Bible Devotions

Pursue Love

Read 1 Corinthians 13. 

What Love Isn’t

Love isn’t the warm, gushy feeling you get when being romanced by your sweetheart.  Love is not a sexual desire or longing for physical interlude with another person.  These are examples of mere feelings.  While feelings may accompany love, they are not love.

 

What Love Is

According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV “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.”  In addition, we know from 1 John 4:16 “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  These attributes of love are really attributes of God and those who love God. 

 

Steps to Love

We need to realize we have a choice to love.  Love isn’t easy or free of effort.  It takes a decision to love.  It takes determination to continue to love.  Most importantly it requires the Holy Spirit to love.  As God is love, we can not love without God’s presence.  That’s where the Holy Spirit comes into play.  For those who believe Jesus died for our sin and rose again for our eternal salvation, the Holy Spirit is given to us and enables us to love. 

 

Results of Love

There is no doubt when someone loves.  You can see it in their life.  Love exhibits it self in your life and the lives of others around you.  Jesus gave us lots of examples to follow: washing His disciples’ feet, feeding thousands, denying His will and following His Father’s will, and laying down His life for His friends, as well as many other examples.  Love changes things.  Love forgives.  It extends mercy rather than judgment.  Love builds up rather tearing people down.  Love seeks to restore rather than destroy.  Just look the relationship of God and His people.  Although His people repeatedly sinned and rebelled against Him, He still made it possible, through Christ, to be saved. 

 

Above all else we can choose to do in this life; the greatest of these is the choice to love.  Pursue love today. 1 John 4:7 NKJV says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

 Lord, thank you for loving us and enabling us to love you and others.  Help us choose to love and follow your example.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit in us to lead us in your love.  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
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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. 

 

© 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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Eye Has Not Seen

Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.  1 Corinthians 2:9 NKJV 

Beloved, we can not even image the wonderful things God has in store for us.  It is beyond our understanding and comprehension.  Our God is planning something more spectacular than we can even dream about.  Isn’t that exciting? 

 

Did you notice the condition, though?  That’s right. God being just and righteous doesn’t pour out these wonderful things for everyone.  No.  He reserves the best for “those who love Him”. 

 

So how do you know if you really love Him? 

 

There are several indicators, but only one that really counts.  Before we jump to the critical indicator, let’s review some of the other indicators. 

 

Indicator #1:  Willingness to read God’s Word. 

Indicator #2:  Applying God’s principles in our life. 

Indicator #3:  Eagerness to serve others.

Indicator #4:  Has an earnest prayer life.

 

While this list of indicators may be seen in the life of someone who loves God, it is not to be used as a validation method, because man does not see things as God does (1 Samuel 16:7).  The true indicator of whether we really love God is found in our heart.  Only God can see that. 

 

If the items above are done from a heart filled with love for God, then those things are worthwhile.  If there done for the sake of appearing good before men or done out of duty, they have no value to God.  Our relationship with God is based on His love for us, which causes us to love Him in return. 

 

Is your love showing?  If not, it may be time for a heart check.  If you find yourself doing some of the items above, ask yourself why?  If your answer is because it’s your duty or for keeping up appearances, ask God to help you experience His love.  If you’re not doing these things at all, ask God to fill you with a desire to know Him. 

 

Lord, thank you for loving us and preparing great things for those who love you.  Enable us to love you from our heart and not be outward expression alone.  Give us a desire to know you more.  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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Press On

“Oh, that we might know the Lord! Let us press on to know him! Then he will respond to us as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in early spring.” Hosea 6:3 NLT 

This is our goal – to know HIM.  What does “press on to know him” mean to you?  It sounds like it involves some kind of effort, doesn’t it?  It is a deliberate act to know Him.  Once we apply or dedicate or commit to ourselves that we will “press on to know him”, we can be confident He will respond to us.   This verse says “as surely as the arrival of dawn or the coming of rains in the early spring.”  That means we have assurance He will respond as He says He will.  Do you ever stop to think about whether the sun will rise tomorrow?  I don’t because I’m confident the sun will always shine for us.  Well, it’s the same with God.  If we seek Him, He will be found by us. 

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Jesus is Heir of All Things

 

 

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 NKJV 

Jesus Christ is heir of all things, which is to stay all things belong to Him.  Think about when you become an heir of property, you become responsible for that asset.  All decisions as to what to do with it become yours, as heir and rightful owner.  There is no question of who owns it therefore no one can just walk up and snatch it away from you, because you are the heir.  If Jesus is heir of all things, this means He’s heir of you and me.  I find that wonderful news.  Look at what John 10:29 NKJV says: “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”  Once the heir has been chosen by God, nothing can change who receives the inheritance. 

In Luke 20 Jesus told a parable about the vineyard owner, who hired some people to tend the vineyard for him.  When harvest time came the owner sent his servants to collect his portion of the harvest.  Yet, the servants working the vineyard had begun to think of the vineyard as their own and killed the servants.  After several attempts to collect the harvest the owner’s servants were slaughtered each time.  The owner decides to send his son thinking he would be respected.  Look at what Luke 20:13-15 NKJV says: “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ 14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?”  

People may try to take possession of what is not theirs and it may appear in the short term they succeeded.  However, in the end they shall receive their reward.  God is a fair and just God who will hold each person accountable.  Think about who the heir of you is. 

Are you like the vinedressers, trying to take your own life as an inheritance unto yourself?  Remember, we are not our own.  We were purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28). 

Father God above, You alone are our heir.  We belong to You through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to purchase our freedom from sin.  Help us to remember we are Yours. In Jesus name, Amen. 

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Be Refreshed

I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. Philemon 1:4-7 NKJV 

Today’s verse is so invigorating to me, like stepping into a nice warm bubble bath and letting all the cares of the world melt away in the bubbles. Once I’ve had a good soak in God’s Word, I feel like I can tackle any problem that comes my way.  I am renewed, recharged and equipped for life.  Imagine if these verses were written specifically to you.  How might you respond?   God’s Word is such a comfort to me and my hope is that you may find it so too.  

In the opening verse, Paul mentions how he thanks God and mentions Philemon in his prayers.  I don’t know about you, but something twinkles inside me, when I know others are thanking God and praying for me.  What an honor that someone would spend time with God praying on my behalf.   Paul goes on about how he has heard about Philemon’s love and faith.  Have you heard of other’s love and faith?  Usually to hear about something, means someone has to talk about it.  If you haven’t heard of other’s love and faith, then perhaps it’s time to start talking about the love and faith you see around you.   

Verse 6 says “that the sharing of your faith may become effective…”  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do, share our faith?  I heard/read a devotion recently that talked about the transformation that takes place when you become a Christian and how that same transformation causes us to speak out about our faith, to share it with others because it is really good news.  If it’s really such great news, why are we not telling everyone we know?  

Because of the desire God gave me to encourage others with His Word the last verse is precious to me: “because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.”  It is my sincerest prayer that through these devotions, you may be refreshed too.  

Lord, thank You for Your Word that refreshed and renews our thinking.  Thank You for being available to us through prayer.  Give us a desire to please You by reading Your Word daily.  Enable us to live out what we learn from Your Word.  In Jesus name.  Amen. 

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Titus 3:9-11 NKJV

But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11 NKJV 

There is a time to retreat.  The Bible teaches we are not to engage is foolish disputes.  That tells me I am to over look things that would trigger a foolish dispute.  Some examples might be:

 

·         Perhaps someone is putting the dishes away in the wrong spot, rather than correct them and cause contention, I am to let it go. 

 

·         Someone is working on a project and you see there is a better way to do it.  You want to inform them to do it your way.  Rather than impress your way on them, you hold your tongue and allow them to finish the project on their own.

 

There is a time to reject someone who obviously isn’t willing to follow God’s commands.  If after you’ve attempted to bring them back to the Lord through godly admonishment and they still refuse to turn from their ways, we are called to “release” them.  Stop going after them.  Let them run their own course, keeping them prayer and in time, they may see the error of their way. 

 

In 1 Corinthians 5:13 NKJV Paul admonishes the church to “put away from yourselves the evil person.” He was speaking of a man in the church who was in obvious sin.  I think this verse goes well with today’s scripture.  We are to reject the decisive man, who chooses to walk contrary to the Lord.  Don’t linger and potentially enter into to foolish discussions.  Separate your self from such a one, for bad company corrupts good character.  

Lord, thank You for Your Word and Your Spirit who leads us into all truth.  Enable us to seek more of You and obey Your commands out of a heart of love, longing to please You. Help us know when to retreat rather than go after someone for Your sake.  Lead us day by day. In Jesus name, Amen.  

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Remember

  

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. Titus 3:1-2 NKJV  

 

Fellowship is key to our obedient walk with Christ.  We need others in our lives, that be a “Paul” to us.  Look at what Paul writes in Titus.  He’s explaining we need to remind each other certain things, like obeying authorities and being ready for good work.  He also reminds us to love our neighbor and gives examples such as speak evil of no one, be peaceable, gentle and show humility to everyone.  All of these are very good advice to follow.     

Reading further into Titus 3, Paul reminds us what kind of people we also were at one time.  “3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.”  He doesn’t do it to shame us, but he remind us all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  No one is exempt from sin’s presence.  We are all affected by it.  This should help us stay humble towards one another.   

I love how scripture is so complete.  If we just stopped there, we’d be a mess.  We’d see 1) we need to obey and 2) we are sinners.  Not much hope in the first couple verses to motivate us towards obedient behavior, is there?   

At the right time, the rest of the verses come into play.  “4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Can you imaging trying to carry out all of that good behavior in our own strength?  How exhausting!  In verse 4-7, Paul reminds us yet again, it’s not by our power that we can do these things.  It’s all because Christ sacrificed Himself, paid for our sins, set us free from the bondage of sin, and in rising from the dead, He gave us new life and enabled us to live out a godly life by giving us His Spirit to live in us.  All of this He did, not because we did anything to deserve it, but because of His mercy and grace!  This is what’s motivating!   

Let’s talk about some examples.   

How would you feel if you’d forgotten your lunch at home and had no money to buy lunch at school or work?  Then a friend or co-worker notices you have nothing to eat and buys you lunch without even asking you, and delivers to you.  How would you feel?   

Let’s say you have a flat tire and you’re stranded on the side of the road.  You don’t know the first thing about changing a flat tire and you don’t belong to a convenient road side assistance program.  Just then a nice man stops, changes the tire for you and gets you back on the road.  How would you feel?  

What are your thoughts?  Would you have felt grateful in either of these situations?  I would.  These examples can not even come close to comparing to the wonderfulness of Christ’s help.  Jesus did more than change a flat tire or buy you food for a day.  He gave you a new life.  He purchased your ticket to heaven, your eternal home.  He picked you and I up out of the garbage, washed us off and set us, as jewels in His crown, into a new godly life! 

In conclusion, Paul goes on to say “8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”  In order words, remind each other of all we have to be grateful for.  Do not let yourself or those around you slip into the routine of life and therefore be tempted to forget all that Christ has done.   Remembering these things will motivate us to carry on the good works God has called us to.   Fellowship with other believers can help us keep our focus on the Lord and what He’s done for us.  Where are you today?  Are you connected in a small group?  Join one today. 

Lord, thank You for Your Word that straightens us out and shows us all we have to be grateful for.  Bring godly people into our lives to be like Paul, reminding us of all You have done for us. Thank You, Jesus for Your mercy and grace.  In Your name, Amen.  

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Thought Life

To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.  Titus 1:15 NKJV 

 

How important are the thoughts we allow in our mind?  According to God’s Word, they are very important.  When we allow thoughts to linger or dwell on them, they turn into feelings.  Once feelings have kicked it, our emotions try to convince us into taking action.  It’s just how we were made.  

 

Romans 12:2 NKJV says “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.”  The mind plays a critical role in transforming us.  The mind must be renewed.  This indicates the mind needs to be renewed.  There is something dark in our mind which is not good, therefore, it needs to be renewed.   

 

Every moment since becoming a born again believer, I’ve noticed a conflict in my mind between what my mind wants to think about and what the Bible tells us we should think about.  Notice today’s verse.  It says “to the pure all things are pure”.  Do you see all things as pure?  If not, it’s an indication our thought life isn’t what it’s supposed to be.     

 

Philippians 4:8 NKJV says “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”  These are want we should focus on and keep bringing our mind back to.  Only when we maintain our focus on these things, will we be able to say “to the pure all things are pure”.  Also remember who is all these things?  There is only one person – Jesus Christ.  When we dwell on the true, noble, just, pure, etc, we are dwelling on Christ Himself.   

 

To have this kind of focus takes work.  This isn’t as easy as waking up one morning and saying “Okay, self, you’re going to think only good thoughts today.”  Oh no, it takes a conscience awareness of what we are thinking about.  We have to create a new standard for what is acceptable in our thoughts.  If we judge our thoughts against Philippians 4:8 and find our thoughts don’t agree, then we are to cast it out of our mind.   

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NKJV says “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”  We have God’s might to help us bring every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.  Our weapons to fight this mental battle are not limited to our human strength.  Instead they are mighty spiritual weapons able to defeat our enemy.   

 

Let’s recap.  We’ve learned what we think about is important and is an indicator of our spiritual condition.  We’ve discussed what we should be thinking about and we’ve discovered we’ve got God’s might to help us fight the mental battle and bring our thoughts into obedience.   

 

How are your thoughts today?  Did you check them against Philippians 4:8?  It’s not too late.  Simply ask God for help bringing your thoughts into submission.   

 

Lord God Almighty, thank you for your word that reveals the areas we fall short.  Thank you for leading us on the path of life.  Thank you for purifying us from all unrighteousness and giving us the strength we need to fight the mental battle and align our thoughts with you.  In Jesus name Amen.  

 

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