Bible Devotions

Do You Know Hebrew?

Words in Hebrew carry much meaning. Just because we think we know a word should not stop us from investigating it.  In fact, researching a familiar word might prove to be enlightening, as words have more than one meaning.

Let’s a take a look at an example from Psalm 19:7:

The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul:

The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple;

Now using a Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and Bible Dictionary we research the following words: law, perfect, converting, soul, testimony, sure, wise, and simple.

  • Law – H8451 “tora” means a precept or statute, especially the Decalogue or Pentateuch, the law.
  • Perfect – H8599 “tamim” means entire, integrity, truth, without blemish, complete, full, sincerely, sound, without spot, undefiled, upright, whole.
  • Converting – H7725 “sub” means to turn back, generally retreat, again bring back, cause to answer, come again, deliver, go home, recover, refresh, relieve, render, rescue, restore, retrieve, return, reward, cause to turn, and turn self again.
  • Soul – H5315 “nepes” means a breathing creature, vitality, appetite, beast, body, breath, creature, dead, deadly, desire, discontented, fish, ghost, greedy, heart, life, lust, man, mind, mortally, one, own, person, pleasure self and will.
  • Testimony – H5715 “edut” means feminine testimony, witness
  • Sure – H539 “dman” means properly to build up or support, to foster as a parent or nurse, to render firm or faithful, to trust or believer, to be permanent or quiet, morally true or certain, assurance, establish, be steadfast, verified, put trust, nursing father.
  • Wise – H2499 “hakam” means to be wise (in mind, word, act), exceeding, teach wisdom, be wise, make self wise, shew self, deal wisely, never so wisely, make wiser.
  • Simple – H6612 “peti” means silly, foolish, simple, simplicity, simple one

Now that you have read the additional meaning of these eight words, I want you to re-read Psalm 19:7. When you come to one of these words, substitute a word from the meaning’s list.  For example,

The ___ of the Lord is _____, _______ the _____.    You might read it like this: The precept of the Lord is complete, refreshing the heart. You also might read the verses a few times, each time substituting a new words from the definitions.

The study of words back to their Hebrew or Greek roots is a fascinating study approach. As the Bible was originally written in these languages and then translated to English for our benefit. It behooves us to investigate the root word’s original meaning. There are times the English word cannot do justice to the full meaning the author intended. Only a careful, thorough study or root words guided by the Holy Spirit reveals the proper interpretation.

I encourage you to try this research technique. Allow God’s Word to speak to you through the original meaning. Listen to the Holy Spirit as you read Scripture and the additional meaning. Then let the meaning sink deep within your soul and be refreshed, enlightened, and wise.

When you have come to the place of certainty about God’s Word do not stop there. Help others get there too! Share the treasure you discovered. Tell your friends how they can find the wealth of God’s wisdom. In this manner, you might find yourself partnering with the Holy Spirit to become a soul winner, saving the lost before your very own eyes!

What could be more rewarding than that?

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

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Do You Trust Me?

What if someone dear to your heart asked you to place your most prized possession in a clean trash can? Would you do it? Your response reveals how much you trust this person.

Read Genesis 22:1-13

God ask Abraham to do something similar with his beloved son, Isaac.  Because Abraham willing did what God asked, he was considered righteous.  You see God never intended to have Abraham kill his son. It was a test to see if Abraham trusted God.

Why must trust be tested?

If you were quick to obey, it means you value and trust that person more than the object you placed in the trash can. This is a sign of an authentic relationship. But if you did not place the object in the trash can, it means you don’t trust the person who asked you to do this.

God is asking each of us “do you trust me?” Our response determines how much we trust Him.

At the end of Abraham’s test, Isaac remained.  He was not taken from Abraham at all.  Notice Abraham’s test was to offer Isaac as a burnt offering.  This was all God told Abraham. Now think about this for a minute.  God gave Abraham only one step of His plan.  God did not reveal the whole picture upfront.  If the whole thing was revealed up front there would be no reason for trust. Abraham would have known how it worked out and he would have just gone through the motions without any internal struggle.

God wants us to trust Him.  He will ask us to do something we don’t want to do.  When He does it is like Him asking, “do you trust me?” We won’t know how it works out, but we are asked to believe it will.  God loves us and wants what’s best for us.

Without the internal struggle to decide to trust, we would not be drawn closer to God afterward.  You see, when we obey, we are testing God to see if He is real.  When we obey, the end result proves God’s intentions towards us are pure, right, and true.  But if we never obey, we miss the opportunity to find out how pure, honorable, right, and true God is.

So what has God asked you to do lately? What is your response? Are you willing to trust Him?

Take courage! Though the watery trials may get you wet, He is with you and won’t allow those trials to overflow you.

Lord, thank you for the trials and tests. Thank you for your love and patience.  Help us to trust in you more with each trial.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

 

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

 

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Love is a Result

Love is the finished product.  We cannot wake up one day and decide to love everyone.  It may work temporarily.  As soon as the object of that love does something hurtful, we stop loving.  That’s our nature.

Jesus said, “You can do nothing apart from Me.” He means it.  All our efforts to love, our self-will and determination will fail.

Only God’s love lasts forever, unchanged.  Even when the object of His love turns their back on Him, God still loves them.  For the Bible tells us nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.  Hell can’t, heaven can’t, our fears can’t, and even our mistakes can’t.  God is love, therefore, His love remains forever.

If we crave more love in our life the answer is found in Jesus Christ.  First John 4:15 says, “whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God.” As long as we abide in God, we can love others.  First John 4:4 says, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Jesus said in John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”  First John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

As a result of abiding in God, and He in us, we will love one another because it is His Spirit in us doing the loving.  John 3:6 tells us we must be born again to receive this Spirit. When He comes to live in us He is responsible for guiding us in all truth, convicting us of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come, which helps us stay on track with God’s commandments.

Then the fruit appears.  Galatians 5:22 tells us the first fruit of the Spirit is love.  Everything the Spirit of God does is loving.  Once we accept Jesus Christ into our life, God gives us His Spirit which empowers and equips us to desire and do what is pleasing to Him.  That means we have the ability to love others as our self and love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Just because we have received God’s Spirit doesn’t mean we automatically love all the time.  For God designed us each with free-will.  We can choose to walk by the Spirit of by our old worldly ways.  The Bible calls this walking by the flesh.

God gives us every opportunity to love.  He has equipped us to love, but the choice is still ours.  Next time we are tempted to ________________________, (you fill in the blank), S.T.O.P. Before you react, respond or rehearse how you might react, think of this acrostic.

S eek God’s perspective

T urn to God’s Word

O pen your heart to truth

P ray for God’s leading

Hiding God’s word in your heart and mind is a great way to guard against temptation.  You may be tempted to become easily angered, be rude, be selfish or any number of other ungodly things.  Whatever your temptation God always provides a way out.  Seek Him before, during and after the trying time and you will have peace that surpasses all understanding.

Thank you, God, for helping us to love as you have loved us. Thank you for your Holy Spirit to guide us along the pathway of life and righteousness. Thank you for making us right in your sight by the gift of Jesus Christ. In His name we pray. 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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Do You Believe In The Son of Man?

This seems like a simply question, doesn’t it? My guess many “Christians” might answer that question with a resounding YES!

However, before we rashly answer the question we might consider what the phrase “The Son of Man” means.

Matthew 16:13-17 NIV says:

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

 

There are 83 references to “The Son of Man” in NIV translation.  Not all are references to Christ, but the ones with “Son” capitalized are.  Here are some for your consideration:

  • Matthew 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  • Matthew 24:27 “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
  • Matthew 25:31 “”When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.”
  • Luke 21:36 “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
  • Luke 22:69 “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
  • John 1:51 “He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
  • John 5:27 “And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.”
  • Acts 7:57 “”Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.””

We can see clearly from these verses, the Son of Man is title displaying authority and Diety.  As we ponder on these verses, we might be inclined to add other fitting titles such as: Son of God, Messiah, King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, and Almighty God.

Now think for a moment of all God has done.  He spoke the world into existence. He created all we see from nothing that was seen.  He created all the plants, the animals, the earth, the sky, the stars, the planets, and the sustaining power of the balance of our solar system.  He created people with a free will.  He gave us creativity, communication, and intellect. He holds the waves of the sea in His hand.  He is without time because a day is as a year to Him.  He healed people through touch, sight, and simply speaking it.  He raised people from the dead.  He spoke dry scattered bones back into place and breathed life into them. He caused the sun to stand still.  The earth quakes at His presence.  All of creation cries out in praise to Him.  Nothing is impossible for Him.

God, in the form of Jesus, reigns over everything.  You and I are included in everything, whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not.

If we do choose to believe Jesus is the Son of God, then we are agreeing to be under His authority.  We willingly yield to His agenda for our life and sacrifice our own.  In order to place our self under His authority we must be willing to accept our position when compared to God.

Let’s think about what position that might be.

He is God.  We are His creation.  He is Author of life. We are alive because He made us.  We can nothing apart from Him.  He holds our very breath in His hand.  God is holy, without sin, without deceit, and without hypocrisy.  In Him is every good gift.  We are not holy, we are stained. We are not pure, we are tainted with sin. We are not honorable, we are manipulative, selfish and hypocritical.  He is merciful. We are critical and judgmental. The list could go on. Just remember what Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  This sin we speak of has to be dealt with.  Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death.”

We must see this about our self to fully appreciate how great God is.  He loved us enough to do something we could not do for our self. He made a way to cleanse us from every wrong. He took our sin upon Himself, and died in our place to pay for our sin.  The last part of Romans 6:23 says “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The sin is dealt with.  It is finished.  We who believe in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, are forgiven our sin-dept.  We are dressed in His robe of righteousness, as if we had never sinned to begin with.

If we have fully grasped the meaning of God’s authority and our position under His authority, our life should show some signs that we are different beings.  Jesus said you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.  Through faith we believe and are saved by His grace.  Our obedience to God’s Word is one outward expression of the inward transformation.  But don’t think you can short cut the process by avoiding looking at our sinful self and try to do more good things than bad, for that is evil in God’s sight.  The good works done are done from a heart so radically changed by the grace of God it is done in reverence and love for HIM and nothing from our self.

Now, having looked at the authority of God compared to our sinful state, are you able to answer the question?  Do you believe in the Son of Man?

Lord, Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for coming to earth, dying for my sins, and raising to life again to free me from sin and death. Thank you for loving me that much! Help me to live in a way that’s pleasing to you. In your name I pray. Amen.

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Consider Your Ways

Thus says the Lord, “Consider your ways!” Haggai 1:7 NKJV

Proverbs 14:12 tells us there is a path that seems right to us but it really leads to death.  When we only look at things from our human standpoint we are doing the very thing proverbs warns us about.

Our ways are not the Lord’s way, no matter how good they appear in our eyes (Isaiah 55:8-9).  The Lord’s ways are much higher, more pure, more truthful, and always right. Our ways are but filthy rags when standing before Almighty God.

So what is so wrong about our way anyway? Using Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 5 – 7, here’s a list of some of the ways we go wrong.

  • Angry without cause
  • Unresolved conflict with others
  • Lust after others
  • Divorce
  • Lying
  • Exaggerating
  • Not loving our enemy
  • Doing to be seen
  • Not forgiving
  • Desiring money over God
  • Worrying
  • Judging others without considering own sin first
  • Not asking God
  • Not doing what Jesus taught

 

Jesus said whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, he is a wise man.  No matter what comes against him, he will not fall because of his foundation on the Rock.

So looking at the list above, are there any that stand out or resonate with you? Ask God to help you overcome these and align yourself with His ways instead.

Consider our way means to validate our ways against God’s Word.  Let’s examine six things Scripture tells us about living God’s way.

  • Romans 3:23 says all have sinned. No one is immune, no matter how “good” they appear.  Everyone is a sinner. We must recognize this about our self.
  • Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus.  Though sin must be dealt with, God sent Jesus to take on our sin, so we don’t have to die.  God took care of the sin problem for us, without ever asking if we wanted the help!
  • Matthew 7:21-23 tells us that doing religious things won’t save us.  Only a relationship with Jesus can! Just knowing about Him won’t cut it. We must have a relationship with Him to be saved.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 says lean not on our own understanding but acknowledge Him in all our ways.  Give proper reverence to God who saved us.
  • Galatians 5:16 tells us to walk by the Spirit and we won’t fulfill the lust of our flesh.  God’s Spirit was given the moment we believed. He helps us live right.
  • Matthew 22:37-40 says to pursue love because it fulfills all the law.  God is love.  Pursue God through Jesus all the law and the commandments are complete in Him.

We live, breathe, and have our being in Christ.  If we stray away from Christ we sin.  We must cling to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith.

 

Lord God and Father of Jesus Christ, we thank you for loving us enough to take on the sin problem and dying in our place.  Thank you for your Spirit to guide us in your truth.  May we continue to recognize we are only dust without Jesus.  In your precious name we pray, Jesus. Amen.

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

 

 

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Held by the Lord

The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.  Though he fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.” Psalm 37:23-24 NKJV

Anyone who thinks Christians no longer sin when they believe in Jesus is flat out wrong. Today’s verse is one of many that reveal the truth – Christian still sin.

We are not made perfect the moment we come to Christ.  But we are being perfected. God is working in us to conform us to the image of His Son. This slow process continues our whole life until the day we enter heaven. We now have two natures in us: one from our physical birth – sinful nature and the other from our spiritual birth – new man.

Remember we are both physical and spiritual. When we live towards the physical we reap the consequences of living in the flesh. But when we live by the spirit we reap the benefits of God’s blessings. These two, flesh and spirit are constantly warring with each other. The flesh causes sin and death. The spirit causes righteousness and life.

We each make choices every day. Some days the choices lead to life. Other days the choices lead downward towards death. But when they do, there is still hope.  Today’s verse brings hope for those who thought they may have lost their salvation when they fell into sin again. Though they fall, he shall not be utterly cast down, for the Lord upholds him with His hand.

God loves us. When we sin, he will do something about it.  Just like a good parent would rebuke, chasten, and correct a child so they might learn from it, God does this with us.  Proverbs 3:11-12 says “My son, do not despise the chastening of the Lord, nor detest His correction; for whom the Lord loves He corrects, just as a father the son in whom he delights.

Rejoice knowing God loves you. God still upholds you with His hand.

Thank you, Father, for your rich blessings. Thank you for guiding us, keeping us, and continuing to love us even through our flows. 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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10 Ways to Apply God’s Word in Your Life

All of these suggestions assume a thorough examination of scripture has occurred already. In fact, some suggestions may not be possible unless you have followed an inductive process of study prior to implementing the suggestion.  Many of these ideas came from Rick Warren’s Bible Study Methods book.

  1. Meditate on a particular verse. Think about it over and over again. Read it aloud three times.
  2. Put yourself into the bible situation. Picture yourself as an active participant. Try to imagine what it would be like living in the biblical scene you read about.
  3. Write what you learned. Make a story of the lesson.  Write what your thoughts, attitudes, or actions looked like before and after applying the truth you discovered from scripture.
  4. Paraphrase the scripture you are studying. Repeat it using your own words.
  5. Personalize the verse by putting your name in place of the pronouns or nouns used in the verse under study.  For example read 1 Corinthians 13:4 with your name in place of “love.”
  6. Use Pastor Rick Warren’s S.P.A.C.E.P.E.T.S. acrostic to help you meditate deeply on the verse.  S = Sins to confess?  P = promises to claim? A = attitude to change? C = command to obey? E = example to follow? P = prayer to pray? E = error to avoid? T = truth to believe? S = something to praise God for?
  7. Pray the scripture back to God. Once you learn a verse, use it in prayer. Take 1 John 1:9 as an example. Father, thank you when we confess our sin you are faithful and just to forgive us. Thank you for cleansing us from all unrighteousness.
  8. Make a plan. Figure out what you will do differently after learning the truth.  Write out concrete actions you will take to implement the new way. Make sure your steps or actions follow S.M.A.R.T. S= specific, M = measurable, A = achievable, R =relevant, T = time dimensioned. Using James 3:10 here is an example.  For the next 30 days, when I am tempted to curse or slander someone, I will instead repeat James 3:10 and refrain from speaking anything.
  9. Get a partner.  Make a pack with a trusted Christian friend to help you be accountable to what you learn.  Every time you study the bible, write down one thing you learned and share it with this person.  Ask them to point out any time you fail to live up to that teaching or give you accolades when you do live it out.
  10. Teach someone what you learned. Talk with others in your small group, at work, at home, or at school. Simple share what you discovered in the bible.  Explain how it impacted you and how you plan to live differently because of it.

There are many methods of applying God’s Word.  You don’t have to use them all. Just pick one or two and try them.   Find out what works best for you.  The key is to fully grasp the truth before you implement it in your life.  Understand it deeply.  Look at it from every angle.  Read other scriptures relating to that topic.  A Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance and BibleGateway.com are valuable resources to help you discover where specific topics occur elsewhere in the bible.

Father God thank you for providing your Holy Spirit who guides us, gives us the desire to obey you ways, teaches all things Jesus Christ taught his disciples when He was on this earth. Thank you for your love. Grow us with you Word. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

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

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Start the New Year drawing closer to God

Seven Reasons to Try Our Study Puzzle

  1. You want to know more about God and don’t know where to start.
  2. You read the Bible but feel overwhelmed and don’t understand it.
  3. You want to know what the Bible really says.
  4. You want to teach others how to read the Bible.
  5. You need a teaching aid for your small group.
  6. You want to share God’s Word with confidence.
  7. You want to learn about inductive study method.

Order your Study Puzzle today at http://thinkonitbibledevotions.com/studypuzzle.aspx.

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4 Signs of a True Believer

Read 1 John 4

John provides four signs or evidences of a true believer.  Let’s look at them below:

He who knows God hears us.  But he who is not of God does not hear us. As we share the Word of Truth, those who are among the flock of God will listen and apply the truth.  The people who refuse to listen or walk away are those not planted in God yet.

Everyone loves is born of God and knows God. This form of love is expressed as to love in a social or moral sense.  It is taken from the Greek word agapao. It is a broader term for embracing judgment and the deliberate assent of will as a manner of principle, duty, and propriety.  It is a matter of the head rather than the heart.  This leads us to believe love is a choice.  One must decide to love. Those who do, are born of God and know God.

Whoever confesses Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God. If one is able to say, “Jesus is the Son of God” they are part of God’s family for they recognize what God has done for them.  If a person is unable to utter those words, it is a sign they haven’t come to the place of understanding yet.

He who loves God must love his brother also. This same love out of duty and principle must be evident towards fellow man, who is either near or remote.  Our love for our brother must be visible to all.  If it is we know we love God also.  For man was made in the image of God, if we can’t love man, it is impossible to love God.

John provides very practical way to determine whether one is of the fold of God or not.  Take the test yourself.  Check to see whether you pass the test.

  1. Are you able to hear the Word of God?
  2. Do you love?
  3. Can you confess Jesus is the Son of God?
  4. More specifically, do you love others?

If you answered yes to the above questions you are a child of God.  Welcome to the family.  If you answered no to any one of these questions, pray for God to reveal what is going on in your heart.  If you desire to know God and seek Him, He will make Himself known to you.  When He does, come back to these questions to confirm you are of God.

Father God above, thank you for making it possible for us to come to you and be saved.  Thank you for your Word of Truth and your Spirit who guides us in all truth.  Thank you for revealing your way and guiding us to the path of righteousness.  Heal us in Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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10 Ways to Hinder Small Group Growth

  1. Let fellowship take over the group.
  2. Study only video bible studies.
  3. Never read the Bible together.
  4. Don’t pray for each other.
  5. Don’t plan any service projects.
  6. As a leader, don’t prepare.
  7. Give advice and try to fix everyone without being asked to.
  8. Start late, finish late, and disregard everyone’s time.
  9. Don’t call your members during the week to encourage them.
  10. Don’t show up regularly.

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.

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