Bible Devotions

God is God

“Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other.” Isaiah 45:22 NKJV 

Only God is God.  There is no other like Him.  Any that claim to be god, are only fooling themselves.  If you ever waver sometimes on whether God has the right to rule over us, try reading Isaiah chapters 40, 45, and 46.   

God has the right to determine how His people will be saved.  God’s Word is clear, there is only one way — God’s Way.  Even in the Old Testament, God told His people only His way would work.  Isaiah 46:11 NKJV says “Indeed I have spoken it; I will also bring it to pass. I have purposed it; I will also do it.”  God tells us, through His Word, He will bring it to pass for He purposed it.  God can not lie, therefore, if He said He would do something, we can rely on Him to do it just as He said He would.   

Salvation doesn’t come from us trying to earn it.  The only part we play in salvation is the part of being saved.  God’s doing the saving, we are the saved.  Look at what Isaiah 46:13 NKJV says, “I bring My righteousness near, it shall not be far off; My salvation shall not linger. And I will place salvation in Zion, for Israel My glory.”   It is God’s doing.  He brings His righteousness near.  When His righteousness is near, salvation is sure to follow.   

Do you recognize God’s right to rule? If not, read His Word and ask Him to reveal Himself to you.  He won’t resent your asking.  Look at what James 1:5 NKJV says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.” 

Lord God above you have every right to rule your creation.  Where we struggle to submit to your sovereignty, help us turn to you.  You alone save us by your righteousness.  Help us look to you and be saved. In Jesus’ name Amen.  

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Freedom or Captivity by Rebellion

Now the Lord is the Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. 2 Corinthians 3:17 NKJV 

Freedom is obtained when we believe in Jesus Christ as the Son of God and allow His Spirit to reign as supreme authority over all parts of our life.  Doesn’t that sound easy?  Then why is it so difficult?  

Rebellion on our part is why it’s so difficult.  Any time we put our own way ahead of God’s way is rebellion.  Thinking we know what’s best puts us on a disaster course headed for the opposite of freedom — bondage.  The funny thing is we don’t even recognize our own rebellion.   

That’s why studying God’s Word is so important.  Look at what 2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV says about God’s Word,  “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  The Bible shows us who we really are, who He is and how He has every right to rule in authority over us.  After all He made us.   

Do you have any locked doors in your heart?  Those locked doors represent rebellion in our life.  The more we study God’s Word, the more He reveals places we thought were open to Him but are not.  Don’t live in rebellion any longer.  It’s time to shed God’s light on those dark places, so we can be set free.    

God’s given us His Spirit with the power to enable us to be all that God’s called us to be.  “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.” 1 Corinthians 2:12 NKJV 

 

Lord God who made us, open our eyes to the places we have not yet invited you in.  Enable us to unlock the doors to every part of our heart.  You have complete, supreme authority to rule.  Your Spirit in us gives freedom, let it flow freely through all parts of our life that we may become all you intended for us to be.  In Jesus name Amen.

 

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Believe and You Will Receive

And behold, one of the rulers of the synagogue came, Jairus by name. And when he saw Him, he fell at His feet and begged Him earnestly, saying, “My little daughter lies at the point of death. Come and lay Your hands on her, that she may be healed, and she will live.” So Jesus went with him, and a great multitude followed Him and thronged Him. Mark 5:22-24 NKJV 

Can God’s work in our life be limited or restrained?   I think it can, but don’t misunderstand.  I’m not saying the all powerful and all knowing God can’t do a certain thing if He wanted to.  What I am saying is our choices make a difference in how God works in our life.   

Take for example one ruler of the synagogue, Jairus, in today’s verse.  He came to Jesus asking to have Jesus come and lay hands on His daughter so she would be healed.  What’s wrong with that request you might ask?  Nothing, however, think of this:  Jesus was God who could heal by speaking a word.  He didn’t really need to go to their house, touch the girl so she would be healed.  He could have just spoken the word and she would have been healed. 

Jairus asked Jesus to come to his house and in those days it took time to get anywhere.  If his daughter was severely ill to the point of death, you might think Jairus wouldn’t have wanted to waste time traveling to his house, but rather would request Jesus say the word so she may be healed, like the centurion did in Luke 7:7 NKJV: But say the word, and my servant will be healed.” 

However, that’s one of the wonderful things about Jesus.  He meets us where we are.  If our faith only goes so far, that’s where He’ll meet us.  Over time, as we grow in His love our faith grows too.  I wonder how many times we’ve called out to God to help us, but our requests are so small compared to what God is really able to do.   

What have your prayer requests been like?  Are you asking for small things or big things?  We have a great big God who is able to do what we can not even imagine.  Think big.  As Mark 11:24 NKJV says, “Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them”, believe and you will receive.   

Don’t think your small request is really limiting God, because He can work around your small faith.  Read the last part of Jairus’ story in Mark 5:35-43.  In a nutshell, God’s glory shines forth even more dramatically because the girl, who dies, is raised to life again!  Which would have been the greater miracle?  Healed by speaking a word while not being near the girl or being raised from the dead?  Everything has a purpose to demonstrate God’s glory.  In this case, Jairus’ small faith allowed God’s glory to shine forth to a greater degree. 

Lord God Almighty you are able to do things we can not even imagine.  Help our faith increase by asking you of what you are capable of.  Help us believe we will receive what we have asked for so your glory may shine forth in our lives.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

 

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How would you finish “If Only…?”

For she said, “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.” Mark 5:28 NKJV 

How many times have you said “If only…”?  If only ______(fill in the blank) I would be satisfied.  If only I were married, I’d be happy.  If only I got that job, I’d be significant. If only I had a baby, I’d have someone to love me.   

In most cases, when we use the “if only” statements in our thoughts we are playing unhealthy games.  The “if only” sentences above are just a few that show how misplaced focus can lead us down the wrong path.   But this devotion isn’t about the wrong path.  It’s about choosing the right path.  

Our example comes from Mark 5:25-34 today.  There was a woman with a “fountain of blood” flowing from her body for twelve years.  This poor woman had suffered many things from the hands of those who claimed to be doctors.  Although none of their treatments had helped her, she grew worse.  I don’t know about you, but I can hardly stand a week of flowing blood.  I don’t know how this poor woman dealt with twelve years of it! 

One day she heard about Jesus.  The Bible doesn’t tell us what she heard, but we can safely assume it might have been about how Jesus healed people.  Whatever she heard, it was enough to compel her to check it out for herself.  She came up behind Jesus in the crowd and touched His garment.  Her thought was “If only I may touch His clothes, I shall be made well.”  

Immediately the fountain of her blood was dried up and she felt in her body that she was healed of the affliction.  Isn’t that wonderful? Finally after twelve years of trying everything else, she is healed!   Everything other method was counterfeit.  Only one method could heal her condition.  What she faced is what we face.  All of us have the issue of sin in our life, which can only be healed by coming to Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23).   

Recorded in verse 34 is my favorite part: “And He said to her, “Daughter, your faith has made you well. Go in peace and be healed of your affliction.””  Her act of chasing after Jesus, to catch up to Him in the crowd, and to simply touch the hem of His robe was deliberate and active faith.  Jesus’ healing power was released because of her faith.   

Her “If only” was to touch His clothes to be made well.  Hers was a healthy “if only” because she focused on the One who could heal her.  She had enough faith to try again, after so many failures.  Her faith did not give up.  Her faith compelled her onward to Jesus our great Physician.  Her faith, according to Jesus, made her well.  

 

What kind of “If only” statements are you thinking about?  May your “if only” be the kind which leads you to Christ.  

 Lord thank you for your patience with us as we try so many things before we finally come to you.  Thank you for your healing touch.  May our faith be like this woman that we may be healed.  In Jesus’ name Amen. 

 

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Has Anything Come Between You and Your Family?

However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” Mark 5:19 NKJV 

Ever feel like shouting how great the Lord is for His mercy towards you?   

I’m sure this man from Mark 5 felt the way the psalmist did when he penned “Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” Psalm 106:1 NKJV.  

This man was trapped by demon possession and finally set free by Jesus Himself.   As Jesus was leaving the area, the man begged to be with Him, but Jesus did not permit him.  Instead of allowing the man to come with Jesus away from his place of torment, Jesus commanded him to go home.   

Think about this for a moment, if you will.  This man’s family hadn’t seen him in awhile.  The Bible doesn’t tell us how long the man was held captive by the demons, but we can assume he wasn’t able to stay in close fellowship with his family during his captivity.   Maybe his friends had written him off as a lost cause.  Maybe his family gave up hope that he would be restored.  We don’t know for sure.   

To me this verse tells of Jesus’ love for family and friends.  He wants them to be restored as a family again.   He wants the man to share what the Lord has done for him with his own family and friends.  At home, the man would witness to his family and friends.   

How about you?  Has anything come between you and your family-friends?  Isn’t is time you head home and share the wonderful things the Lord has done for you?  

Lord, your mercies endure forever.  All praise and honor belong to you!  Thank you for setting us captives free!  Thank you for sending us home to share what great things you have done for us.  Your compassion never ends!  In Jesus’ name Amen.   

 

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Where does Forgiveness From?

But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 1:7 NKJV 

Have you heard about “claiming the blood of Christ” in your prayers?  Some churches teach it as a way of obtaining power over what you struggle with.  I wanted to know where this saying came from, so I became searching the Bible for it. 

 

When I searched for “claim the blood”, there were no results.  I searched for “claim”, but only found 8 references and all of them were not focused on the blood of Christ.  I searched again, this time for “blood of Jesus Christ”, “blood of Christ”, or “blood of Jesus”.  All together, there were 20 references found in the New Testament. 

 

What is so significant about blood, and specifically about Jesus’ blood?  To understand blood’s importance you must travel back to the Old Testament.  Leviticus 17:11 NKJV says this about blood, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’”  In Old Testament times, God gave the people a method of covering their sins, called atonement.  This practice of offering a blood sacrifice was repeated every year, because the blood of animals could never remove man’s sin.  It was atonement for sin.

 

From Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary, here’s what it says about “Blood”:To blood is ascribed in Scripture the mysterious sacredness which belongs to life, and God reserved it to himself when allowing man the dominion over and the use of the lower animals for food. Thus reserved, it acquires a double power: (1) that of sacrificial atonement; and (2) that of becoming a curse when wantonly shed, unless duly expiated. (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 7:26; 17:11-13)            From Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary, there was a lengthy explanation about Atonement Day.  If you’re interested in reading more about that, use this link: BibleGateway.com Dictionaries: ATONEMENT, THE DAY OF.

Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.  Therefore, Jesus’ blood is most precious because only HIS blood  forgives sins once and for all.  The shedding of His blood occurred once, never to be repeated.  Look at what Ephesians 1:7 NKJV says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”.

 

What do we conclude from this study?  While the Bible never uses the words “claiming the blood of Christ”, in a sense that’s what we do when we put our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. 

 

Are you, not necessarily with words, claiming the blood of Christ in your life?  Today’s verse explains how.  If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

 

Father God above, you know our weakness and provide a way for us to be cleansed from all unrighteousness through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Thank you for shedding your Son’s blood that we may be forgiven and have fellowship with you.  Enable us to claim victory over sin through faith in Jesus Christ.  In His precious name, Amen.  

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Truth Sets Us Free

Then Jesus said to those Jews who believed Him, “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John 8:31-32 NKJV 

Have you ever rushed to a conclusion only to find out later you were completely wrong in what you assumed?  This has happened to me a few times.  Funny how we “jump to conclusions” without having all the facts.    

When we choose to believe a half-truth or a flat-out lie, we unknowingly are entering into bondage to that belief. The crazy thing is when we believe a lie we think it is a truth.  Only when Jesus starts revealing His truth we realize we believed a lie in first.  Look at what Jesus said: “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free”.  That’s wonderful!   

There have been times I believed a certain thing about my husband.  Maybe I thought he was angry about something.   But then he shares with me what’s going on in his mind and I find it has nothing to do with anger.  It was only after he shared with me that I discovered the truth.  So it is with God’s Word.   

How about you?  Are you reading God’s Word, the living truth?  If not, why?   

Lord, thank you for revealing yourself to us as we seek to know your truth.  Open our eyes and heart to understand where we have been in bondage to lies.  Enable us to reject the lies and replace them with your glorious truth.  In Jesus’ name Amen. 

 

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Do you want God to forgive you?

 And whenever you stand praying, if you have anything against anyone, forgive him, that your Father in heaven may also forgive you your trespasses. But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father in heaven forgive your trespasses.”  Mark 11:24-26 NKJV 

Have you ever been made aware of your own failing to forgive someone when you thought you had?   

Reading this passage in Mark was convicting to me because I thought I had forgiven someone when in fact I hadn’t.   Read it again.  Pay close attention to verse 26.   If you don’t forgive, neither will God forgive your trespasses.   

While our sins were forgiven when we gave our life to Jesus Christ, there is an on-going component to forgiveness we can not neglect—forgiving others. We are saved and forgiven by Christ, when we come to Him for salvation.  However, we are called from that point on to forgive others just like we’ve been forgiven.  If we don’t, then we are not forgiven of any new trespasses we may commit.   

Let’s look at what God’s Word says about forgiving others.  

Luke 6:37 NKJV “Judge not, and you shall not be judged. Condemn not, and you shall not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven.” 

Luke 11:3-5 “Give us day by day our daily bread. 4 And forgive us our sins, for we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And do not lead us into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.” 

What if choose not to forgive someone?  Based on the verses above, it looks like we won’t be forgiven.  But there’s further consequence of not forgiving someone.  Look at the next verse below. 

John 20:22-24 NKJV “And when He had said this, He breathed on them, and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 

If we don’t forgive, we retain the sins.  Do you really want to hang on to sin?  I certainly don’t.  What happens when we hang on to sin?  Well, for starters our minds may dwell on a past sin and cause bitterness to grow.  We may become vulnerable to sin our self.  It can also cause us to build walls between our relationships.  The list of negative affects regarding hanging to sin could go on for ever.  So, we’ll stop there for now.   

Do you dwell on the memory of a past hurt?  Are you hanging on to that hurt?  Do you bring up the past hurt when you’re arguing with the person?  These are tell-tale signs you may not have forgiven them.   

Search your heart and ask God to help you forgive.  I want you to understand you have the power to forgive. Read John 20:22-24 NKJV again.  Jesus breathed on them and said “Receive the Holy Spirit”.   Believer, we have His Holy Spirit in us giving us the power to do His will.  We can forgive as He has forgiven us!  

Lord Jesus thank you for your Holy Spirit and the power to forgive others as you have forgiven us.  Open our eyes to any other we have failed to forgive.  Give us the courage to do the right thing and forgive them.  Help us to let go past hurts so we do not retain sins any longer.  In your precious name, Amen.  

 

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Foolish or Wise?

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:3 NKJV 

Wasn’t it wonderful when you were first saved?  You found relief through Jesus Christ, who forgave your sins, made you whole, and gave you a new life in His Spirit. As God declared after He spoke the world in to existence, “It is good”. 

However, there are times when we can feel trapped in our humanity.  Yes, we’ve been saved.  Yes, we’ve been given God’s Spirit as a guarantee.  But something subtle has crept in and causes us to lean on our own understanding rather than depending on the Spirit to guide us.  Unforgiveness, pride, selfishness, perfectionism, resentment, bitterness, anger, and other things cause us to be foolish rather than wise.   

Just the other day I found myself in an emotionally charged conflict with my husband. What did I do, you ask?  I’d like to say I was filled with the Spirit and responded out of love.  Sadly, I didn’t.  Something in this conflict triggered an old wound that sent me into my old reaction patterns.  In that moment I chose foolish rather than wisdom.  

At times like these, we need to stand fast in our faith, remembering and applying what we have learned from God’s Word.  If we only read God’s Word but don’t do it, we are like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand rather than the rock foundation.  When the storms of life came, his house came down with a mighty crash.  (Matthew 7:25-27) 

Next time you find yourself in a messy situation, choose wisdom follow the Spirit.  Acknowledge God in all you do and lean not on your own understanding and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6).  

Lord God forgiver of our souls, thank you for caring for us.  Thank you for sending your Spirit to guide us into all truth and teach us to live in wisdom. In Jesus name Amen.  

 

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Seek Jesus Diligently

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me. Proverbs 8:17 NKJV 

 

In the Beth Moore Breaking Free Bible Study Session 5 video, Beth mentioned a phrase that hit home for me.  She something to the affect we receive salvation when we ask for it, but we have to continue to seek satisfaction. The lesson explained salvation and satisfaction are not the same thing.  Once you are saved doesn’t mean you become satisfied.  Can anyone relate to that? 

 

As an ex-perfectionist, I surely can relate.  Nothing was ever enough for me.  But that’s changed now that I know Christ personally.  It wasn’t because I was saved by His grace when He forgave me though.  It’s been an on-going journey of learning satisfaction comes from seeking Him daily. 

 

Our satisfaction comes from knowing Christ.  Not just knowing about Him, but knowing Him deeply and intimately.  That kind of knowing doesn’t just happen either.  It takes work to develop.  Notice today’s verse says “those who seek me diligently”?  It requires effort on our part to diligently seek Him.

 

How do you seek Him?  There are several ways I seek Him.  Maybe some will work for you.  Here’s a partial list to get you thinking.

 

  1. Turn to God – 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

  2. Pray – Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 NKJV

  3. Confess – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NKJV

  4. Be Filled with the Spirit – And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 NKJV

 

The results of all these diligence in seeking Him–You find Him!   Knowing Him intimately and allowing Him to come into your deepest inner parts is a most extraordinary, wonderful, and pleasant experience.  It’s difficult to put into words so you’ll just have to trust me on this.  Better yet, why not find out for yourself? 

 

Lord thank you for making yourself known to those you diligently seek you.  Thank you for your guidance and love. Thank you for your Holy Spirit drawing us into an intimate relationship with you.  Thank you for filling us up with your presence. In Jesus name Amen.

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