Bible Devotions

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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Rest for Our Souls

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”  Isaiah 30:15 NKJV

How are we saved?  Returning to the Lord and resting in what Jesus has done for us is the only way we are saved.  First we need to recognize we are sinners and need a savior.  Second we need to turn to the Lord for forgiveness.  Third we need to trust Him to save us.

Isn’t it beautiful how the Lord says in rest you shall be saved?  That means there’s no striving, no earning, no pleading, no bargaining, just rest.  We are to leave the saving up to Him.  He has done it all.  We are to come to Him and rest in His finished work on the cross.

Look at the second part of the verse: in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.  The only way to hear the Lord is to be quiet and listen.  Do you have time where you just sit and listen for the Lord?  If not, why?

The more we listen to the Lord, doing what He says, the more our confidence grows because we know He always means what He says.  We become doers of the Word and our trust in Him grows.  In turn our confidence is built up in Him.   Then nothing can shake our faith because we are not dependent on our self but rather on Him.

Take time today to ponder this verse.  Read it many times.  Ask the Lord to show you what He’s trying to say and what this verse should mean to you.

Lord, thank you for your work on our behalf.  Thank you for saving us and giving us confidence in your finished work.  Enable us to return to you daily, being quiet to hear you when we pray.  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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Be Mindful of God

Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful and have forgotten the God who fathered you. Deuteronomy 32:18 NKJV

God lists us up.  He raises us to places of influence.  You think you got that promotion on your own?  Think again.  God exalts those who are mindful of Him.

God gave us certain skills and abilities.  He expects us to use them. He leads us to the place of employment.  He gives us wisdom for decision making.  He rewards us financially for the work we do. If not for Him, we wouldn’t be where we are.

Everything we have is a gift from God.  It is God who provides for us.  You might not see the connection, just as the children of Israel seemed to forget.

  • Do you have a job? Be thankful.
  • How about a place to live? Praise God.
  • What about a form of transportation? Thank Him.
  • Do you have clothes to wear and food to eat? Rejoice in God.

Remember God knows what we need.  He knew us before He made us.  He planned the family we would be born to and live with.  He counts the very the hairs on our head.  All the days of our life are known in advance by Him.  He knows us better than we know ourselves.

Today’s verse is a warning to us. Of the Rock who begot you, you are unmindful and have forgotten the God who fathered you. Don’t be like the children of Israel. Don’t take for granted all that God does for us.

Be mindful of God instead.  Be on guard.  Set reminders everything.  As you get ready in the morning, thank God for the clothing you’re putting on.  As you put on each piece, think about God’s armor from Galatians 6:10-20. As you eat breakfast, lunch and dinner, praise God for providing nourishing food to keep our bodies healthy.  While driving to work or school or the store, thank Him for the car you’re driving.  As you enter your workplace, thank Him for employment and ask Him to help you be a godly influence there.  You get the idea.

Be mindful.  God gave us a brain.  Let’s start using it to bring glory to God by remembering all He does for us.

Lord God Almighty, if we stopped to consider all that you do for us we would never cease praising you. Open our eyes to the various ways you provide for us.  Let our hearts be joyful as we discover the depth of your provision for us.  In Your name we pray, Jesus. Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of and websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. 

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A Song for Children of Israel

Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. Deuteronomy 31:19 NKJV

God gave Moses a song to teach the children of Israel so they would be reminded of their depravity and God’s greatness.   Read Deuteronomy 32:1-12 .

It starts by saying heaven and earth shall listen and hear.  It describes this teaching is the nourishment we need to grow.  Next it outlines some of the things that make God great:

  • He is the Rock
  • His work is perfect
  • His ways are justice
  • A God of truth
  • He is righteous and upright

The focus shifts away from God and turns to the people.  What does it say about the people?

  • They corrupted themselves.
  • They are blemished
  • They are perverse and crooked.
  • They are foolish and unwise.

The songs turns back to God, admonishing the people to consider history.  Ask your father and ask your elders what God did in the past.  The rest of the verses up to verse 12 outline all God did for the children of Israel.

  • He found him in a desert land.
  • He encircled him.
  • He instructed him.
  • He kept him as the apple of His eye.
  • The Lord alone led him.

To see the greatness of God, we need to see our own perverseness.  Let’s review a few definitions:

  • Corrupt: to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions. Morally degenerate and perverted; Depraved, putrid, tainted, to become rotten or spoiled.
  • Crooked: not straight, dishonest.
  • Perverse: turned away from what is right or good; corrupt.  Obstinate in opposing what is right, reasonable or acceptable; wrongheaded.

Do these definitions help us see our stubbornness toward God?  The preceding verses highlighted God and His abilities.  God’s ways are perfect. He is truth.  He is righteous and upright.  God is all that and more.  Yet, we are obstinate in opposing what is right.  We stubbornly choose to continue in our self-sufficiency, in the strength of our determination or willpower.  A day is coming when we discover we cannot carry on in our power any longer.  We grow weary and burdened from our self-inflicted march leading to hopelessness and despair.

But God is patient.  He waits for us to come to our senses.  He has given us everything we need to live a godly life filled with abundance by His grace.  God uses everything to work out His perfect plan.  Oddly enough our poor decisions play a key role, for some need to live apart from God in order to know more fully the mercy and grace He offers when they are read to receive it.

If you had a deadly but treatable disease, would you not take advantage of medical treatments to cure the disease?

The Bible tells us we all are infected with a deadly disease called sin.  The wages of sin is death.  But the good news is there’s a free cure – Jesus Christ.  For the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ.  For those our sins may be as scarlet, He washes them white as snow.  He removes our sin as far as the East is from the West.  He remembers our sin no more.  Jesus died to pay for our sin, so we wouldn’t have to.  That’s how much He loves us!

How do I receive this cure?

Believe Jesus died for your sins that God raised Him from the dead and confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and you will be saved.

Pray something like….

Dear God, I know now I am a sinner. Jesus died in my place to pay for my sins.  As you raised Him from the dead, raise me to a new life in you.  Jesus is Lord. In His name I pray. Amen.

Believe you have received and you shall have eternal life.  If you prayed that prayer from your heart, welcome to the family of God.  You have just passed from death to life. Congratulations!

Don’t stop there. Continue to read God’s word to learn more about your Savior and His plan for you.

Lord God Almighty, you love us with an everlasting and unchangeable love.  Thank you for your willingness to make a way for us to know you.  Thank you for dying in our place so we could be made alive in you.  Thank you for your teaching to guide in how we should live.  Continue your good work in us until it complete on the day Christ returns.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of and websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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What’s there to fear?

Be strong and of good courage, do not fear nor be afraid of them; for the LORD your God, He is the One who goes with you. He will not leave you nor forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6 NKJV

Have you ever been in a situation you had no idea how it would turn out?  It can be confusing, frustrating and cause us to live in fear.

God’s Word reminds us to be strong, of good courage and not fear what’s before us.  God has a plan and purpose for us.  What He purposes always comes to pass.

God is trustworthy.  He cannot lie, but always tells the truth.  There is no deception in Him.  He is not a schemer or manipulator.  He is a Miracle-Maker.  What is impossible to man is very possible for God.

Every situation we find ourselves in is an opportunity to glorify God by not fearing and trusting in Him instead.  The Lord our God, He is the One who goes with us.

The God who spoke the world into existence, the One with unlimited creativity who designed every plant, animal and person to be completely unique, the One who heals people with a simple word or touch or glance, this is the Mighty God who goes with us.  God who works all things for good to those who love Him and are called according to His purpose is the same God who will never leave us or forsake us.

What is there to fear when the One True God is with us?

Father God Almighty, there are many things that cause us fear down here.  Strength our faith and belief in You.  Help us to trust you completely, for you are completely trustworthy.  Let us not lean on our own understanding but in all our ways acknowledge you so you will direct our path.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of and websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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