Bible Devotions

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.  

© 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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Where’s the Faith Now?


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Read Genesis 16.

Previously God had told Abram all the promises He was making with Him. The one about having a son must have really meant a lot to Abram and to Sarai, enough so to take matters into their own hands.

After Sarai was done laughing about her becoming pregnant, she responds with no faith at all. She doesn’t believe what Abram’s is telling her. She doesn’t believe God is going to do it. Therefore, she does what any other efficiency and productivity minded person would do. She starts scheming how to make this things happen.

So Sarai comes up with a plan. She gives her hand maid to Abram as a wife thinking she could bare children through her. I never could understand that whole surrogate-pregnancy. It would be too emotional for me to handle! But get this, Abram signs up for it!

But the blame is not all on Sarai. What about Abram’s faith? A minute ago he believed God and his belief caused God to credit him with righteousness. Why did Abram agree to his wife’s plan?

Meanwhile, this hand maid named Hagar is treated like a piece of meat, used, abused and cast out. This reminds me of a book called “When Godly People Do Ungodly Things.” But God cares for her and her son, even as God’s “chosen people” mistreat her.

We can’t really fault Sarai or Abram for their actions because their too similar to our own. Has God told you He’s going to do something and you couldn’t wait so you tried to make it happen in your timing?

Psalm 46:10 NKJV says “Be still and know I am God. What God says He will do will come to pass in His timing just as Habakkuk 2:3 NKJV says “For the vision is yet for an appointed time; but at the end it will speak, and it will not lie. Though it tarries, wait for it; because it will surely come, it will not tarry.”

Lord help us to be patient and let you fulfill your plan and purpose in your timing. If there are things we are pushing along ahead of you, reveal them so we can rest in knowing you will bring it about without our effort. In Jesus’ name 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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Getting our Attention

 

Read Acts 9.

 

God has ways of getting our attention.  With Saul of Tarsus, God literally knocked Saul off his horse and blinded him. Sometimes God allows sickness or other physical ailments to get us to slow down.  Maybe we have been doing too much and need a reminder to do only what the Lord wills. Other times God might use a loss of a job to get our attention. 

 

The question is are we paying attention?  Are we reading the signs God’s placed in our lives? 

 

The Lord doesn’t just get our attention and leave us wondering.  He is specific with us.  Look at how He interacts with Saul in Acts 9:6 “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”  I find that very comforting.  Imagine you were just struck blind.  I’m sure our mind would be racing thinking all sorts of things: how will I provide for my family, how can I care for myself, who will help me, how do I get things done, etc.   Though we may not be afflicted in same way as Saul, the Lord still wants us to listen for what we must do and be confident He will lead us. 

 

During the days Saul had no sight, I’m sure he spent plenty of time praying.  He was probably reassessing his life wondering what he did wrong to deserve this affliction. Isn’t that just like us?  When something goes “wrong” we think we must have done something to cause it.  I’m sure that’s the case sometimes like when we have to reap the consequences for our sin.  There are plenty of other situations that are not caused by us but rather used for God to develop His image in us.  Maybe we need to learn patience or perseverance or faith.  Circumstances can help us develop godly character traits.

 

In Acts 9:9 it says Saul went without food or drink for the entire three days.  The Bible doesn’t tell us why.  We could speculate many reasons.  Perhaps he meant his denial of food as a fast to help increase he chances of his prayers being heard.  Maybe he was so consumed with his predicament he just couldn’t eat.  Here’s a stretch, maybe he was fearful that someone who try to poison him in his weakened state.  After all he was persecuting the Christians in that day.  We don’t know why he didn’t eat or drink in all that time.  But we do know God was using those days to radically change Saul’s life. 

 

Is God trying to get your attention?  Listen.  He will tell you what you must do.  Isaiah 26:3 says of God: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Also in Isaiah 30:15 “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” It’s time for us to follow the advice of Psalm 46:10:  “Be still and know I am God.”   Lastly, we’ll end with Proverbs 3:5-6 “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.”

 

Lord thank you that all things work together for good for those who love you and are called according to your purposes.  Help us recognize when you are trying to get our attention.  Enable us to listen for your clear direction.  Give us the courage to obey.  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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