Bible Devotions

What’s Your Next Thing?

Doug Fields wrote this wonderful little book called Refuel.

Doug Field's book called RefuelIt talks about the practical relationship with God we can and should have.  In one section, he described how we can get stuck feeling overwhelmed by all it takes to follow God.

Think about it.  We’re supposed to pray, read the Bible, go to small group, tithe, go to church, be nice, and do all sorts of good things. Phew! All of these are very good things unless they have become a duty.  Sometimes that’s what our good works become, a chore, a must do, or an obligation.

Doug shares a great tip for overcoming that mindset, even if you don’t think you suffer from that mindset.  He says do not worry about all of it.  Instead concentrate on just the “next thing.”  In each moment of life we have a choice to follow our will or God’s will.  If we would stop and silently ask God for His help, direction or strength in the moment, God will surely answer.

Let me illustrate from my own experience while reading this book with my small group.  As background you need to know I have a physical problem with the muscles in my right arm that makes most movement painful.  In fact, even writing this physically hurts.  Okay now to get to my “next thing” moment.

One day standing in my kitchen I noticed how dirty the cabinets had become.  The doors have a molding detail that is great at collecting dust and dirt.  Did I mention the cabinets were white?  As I stood looking at the dirty kitchen cabinets I prayed, “Lord, you know the problem with my arm.  You know my husband desires cleanliness.  Would you please help me clean these cabinets?” Well, I got to work.  You know what? God gave me the strength in my arm to clean those cabinets.  Not only that but there was no pain later on either!

This is one example of how we can turn to God in the moment and give Him our “next thing.” No matter what you are facing, stop and give it to Him.  He will lead you through, give you wisdom, or provide the strength it takes for that moment.

If you haven’t read Doug’s book yet, you might want to get your own copy today.  I highly recommend it for individual or small group study.

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Time to Take a Stand

Read Ephesians 6:10-20

“Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil.”

Stand with our waist girded with truth, so we are anchored by His truth.  Only the truth creates balance, and stability when anchored by it.

Stand with the breastplate of righteousness on our chest.    Only Jesus Christ’s righteousness is true righteousness.  Our righteousness is filthy rags in God’s sight.  So we accept Jesus’ righteous work on our behalf.  Jesus clothes us in His righteousness that we may stand.

Stand with the preparation of the gospel of peace for our shoes, ready to take the good news where ever we go.  Jesus’ message must go everywhere to all people for God said he wanted none to perish but all to come and be saved.  The gospel of Peace must be our shoes.

Stand with the shield of faith, which extinguishes the fiery arrows aimed at us.  The shield of faith is His gift to us.  In this gift we are blessed to believe without seeing.  With our faith shield we can put down every attempt of the enemy to shake us from our secure position.  Our faith has the power to put out the flaming arrows aimed at us, so the arrows of lies, deceit, and evil don’t penetrate our heart and mind.

Stand with the helmet of salvation securely on our heads.  The hope that doesn’t disappoint is our helmet.  No matter what happens we are secure in Him.

Stand with the mighty sword of the Spirit which is the word of God.  The sword of the Spirit is His power and His might.  Nothing can prevent God’s word from accomplishing what it is intended for.  Hell can’t stop it.  The devil can’t derail it.  Our own mistakes can’t change God’s plans.  God’s Word will prevail.

Stand in prayer for all the saints everywhere.  Prayer is a mighty weapon activating all the armor we discussed above.  Prayer ushers us into His presence, to seek His will, to obtain His power to align our self with God’s desires.  Prayer releases God’s good work in and through us.  Prayer keeps us in lock step with what’s important to God, so we don’t stumble and return to darkness.  Prayer shines light in situations so darkness flees.

Stand in watchfulness and boldness.  With God’s armor on, we are ever watchful and more bold to proclaim His good news.

To all reading this now is the time to take your stand.  Put on the whole armor of God.  Let God continue His work in you.  Be alert and pray.  The Day approaches when our enemy will be judged.  Until then stand firm, fully armored and ready for whatever the enemy may throw at us, knowing God always gets the victory.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your might, your Spirit, and your word.  Strengthen us this day with your mighty armor so we may stand.  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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Point Them to God

Read Judges 8:18-23

Gideon captured the two kings.  He asks them what kind of men were they who you killed at Tabor.  The kings answer, “As you are, so were they, each one resembled the son of a king.”

Gideon says they were my brothers, the sons of my mother.  As the Lord lives if you had let them live I would not kill you. They had killed, so Gideon killed them.  Gideon brought justice to these wicked kings.

The men of Israel said to Gideon, “Rule over us, both you and your son and your grandson also; for you have delivered us from the hand of Midian.” Sadly, the men of Israel placed false hope in Gideon.  The believed the victory was of Gideon.

Gideon says, “I will not rule over you nor shall my son rule over you; the Lord shall rule over you.”  Gideon had it right.  It was his place to rule the people, but God’s.  He pointed the men of Israel back to God.

How often do you point others back to God, when offered praise?

Lord lead us away every false way.  Give us a desire for YOU to rule over us.  May we each be like Gideon and point others back to God.  In Jesus’ name 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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For God did not give us a spirit of FEAR, but a spirit of POWER, of LOVE, and of a SOUND MIND. 2 Tim 1:7 NKJV

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Our Words Matters

Read Judges 8:13-18

Gideon returns from battle. He has captured the two kings of Midian.  He catches a young man from Succoth and interrogates him to learn the names of the elders.  Pay back time.

Just as Gideon said he returned to teach the men of Succoth and Penuel a lesson.  He took the 77 men of Succoth and whipped them with briers.  He tore down the pillar at Penuel and killed the men of the city.

How is your follow through? Do you do what you say you will? Or do you make empty threats?

God is a person of His word.  What He says He does.  We are His ambassadors.  Therefore, we ought to mean what we say as well.  Gideon did.

Lord, thank you we can trust you to accomplish what you say.  Thank you for not changing your mind on a whim.  Help us to be like you – people of their word.  In Jesus’ name 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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Love Meets Needs

Read Judges 8:4-12

Gideon and his men were still in pursuit of the Midian kings and exhausted.  Gideon asks the men of Succoth for bread, but they said no because the Midian kings were not yet captured.  Gideon says he won’t forget their treatment of him.  In fact, Gideon says he’ll be back to tear their flesh with briers!

Moving on, Gideon asks the men of Penuel but they answer the same way as the men of Succoth did. Gideon replies, “When I am back in peace I will tear down this tower.”

Now the two kings Zebah and Zalmunna and their 15,000 men felt secure in their tents on the east of Nobah and Jogbehah. Gideon captured the kings and killed the whole army.

Notice how both Succoth and Penuel people would not help their fellow man?  Have you ever missed an opportunity to help another person?

Succoth responded in fear.  They wouldn’t help unless their kings we’re captured.  Penuel said the same thing.  Gideon gives us another clue why they responded that way by the mention of tearing down the tower.  It is possible the men of Penuel were too busy with their worship of false gods.

What prevents you from helping others?

Not enough time, money, energy or desire?

Too busy focusing on your own issues?

Don’t feel qualified?

Think there’s always someone else who can help?

Don’t think one person can make a difference?

Afraid of what others will think?

Think giving to others robs from you?

We are called to love one another.  Jesus took it further saying love your enemies.  Love meets needs.  If you see a need, that’s your opportunity to meet it.

Lord thank you for being willing to help us. Give us a desire to help others because you have helped us. In Jesus’ name 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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Offended by Their Pride

Read Judges 8:1-3

The men of Ephraim complained about Gideon not calling them to battle.  Gideon reminds them “God has delivered into your hands the princes of Midian.”  The men of Ephraim calm down.

Why does Ephraim overlook the victory? It is because their eye was on themselves.  They wanted to take part in the glory afterward.  Just look at their words.  “Why have you done this us…” The men of Ephraim are offended because they were not asked to fight as well.

When do you find yourself offended? Stop, thank, and pray.  What could the feeling of offense be telling you? If the men of Ephriam had done that, they would have recognized their pride.  It’s hard to celebrate others victories when all the focus is on yourself.

Lord Jesus, thank you for the reminders about pride.  It’s such a subtle thing.  Help us to recognize it, deny it, and turn back to you.  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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