Bible Devotions

Even Demons Worship Jesus

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. Mark 5:6 NKJV 

 

Read Mark 5:1-19.  It’s the story of a demon-possessed man Jesus healed.  After reading this story what seems like for the 100th time I noticed something about the way the demon-possessed man responded to Jesus’ presence, hence the reason for today’s verse.

 

Notice, if you will, the demon-possessed man was not in control of himself.  Mark 5:3-5 gives us a pretty clear picture of what this man’s life was like: “his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.” 

When this man saw Jesus coming towards the area, he ran and worshiped Him.  This is amazing to me.  We just saw how the man had no control over his life, but the demons within him controlled him.  So who was it running to met Jesus?  Was it not the demons within him?  Follow me on this.   

Even the demons, in their rebellion of God, recognize the authority of Jesus Christ.  With that recognition comes quick obedience and reverence through worship.  If the demons worship Jesus, how much more should “believers” run to worship Him?   

Thinking about the demon’s response to Jesus, made me think about my response to Jesus.  Do I run quickly to Jesus?  My first response might be to say “Yes, of course I do”, but if I am more honest with myself, I’d be willing to say “I would like to run to Jesus more, but I find myself trying to figure things out on my own first and when my attempts fail, I stagger head down to Jesus.”  Do I worship Him? Oh sure, at church when the music is loud and the whole congregation is singing I worship.  But is that where worship stops?  If I did worship I think part of it would be my willingness to come to Him first. 

Here’s a few thought provoking questions for you.  Are you quick to run to Jesus?  Do you reverence Him through worship?  If not, why?   

Lord Jesus, you have authority over all of us humans, angels and even the demons. You deserve our reverence and worship.  Help us fully recognize your authority and may we be quick to obey you and worship you. In Your name, Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

 

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Why God?

For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does He Himself tempt any one.  James 1:13 NKJV 

Why God, why?  How come we so easily blame God when bad things happen in our life? 

The Bible teaches us God does not tempt us.  God is good and there is no darkness in Him.  As believers, we need to get that firmly seated in our minds and hearts.  He draws us near Him.  He doesn’t cause us to turn from Him. God is good period end of story. 

Temptation is a tool of Satan.  For he [Satan] knows what James 1:14-15 says: “But each one is tempted when he is drawn away by his own desires and enticed.  Then, when desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, brings forth death.”

Romans 3:23 tells us all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.  That means as humans we all have the capacity to sin.  Satan loves it when we sin because it’s in direct opposition to God.  Anything that leads us away from God, leads us towards Satan.

So what can we do about it?  I believe we can be prepared, just as God’s Word teaches us. 

  • We need to recognize our humanity and know we will sin.  1 John 1:9 NKJV “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 
  • We need to recognize where we are most tempted, so we can guard against it. Ephesians 6:10-18 is a great verse to memorize. 
  • We need accountability with other believers, to help us stay on track with the Lord. (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  • We need God’s Word every day to renew our minds and to align our will to His. (Romans 12:2)
  • Next time you are tempted, remember God’s not the author of it.  He may allow it because it’s good to strengthen your commitment to Him, but remember He doesn’t create the temptation.  That’s our enemy’s job.    

Lord thank you for your Word that straightens us out and helps us know our self and you better.  Enable us to recognize who is behind our temptations.  Teach us to guard our self against our own desires.  Enable us to want accountability in our life and to renew our minds with your Word.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

 

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Apple of His Eye

He sent Me after glory, to the nations which plunder you; for he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.  Zechariah 2:8 NJKV 

 

What does this saying “apple of His eye” mean?  You’ve probably heard “daddy’s little girl was the apple of his eye”.  It’s a phrase used to convey how much someone loves another person.  It’s a tender, gentle, and loving phrase for saying how special a person is to the one who’s saying it.

 

The Lord is protective of His people, as we can see from today’s verse.  Look at how He says he who touches you touches the apple of His eye.  Reading Zechariah 2:9 we see the Lord saying “I will shake My hand against them and they shall become spoil for their servants.”  It’s like the Lord saying “Look, if anyone messes with you, they’ll have to deal with Me.”  The wrongs done to His people will be taken care of and the Lord will see to it. 

 

I searched the Bible for other instances of this phrase and found Deuteronomy 32:9-11 NKJV; “For the LORD’s portion is His people; Jacob is the place of His inheritance.  He found him in a desert land and in the wasteland, a howling wilderness; He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.”

 

In Deuteronomy we see even more evidence of how protective He is towards His people.  

Look at the last part of the Deuteronomy verse; “He encircled him, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye.”  After God finds him in the desert, God encircled him.  Isn’t that wonderful?  Imagine you’re lost in the desert.  You’re probably exhausted from trying to find a way out.  You’re probably feeling all alone.  Your champion arrives and encircles you.  God continues.  He met him in the wilderness and instructed him.  Finally, He made him the apple of His eye. 

 

Maybe you’ve never been the apple of someone’s eye here on earth.  We see in Deuteronomy 7:9 God is faithful to those who love Him: “Therefore know that the LORD your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments”.  Oh Believer, if you love God you’ll keep His commandments and become the apple of God’s eye. 

 

He knows we’re not perfect, for God comes after us in the desert wastelands when we sin.  He knows how much we need Him, so He encircles us that nothing can harm us.  He knows we can’t live this life on our own, so He lovingly instructs us on how to live a godly life.  Oh, how tender and loving He is towards us.  He has made us the apple of His eye.

 

Lord thank you we are your people and your inheritance. Thank you for making us “the apple of your eye”.  Your love is so deep, so wide and so high it is unending.  Thank you for your loving care for us.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Honoring God with Sabbath

And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own works, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; Isaiah 58:13-14 NKJV 

 

Have you ever wondered how we can honor God?  I have.  Today’s verse clearly indicates by choosing not to follow our own ways or relying on our own works we can honor Him.

 

Speaking as a former perfectionist, I used to be terribly disappointed when things did not occur the way I thought they should.  This disappointment caused a division between me and the people around me, because I was, unknowingly, judging them based on some impossible and very unrealistic standard, in my mind.   I was measuring them up according to what I thought was my “right” way.   Well, God’s Word is true when He tells us in Matthew 7:1-2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged;”.

 

So what you might be thinking.  What does your old perfectionist ways have to do with today’s verse?  Perfectionism is all about control and doing things according to your own way.  Isaiah tells us that going our own way is NOT honoring to God.

 

It is when we choose to follow His ways and are obedient to His commandments that we honor God.  One commandment was created for our rest, the Sabbath.  Isaiah 58 is talking about how the people had made the Sabbath into something it wasn’t supposed to be.  God intended us to use the Sabbath for rest, giving ourselves to Him, and to focus more on Him as a way of renewal, strengthening and filling us up each week. 

 

Do you have a set day where you honor God by not doing your own thing?  Do you offer Him yourself and allow Him to renew your mind, body, and soul?  If not, maybe it’s time you stop and be refreshed.  Isaiah tells us when we do rest on Sabbath by not doing our own thing we shall delight our self in the Lord.

 

Lord, thank you for knowing exactly what we need.  Thank you for making the Sabbath for rest and renewal that honors you in the process.  Help us to be quick to obey your commandments, for in doing so we demonstrate our love for you.  In Jesus name Amen. 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Time to Choose

But other seed fell on good ground and yielded a crop that sprang up, increased and produced: some thirty-fold, some sixty, and some a hundred.  Mark 4:3 NKJV 

 

Read Mark 4:3-8.  This is the parable of the sower who planted some seeds.  This parable outlines four different results the sower encountered.  To recap here’s a list of the four results in my own words.

1)      Some seed that fell by the wayside and the birds of the air devoured the seed.

2)      Some seed fell among stony ground where the sun scorched it and it soon withered because it had on root.

3)      Some seed among thorns which choked it and yielded no crop.

4)      Lastly, some seed fell on good ground and yielded crop, increased and produced thirty, sixty and hundred fold.

 

Read Mark 4:13-20.  This is the section Jesus explains the parable to His disciples.  What a good God we have, to give us a parable as well as the explanation of it!  Here’s a paraphrase of Jesus’ explanation:

1)      The seed [God’s Word] on the wayside can be stolen by Satan, if we let him.

2)      The seed on stony ground had no root and only endured a short while. We have no root in our self.  We can’t live by our own self-sufficiency for the long haul.

3)      Cares of the world were more important than God.

4)      Good ground represented those who hear God’s Word, accepted it and resulted in bearing lots of fruit.

 

As I mediated on these verses over the course of several days, here’s what the Lord seemed to be saying to me.  See if it makes sense to you. 

1)      We can defend our self against the enemy who wants to take God’s Word away. We don’t have to be Satan’s victims.

2)      We can protect against too much exposure to sunlight [truth] too.  Take in what we can handle, apply it to our lives and move to the next principle.  Too much truth can be overwhelming and discouraging.  One truth at a time develops roots. 

3)      We can guard against the thorns by routinely pulling the weeds.  Don’t let things fester, instead deal with problems head on with God’s grace and wisdom to handle them properly. 

4)      Lastly, when we choose to implement God’s principles in our live, we are choosing to hear and do what His Word says.  The result is lots of fruit.

 

We all have a choice to make.  Will we choose to be hindered like the first three results?  Or will we choose to be “good ground” that readily accepts God’s Word and applies it?  The choice is ours.  By the power and authority given to us in Christ Jesus, with His Spirit in us, we have the power to choose to be “good ground”. 

 

Lord thank you for your truth that sets us captives free.  Thank you for your power to carry out your good purposes in our life.  Thank you for enabling us to choose to be “good ground”.  May we apply your truth in our life, shine for you and reap much fruit in your name, Jesus. Amen.

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

 

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Simplicity in Christ

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  2 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV 

 

Did you ever notice how the simplest instructions are the hardest to follow?  Have you ever wondered why?

In my opinion, I think perhaps we’re full of pride and don’t recognize it.  Think about it.  You purchased some item that requires you to put it together, but instead of reading and following the directions you rush to put it together based on the picture on the outside of the box.  In the end, it’s not quite right.  There are pieces left over that leave you wondering where they go.

Sadly, we treat God’s Word like that sometimes.  We think we know best and decide not to read the instructions He’s given us.  After all, His message is so simple.  Romans 10:9 NKJV “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  We have a picture in our minds of what a Christian is.  Since we don’t validate that picture with the truth of God’s Word, we’re trying to live a life God never intended.  Then we find we are still not satisfied, as though something else is needed for us to be saved.   

That’s where we’re wrong.  Nothing more is needed.  Jesus died for our sins.  When we acknowledge who He is and what He did for us, all we need to do is accept His gift; freedom from sin and eternal life.   Once you’re saved, you’re saved.  But that doesn’t mean we can neglect God’s Word.  We still need to read it to understand our self and God better and to remain out of bondage of sin.  

Lord Jesus thank you for your simple message, although it was not simple for you to carry out.  Help us to accept your gift of salvation and continue to grow in our knowledge and understanding of our self (our weaknesses) and you (your character). Deliver us from the entanglement of sin and set our feet on the pathway of life.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Consistency is Key

It’s so easy to feel repulsed or disgusted when we recognize greed, selfish ambition, lust for power or any other sin in someone else’s life, isn’t it? 

 

After reading Mark 10:35-52 I came across something I hadn’t seen before.   That’s one of the reasons I love the Bible.  You can read the same story over and over again and always see something new.   The first story I’m referring to is actually a conversation between James, John and Jesus in verses 35 – 41.  Let’s take a closer look: 

 

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”

 

I was incensed when I read the first verse above.  How dare they come to Jesus with such self righteous attitude!  “Teacher, we want You do for us whatever we ask.”  What right do they have to demand Jesus do whatever they ask?  So how easy it is to become disgusted with others?

 

Notice how calmly and matter-of-fact Jesus responds to these two? “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked.  Jesus, the One who knows our thoughts and our intentions, knows what James and John are about to ask.  Armed with that kind of knowledge I would be ready to read them the riot act regarding how inappropriate their request was, but not Jesus.  Knowing what’s in their hearts, He still chooses to respond to them with grace, mercy and kindness.

 

Now, let’s take a look at the next story.  This one is about how blind Bartimaeus receives his sight in verses 46 – 52. 

 

Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”
50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.
51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

 

 

What’s the first thing you notice about how Bartimaeus approaches Jesus?  How is it different from the way James and John approached Jesus?  Bartimaeus cries out asking for mercy, while James and John came with “you owe us something” attitude.  Bartimaeus was humble and recognized his need.  James and John were puffed up with pride and focused on selfish gain.

 

How did Jesus respond to Bartimaeus?  The same way He did with James and John.  “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus answered him. 

 

Don’t you think it would have been easier to answer Bartimaeus because of his condition?   If I had the power to heal, I probably would have healed him in an instant out of pity.  Look again at how Jesus responded.  He did not coddle the blind man.  Nor did He look on him with pity.  He responded exactly the same way he did with James and John. 

 

Isn’t it fascinating how consistently loving, merciful and kind Jesus was?  We so readily respond to others based on what we see and ear, but Jesus responds to others based on who He is and not based on what’s going on around Him.  That’s a wonderful lesson for us too. 

 

If we are to be “lights of the world” shining His glory into this dark world, we’ll need to learn how to consistently respond to everyone the way Jesus did.  I know I still need work in this area.  For example, I find myself responding negatively to my teenager’s attitude and lack of respect, rather treating him as Jesus would.  What about you?

 

Can you think of a time you responded inappropriately to someone?  Do you find yourself responding nicely to one person and not the next?  Do you go out of your way to help one person, but shy away from extending a helping hand to someone you don’t really get along with?   

 

Examine you life to identify areas you need to change.  Ask God to help you change.  This prayer He’ll gladly answer, as He’s already working in us to will and act according to His purposes. 

 

Lord, thank you for showing us how to respond to others with consistent kindness and mercy.  Where we may not be consistent, help us be conformed into your image.  In Jesus name Amen.   

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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God’s House of Prayer

“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7 NKJV 

God’s house is a house of prayer.  While in the house of prayer we will be filled with a joy that comes from knowing and experiencing God in a real and personal way.   

I remember a time while driving home from work, my mind was troubled by my desire to have a close, intimate, and fulfilling connection with my husband and my frustration over not being able to obtain it.  I was crying out to God in prayer.  I was telling Him how much I wanted that.  God heard my cry and came to me in that moment.  God began pouring His Spirit in me as if I were an empty glass that needed to be refilled.  Then, an amazing joy came bubbling out of me.  

As I sat a red light, I began grinning and laughing because it became so clear.  The very thing I longed for, God had already given me.  The close, intimate and fulfilling connection I desired was within my grasp, but I was looking for it in wrong place.  The connection I yearned for was really for God, not my husband.  With this new perspective, I could finally see my longings were fulfilled in Jesus Christ!  Hallelujah!  What a difference the right perspective makes!  The pressure I placed on my marriage has now been removed.  My husband and I are free to love one another and connect as we were designed to.  Our relationship is intimate and fulfilling, and now it’s in proper balance.  God is so amazing to me!   

Prayer is the key.  Without prayer we don’t come to know God and experience His presence.  Without prayer our perspective remains incomplete.  With prayer, God is able to realign our perspective with His and we are able to see the truth!  With prayer comes a joy unspeakable!   

Have you experienced a joy unspeakable in prayer?  Have you come to God’s house of prayer lately? 

Lord thank you for making it possible for us to come to you in prayer.  Thank you for hearing our cry, coming to our aid, and filling us with joy unspeakable.  Thank you for aligning our perspective with yours and allowing us to see the truth.  In Jesus name Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Shine as Lights in the World

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16.  

Jesus said we are the light of the world.  Paul also teaches us to shine as lights in the world.  What does this mean to shine? 

 

After pondering this for some time yesterday, and considering what God has said in His Word, there are several things that stand to me.  Believers, we have Christ dwelling in us and it should be obvious to the rest of the world.  It’s not us doing the shining, but it’s Christ in us shining out of us.  We reflect Christ to the world. 

 

How does the light shine?  What happens that causes the light to shine forth?

  • We are called to do all things without complaining and disputing, so we become blameless and harmless and shine among the crooked and perverse generation we live in.  (Philippians 2:15)
  • We are called to deny self, pick up our cross and follow Jesus daily.  His example leads us to put aside our own will and follow God’s will instead. (Luke 9:23)
  • We are called to walk by the spirit so we don’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
  • We are called to put off our old sinful nature and put on Christ’s righteousness instead.  (Ephesians 4:22)
  • We are told to overcome evil with good.  (Romans 12:21)
  • If our enemy is hungry, feed him.  If he’s thirsty, give him something to drink.  (Proverbs 25:21)
  • We’re commanded to love our enemy, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us. (Matthew 5:44)
  • We’re commanded to forgive one another because God’s forgiven us. (Luke 6:37) 

There are many more examples I could site, but knowing what the Word of God says is one thing and putting these things into practice by obeying the Word of God is what makes the difference.   

Think about it the next time you’re tempted to grumble or complain about having to do something you don’t really want to do.  What would Jesus do?  Would He complain or would He simply serve?  We are to reflect Jesus.  As a result, our responses to life’s demands should cause others to notice there’s something positively different about us.   

Living in obedience to God’s Word will have a radical impact on the world around us because it is so different.  Review the above list again.  By nature, we do not think or behave like that.  But, by the Spirit, we do.   

Are you allowing the Spirit to lead you in obedience to God’s Word?  When you do, you are shining as a light to the world. 

Lord thank you for your word and spirit that helps us live the life you desire for us.  Enable us to shine as lights to the world.  May we be obedient to your word and be a witness for you.  In Jesus name Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Good Isn’t Enough

“Why do you call me good?” Jesus asked. “Only God is truly good.” Mark 10:18 NLT 

Being good just isn’t enough, because our definition of good is flawed by our sinful nature.  Each and every one of us is not perfect.  We all fail in one way or another at one time or other.  This is not to discourage you, but to encourage you by explaining we’re all in the same boat. 

 

Have you ever felt all alone in your failing?  Reach out, talk to others.  You’ll soon find they have failed too.  I know I have.  Failure (or sin) is common to all people.  No one is exempt from sin. 

 

Jesus stated only God is good and that’s the point of this devotions.  We will never be good enough based on our merits.  We can’t earn our way to “goodness” or salvation.  I love what Paul said in Philippians 3:9 NLT “I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.” 

Wouldn’t it be easier for us to earn our way?  Set the bar, know how what must be done and follow it.  Well, that’s been done already.  God gave us His commandments and we couldn’t keep them.  So perhaps it’s not so easy after all.   

God’s merciful nature took care of sin problem for us.  We can be good, but not of our self.  We can be good ONLY through faith in Christ.   

Lord Jesus thank you for taking our sin upon yourself and dying for us.  You gave your life that we might live.  Thank you Lord for giving us your righteousness.  We can be good by wrapping our self in you. In Jesus’ name Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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