Bible Devotions

Riches of His Grace

Read Ephesians Chapter One

In Ephesians chapter one the apostle Paul describes the wonders of God’s grace. We have been given much. We are blessed with every spiritual blessing. We are chosen in Him before the foundation of the world.  We are to be holy and without blame before Him in love. We are adopted into God’s family. All of this given to those who don’t deserve it!

Paul goes on to tell us the reason we are given all these things is for God’s good pleasure and the glory of His grace. God has redeemed us, forgiven our sin, given us wisdom and prudence, and provided an inheritance for us.  Not only that, but God seals us with the Holy Spirit of promise as our guarantee.

All these things are ours, beloved, by the grace of God.  We do not deserve it but He bestowed it to us. We can not earn it for it is a gift from God.

So as we go about our busy days, try to stop and pause at the wonder of God pouring out His grace on us.  Let His words transform how we think.  Rejoice in all He has given us.  Turn our hearts to Him in prayer throughout the day. Watch Him draw closer as we draw closer to Him.

Thank you Father for the glorious riches we have in Christ Jesus! He provide everything we need to live a godly life until Jesus comes again.  In Jesus’ 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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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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A Look at Deuteronomy 27:11-26

And Moses commanded the people on the same day, saying, “These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin; and these shall stand on Mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. Deuteronomy 27:11-13 NKJV

Read Deuteronomy 27:11-26 NKJV.

At first glance this list of curses may seem out of place.  Why command them to recite these curses rather than the actual Ten Commandments given to them earlier in Deuteronomy 5: 6-21?  As we study this further, we see these verses may be practical, real-life, re-statements of the Ten Commandments.

Let’s look at the curses and the Ten Commandments in table format, as well as categorize each.

Category

Curse

Commandment

# of Ten Commandment

God

Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image

You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

2

Family

Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

5

Neighbor

Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.

You shall not steal. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

8, 10

Neighbor

Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9

Neighbor, Justice

Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9

Family, Personal Integrity, Sex

Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed. Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal. Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother. Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. You shall not commit adultery.

5, 7

Neighbor

Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9

Neighbor, Justice, Personal Integrity

Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.

You shall not murder. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

6, 9

There are several things that come out of this analysis.

First, I don’t see a reference to commandments three and four:  “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.  Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.”  I wonder why?

Second, there are four curses regarding sex.  If God repeated this one four times, I’m pretty sure He wants us to remember this one.   This one seems to be about honoring father, mother, family members and self by not joining our self inappropriately.

Third, analyzing the categories makes it clear family and neighbor relations are very important to God.  He wanted the children of Israel to live in relationship with one another.  If everyone did their part, surely none of these curses would be a problem.

Sadly, we learn throughout the Bible the people were not able to refrain from such abominations.  There are plenty of examples of how these commandments were broken and not just in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament.  Here are just a few to get you thinking:

  • Exodus 32:1-10 NKJV – “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’”
  • 2 Samuel 16:21-22 NKJV – “And Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.” So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.”
  • 1 Corinthians 5:1 NKJV – “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!”
  • Matthew  26:14-15 NKJV – “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.”

So what does this mean to us today?   God gave His Word to us as instruction, correction and training in righteousness.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV  says “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Therefore, what can we learn from this reading?  What needs to change with in our thoughts, attitudes, behavior and relationships?  Ask God to reveal all the reasons you do not obey His voice.   Thank Him for completing the good work which He started in you.

Lord God Almighty your plans and purposes are wise and just.  You lead us by your Spirit and Truth.  Equip us with your word.  Give us a pure desire for you.  Reveal anything in us that offends you.  Thank you, Jesus, for cleansing us from all unrighteousness.  In Jesus’ precious 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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Responsibility within a Family

Then Moses and the priests, the Levites, spoke to all Israel, saying, “Take heed and listen, O Israel: This day you have become the people of the LORD your God. 10 Therefore you shall obey the voice of the LORD your God, and observe His commandments and His statutes which I command you today.” Deuteronomy 27:9-10 NKJV

God choose the children of Israel to become His people.  They were to live differently from the surrounding nations.  They were set apart to God.  They were to reflect God’s character to others by obeying His voice and observing His statutes and commandments.

They were about to enter “the promised land flowing with milk and honey.”  God was about to fulfill His promise to those He loved.  God did not want the children of Israel to think this was the end of the journey and become complacent in their new home.  Rather He wanted them to remember to listen to Him and observe His ways.

Think for moment about a family with parents and children.  The children belong to the parents.  They are responsible to listen and obey all their parents say.  The parents are responsible for providing for, teaching and correcting the children so they may have healthy, productive lives.

The parents are not responsible for their neighbor’s children.  They don’t walk in their neighbor’s house and start instructing their neighbor’s children what to do.  The neighbor’s children are not responsible to them, so they have their own parents who they are responsible to.  Likewise, our children are not responsible to our neighbor’s parents because we are their parents.

In order for this responsibility to kick in, one must first become part of a family.  Some are physically born into a family and others are adopted into a family.  Once you’re in a family you become responsible to the parents and their commands.

When we live in family, we start looking and acting alike.  Ever notice how the children look much like their parents.  Even adopted children who come from different birth parents, start looking and acting like their adoptive parents.

That’s what is going on here in scripture.  The children of Israel have become part of God’s family.  As a result, they have the responsibility to listen and obey God’s commands and live different from those who are not part of God’s family.  The children of Israel’s lives were to show the world around them they were in fact part of God’s family.

How about you?  Have you become part of God’s family yet?  All you need to do is trust Jesus through faith and God’s grace will activate.  If you haven’t done this yet, there’s no time like now.  Simply ask Jesus to forgive your rebellion and He will.  God will send His Holy Spirit to live in you so you’ll know you are His.

So you are part of God’s family by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Does your life reflect God’s character?  Have you stepped up to the responsibility to God and His commands?  If not, ask God to show you what and give you a willing heart to change.

God Almighty who loves us and wants us to become part of His family, thank you for making it possible through Jesus Christ.  May we accept your work on our behalf.  May we become your children and responsible to your voice and commands.  Enable us this day to live for 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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Family what is it?

 

Merriam Webster’s Dictionary says family is a group of individuals living together under one head, coming from the same clan or race, and a people united by certain convictions as in a fellowship.

 

I want to call your attention to a few words in the above definition. 

 

Individuals are unique.  Each has its own personality, style, preferences, and beliefs.  God made us this way.  He loves variety.  Therefore, we are called to live at peace with everyone, as much as it depends on you (Romans 12:18).

 

One Head represents the One Authority we live under – God.  In God’s economy He planned for the husband to be head of the household, just as Jesus Christ is head of the church (Ephesians 5:25).  We are to live in submission to God, whether we are married or single. 

 

Same Clan – We are all part of the same human race.  We all have the same sinful nature.  Realizing we’re all in this life together will help us be more forgiving.  We are sinners by nature (Romans 3:23).  Even after we are born again in Christ, we may still make mistakes.  Let’s cut each other some slack by forgiving and being tender hearted towards one another.  After all God has forgiven you, how then can you withhold forgiveness to someone else?

 

United – We are united together in Christ Jesus.  Family is so important to God that He died for us to adopt us into His family (Ephesians 1:5). Jesus is the unifying entity that seals us together as a permanent family. 

 

With the above definition in mind, I’d like to say families are:

  • A place where we are loved for who we are not what we do.  We are accepted and belong.
  • A place of encouragement.  It may seem like the world is against us, but we know our family is for us.
  • A place to share our troubles without being blamed for them.

 

Sadly, this ideal isn’t the case a lot of the time.  Whether your family meets your expectations or not when you are a believer in Jesus Christ you are automatically adopted into the ideal family.  What we have today with out physical family will one day be gone.  But our spiritual family will remain together in heaven.

 

Rather than wasting precious time complaining about the dysfunction we see in our earthly family, let’s try to find common ground and practice loving one another as the Lord loves us. 

 

What are you doing to promote a godly family?  Is your love without hypocrisy?  Are you kind and affectionate, giving preference to one another? (Romans 12:9-10).

 

Remember God has a plan and purpose for you being part of your family.  He is working in you to grow you to be more Christ-like.  In the family setting, conflicts and all, He is developing godly character in us. 

 Lord, thank you for placing us in earthly families.  Help us to grow Christ-like character until you welcome us in heaven.  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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