Bible Devotions

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. 

© 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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Whatever It Takes To Believe

Read Judges 6:33-40

The enemies of the east, Midianites and Amalekites, gathered against Gideon. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Gideon and he blew his trumpet.  Abiezrites were his ally, along with Manasseh, Asher, Zebulan and Naphtali of the tribes of Israel.

Gideon is having second thoughts and needs proof to validate God really meant what He said.  Gideon tests the Lord.  If you will save Israel by my hand, make dew on this piece of wool but leave the ground around it dry.  Then I shall know you will save Israel by my hand says Gideon.  And it was so.

That wasn’t enough. Gideon wanted to be extra sure, so he tests the Lord a second time.  He says, don’t be angry but let me test once more.  This time may the piece of wool by dry and the ground be wet with dew.  And God did so that night.

I love how God is so willing to set Gideon’s mind at ease.  This test was so precise and accurate and such as small thing, but God was willing to play along for Gideon’s sake.

When the Lord speaks He wants you to know it is Him.  He is willing to do what you need in order to believe Him.  He knows what it will take for your full trust in Him.  This gives me confidence.  How about you?

Lord thank you for knowing our weakness and being willing to set us at ease.  Thank you for helping us to trust in you.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

For more Bible Devotions…

©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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Heart of the Matter

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. Deuteronomy 30:17-18 NKJV

The Bible has a lot to say about the heart. In fact, using BibleGateway.com’s keyword search on “heart” reveals 926 different references throughout the entire Bible.  We’ll look at a few verses to get a better understanding of the complexity of our heart.

Starting out with a Wicked Heart

  • Genesis 6:5 NKJV – Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
  • Jeremiah 17:19 NKJV – The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Our Heart has Many Attributes

  • Luke 24:38 NKJV – And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
  • Proverbs 19:3 NKJV – The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the LORD.
  • Proverbs 12:25 NKJV – Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.
  • Proverbs 15:13 NKJV – A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
  • Matthew 5:28 NKJV – But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
  • Proverbs 28:14 NKJV – Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Our Heart Determines our Focus

  • Matthew 12:35 NKJV – A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
  • Luke 12:34 NKJV – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We can Control our Heart

  • Deuteronomy 11:16 NKJV – Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.
  • Psalm 78:37 NKJV – For their heart was not steadfast with Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant.
  • 1 Chronicles 22:19 NKJV – Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God.
  • Proverbs 2:2 NKJV – So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
  • Proverbs 22:17 NKJV – Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your heart to my knowledge;

The Lord Looks at and Tests the Heart

  • 1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV – But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
  • Psalm 7:9 NKJV – Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the just; For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.
  • Proverbs 17:3 NKJV – The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.

We could go on, but we’ll stop there as this list should begin to portray the complexity of the heart.  Now, what do we do with this information?

God desires us to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).   He wants us to give our entire being over to Him in a whole-hearted commitment.  He even makes it possible by giving us the Holy Spirit to purify our hearts by faith (Acts 15:8-9). As the paslmist said “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10), we know God would answer that prayer because it’s inline with His perfect will.

Our take away is to remember the heart is central to our relationship with Jesus Christ.  If we believe with the heart and confess with the mouth Jesus Christ is Lord, we will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). Therefore, we need to continually feed our heart wisdom, knowledge, and truth or it will turn back to evil.

The book of Romans tells us to overcome evil with good.  So we need to consciously be on guard protecting our hearts.  Keeping our hearts set on Jesus that we may be pure and blameless when He returns.  Paul tells us to keep our thoughts fixed on things lovely, pure, true, honorable and just because these nourish the heart.   Whatever is in our heart will eventually come out.  Lord tests our hearts and through adversity, trials and tribulations a person’s heart is revealed.

How’s your heart?

Lord thank you for creating a clean heart in us today.  Thank you for your grace we receive by faith in Jesus Christ.  Help us to set our hearts on you so we won’t be deceived or turn away to other gods.  In your precious name we pray, Jesus, 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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Pray with Tenacity

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Before we pray, we must humble ourselves. For if we don’t we will be like those who pray and don’t receive because they pray amiss as James 4:3 says. When we come to the Lord Almighty in prayer we must believer and not doubt. For he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind says James 1:6.

Jesus healed many based on their belief. Let’s look a few examples:

Matthew 8:13 NKJV: Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go your way; and as you have believed, so let it be done for you.” And his servant was healed that same hour.

Matthew 9:22 NKJV: But Jesus turned around, and when He saw her He said, “Be of good cheer, daughter; your faith has made you well.” And the woman was made well from that hour.

Matthew 9:29 NKJV: Then He touched their eyes, saying, “According to your faith let it be to you.”

Luke 7:50 NKJV: Then He said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you. Go in peace.”

Luke 8:50 NKJV: But when Jesus heard it, He answered him, saying, “Do not be afraid; only believe, and she will be made well.”

Remember when we put on the armor of God in Ephesians 6, the last piece of armor is prayer. Praying always in the Spirit, so our prayers are aligned with God’s will. Colossians 4:2 says Continue earnestly in prayer, being vigilant in it with thanksgiving. In the garden of Gethsemane Jesus told his disciples in Mark 14:38: Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Try keeping a prayer journal. Make four columns on the page label as such Date | Request | Date Answered | Way God Answered. This is a fabulous tool to keep your faith strong. It’s helpful to review when you get a little discouraged. Sharing this with others is a great way to encourage others in their faith too!

Lord God Almighty, you know our hearts and minds. Help us to desire you alone and put you first this day. Enable us to believe and not doubt when we pray. Equip us to pray always and not to give up. 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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Worth It

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Have you ever wondered if giving your life to Christ was really worth it?  King David did.  Let’s review what he penned in Psalm 73:10-17 NKJV.

 

10 Therefore his people return here,
         And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
 11 And they say, “How does God know?
         And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
 12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
         Who are always at ease;
         They increase in riches.
 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
         And washed my hands in innocence.
 14 For all day long I have been plagued,
         And chastened every morning.
         
 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
         Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
 16 When I thought how to understand this,
         It was too painful for me—
 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
         Then I understood their end.

 

David was focusing on the prosperity of the ungodly.  They seem to have it all while denying God.  “How can this be?” thought David.  He starts thinking all is in vain because of the difficulties he’s having.  Have you ever thought this way?  When we allow our minds to go to this place, it will lead us down a path we don’t want to go.  Thankfully David doesn’t stay in the self-pity mode but goes to God for clarity. 

 

Keep in mind the things shared today aren’t the only things God might want to say in this section of scripture, but these are just a few things worth pointing out.

 

First, doubt is the tool of our enemy.  When we doubt, let it be an alert warning us our focus on the Lord is slipping.  Doubt creeps in when we start comparing our self to others.

 

Second, depending on our own understanding will lead to disappointment and frustration.  Don’t rack your brain trying to understand how people could do what they do.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

 

Third, recognizing the bigger picture can soften our heart for others and help us realize the precious gift of life given to us.  Those who choose not to accept Christ will be eternally separated from God, who loves them and doesn’t want a single one to perish.  Perhaps for the ungodly this life is as close to heaven as they will ever get and that’s why God is seemingly lenient on them.  Maybe this will encourage us to pray for them, for God to open their eyes while there’s still time. 

 

To recap, giving our life to Christ is definitely worth it.  Yes, there are seasons of difficulties as God chastens those He loves, but in the end we are heaven bound.  Yes, sometimes it is hard to understand why things happen as they do, but we can fully trust God has it under His control.  Accepting this in faith releases us to carry out what God calls us to do.  Maybe that’s praying for the unsaved around us.

 Lord thank you for your wisdom and clarity in your word. Help us keep our eyes on you, rather than others around us.  Enable us to lean on you rather than our own understanding.  May we trust in you and carry out your purposes.  In Jesus’ name Amen.   © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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