Bible Devotions

Real food

Jesus said to them, “My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me, and to finish His work. John 4:34: NKJV

 

There is a pleasure that comes from doing what you know to be God’s work.  When you’re operating out of the gifts God’s given you and following the prompts of the Holy Spirit in your life, there is a peace that surpasses human understanding.  This peace satisfies.  It quenches the soul.

 

Do you want your soul to be satisfied?  Well there’s only one place it can be satisfied and that’s doing the will of God. 

 

What is the will of the Lord in general?

The will of the Lord is that all should come to know him and be saved.  2 Peter 3:9 NKJV says “The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some count slackness, but is longsuffering toward us, not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.”

 

What does the will of God in my life look like?

It starts by knowing what gifts, talents, and abilities God has given you.  Once you know what gifts you have, you start using them.  The more you use your gifts the easier it becomes to discern God’s calling on your life.

 

Jesus said His works bare witness of what God called Him to do in John 5:36 NKJV: “But I have a greater witness than John’s; for the works which the Father has given Me to finish—the very works that I do—bear witness of Me, that the Father has sent Me.”

 

What work do I have to do?

John 17:4 NKJV gives us a clue: “I have glorified You on the earth. I have finished the work which You have given Me to do.”   Did you figure it out?  What ever work God has given you to do, that’s what you do.   God will not call you to do something you don’t know how to do.  He will first equip you for the task, building you up to ensure you can complete it.

 

Does the work I do help God’s cause?

Remember God’s primary will is for all people to come to know him and to be saved.  In the work we put our hand it should help further that cause.  When we operate out of the gifts God gave us, doing the work God gave us, the world will see God through us.

 

In conclusion, doing the will of the Lord is the most satisfying thing we can do. 

 

 

Lord thank you for the gifts and the work you’ve given us to do.  Help us to carry out all you plan for us so you are glorified and others may come to know you.  In Jesus name we pray these things 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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Resurrection and Life

The woman said to him, “I know that Messiah is coming” (who is called Christ).  “When he comes, he will tell us all things.”  Jesus said to her, “I who speak to you am He.”  John 4:25-26 NKJV

 

I love how clear the Bible is at times.  Today’s verse is one of those times.  Jesus could not be clearer than he was with this woman at the well.  He basically came right out and told her I am the Messiah.

 

This reminds me of what Jesus said to Martha.  Her brother Lazarus died.  Martha and Mary had sent word to Jesus that Lazarus was sick.  Their expectation was for Jesus to come heal him.  But Jesus delayed in his coming to ensure Lazarus would die, so if the glory of God could be made known.  When Jesus finally arrived her brother had been dead for four days.  Jesus had a conversation with Martha to tomb-side.

 

Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” Martha said to Him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in Me, though he may die, he shall live. And whoever lives and believes in Me shall never die. Do you believe this?” John 11:23-26 NKJV

 

Again we see Jesus as spelling it out like it is.  He is the resurrection and the life.  But Jesus did not just say he was the messiah, but he proved it.  After all how many people are do you know who could be crucified, die, and then rise again? 

 

Both his words and his actions matched.  Everything he said he would do, he did.  And that’s how we know he’s the real “McCoy”, the real deal, a genuine article, the one and only God.  No one else could lay down his life and pick it up again.  It’s quite easy to die but not so easy to come back from death to live again. Jesus did.

 

I’m thankful that Jesus died and came back to life.  This means that I too can have life when I believe in him.  And just as he said in John those who believe in me though they may die they shall live and whoever lives and believes in me shall never die, so too will I live.

 

Lord Jesus thank you think you are the resurrection and the life.  Thank you for dying to pay for my sins that I might have life in you. Thank you for making yourself real to us in your word.  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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Are we Patient?

 

What are we willing to bear? 

 

Are we willing to bear rejection?

Are we willing to bear failure?

Are we willing to bear exhaustion?

Are we willing to bear false accusations?

Are we willing to bear ridicule from others?

Are we willing to bear the mistakes of others?

Are we willing to bear the truth about our self?

Are we willing to bear the death of our dreams?

Are we willing to bear wounds from our loved ones?

Are we willing to bear waiting for God’s perfect timing?

Are we willing to bear not having to be right all the time?

Are we willing to bear the consequences of our own mistakes?

Are we willing to bear correction and instruction from the Lord?

Are we willing to bear being misunderstood by those closest to us?

Are we willing to bear relational conflicts by handling them through biblical principles?

Are we willing to bear a slower pace in life so we can enjoy what God plans for us to enjoy?

 Jesus, thank you for being our role model for patience.  Thank you for giving us your Spirit to guide us into all truth and empower us to be patient as you are. Let us be open and willing to be lead by you.  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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Jesus was Patient

Let’s look through the book of Matthew and see what He was willing to bear.

 

He was willing to bear temptation after temptation with out sinning. (Matthew 4:4-11)

He was willing to bear the fact he had no where to lay His head. (Matthew 8:20)

He was willing to bear how little faith His disciples had. (Matthew 8:26)

He was willing to bear evil thoughts against Him. (Matthew 9:3-4)

He was willing to bear insults being called a glutton, a winebibber, a friend of tax collectors and sinners. (Matthew 11:19)

He was willing to bear being accused of breaking the law on a Sabbath. (Matthew 12:2)

He was willing to bear being accused of being Beelzebub after casting out demons. (Matthew 12:24)

He was willing to bear no honor from his own country and his own home. (Matthew 13:57)

He was willing to bear the fault-finding Pharisees. (Matthew 15:1-2)

He was willing to bear the slowness of His disciples in understanding. (Matthew 15:16)

He was willing to bear the great multitudes that came to Him for healing. (Matthew 15:29-31)

He was willing to bear His disciples lack of faith. (Matthew 16:8-12)

He was willing to bear Peter’s rebuke. (Matthew 16:22-23)

He was willing to bear Peter’s nonsense about building three alters when He was transfigured. (Matthew 17:4)

He was willing to bear His disciples constant questions. (Matthew 17:10)

He was willing to bear the Pharisees who came to test Him. (Matthew 19:3-6)

He was willing to bear the mother of Zebedee’s sons foolish request to have her sons sit at His right and left hand when they came into His kingdom. (Matthew 20:20-23)

He was willing to bear Peter, James and John sleeping instead of praying and watching while He prayed in the garden. (Matthew 26:36-46)

He was willing to bear false testimony against Him. (Matthew 26:59-63)

He was willing to bear being spit on and struck in the face. (Matthew 26:67)

He was willing to bear Peter’s triple denial. (Matthew 26:75)

He was willing to bear being humiliated, tortured and crucified. (Matthew 27:27-37)

He was willing to bear being blasphemed and taunted at while hanging on the cross. (Matthew 27:39-44)

 

What are we willing to bear?

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your patience with us.  Thank you for being willing to bear what you did in order to save us from our sin and give us life with you eternally.  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 On-Going Process

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. Ephesians 5:8-11 NKJV

 

Define

To those who believe and confess Jesus as Christ, we are new creations. The old is gone and new has come.  When we are tempted to live out of our old nature, we are wise to remember the old nature is dead.  We were crucified with Christ when baptized.  We are raised to a new life just as Christ was resurrected.  Jesus Christ now defines us.

 

Measure

As children of the light everything we do say, or think has to be measured against what we know about the Lord’s will.  Reading, studying and discussing it with other believers is a good way to confirm God’s direction and His acceptable will.

 

Analyze

Next assess your activities and decisions to see if they line up to God’s ways.  Stop and think about what you are doing and why.  Did you ever consider there maybe things you’re doing that are not what God intends?  Think about the activities you participate in and decisions you make.  Ask yourself what are the benefits of doing these things?  Ask what are your real motives for doing it?  Ask God for wisdom, discernment and eyes to see wrong motives, and courage to trust God to change any area that is not holy and pleasing to Him.

 

Improve

God’s word is always the standard by which we measure our conduct, attitudes and decisions.  Through self-examination we are attune to what may not please the Lord.  Armed with that knowledge we are to purposefully choose not to engage with, participate in or continue to do what is called “unfruitful works of darkness”.  For example, say you discover you are lying in some area.  Your next step is to stop lying and tell the truth.  Perhaps as you reviewed the benefits of your activities you notice it’s all about you.  Your next step is to consider how you might help someone other than yourself through your activities and decisions. 

 

Control

All this measuring our motives and assessing our activities seems like a lot of work.  If approached through our own self-control or effort then you are right.  But God doesn’t expect us to make all these changes by our self.  No, He has given us His Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth and the power to will and act according to His good purposes.  As we moved into the control phase, it is really about yielding our control and submitting to God’s control.  Allowing His word to change the way we think and help us make the right choices.  Allowing His Spirit to give us the courage to turn from our own darkness and walk in the light.

 

In conclusion, we are no longer slaves to sin, but children of God, bondservants of righteousness.  Everything is now done with purpose and intention, because God has picked us up, cleansed us from our wicked ways and transplanted us into the rich soil of His love where our roots may grow down deep into His marvelous love.  We are now trees of righteousness who bear fruit in all seasons because our roots are firmly planting by the river of life drawing in the water of life. 

 

Lord Jesus thank you for this on-going process by which you continually guide us in all truth and conforms us into your likeness.  Help us to cooperate with the Holy Spirit and be transformed into the children of light you called us to be.  In your name, Jesus’ 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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Always taking in, but not giving out?

It is good to read God’s Word.  It is good to attend church to hear God’s Word.  It is also good to discuss God’s Word in a Bible study or small group.  However, if it doesn’t improve you and help others what good is it?

 

What good is all this learning, if we never implement what we learn?  It is worthless.  But God didn’t give us His Word for it to be of no effect in our lives.  Rather His Word and His Spirit transform the believer and compel him/her to do what is right in His sight.

 

James 2:14 NKJV “What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works?”

 

James 1:22 NKJV “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”

 

Matthew 7:24 NKJV “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock:”

 

John 3:21 NKJV “But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”

 

Why does it matter if we do what’s right?  John 3:21 answers that question: To show others God’s transforming power in us.  We are to be both salt and light to the world that all should come to know God and be saved by believing and confessing Jesus Christ is Lord. 

 

Check yourself.  Are you taking in more than you are giving out?  God wants us to share and live what we learn to become examples to those around us.  When we do, we become mature in Christ. 

 

Start today with something easy.  Did you learn anything from this devotion?  Tell someone about it.  Were you reminded of something God told you to do?  Do it.  Begin today to apply His Word in your life.  You won’t regret it.

 

Lord, thank you for your Word and Spirit and Power to carry it out in our life.  Enable us to not only share what we learned, but live it for that’s the best witness to the world.  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 today.

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Saving the Best for Last

Reading the book of John the other day, I paused on the section describing Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine.  The master of the bridegroom, after tasting it, said “You have kept the good wine until now.”  The more I pondered this statement, the more I thought of how God does the same thing with us. 

 

He is saving the best for last.  Just think a few moments about heaven.  There will be no more pain or sorrow, no more tears or suffering and no more longings.  There will be no more arguing, no more anger or bitterness or vengeance.  There will be no more marriage to an imperfect human because we will collectively be the bride of Christ.

 

Jesus told Nathanael “You will see greater things than these” and so will we.  For the hope we have does not disappoint.  We can’t imagine all that God has planned for those who love Him.  No eye has seen no ear has heard the unimaginable things God has in store for us.  We don’t know what heaven will really be like.  We don’t know what we will be like, except that we shall be like Him. 

 

Disney’s movie Meet the Robinsons has a scene it in I just love.  In the scene, an orphan boy is transported back in history to see his real mother.   But rather than embracing her, he decides not to touch her.  When questioned about it, he replies, “I already have a family.”  It’s touching because throughout the movie he comes face-to-face with the family he will have in the future.  After have a glimpse of the future and knowing what awaits him, he is recharged, encouraged and his resolve is renewed.  He has the courage to persevere any failure, the hope to continue and the strength to wait for the good to come. 

 

We have a glimpse of the future too.  When we choose to remember there is more than meets the eye here on earth, we live with a new sense of direction.  We have confidence in God and His promises.  Therefore, we are able to carry on doing good without growing weary for we know we will reap a harvest at the right time. 

 

Are you discouraged about your circumstances?  Are you longer for a better day?  Are you wishing you were a different person?  Go to God in prayer and in His word.  Read what he has to say about your future.  Remember his plans are to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  Think on the things God desires and you will find strength to carry on like you never knew you had.

 

Lord, thank you for saving the best for last.  Thank you for giving us a hope for the future.  Thank you for your perseverance enabling us to be patient until you return.  Equip us to live in light of the future you have in store for us.  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 today.

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Patience: Not Hasty or Hurried

Another meaning for patience is not to be hasty, impetuous or hurried.  How many times have you been in a big hurry?  Did you ever think being hurried meant you were not being patient? 

 

For me, one of my struggles is the morning routine of getting the kids ready for school.  No matter how early I wake them up, we never seem to leave the house on time.  My default response is to get flustered and hurry my kids along.  As I studied the meaning of patience I discovered my behavior is not what I want to teach my kids. 

 

Every time the feeling of hurriedness appears, it’s an opportunity to pray to our gracious Father in heaven.  Pray something like:

 

Lord, your word tells us patience is a fruit of the spirit.  If I’m not patient right now, I must not be walking by your Spirit.  Lord, I give you this moment and ask you to fill me with your Spirit.  Enable me to stay calm as we get ready this morning.  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 today.

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Patience: Willing to Bear

Love bears all things.  Love is patient.  Patience is the ability or willingness to bear things.  What kind of things do we have bear?  We bear lots of things, like hardships, temptations, wrongs done against, suffering, trials, physical or financial problems, and many other things. 

 

Bearing hardships is difficult.  But it helps to remember God uses all things for good of those who love Him and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).  If you are steadfast is following God, even when there are hard times God will use it for good some way.  We might not know how, but God is faithful and will carry it out for His good purposes in your life. 

 

Bearing temptations is challenging too.  It helps to know the source of our temptations.  The Bible tells us we have three sources of our temptations:  (1) Satan, (2) the world, and (3) our selves.  As God is not the author of temptation, we can rest in His guidance.  God always makes a way out so we are able to bear it.  No one is ever tempted beyond what they can handle (1 Corinthians 10:13). 

 

Bearing the wrongs done against us is hard.  It’s difficult to be patient when things are not going our way.  It’s helpful to remember it’s our way is not important, but God’s way is.  Ask yourself whether this current slight against you is would still be remembered 100 years from now.  It probably wouldn’t be, so don’t waste any time harboring bitter feelings over it.  Jesus taught the disciples to forgive others 70 times 7, as if to say we should always forgive.  Bearing the wrongs through forgiveness is what love does. 

 

Lord Jesus, thank you for bearing with our weaknesses.  Thank you for your Spirit to enable us to bear all things as you do.  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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Patience: Suffer without Complaining

Who would have thought having patience means to suffer without complaining?  Think about this.  We can suffer a number of ways.   We suffer the loss of time while we wait in lines.    We suffer emotional pain as we recount al the wrongs done against us.  We suffer relational pains as we focus on all the ways our needs are not meet.  We suffer from physical pain either from our own doing or not.

 

But patience is not just suffering.  No, it is to experience pain or trials while staying calm and not complaining.  Before I gave my life to Christ, I was overcome by my physical pain. I was not a good role model for patience during my gallbladder ordeal.  The surgery typically takes 45 minutes, but mine took 5 ½ hours!  My defective gallbladder had made a tremendous mess in my intestines.  My recovery was not pleasant.  I allowed my pain to turn me into the worst patient.  As a result, I was treating everyone around me terribly.  I was so self-absorbed I couldn’t accept anyone’s care for me.  I just wanted out of the hospital.  However, none of those reasons are good enough excuse for my poor behavior.    

 

Why is finding a patient person is hard to come by?  It could be because having patience is difficult.  Most people give in to grumpiness or harsh behavior before letting patience have its good work.  Personally, I don’t think one can be patient without the Holy Spirit’s help.  One of the fruits of the Spirit is patience.  Therefore, if we walk in the Spirit, the fruit of the Spirit will be more and more evident in our lives.

 

It’s sad to witness someone in such pain they loose their sense of right and wrong.  Pain has a way of bringing out the worst in people, if we let it.  But as believers in Jesus Christ, we have the power of the Holy Spirit within us.  This power enables us to walk in the spirit.  In doing so, we reap the fruit of self-control (Galatians 5:23). 

 

What pain or trial are you experiencing?  Are you practicing patience during your current situation?  Tap into the Holy Spirit and allow Him to lead you through this circumstance.  When you do you will experience peace beyond your wildest expectations.

 

Lord Jesus, thank you for the gift of your Spirit enabling us to be patient during our circumstances.  Help us to suffer without complaining so you receive the glory you deserve.  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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