Bible Devotions

Acknowledge Him

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. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

Trust God to influence your decisions. Trust Him during the waiting period. Trust God to handle the outcome. Trust Him for everything and in everything.

What does acknowledging God look like? How do you acknowledge when someone walks into the same room as you? You greet them. You might say “hello” or “I saved you a seat”. We acknowledge God the same way.

Through prayer we talk to God acknowledging His presence, His power and demonstrating our faith in Him. Through prayer we invite God into our situations, asking Him for His wisdom and discernment. Even the “micro-wave” type “God Help” prayers we acknowledge Him.

Are you on autopilot in your life? Doing without thinking, mindlessly going through the motions of life? Snap out of it. Start trusting and acknowledging God and watch how dull routines begin to take on new meaning.

Take every opportunity to talk with God in your mind. The more you do, the more you long for Him. Your decisions become easier as His wisdom guides you. Your activities become a source of worship as you bring God into them.

With God on our side, who can be against us? In other words, there is no one all powerful, all capable, and all knowing as God. With that kind of help, no weapon formed against us can prosper. Are you tapping into the strength of God? If not, why?

Lord thank you for being only a prayer away. In fact, you are even closer as your word tells us you are in us who believe in Jesus Christ. Help us to remember you in all things. Teach us to acknowledge you and bring you into all our dealings. Enable us to pray about everything. Thank you for the wisdom you give to those who ask. 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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Go and Sin No More

And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” John 8:11 NKJV

Read John 8:1-11.

Under Mosaic Law committing adultery deserved the death penalty. It was a cruel death by stoning. The Pharisees brought a woman caught in the very act of adultery before Jesus. The Pharisees spoke truth, the woman was an adulterer. Notice how they did it from a judgmental condemning way?

Jesus spoke truth without judgment or condemnation and followed it up with mercy. He says “He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” Jesus points out the Pharisees were just as sinful and deserving of death as the woman was! Then Jesus turns to the woman says go and sin no more.

Put yourself in the woman’s place. Imagine what it would have been like to dragged out into the public square, to be made a spectacle of humiliation and shame. Feel the guilt and shame of having your sin exposed before all to see. Knowing the laws of the time, fear creeps as you consider this may be your last moment on earth. Standing there waiting for certain judgment as the rocks start flying towards you. Now, imagine how it feels when Jesus spoke these merciful words: “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”

Mercy and truth go together. Truth is needed before mercy can be accepted. One must know the startling truth before they are open to mercy. We have to understand the gravity of our situation before mercy can be the soothing ointment healing us from our transgressions.

Jesus holds this same mercy out to you and me. Maybe your sin is not that of adultery. One thing is certain, we all sin and fall short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). We all need mercy and forgiveness.

So where are you today? Have you heard the truth about your situation? Are you open to mercy?

Dear Lord Jesus, your words are soothing balm healing us from our sins. Help us to hear the truth and turn to you for mercy. May we receive your gracious mercy and be cleansed from all unrighteousness. 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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Mercy and Truth

Let not mercy and truth forsake you; bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart, and so find favor and high esteem in the sight of God and man. Proverbs 3:3-4 NKJV

Mercy and truth go together to display love. Truth by itself can be hard, cold and shocking. But mercy grants forgiveness. Let’s take a look at an example from God’s Word.

Truth: for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” Romans 3:23 and “For the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23.

Everyone has sinned. No one is perfect. The truth is sin separates us from God and makes us deserve death. This truth by itself is hard. We may be good by our human standards and therefore have a hard time understanding why we deserve death. Had we stopped here it would quite discouraging. But instead, mercy is ushered in.

Mercy: “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 6:23

Mercy saves the day. More importantly mercy saves the sinner. God grants mercy to us sinners. Though we deserve death for our disobedience, He doesn’t treat us as we deserve. Instead He forgives us and grants us eternal life by faith in Jesus Christ.

God is love. The way God treats us is the example we are to follow with others. The writer of today’s Proverb instructed his son in this regard. He told him to keep mercy and truth close and not forget them. We are encouraged to do the same. As we learn to treat others merciful, we find mercy our self (Matthew 5:7). “Therefore be merciful, just as your Father also is merciful” Luke 6:36.

How might you show mercy to your follow man today?

Lord thank you for your mercy and truth. Enable us to grasp the truth, so we will understand the depth of your mercy towards us. Then help us grant mercy to others, as you have done with us. 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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Condition of the Heart

My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; For length of days and long life and peace they will add to you. Proverbs 3:1-2 NKJV

Do you sense the Father’s passionate plea to his son? He urges him not to forget what he’s been taught. He reminds him of the benefits of living by God’s truth.

One key phrase we’ll explore is “let your heart keep my commandments”. It’s essential for understanding God’s desire for relationship over sacrifice of obedience. Have you ever watched someone do something they really didn’t want to do? You could tell they were just going through the motions, huh? On the other hand, have you witnessed someone whose whole being was engaged in what they did? They were motivating to watch.

What’s the difference between the two examples? The difference is the condition of the heart. The first example the heart was not involved. In the second example, the heart was fully engaged, activated and compelling the person onward.

Our spiritual lives are like those examples. We can choose to merely exist, going through the motions of obedience to appear connected to God, yet all the while empty and unfulfilled inside. Or we can choose to engage God with our heart performing God’s will with love and gratitude.

So let’s look at how we learn to engage the heart:

  • Agree with God. He’s God and we are not. He’s perfect and sinless. We are sinful. (Romans 3:23)
  • Trust what God has done for us. Jesus died to take away our sin. He rose again to give us life. (Romans 6:23)
  • In every situation, remember God is good. He knows what’s best for us because He loves us. (Jeremiah 29:11)
  • Commit our self to God by learning about Him. Make time for Him. Give Him access in our life to make Himself known to us. (Proverbs 2:6)
  • Pray regularly. Pray all the time. Let your mind be drawn to Him. (Romans 12:2)

How’s the condition of your heart? Is it engaged? If not, ask God to show you what you can do to get your heart more involved.

Father God, you are holy and praise worthy. Thank you for making it possible to know you and have a loving relationship with you through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Reveal anything that is not pleasing in our hearts this day. Help us to give our hearts more fully to you. Draw near to us as we draw near to you. 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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Unconfessed sin keeps you from path of life

So you may walk in the way of goodness, and keep to the paths of righteousness. Proverbs 2:20 NKJV

The “so” indicates something came before we need to investigate. Let’s go back to read Proverbs 2:10-11 and Proverbs 2:16-22.

From verses 10 and 11 we see wisdom, knowledge, discretion and understanding are required to avoid the evil path and walk the path of righteousness. From verses 10 through 22 we see the trap we can fall into without wisdom to guard us. Let’s take a deeper look:

  • Becoming involved with an immoral person (inappropriate relationship)
  • Seduced by flattery (putting aside good judgment for a few nice things spoken to you)
  • Forsaking the companion of your youth (damaging a God-honoring relationship)
  • Forgetting the covenant you made with God (breaking your marriage vows, loss of creditability)

Now let’s review the consequences of walking this path:

  • It leads down to death.
  • None return from this path.
  • No one regains the path of life.
  • The wicked are cut off from the earth.
  • The unfaithful are uprooted.

These are steep penalties for those who choose to walk away from God for momentary pleasure of an adulterous relationship.

We see today’s verse is crying out for you to choose the way of goodness and keep to the path of righteousness. For we are called to continue doing what is good without growing weary, so at the appropriate time we will reap a harvest of righteousness (Galatians 6:9).

To those who have mistakenly taken the wrong path, it’s not too late to turn back. Confess your sins to God, for He is faithful and just not only to forgive your sins but to purify and cleanse you from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). Proverbs 2:23 says “Turn at my rebuke: surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you.” Take it from me, God is faithful to His words. I know because I’ve walked that path and God intervened. It is by His grace and mercy I walk on the path of righteousness now. I live to warn others.

O gracious Father, thank you for calling us to you. We confess our sins to you and ask for forgiveness, and cleansing from all unrighteousness. Lead us back to the path of life. 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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Wisdom enters

When wisdom enters your heart, Proverbs 2:10 NKJV

I love how the writer uses both positive and negative statements to enforce the truth. Let’s take a closer look. Read Proverbs 2:10-15.

On the positive side we see the benefits of wisdom being knowledge, discretion and understanding. Knowledge becomes pleasant to our soul. Have you ever shunned a learning opportunity? Maybe because we didn’t have wisdom in our hearts that made knowledge seem pleasant to us. Next we see discretion will preserve you. I love this one because I know the value of discretion after having lived through many years without it. Lastly we see understanding will keep you. Knowledge of truth, discretion, and understanding consequences will deliver us from many bad choices in life.

Now let’s look at the negative statements wisdom guards us against. Wisdom will deliver us from the way of evil. If we have wisdom we won’t go near anything evil. Again discretion steps in to prevent us from following that way. Knowledge and understanding kick in to remind us there is a way that seems right to man but ends in death. Wisdom delivers us from the man who speaks perverse things. It enables us not to tolerate or hang around those who use vulgar, obscene, irreverent, disrespectful, and evil speech. Wisdom also guards us from those who leave the path of righteousness. This speaks of preventing us from stumbling when a believer backslides or walks away from the Lord to walk in the way of darkness. Wisdom will keep us from rejoicing in doing evil or delighting in perversity as we learn to hate what God hates. Have you ever hear someone bragging about their late nights of partying, hang-overs and pre-marital sexual experiences? They delight is doing evil. So to cap it off all these negative ways are crooked and devious. But wisdom will guard you if you allow wisdom into your heart.

We’ve looked at the positive benefits of wisdom and the negative elements that occur when wisdom is missing. We should have a good, clear picture of the importance of wisdom in the life a believer. How about you? Have you asked wisdom into your heart?

Father God, hallow be your name, your will be done. Jesus you are the Son of God who died for my sins that I might have life in you. Enable me to ask you into my heart today that I might be filled with wisdom to walk the path of righteousness until the day you take me home. In Jesus’ name I ask this. 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 Wisdom

Then you will understand righteousness and justice, equity and every good path. Proverbs 2:9 NKJV

Whenever I see “then” I always look for the preceding “if”. They usually go together if and then. It’s just like the principle of sowing and reaping. If you plant corn seeds, you reap corn at harvest time. The “if” is like the sowing part and the “then” is the reaping part. What you put in, you usually get out. Make sense?

So let’s go back and read Proverbs 2:1-5 and see the “if” for the “then” in today’s verse.

To paraphrase…

IF you

receive my words

treasure my commands within you

incline your ear to wisdom

apply your heart to understanding

cry out for discernment

lift up your voice for understanding

seek wisdom

search for hidden treasures

THEN, you will understand the fear of the Lord, and find knowledge of God.

Did you notice all those items were things we do? If we manage to do those things we not only understand the fear of the Lord, but also God goes on to demonstrate what He does on our behalf. Look at Proverbs 2:6-9.

The Lord gives wisdom

He speaks knowledge and understanding

He stores up sound wisdom for the upright

He is a shield to those who walk uprightly

He guards the paths of justice

He preserves the way of His saints.

God’s word is filled with example after example of sowing/reaping and the if/then statements. God rewards those who put forth effort to know Him. God will not bless you just because you ask. No, there must be a commitment on our part. If we commit to His commands, He will give the wisdom, knowledge, understanding and protection we desire. He will preserve our way.

Lord God Almighty you are fair and just. You have explained how things work regarding sowing and reaping. Give us a desire for you that we may commit to your commands. We long for your wisdom, knowledge, understanding, protection and preservation. Help us put forth the effort in seeking you that we may understand your reward. 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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Consequences

But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” Proverbs 1:33 NKJV

This verse begins with a “but” so we need to go back to see what came before to fully understand this passage. Read Proverbs 1:20-33. What is depicted?

Wisdom cries out yet no one listens. Scorners delight in scorning and fools hate knowledge. The Lord offers to pour out His Spirit and make His word known. The people refuse to turn at His rebuke, disdaining His counsel. When calamity and terror come like a storm, their destruction is like a whirlwind. Because of the repeated rejection of the Lord, the people will not find help when they need it. The Lord has given them over to their own desires. Their complacency will destroy them.

That’s a dark and grim picture, but it describes our day very well. There will come a time when the Lord refuses to answer prayers of those who continually reject Him. No one knows how many rejections are too many.

The good news is we don’t have to live in the described darkness. We can choose to turn at His rebuke, listen to Him and dwell in safety without fear of evil. As Joshua said to the people in Joshua 24:15 choose this day who you will serve, I ask you are you going to serve your own desires or serve the true living merciful God Almighty?

Lord you are merciful to those who listen. Open our hearts, eyes and hears to receive your wise counsel. Let us not turn away from your rebuke but rather accept it and be made into your glorious image. 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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The Way to Understand God’s Word

Turn at my rebuke; Surely I will pour out my spirit on you; I will make my words known to you. Proverbs 1:23 NKJV

I am not a big proponent of touting a specific formula or certain number of steps to freedom. However, in this verse I see a clear path towards enlightenment. Let’s look at it together.

Step 1: Turn at my rebuke.

In other words, agree with God about our sin. Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned” and Psalm 14:3 says “They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, No, not one.” It’s hard to acknowledge we are not good, but the truth is we are sinful. That sin prevents us from knowing and loving God. Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death”. However, the rest of Romans 6:23 says “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord”. While we may be sinful, there is a way out – belief in Jesus Christ. When we trust Jesus to take away our sins we are made new creations. The old is gone and the new has gone (2 Corinthians 5:17). But the benefit of coming to Christ is not just about cleansing us from sin.

Step 2: Surely I will pour out my spirit on you.

Why do we need God’s Spirit? God’s Word is spiritual but the natural man is not. First Corinthians 12:14 says “But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” Therefore, man can not understand the things of God without some help. Thankfully God does not leave us to figure it out all alone. No, He gives His Spirit to anyone who turns at His rebuke. First Corinthians 2:12 says “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”

Step 3: I will make my words known to you.

One of the Holy Spirit’s roles is to help us grasp what we’ve received in Christ through understanding God’s truth. John 16:13 says “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” As God’s Word is the source of truth, it is reassuring to have His Spirit enabling us to recognize and understand it all.

So what do we conclude? God’s Word is truth. This truth can not be known by the natural man. If we choose to agree with God about sin, He will send His Spirit to reveal His truth to us. With the Holy Spirit’s help we will understand the glorious gift given to us through Jesus Christ and His Word.

Lord, thank you for your Spirit who convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and judgment to come. Thank you for cleansing us from all unrighteousness and giving us your Spirit to guide us into all truth. Open our eyes to your truth. 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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Greedy for Gain

So are the ways of everyone who is greedy for gain; It takes away the life of its owners. Proverbs 1:19 NKJV

 

In studying Proverbs 1:11-18 we see the following characteristics of a person engulfed by greed:

  • They lie in wait to shed blood.
  •  They lurk secretly for innocent without cause.
  • They desire to take down the innocent.
  • They desire material possessions.
  • Their feet run to evil.
  • The make haste to shed blood.
  • All their toils are worthless, though.
  • It will all come back on them.

Greed is consuming from the looks of it.  Greed given the opportunity will take on a life of its own.  Greed controls the person who allows it in their life.  Sadly, in the end, it all comes to ruin. All the evil intended for someone else comes back to the one plotting the evil.  Greed is sneaky.  It creeps in little by little. 

How can we avoid this trap?  By following the advice given to us in God’s Word:

  • My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent (Proverbs 1:10).
  • My son, do not walk in the way with them, keep your foot from their path (Proverbs 1:15).
  • Remember from Proverbs 1:19 “It takes away the life of its owners” is a steep consequence for allowing greed in our life.

Sin has a way of sweeping us into deeper, darker, more evil despair.  Say “No” to sin with the power and authority Jesus Christ gave you.  Submit to God, resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).

Lord forgive us for any greed we’ve consented to.  Enable us to say NO to every kind of sin by your power and strength not ours.  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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