get hungry, weak, and vulnerable to attack, as well as we might get sick and/or die.  Well, the same thing happens in our spiritual life when we don’t take in God’s Word.

How do we know we have a spiritual self?  When we become Christians by trusting Jesus Christ to save us, we are born again with a new spiritual dimension.  The old is gone and new has come, we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 Just as the physical body needs food, water, and sleep to survive, the spiritual body requires the same elements.  Food is Jesus Christ who is the bread of life (John 6:35).  God’s Word tells us about Jesus.  Luke 4:4 NKJV says “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”  Jesus Christ in Holy Spirit form is the living water springing up within us to everlasting life (John 7:10 and John 7:38).  Sleep or rather rest comes when we keep our mind steadfast on God because we trust Him (Isaiah 26:3 and Philippians 4:8-9).  

We also need to keep learning else we injure our self and others and/or perish.  Just like a young child must learn not to touch a boiling pot on the stove, else they get burned, we as children of God must learn not to touch or become involved with anything that would cause us or others to sin.   We also have to learn to walk by the Spirit.  We learn to speak the truth in love, just as we learn to love others as our self.  

How do we learn?  The same way we do physically.  In school we learn from our teacher.  In Spirit, we learn from the Holy Spirit as well as from Bible teachers and pastors.  We have role models to follow (apostles and saints from the Bible).  In school we might have a study group, and in Spirit we learn from other believers through fellowship.   

Both our physical and spiritual life depend on effort on our part to sustain and continue learning.   Are you neglecting your spiritual life?  There are grave consequences in doing so.  May this short devotion be just what you need to spark a renewed effort to sustaining and learning in your spiritual life.    

Lord help us have spiritual eyes to see You in everything.  May the world around us always keep pointing us back to You.  Help us continue to sustain our relationship with You.  Let us not grow weary in doing what You’ve called us to do.  In Jesus’ name Amen.    

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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Let God be Magnified

thinkonit-devotions-they-shall-obtain-joy-and-gladness.jpg Our strength comes from the Lord.  How will others see that?  They will see it by watching how we handle all that comes into our life.


As more difficulties, more work, and more demands are brought on us, God is magnified by our perseverance.  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Our dependence on Him to provide the strength to get through will be evident to all.


I have a friend whose life is filled with chaos not of her own making.  You wouldn’t believe all the things this woman has lived through, yet she is the “poster-child” of perseverance and faith.  She has been an inspiration to me.  No matter what happens she faces it like Psalm 70:4 NKJV “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified”.”


When things get tough remember Psalm 71:16 says “I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only”.


I am tremendously busy at work lately.  Usually I will have a busy day here or there, but since Labor Day my meeting schedule has been booked solid.  I don’t see a slow down until some time in October!  In situations like this, it’s easy to become frazzled or stressed because there’s no marginal time.  However, this is a prime opportunity to depend on God’s strength.  Where God leads, He will provide.  As I turn to Him in this busy season, His Peace is poured out on me.  Others can see how calm I am though there are many demands on me.  When they ask how I do it, there’s my chance to tell them how great God is!


You see, when we respond God’s way in all things, we really stand out.  That’s what being a witness for God is about.  You don’t have to shout or force people to see, they can see God’s doing something through our simple obedience to Him.  The result, God’s magnified and we get a chance to share His love with others when they ask.

 Lord, thank you for the opportunities to depend on You for our strength. Thank you for blessing our obedience in unexpected ways.  Let us make a difference for You in how we choose to handle life’s circumstances.  May our choices be honoring 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 articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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What Shall We Do?

thinkonit-devotions-yellow-sunflowerdelight.jpg   Read Acts 4:14-22 

A paraphrase of what the elders said in Acts 4:14-17 follows.   What shall we do?  A great miracle was done and evident by all, we cannot deny it.  But let’s threaten them not to speak in this name so it doesn’t spread.


How easy it is to miss the beauty of God.  These religious folks were so bound to their way of thinking they missed the glory of God being displayed before them.  They missed the invitation to join God’s family by receiving Jesus Christ as the Son of God.  They were, instead, more concerned about their own power and influence over the people, than knowing the truth.  How sad. 


How many of us are like that at times?


In Acts 4:18-20 Peter and John put the ball back in the elder’s court when they announced. “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than God, you judge.  For we cannot but speak the things we have seen and heard.”  Peter and John didn’t argue with the elders or try to convince them to believe.  They simply pointed them back to God and carried on their mission of telling others what they saw and heard.  What an example. 


How do you react when someone tries to get you to stop talking about Jesus?  We have an example, don’t we?  We shall carry on regardless of what people think.  For we can do all things through Jesus who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).


Read the rest of Acts 4 to find out what happened.  This I will tell you – “they all glorified God because of what had been done.”


Lord, help us carry Your message to others so You will be glorified.  In Jesus’ name Amen.


© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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Outcry to God or Prophetic Verses?

thinkonit-devotions-i-am-comeabundantly.jpg   Read Psalm 69  

Reading Psalm 69 there seems to be more than just David’s outcry to God going on.  You may need to read this psalm more than once to pick it up.  It was interesting to see this psalm in a different light.  At first, I was going to write about how verse 6 is a good moral lesson for us to remember how our behavior affects others and may prevent others from coming to Christ.  However, the more I meditated on that verse in context of the whole psalm, more meaning came out and it wasn’t limited to being just about David.  I started to see how much of this psalm is about Jesus. 


For example, look at verse seven through twelve:

7 “Because for Your sake I have borne reproach;
         Shame has covered my face.
 8 I have become a stranger to my brothers,
         And an alien to my mother’s children;
 9 Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up,
         And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
 10 When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting,
         That became my reproach.
 11 I also made sackcloth my garment;
         I became a byword to them.
 12 Those who sit in the gate speak against me,
         And I am the song of the drunkards.”


Is that not fitting of Jesus?  Think about each line and how it fits Jesus to a tee.


Compare verse 8 above with Matthew 12:46-47.  In Matthew his mother and brothers were coming to get and try to take him home because at this time they didn’t believe and thought he was crazy.  Therefore, he became a stranger or alien to his own family.


Compare verse 9 with 1 Peter 2:24 NKJV “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” Didn’t Jesus take the reproach of those who were against God upon Himself?


What about verse 11 above?  Whose name do people use when they curse?


Also see verses nineteen through twenty-one as reference to Jesus’ time on the cross.  Verses twenty-nine to thirty-one speak of how Jesus’ time on cross is more acceptable than offering ox and bulls. 


One more interesting point is in verses twenty-two through twenty-eight that seems to be outlining the consequences for not accepting Jesus’ offer of salvation.  While verses thirty-two through thirty-four seem to be the consequences of those who do accept Him.


We don’t have time to outline the whole psalm here, but I did want to give you a taste and hopefully compel you to check it out for yourself.


In closing, we can see how Acts 10:43 NKJV “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” is in fact, true.

 Lord thank You for your word of truth.  Lead us deeper in our relationship with You.  Enable us to share with others the generous mercy You extend to all people.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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Another Chance to Witness

thinkonit-devotions-fear-thou-not.jpg Read Acts 4:5-13


Peter and John were imprisoned for telling people about Jesus’ resurrection from death and for healing a lame man.  After being in jail over night, they are brought out before the rulers, elders, scribes, the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander and everyone else from the high priest’s family.  Can you imagine this company Peter and John were surrounded by?   These were the religious elite; men of power and influence to be revered.  If you had to stand before them, wouldn’t they make your knees knock?  They were probably pretty intimidating.


Notice Peter’s response when asked by them in what name have you done this by?  

The Bible does not say if Peter was afraid, trembling with fear, or even worried about the situation, and I don’t think he was because his mind was on Christ.  In verses 8-12 it says Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit so the words which proceeded out of his mouth were focused on the issue at hand: He was being judged for doing something good.  He healed a man by Jesus’ name and now he stands on trial.  Peter laid everything on the table: (I’m paraphrasing) Look, you want to know who’s name we did this, I’ll tell you.  Let it be known to you all by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but God raised from the dead, by Him was this man who stands before you made whole again.  The stone rejected by you the builders has become the chief cornerstone.  In no other name is there salvation.


The religious leaders were amazed at Peter and John’s boldness.  They were used to making people quake at their commands.  But here’s Peter and John not moving a muscle, not the least bit scare of them, and instead they were bold.  It didn’t make sense.  They marveled when they noticed these men were uneducated, untrained and had been Jesus Christ. 


What made them realize Peter and John had been with Jesus?  Could it have been the calm way they responded to the charges against them?  Could it have been the way Peter pointed out the leader’s sin and brought it back to Jesus being the only way to salvation?  Could it have been the fact Peter healed a man like Jesus had done? Can others see you have been with Jesus?


There are two great take-aways from this section of scripture. 

 1. Keep our eyes on Jesus

Isaiah 26:3 NKJV “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  No matter what’s going on around us, when we keep our mind on Him, He will keep us in perfect peace.   Living our life for an audience of One, is certainly easier than worrying about what others think of us. 

 2. Follow the leading of Holy Spirit. 

Don’t fret over what you should do or say.  Listen to what Mark 13:11 NKJV says: “But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”  God will give us the right words at the right time. 


How are you doing?  Where’s your focus today?  Is it on your problems and circumstance or is it on Jesus?  Are you listening to the Spirit’s leading or following your own agenda?  We are wise in doing these two things then others will be able to say you’ve been with Jesus. 

 Lord, thank You for keeping us in perfect peace in our messy circumstances when we keep our mind on You.  Enable us to follow Your leading and speak what You tell us.  May the world see we have been with You.  In Jesus’ name Amen.    © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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