Bible Devotions

In His Presence

Those who choose to enter into God’s presence and earnestly seek Him in all they do, say or think will be blessed.  David was named by God as “a man after God’s own heart”.  That’s a pretty incredible thing to say about someone who was a murderer and adulterer.  But that’s story for another time.  Yes, David failed at times, just like we do, but he would always return to the Lord.  That makes him a good role model for us.  Read what King David writes in Psalm 84. 

My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (Psalm 84:2 NKJV) Does your soul long for God?  Do you ache for Him?  If not, learn about Him.  Study what He’s done for you.  Focus on the majesty of Him and you will want to be near Him. 

 

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will still be praising You. (Psalm 84:4 NKJV) Staying focused on God no matter what’s going on around you causes you to see things from a different perspective.  When you remember God knows what He’s doing, you can praise Him, even while going through a tough trial in life.  David had plenty of trials in his life.  If David could praise God in the middle of his trials, surely we can too.

 

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.  (Psalm 84:5 NKJV) Realizing we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us is a blessing.  David knew where his strength came from – the Lord.  In addition, he knew he was on a journey.  We are also on a journey to our real home in heaven.  Like Paul taught us we are to remember to keep our eyes on the eternal things and not the things we can see.  When eternity is our focus, we set our hearts in the direction of God and His Kingdom.  Then we can easily say what David did in Psalm 84:10 NKJV, “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”    

 

Our soul longs for the Lord, our minds are set on eternity, and our strength comes from Him. For further reassurance, look at look at Psalm 84:11 NKJV: “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  There are blessings waiting for you who follow the Lord. 

 Lord, thank you for using ordinary people as examples for us.  Thank you for the mercy and grace you pour out on us.  Help us long for you.  Guide our thoughts to the eternal things.  Remind us where our strength comes from.  Reassure us of your love and enable us to walk uprightly before you.  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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A Song for Children of Israel

Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. Deuteronomy 31:19 NKJV

God gave Moses a song to teach the children of Israel so they would be reminded of their depravity and God’s greatness.   Read Deuteronomy 32:1-12 .

It starts by saying heaven and earth shall listen and hear.  It describes this teaching is the nourishment we need to grow.  Next it outlines some of the things that make God great:

  • He is the Rock
  • His work is perfect
  • His ways are justice
  • A God of truth
  • He is righteous and upright

The focus shifts away from God and turns to the people.  What does it say about the people?

  • They corrupted themselves.
  • They are blemished
  • They are perverse and crooked.
  • They are foolish and unwise.

The songs turns back to God, admonishing the people to consider history.  Ask your father and ask your elders what God did in the past.  The rest of the verses up to verse 12 outline all God did for the children of Israel.

  • He found him in a desert land.
  • He encircled him.
  • He instructed him.
  • He kept him as the apple of His eye.
  • The Lord alone led him.

To see the greatness of God, we need to see our own perverseness.  Let’s review a few definitions:

  • Corrupt: to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions. Morally degenerate and perverted; Depraved, putrid, tainted, to become rotten or spoiled.
  • Crooked: not straight, dishonest.
  • Perverse: turned away from what is right or good; corrupt.  Obstinate in opposing what is right, reasonable or acceptable; wrongheaded.

Do these definitions help us see our stubbornness toward God?  The preceding verses highlighted God and His abilities.  God’s ways are perfect. He is truth.  He is righteous and upright.  God is all that and more.  Yet, we are obstinate in opposing what is right.  We stubbornly choose to continue in our self-sufficiency, in the strength of our determination or willpower.  A day is coming when we discover we cannot carry on in our power any longer.  We grow weary and burdened from our self-inflicted march leading to hopelessness and despair.

But God is patient.  He waits for us to come to our senses.  He has given us everything we need to live a godly life filled with abundance by His grace.  God uses everything to work out His perfect plan.  Oddly enough our poor decisions play a key role, for some need to live apart from God in order to know more fully the mercy and grace He offers when they are read to receive it.

If you had a deadly but treatable disease, would you not take advantage of medical treatments to cure the disease?

The Bible tells us we all are infected with a deadly disease called sin.  The wages of sin is death.  But the good news is there’s a free cure – Jesus Christ.  For the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ.  For those our sins may be as scarlet, He washes them white as snow.  He removes our sin as far as the East is from the West.  He remembers our sin no more.  Jesus died to pay for our sin, so we wouldn’t have to.  That’s how much He loves us!

How do I receive this cure?

Believe Jesus died for your sins that God raised Him from the dead and confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and you will be saved.

Pray something like….

Dear God, I know now I am a sinner. Jesus died in my place to pay for my sins.  As you raised Him from the dead, raise me to a new life in you.  Jesus is Lord. In His name I pray. Amen.

Believe you have received and you shall have eternal life.  If you prayed that prayer from your heart, welcome to the family of God.  You have just passed from death to life. Congratulations!

Don’t stop there. Continue to read God’s word to learn more about your Savior and His plan for you.

Lord God Almighty, you love us with an everlasting and unchangeable love.  Thank you for your willingness to make a way for us to know you.  Thank you for dying in our place so we could be made alive in you.  Thank you for your teaching to guide in how we should live.  Continue your good work in us until it complete on the day Christ returns.  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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Accepting His Will

 

So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.” Acts 21:14 NKJV

 

Why is it so hard to accept the will of the Lord?  One reason is we can’t understand why pain and suffering are part of the Lord’s will.  When we study God’s word, it is pretty clear we will have tribulations.

 

James 1:2-3 NKJV “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

 

John 16:33 NKJV “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

 

Romans 8:17 NKJV “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

 

Trials, testing, and tribulation are part of life.  But all of it God uses for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

 

Another reason for not accepting the Lord’s will is stubbornness or self-centeredness.  Again, studying God’s word reveals we are not the only stubborn ones.  Even God’s chosen ones, the Israelites, were stubborn.

 

Exodus 32:9 NKJV “And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!”

 

2 Chronicles 30:8 NKJV “Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.”

 

Acts 7:51 NKJV “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.”

 

Let’s face it we want our way most of the time.  I have found when I am least willing to accept God’s will it is due to my own immaturity.   If thoughts like “I deserve it”, “It’s not fair”, “I have a right to…” are present, you can be sure you are out of God’s will.  Self-serving thoughts are not part of God’s will.

 

What did Jesus teach?  He told us to deny self, pick up our cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34).  He said if someone strikes you on the cheek, turn and give them the other cheek also (Matthew 5:39).  Jesus is our role model.  He laid down His life for us.  We in turn lay down our claim/desire to have things our way.

 

Ignorance is another reason for not accepting God’s will.  It is pretty hard to accept something you have never heard of before.  This is an easy one to correct.  Start reading God’s word.  Join a small group so you can talk with others about questions you may have about what you have read.  Pray God will open your eyes.

 

When Judgment Day comes, ignorance will not be an excuse that saves your hide. 

Romans 1:20-21 NKJV “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Creation points to God.  The stars of above, the ocean depth, the uncountable grains of sand on the beaches, and even the tree branches that reach heavenward all point to a creator.  The world we live in shows obvious signs of a “designer”.  It didn’t just happen by chance.  I saw a bumper sticker the other day saying “THE BIG BANG THEORY: GOD SPOKE AND BANG IT HAPPENED”. The evidence of God is all around us.  It’s even within us.  If you studied human anatomy for any length of time you would find evidence of God in how the body works.  We were made to know God, because He has put eternity in our hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

We have looked at a few reasons for not accepting God’s will.  What’s holding you back?  If trials have stopped you in your tracks, trust God to use it for good.  If self-centeredness or stubbornness is the issue, pray for God to give you a desire to follow him.  If ignorance holds you back, read God’s word.

 

Jesus gives us peace beyond what the world offers.  You just need to trust and obey, there’s no better way.

 Lord thank you for your life-giving word. Give us a desire to follow hard after you.  Help us be God-center rather than self-absorbed. Give us endurance to get through the tough spots in life.  Help us see life from your perspective.  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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Peace – We all want It

At church two weeks ago, while checking out what books were available, I ran across a book with the title: Peace Making Women – Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict.  It was written by two women, Tara Klena Barthel and Judy Babler, who are both counselors.  

 

It’s delightfully interwoven with God’s Word in almost every sentence.  That’s my kind of writing!  While I haven’t read the whole book yet, I thought I would share what I’ve gleaned from the first chapter. 

 

The premise behind peace is having peace with God.  If that’s not there, trying to get peace with others or even yourself is impossible.  The first chapter focuses on our relationship with God.  It attempts to uncover unbiblical thinking that robs you of your security in Christ.  It exposes the lies we may have believed and points you right back to the source of life itself – God and His Word.  

 

At the end of each chapter are Personal Reflections questions.  Hang on to your hats, ladies, there not just one, two or three questions, but ten!  That’s right.  The ten probing questions really get you thinking about your relationship with God.   For example, question number one is about how you became acquainted with the gospel, naming some of your favorite verses and why they are so precious to you. 

 

Because of how I came to know Christ, there were two sections of scripture that God used to draw me closer to Him.

(1)    Luke 23:40-43 – about Jesus on the Cross with the two thieves.  When one thief recognizes Jesus did nothing to deserve death on the cross, he says “remember me when you come into your kingdom” and Jesus responds “Assuredly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.”  Oh how those verses convey the simplicity in Christ.  Nothing more is required than believing in Jesus and receiving the gift of salvation He offers.

(2)    John 8:1-11 – about the woman caught in adultery.  Jesus, great merciful Lord and Savior, takes time to point out everyone’s sin when He says “He who is without sin among you, let him throw the stone at her first.”  He put the adulterous woman on the same level as everyone.  She was no worse than those who accused her.  Then precious Jesus says to her “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.”  How liberating!  Knowing you deserve death for your sins, yet set free instead!

 

Oh ladies, this book is worth checking out for your self.  Visit ThinkOnIt Devotions book store or go to your nearest Christian book store and buy a copy for yourself.  As I continue reading this great resource, more insight is bound come which I’ll gladly pass along to you.

 

Lord, thank you for leading these women to write this book.  May this book be used to draw women deeper in their relationship with you.  May your word go out to all the world and change hearts everywhere.  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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