Bible Devotions

The Path before Us

Read Isaiah 55:1-3.

 

Who is God’s salvation for?

It is for everyone.  Does it say it is for the Jews only? No.  Does it say it is for the rule-keepers?  No.  Does it say it is for a certain people group?  No.  God’s salvation is for EVERYONE.

 

How do you know you need salvation?

Everyone thirsts.  God gave you a desire or longing to know Him because He made you after His own image.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit are together as One in community with each other.  There is something inside us that longs for the same community and compels us to satisfy the thirst.

 

Why doesn’t God just save us?

He extends His offer of salvation to us, but we must choose to come.  He is a loving Father who desires us to love Him in return.  Real love is not forced.  If He made us to love Him, we’d be nothing more than robots doing what we were programmed to do.  By allowing us to choose Him, it is a richer, lovelier response.  We have to decide to believe Him.  We have to decide to follow Him.   Without our willingness to love Him, it would be meaningless to Him.

 

How come God gives us more than we need?

He is a generous, loving Father who wants to pour out His love on us.  He doesn’t want to simply satisfy our thirst with water only.  No, He wants to satisfy and fulfill to over-flowing our soul with wine and milk. 

 

Is the offer of salvation really free?

Yes.  It costs us nothing.  We pay no money to enter.  We can’t earn it by being good or following a set of rules.  There is nothing we can do to get salvation through any kind of effort on our part.

 

Why do we work so hard to buy bread that doesn’t satisfy?

We are deceived.  We have chosen to believe working for something makes it better.  When we try to work or earn our salvation, we make our self to be a god saying “this is how to be saved”.  Do you think this is pleasing to God?  How prideful of us!  God made us. He is the One True God, not us.  How dare we think we know better than Him!  He has already given us the gift of salvation.  He told us where to look and who holds the key.  It’s up to us to listen.

 

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.  Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you (Isaiah 55:2-3 NKJV).

 Lord, thank you for your gift of salvation.  May we come and buy with no money the bread that satisfies.  May we reject our desires to earn our way and simply come as you have called. In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

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A Comparison Part 2

 We are continuing our comparison between Jesus and humans. 

 

Jesus Human

Forgiving

Struggle to forgive, choosing to hang on to the hurt longer than we should

 

Did Jesus wait until people had there act together before He forgave them of their sin?  No He didn’t.  In some cases, He forgave them when they weren’t expecting it (Matthew 9:2, John 18:11, John 5:14). Jesus knows what we need, even when we don’t.  Forgiveness of sins sets us free to become who God intended us to be.  Jesus seemed to forgive quite easily.  Imagine hanging on a cross, nails driven into your flesh and calling out to God “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  How about us?  How easily do we forgive?  We are never asked to forgive more than we our self have been forgiven (Luke 6:37). 

 

Jesus Human

Unconditional Love

Love when it goes our way (I’ll love you if you do this or that)

 

God so loved the world He willingly sacrificed His Son to pay for our sins (John 3:16).  He did it, while we could care less about Him.  Now that’s unconditional love: doing for another with no expectation of getting anything in return.  Oh how hard it is for us to love like that.  We tend to think along the lines of “I’ll love you as long as you met my needs.”

 

Jesus Human

Secure with who He was and where He came from

Insecure, doubting and fearful

 

Jesus was secure with Himself. He was confident in who He was.  There was no doubt about what He came to do (John 13:3).  Insecurity in us is caused by our refusal to follow God’s perfect plan.  When we rebel against God we open our self up to the tricks of our enemy.  Satan’s main weapon is doubt and fear.  Our slowness to accept what God has for us causes us to doubt our purpose, our identity and our meaning which robs God’s glory.  

 

Jesus Human

Compassion for others

Occasionally care for others when it’s convenient

 

How many times does the Bible say Jesus looked on them with compassion?  Matthew 9:36, Mark 1:41, Luke 10:33 are just a few examples. He had compassion many more times as well.  The point is no matter how busy or tired Jesus was He always had compassion for others.  He focused on the bigger picture—saving souls.  How often are we compassionate towards others?  We occasionally care for others, when it is convenient to our schedules.  True compassion reaches out always.

   

Jesus Human

He is truth

Struggle to be truthful, tell “little white lies” or fail to speak the truth in love

 

Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). He is truth, therefore He can not lie (Titus 1:2).  The James 1:21 teaches “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  If don’t practice the truth in our lives are deceiving our self.  What is it to deceive but to lie to our self?  We lie to our self when we don’t do what God calls us to.  We lie to others when we choose not to speak the truth in love. 

 

So why do this comparison?  If was not to injury us, but to encourage us.  These things cannot do be done without God’s grace and power.  If we attempt to do all these things in our own strength we will fail.  But Jesus hasn’t abandoned us; instead He fills us with His Spirit.  It is His Essence in us with all power and might which carries out God’s desire through us.  Jesus says follow Me.  Are you willing?

 Lord Jesus thank you for all you have done for us.  Enable us to recognize your hand in our life.  Teach us to depend on your might rather than our own efforts.  Lead us in your way.  In Jesus’ name Amen. 

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The Teachable Moment

Yesterday my son and I were out looking for a new backpack to prepare him for school.   We found a store with exactly the right one, so we went to the check out line.  As the clerk was ringing up our purchases, he could not find the price tag for the backpack.  Unfortunately, there was not another one like it to verify the price.  So the clerk asked me how much it was.  I replied “There were similar ones for $49.95”.  The clerk, not wanting to over charge me declared, “I’ll ring it up as $29.95.”  We left the store.

 

While walking to the next store, I unzipped the backpack to place inside the other bag of school supplies to make my load easier to carry.  That’s when I saw it — the price tag.   As I slowly withdrew the price tag, I said aloud “Wow, we got a great deal on this backpack”, showing my son the real price.  My son replied, “Now, you’re going to go back aren’t you?”

 

My answer surprised me a little, as we were in a hurry.  “Yes, I’m going back.  I could not possibly go on as if nothing happened, for that would be lying.  If I chose to keep the backpack, how would that be showing I live by the Word of God?  Would it be truthful? Would I be a doer of the Word?”  So we returned to the store where we bought the backpack.

 

As the clerk saw me draw near, he had a surprised look on his face.  Although he was helping another customer, he asked me why I had returned.  I told him, I found the price tag and couldn’t live with being under-charged for the item.  He was very grateful I returned.  The man the clerk was helping even commented “you did the right thing.”   I said, “Thank you, I know.  You see I have my 13 year old son with me, so it is good for him to seem me practice what I preach.”

 

After the transaction was over, my son and I discussed how important it was to be truthful at all times, even when it may not be convenient.  We will all be accountable to God one day on how we handled each situation.  We also talked about how that one situation was a good witness to several people; the clerk, the other customer, the store manager and my son, not to mention my husband when we shared the story with him too. Proverbs 12:22 says “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.”  I just love how the Lord uses the ordinary to help teach us the way to go.  It was a delight to do the right thing.  This situation reminded me of Proverbs 22:6 in action: “Train up a child in the way he should go.  And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Lord Jesus, thank you for your Holy Spirit enabling us to make the right decisions by being truthful.  In your name we pray. Amen.

 

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Imitators of God

Read Ephesians 4 through Ephesians 5:1-2

 

Paul writes in Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God”.  Let’s explore what that means by reading Ephesians 4 together.

 

Forgive as We are Forgiven

Walk worthy of our calling by being tenderhearted and forgiving towards one another.  Always remembering God forgave us, therefore, we forgive others.  We treat others better than they deserve because again that’s what God does to us.  We don’t deserve His abundant supply of mercy and grace, do we?  And yet, He generously pours it out on us.  He calls us to do the same to others around us.  We do our part to live at peace with others, getting along with all people to the best of our abilities.  When we are wronged we don’t hold it against them, we don’t seek revenge but rather give space and time for God to work it out.  God says vengeance is mine (Deuteronomy 32:35).

 

Sacrifice My Will

We consciously turn from our former conduct and put off the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts.  We lay aside all things that hinder our walk, such as sin that easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1).  We repent of our sins when we are made aware of them.  We cast down every thought that exalts it self over God (2 Corinthians 10:5).  We concentrate on being renewed in the Spirit of our mind, letting God’s word have its way (Romans 12:2), equipping us to put on the new man created after God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

Walk in Love

God is love, we walk in Him (1 John 4:8).  If we abide in Him, He abides in us (1 John 4:16).  First Corinthians 13:4-7 defines love as “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  So we speak the truth in love and are encouraged to do good without growing weary.  Our God does not grow weary of doing good for us, therefore, we don’t grow weary either.  Doing good also means knowing our purpose, using our gifts, talents and abilities to edify, encourage and build up others.  Therefore, we redeem the time and make the most of every opportunity by walking in love.

 

Follow Me

So if we look to Jesus as our example we will seek the Father and his will in all things.  We pray for strength to carry out His plan and purposes.  We lay aside our will and ask to have the Father’s will be done.  We will sacrifice our self for others as many times as is required until Christ returns to take us home.  Jesus did not leave us without the power to accomplish all this.  No, He left us His Spirit to guide us and empower us to do all God desires us to do. 

 

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:1-2).

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your example to us.  Thank you for your spirit to lead us and equip us for all God wants us to do.  May be seek the Father and carry out His will in our generation.  In your 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.

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Blessed by Doing

 

Are you a forgetful hearer?  You listen to God’s Word at church on Sunday, but come Monday you are living your life as you choose with no regard to what you heard on Sunday? 

 

The Bible tells us those who hear only actually deceive themselves.  James 1:22 NKJV says “But be doers of the word, and not just hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  So how does one become a doer of the word? 

 

James 1:25 NKJV gives us some clues: “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”    James continues to say we need to bridle our tongue, care for orphans and widows in their trouble and keep our self uncorrupted by the world.

 

Jesus teaches us by carrying out God’s commands we become like a wise man. Matthew 7:24 NKJV says “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  Jesus continued to say though rain, floods and wind came against the house, it stood because it was founded upon the rock.  The same is true for us, when we trust in Christ we become founded upon the rock.  Nothing can move us. 

 

Jesus also taught us about servants and masters in John 13:1-17, when he washed the disciple’s feet.  A servant is not above the master.  We are servants to God, which means our own will is NOT above God’s.  Likewise, the one sent is not greater than the one doing the sending.  We are sent by God to carrying out His good purposes in this life.  We are NOT greater than God who’s sending us.  Jesus capped off this teaching saying “If you know these things blessed are you if you do them.” 

 

Look at what James 1:12 NKJV says “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who love Him.”

 

So fellow believer, let us endure temptations and follow Christ’s example.  Let us be doers of the word that we may be called wise and not deceive our self.  For Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 NKJV “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your cleansing, healing, righteousness word.  Thank you for your Spirit enabling us to walk in your word and become doers of the word.  Help us continue in your way all the days of life that we may be lights to the world for you. In your name we pray. Amen.  

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Think Your Good, Don’t You?

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked; Who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9 NKJV 

What do you do with a verse like this?  All your life you think you’re a good person.  After all you haven’t murdered, stolen or committed adultery with anyone, right?  Maybe your parents taught you to be a “good” person.  While that’s a good thing, it isn’t going to save you in the end according to God’s Word. 

 

The Bible tells us we can not trust our own hearts, according to Isaiah 44:20 NKJV “…A deceived heart has turned him aside; And he cannot deliver his soul…”.  Our hearts lie to us.   

I thought I was good until God humbled me by showing me just how deceitful I could be.  Who knew I could be so sinful?  God knew and He lovingly showed me my sin so I would turn to Him for forgiveness. 

 

Even if we’ve believed the lies of our heart, God can still rescue us.  Consider His Word and allow Him to change the way you think (Romans 12:2).  Look at what God says in Ezekiel 11:19 NKJV “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh”.   

You’ll never regret trusting the Lord.  When you do, He’s give you a new heart, one that beats for Him.  He did for me!  He’s waiting to give you a new heart, too!

 

Lord thank you for revealing my sin, forgiving me and giving me a new heart that beats for you.  Enable us to trust you and cast out the lies we’ve stored in our hearts.  Thank you for your love and mercy.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

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What Hinders You?

But we, brethren, having been taken away from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavored more eagerly to see your face with great desire. Therefore we wanted to come to you—even I, Paul, time and again—but Satan hindered us.  For what is our hope, or joy, or crown of rejoicing? Is it not even you in the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ at His coming?  For you are our glory and joy. 1 Thessalonians 2:17-20 NKJV

Absence makes the heart grow fonder, they say.  Before I knew the Lord, absence only caused me further pain, and my thoughts turned to bitterness and resentment.  I’ve found this saying to be true only when my heart is right with God.  When our priority is on God, the attitudes of the heart become pure and your heart can grow fond when missing someone.

There are many reasons why we become separated from others.  We get busy and don’t make time for connecting with our friends.  We work a lot of extra hours trying to make more money to pay those bills and buy luxuries of this life.  Maybe we start to dislike hanging around anyone who doesn’t think like we do.  The list could go on for miles.

Just like the many reasons we let relationships with people falter, we do the same thing with God.  Maybe we get so busy in our ministry that we stop having those quiet times with the Lord.  Maybe we start thinking we can handle the little things in life, so we stop bringing those requests to the Lord in prayer.  We loose our thankfulness, stop recognizing all He’s done for us and become complacent.

There is another reason that many people fail to realize is working against them.  Satan.  Paul mentions in today’s verse that Satan hindered him.  This is a very good reminder we have an enemy that wants us to fail.  The bible says Satan prowls around looking for someone to devour. First Peter 5:8 Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” It also says he is a liar and the father of lies, when he lies he speaks from his own resources (John 8:44 NKJV).  Satan’s primary purpose is to steal, kill and destroy the things of God ( John 10:10 NKJV ).

Satan is just as real as God.  But don’t be deceived into thinking he has as much power as God, because he doesn’t.  Satan is a created being, just like we are.  No created thing can ever have more power than the Creator.

If you find yourself being plagued by unruly, evil thoughts, memories of past sins, doubts fears, anxiety or worry, bring it all to the Lord in prayer and don’t forget to pray “by the power and authority of Jesus Christ, get behind me Satan.”  As James 4:7 NKJV says “submit to the Lord, resist the devil and he will flee from you”, I can assure you from my own personal experience, when you stand firm on the Word of God, doing what it says, Satan will flee from you.

Don’t believe me?   Read how Jesus handled Satan’s temptations for yourself in Luke 4 NKJV.

Father, thank you for the Bible, the source of truth, your Holy Spirit to guide us in truth. Thank you for the armor of God to protect us from our enemy.  In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

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