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.

 

© 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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Establish Your Hearts, For The Coming Of The Lord Is At Hand

Read James 5

There is much depravity, injustice, wickedness and evil in the world.  There are many things happening around us we rather not happen. There are many bad people who do bad things to other people.

We would love for justice to be done, that the bad people would stop doing bad things. But the truth is the bad will not stop during our life time.  The Lord said, “in the world you will have tribulations; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

There is One Judge who will set things right and bring justice. He is Jesus Christ. When the Father deems it the appropriate time, Jesus will come again to put things straight.  We are told not to take matters into our own hands. We are to leave room for God’s wrath, for the Lord said, “vengeance is mine.”

So what do we do in the meantime while we wait for His return?

We establish our hearts and get ready for Jesus’ return.  We cannot control other people’s hearts.  But we can control our own heart. We can learn to stop judging, for we know the Just Judge will deal with the matter rightly. We can pray wicked hearts are converted by the grace of God. We can draw near to God and allow Him to lead us in our actions.

Lord, thank you for being in control even when it feels out of control. Thank you for making everything right in the end.  Thank you for converting my heart by your grace.  Lead me closer to you and guide my actions. In Jesus’ 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.

Bible Devotions on Patience
http://thinkonitbibledevotions.com/Bible_Verses_by_Topic_Patience.aspx

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Humble Yourselves In The Sight Of The Lord, And He Will Lift You Up

Read James 4

Fights, wars, murder, coveting, and seeking pleasures are all signs of someone who is an enemy of God. These outward expressions reveal the adultery within. The heart is far from God, puffed up with pride.

Pride makes us do things against God. We speak evil of others, judging them as though we ourselves were god. We boast of all we plan to do. Yet this boasting is foolishness and arrogant.  Being preoccupied with all we plan to do, causes us to miss what God wants to do in and through us.

Humility protects us from pride, self-will, and arrogance.  James exhorts believers to submit to God by doing two things: (1) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (2) Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

So when these ungodly behaviors appear in our life, stop. Confess our sins and turn our hearts back to God.

Thank you God, for being willing to hear our prayers to forgive us one more time when we confess our sins. Thank you for your faithfulness to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and purify us as though we never sinned.  Thank you, Jesus, for taking our punishment for us.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit who helps us live a pleasing life to you. In Jesus’ 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.

Bible Devotions on Humility
http://thinkonitbibledevotions.com/Bible_Verses_by_Topic_Humility.aspx

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The Meekness of Wisdom, Spiritual Wisdom

Read James 3

There are two kinds of wisdom. One is a worldly wisdom. The other is a spiritual wisdom. How can we tell the difference between them?

James explains where there is bitter envy, self-seeking, boasting, and lying this is wisdom of the world, which is earthly, sensual, and demonic. Spiritual wisdom comes from God is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, with no partiality or hypocrisy.

Picture the meekness of wisdom as we consider how Jesus behaved during his arrest and crucification.  He was pure and sinless. He was peaceful when arrested. He was gentle when He healed the soldier’s ear cut off by his overly enthusiast disciple. He willingly yielded Himself to cruel men to be killed. He was full of mercy as He hung nailed to the cross and asked the Father, “Forgive them they know not what they do.” Jesus played no favorites when he told the thief on the cross next to Him, “Today you will be in paradise.” Jesus was not a hypocrite as He said He would lay down his life and take it up again and He did!

True wisdom allows us to be meek, as Jesus’ example points out. He knew who He was. He knew where He came from and where He would return.  He knew His power and that of His Father. He knew He could do anything He wanted to do, yet He choose to do the One thing to save all who believe!

Unless we understand who we are in Christ, it is difficult to be humble. Only seeing the reality of our hopelessness of our own strength, and the power of Christ can we humble ourselves.

How is your wisdom?

Check it against James’ definition. Are there signs of bitter envy or self-seeking embedded in your logic? If so watch out. You are operating from a worldly view.  Are you able to show good conduct through works done in the meekness of wisdom? If so you are on your way to walking worthy of your calling as a child of God.

© 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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10 Ways to Develop Spiritual Fruit in Your Life

  1. Love others always. Jesus said “by this the world will know you are true disciples, if you love one another.”
  2. Rejoice in the midst of trials. James 1:2 “My brethren count it all joy when you fall into various trials.”
  3. Think good thoughts. Philippians 4:8-9 “The God of peace will be with you.”
  4. Practice patience.  James 1:4 “Let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete lacking nothing.”
  5. Let kindness rule. Proverbs 31:26 “She opens her mouth wisdom and on her tongue is the law of kindness.”
  6. Allow God’s goodness to guide you. Proverbs 2:20 “So you may walk in the way of goodness and keep the paths of righteousness.”
  7. Hold fast to the truth.  2 Timothy 1:13 “Hold fast the pattern of sound words which you have heard from me, in faith, and love which are in Christ Jesus.”
  8. Shine brightly before all.  Philippians 4:5 “Let your gentleness be known to men.  The Lord is at hand.”
  9. Grow your faith with self-control. 2 Peter 1:5-7 “But also for this reason, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue, to virtue knowledge, to knowledge self-control, to self-control perseverance, to perseverance godliness, to godliness brotherly kindness, to brotherly kindness love.”
  10. Acknowledge God in all things.  Proverbs 3:6 “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your paths.”
Lord Jesus, thank you for making us yours. Thank you for filling us with a desire for you, your word, and your ways.  Thank you for providing everything we need to live a godly life until you return.  In your precious 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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Effort or Revelation?

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJV

Have you ever been stuck in needing to know something?  There’s a situation happening in your life and you have this unrelenting need to know why it’s happening.  Ever been there?

The children of Israel had that problem too.  Moses gave them some good advice.  “The secret things belong to the Lord our God…” He suggests that the unknown or secret things belong to God and are not for us to know, so move on.

Moses continues saying, “but those things which are revealed belong to us…” In effect he is admonishing the children of Israel to leave the unknown to God and focus on what has been revealed to us.  That’s great advice.  Focusing on the uncertain only creates worry and anxiety.  However, focus on what is known is more tangible, concrete, stable and comforting. This verse is reassuring for a number of reasons.

First is suggests God is the one in control.  He decides what we need to know giving our current situation, state of maturity and belief in Him.  He gives us exactly what we need in that moment, no more and no less.  Second our knowledge doesn’t come from the effort, strain or desire we place in studying God’s Word.  It is good to study God’s Word, but we must recognize our dependence on God to reveal His Truth to us.  The third reason this verse is reassuring is because what is revealed belongs to us forever.  God’s wisdom is not granted temporarily.  It is given forever.  The truth He reveals cannot be taken away.  Oh, we may forget it sometimes but God even ensures against that by giving us His Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit’s job is to bring to remembrance all God has shown us.  How fabulous is that?

Some folks think studying God’s Word is like mining for gold.  It takes a lot of hard work to uncover a single nugget of truth.  But those who think that are relying on their own effort to understand.  Yes, there is effort involved in studying God’s Word, but God is the one revealing His truth at the appropriate time.  Have you ever read a passage of scripture and found more meaning in it than the first time you read it?  The first time you might get some understanding, but some time later you read the same verse and this time it has a fuller meaning.   That’s God showing you a little more.  There is the element of obedience required, where we continue to read and study God’s Word.  The payoff happens when God decides to unlock His Words when you’re ready for the truth.  It’s a beautiful thing when that starts happening.

Why does God reveal anything to us in the first place?  The answer is wrapped up in the last part of today’s verse: “that we may do all the words of this law.”  God wants us to succeed. He wants His children to prosper. Following God’s plan is the only way.  When He reveals Himself to us, we are more likely to trust and follow Him.  It’s a process that will last our entire life.  He reveals a little more each day.  We learn to trust Him more with each circumstance.  Therefore, we are more inclined to trust Him with the next situation that arises.

God is in control.  Our effort doesn’t increase our knowledge because God reveals truth in His timing.  His Holy Spirit helps us not forget the truth He reveals, so we may have it forever.  Is God great or what?

Thank you, God, for revealing what we need to know when we need it.  We trust you to provide exactly the truth needed for every situation.  We come to you in complete dependence on you.  In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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Nothing is Impossible for God

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. Genesis 21:1 NKJV

Sarah who was barren and also in her 80s or 90s had laughed when the Lord told her she would conceive and bear a son. Sometimes God’s promises seem impossible. With God nothing is impossible. If He says it will happen you can rest assured it will happen. God can do the impossible.

I once was filled with bitterness, resentment, anger, hatred and murderous thoughts. My heart was hardened by years of disappointments and unmet relational needs. But then I learned of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for me. I called upon His name. He met me where I was and lifted me out of the pit I was in just like Psalm 40:2 NKJV says: He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”

As I began the journey of my new life I discovered the truth of Romans 12:2 NKJV: “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” God’s word did renew my mind! And just as Ezekiel 11:19 NKJV says: “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,” God replaced my stony heart with a tender heart of flesh.

What I thought was impossible proved to be incredibly possible with God’s help. I know now God does what He says He will do. He can be trusted. He is faithful and just.

Is there something you think is impossible for God going on in your life today? Trust Him. He won’t let you down. Instead He may give you the desires of your heart, when you delight in Him just as Psalm 37:4 NKJV says.

Lord God Almighty, we are thankful nothing is too hard for you. Thank you for being faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Draw us near you today. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade. Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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Sin Has Consequence

And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Genesis 18:20-21 NKJV

You have probably heard the “Miranda Rights” read to someone being arrested on a TV show before. It goes something like “every word you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Well, everything we think, do and say will be used to determine our destiny.

Every decision we make to sin or not is known by God. Everything we do is witnessed by Him. There is nothing that will not be exposed. God is the Great Judge. He is just and fair. His rulings are right and true. He doesn’t make hasty decisions. Instead He investigates, verifies and gives the benefit of doubt to the accused.

If you read Genesis 18:22-33 you will see God is fair. Abraham pleaded with God for the sake of the righteous. God said He would spare the city if even ten righteous people were in it. But there were no righteous people and so God judged Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities were destroyed.

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah chose to sin. Their sin was very grave. It was so bad that an outcry was heard by God. Therefore, God had a choice to make: let the people continue doing wicked, evil, detestable things or take care of the problem so as not to spread wickedness to others.

They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, no, not one. Psalm 14:3 NKJV

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 NKJV

Sin is always dealt with. Romans 6:23 NKJV says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The end of sin is death. Therefore, to continue to sin is to knowingly accept the fact one day we will die to pay the penalty of that sin. But did you also notice the later half of Romans 6:23 says “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord?”

It’s our choice to either follow God and live or follow sin and die. God will honor our choice. But we must make sure we are willing to accept the consequence of our choice.

Almighty God, thank you Lord Jesus for dying in our place to pay our sin debt. May we always remember the choice is ours to accept your gift and live or turn our backs on you and die. Give us a desire for your way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade. Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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Seek God with Intensity

Is God your first priority? Is He your daily passion?

Well, He is if we are diligent in seeking Him. Deuteronomy 4:29 NKJV says “But from there you will seek the LORD your God, and you will find Him if you seek Him with all your heart and with all your soul.”

So what keeps us from seeking God? Many things keep us from approaching Him with our needs and troubles. Let’s take a look at a few:

Pride is a biggy. We might think we can handle things on our own. After all we have a good life. Maybe we’re married, have a good income, nice house, reliable cars and a family. Things are good we may think why do I need God?

Busyness is another distracter. We are just too busy to think about God. Really, look at everything we are expected to do each day. Get the kids ready for school, make breakfast, lunches and get dinner ready. Then there’s work to do, either outside or inside the home. Then the chores pile up like laundry, cleaning, yard work, car maintenance, and paying all the bills. That doesn’t even account for all the errands and driving the kids to after school activities. We are busy.

Personal pleasures may be another thing keeping us from God. Maybe we have an incomplete or warped picture of God that we think He’s out to get us or remove all fun in life. We live for enjoyment, entertainment and pleasure, like the songs says “if it feels this good it can’t be bad.” We live for pleasure.

Can you relate to any of those excuses? Yes, they are excuses. For each one there are things we could do to make room for God if we simply choose to. If we are serious about seeking God, then we are also serious about removing the obstacles. Remember we can do all things through Jesus Christ who strengthens us (Philippians 4:13).

So let’s look at how to overcome each of these obstacles.

Handling Pride

First is recognizing pride. Once you see it, confess it to God through prayer. Then be watchful of repeating the same prideful behavior or attitude. You may find yourself confessing the same issue more than once. Don’t worry, just do it as many times as it takes. For more on handling pride see Confess with Humility.

Handling Busyness

Busyness is simply letting life run you rather than you planning your life. What we need here are two tools of productivity. First is setting your priorities. What is most important to you? Identify it. Write it down. Second is time management. Schedule what’s most important. For example, make an appointment with God each day, even if for only 15 minutes. Then protect that time slot. Do not let anything get in the way. Everything else can wait a mere 15 minutes. Learn to say no to unimportant activities that fill your time. Make room for God.

Handling Personal Pleasures

If you think there’s no fun, excitement or adventure in living a godly life, you couldn’t be further from the truth. Following God is filled with joy, wonder and adventure as we look to see what He plans to do next in and through us. So what’s needed here is a commitment to seek God and Bible studies to help you get to know the real God and His ways.

Are you willing to do whatever it takes to tackle the excuses and seek God?

Hebrews 11:6 NKJV “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

Matthew 6:33 NKJV “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.”

God takes care of His people. When you set your mind on Him He brings about perfect peace for those who trust Him (Isaiah 26:3).

Lord God Almighty, you are a rewarder of those who seek you. Encourage our hearts today that we may seek you with all our heart and soul. Let us do whatever it takes to make room for you and seek you every day of our life. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade. Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com , YourBibleWitnessAtWork.com, & BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites. She has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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Disobedience has a Price

 

When I was a teenager, my boyfriend had a motorcycle.  My mother always warned me not to ride on that motorcycle.  She said it was too dangerous.  But you know how teenagers can be.

 

One day when my boyfriend was working on his motorcycle in his garage, I sat on the motorcycle.  The engine was on while I was sitting on it.  When I reached my leg down to get off the motorcycle, I was shocked to find I couldn’t take my leg away.  It turns out my left calf stuck to the exhaust pipe.  So as my boyfriend and I tried to peel my leg off of the pipe, I realized I was in big trouble.  I didn’t heed my mother’s warning!

 

Mother Said

What I Did

Consequences

Don’t ride a motorcycle

Sat on the motorcycle

Burned my leg

Disappointed my mother

 

 

What lesson did I learn?  My mother was right about motorcycles been dangerous, even just sitting on them!  The burned on my leg would no doubt leave a lasting scar! 

 

Aside from the disappointment my mother must have felt, she knew what to do.  Every day we would scrub the dead skin away from the wound.  Although it was incredibly painful, after several weeks of this the wound eventually healed.  And thanks to my mom, I have no trace of the burn on my left leg.

 

As I pondered this situation from my past I started to realize there is a spiritual lesson in this.  Our spiritual growth is much like this story of disobedience.

 

God tells us what to do.  We do the opposite.  We pay the consequences.  Yet God still pursues us, works with us, and cleanses us from all on righteousness so there will be no trace of our sinful action remaining when he’s through with us.

 

Disobedience has a price.  Sometimes righting the wrong is painful.  But it’s necessary.  God calls us to persevere so our character develops.  God brings forth good, even from our disobedience.  After we have suffered a while, we begin to recognize God was right causing us to yearn for Him. Perhaps faced with their next opportunity to disobey will remember what we went through before and choose to walk in the Spirit rather than satisfy our sinful nature.

 

What has God told you to do lately?  Do you find yourself disobeying God?  Remember there are consequences to our disobedience.  Even if we disobey, God is good and will help us learn the lessons we should.

 

Lord thank you for your leading us.  Thank you that even in our disobedience you have a way of bringing good out of it.  Help us to desire you.  Enable us to obey you the first time rather than suffering the consequence for our disobedience.  If we can only learn the lesson through disobedience then so be it Lord.  In Jesus’ name Amen. 

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today

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