Bible Devotions

Heritage of Lord’s Servants

 

Read Isaiah 54.

 

If you find yourself needing some encouragement, Isaiah 54 is a wonderful place to look.  This section of scripture is so packed with promises of God for his people; I can hardly contain my excitement as I think about how God will accomplish these in our lives.

 

Extended Family

One of the outcries of many women is the desire for family.  Whether it is small or large family, made up of naturally birthed babes or adopted ones doesn’t manner.  It is the community of family in which we long for connectedness.   In verses one through three, Isaiah writes about having a large spiritual family and having to enlarge our tents as we expand from right to left.  Our descendants will inherit nations and make desolate cities inhabited.  When you think of family, do you remember to include your spiritual family?

 

Redeemed

We do not fear for we will not be ashamed or disgraced or put to shame.  We can believe with confidence God will carry out what He said He would.  We will forget the shame of our past.  Knowing the past is forgiven gives us great joy.  Our reproach of widowhood is remembered no more, for the Lord our Maker is our husband.  We are the bride of Christ, He is our Holy husband.   We are redeemed by the Holy One of Israel who is called the God of the whole earth.  If anyone can erase past mistakes, it is the God of the whole earth.  It is this all-powerful God who has called you to redemption. 

 

Everlasting Kindness

Though we have to experience the pain caused by rebelling against our wonderful Maker, it will not last long.  “With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; but with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you,” says the Lord, your Redeemer (verse 8).   He will not be angry or rebuke us, “but My kindness shall not depart from you, nor shall My covenant of peace be removed says the Lord who has mercy on us” (verse 9-10).   He has said it, therefore, this promise of everlasting kindness and covenant of peace will not be broken.

 

Great Peace

A heavenly dwelling place awaits us, believer, more beautiful than our minds can imagine.  In this place, our children will be taught by the Lord Himself and great shall be the peace of your children (verse 13).

 

Established in Righteousness

Our righteousness comes from God (verse 17).  We are shall be established in righteousness by His hand, so there’s nothing for us to boast about except the Lord’s work in us.  We can not earn righteousness through doing good works.  But once we are righteous we will see good works appear in our life.  It all comes from Him and is not of our making.

 

Victory

In the remaining verses 14 through 17, we are told oppression will be far from us and terror will not come near us.  Whoever assembles against us shall fall for our sake.  Even though the Lord created the spoiler to destroy, no weapon formed against us shall prosper.  Every word spoken against us in judgment will be condemned.  God is in complete control.  He has promised us victory in our life as we seek Him and rest in His righteousness. 

 

Oh believer, may these verses bring comfort and renew your determination of pursuing God.  He is good, He is just and He will not let us be ashamed.  This is our heritage as God describes.  Let’s rejoice in Him.

 Lord God who made the heavens and the earth, thank you for your words of encouragement spoken to us this today.  May we seek you with all our heart, mind, body and strength. Your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven.  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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Peace

We all want peace, don’t we?

What exactly is peace? 

From a worldly standpoint peace means absence of war or conflict.  However, spiritual peace, right standing with God, brings a peace not dependant on earthly circumstances.  Have you found yourself in a chaotic situation, yet you were calm and undisturbed?  It was not because you didn’t care about what was happening but on the contrary you were passionate about it and yet this peace exuded from you.     If you haven’t experienced that kind of peace yet, don’t worry your turn is coming.  I remember having a very “blessed” feeling amidst the baby crying, dog barking, phone ringing while trying to have a conversation over dinner one time.  It was such a wonderful moment it still moves me to worship God every time I think about it.  That’s the serenity of the peace we’re talking about today.

 

Where do we find it?

 

Jesus said “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” (John 16:33).   After explaining to His disciples the Holy Spirit would come to bring to remembrance everything He taught them, Jesus said “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).  Peace and the Holy Spirit are inseparable.

 

How do we get it?

 

Unity with the Holy Spirit and obedience to God’s Word is a good place to start.  Listening to the Spirit’s prompting and quickly following through with whatever direction He gives will definitely be rewarded.  Paul taught our thoughts play a huge role in whether we obtain God’s peace or not in Philippians 4:8-9: “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. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

 

Did you see the connection?  Meditate on these things and do them.  There it is – obedience to God brings God’s peace.  However, we also need to be careful to obey for the right reasons.  We obey out of love for Christ.  He is the vine, we are the branches.  In Him we bear much fruit but apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

 

How’s your peace today?  If it’s running low, check back in with the Holy Spirit, ask God to help you back on the path, read God’s Word and then be quick to obey.

Lord Jesus, we are so amazed by your wonderful peace.  Thank you for all you do in us. May your Spirit continue to lead us on the path of righteousness as we seek you in obedience to your Word.  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 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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Are You Troubled?

Restless

Does your situation have you in a choke hold?  Are anxious thoughts plaguing you?  Do unmet needs have you down?  Are you paralyzed by fear?

 

When our thoughts are centered on our self, our situation and our own needs, we can be sure we are playing into our enemy’s trap.  For these are the opposite of what God would have us focus on.  Think about Jesus’ ministry on earth.  Was He ever troubled over how He would pay His bills?  Did He fret over what He would wear?  Was He ever concerned about get His own needs met?  No He wasn’t.  Instead He was focused on God and God’s will. So when we find our self stuck by our problems, our thoughts and our fears, we need to remember God has a plan and we’re part of it. 

 

Remember God

Mediate on God and His glory to help bring back the proper perspective.  Psalm 104 is a great example of thinking on God’s handiwork.  Thinking about all He has created will help you remember how powerful, mighty and awesome He is.  Thinking about His strength your problems seem smaller by comparison.  God knows all things from the beginning to the end and everything in between.  He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is steadfast on Him because you trust Him (Isaiah 26:3).  Remember God’s perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

 

Do Your Part

Put on God’s armor so you may stand firm.  Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV says “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” 

 

Think on helpful things.  Philippians 4:7-8 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.”  Do good and don’t grow weary for at the right time you will reap a harvest of right living (Galatians 6:9).  Do not doubt the Lord will accomplish all He says He will.  Seek first His kingdom and all things will be added to you. 

 

When you find yourself restless check your thoughts.  Remember God and focus your thoughts on Him.  With God’s power within you do your part to abide in His love and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). 

 Lord, thank you for being able to calm our restless souls.  Thank you for your word to guide us in our knowledge of you.  Thank you for your spirit to lead us in your truth.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

 

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Kiss the Son

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.  Psalm 2:12 NKJV 

Read Psalm 2.

Have you ever looked around at the world today and wondered what was going on?  Why does everyone seem to be angry, jealous, and selfish?

The psalmist saw worldliness in his generation, just as we do in ours.  Verse one says “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?” However, he didn’t use the depravity he saw as an excuse to deny God himself.  Instead he chose to praise God, reinforcing in his own mind God had everything under control.  “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill in Zion” says the Lord in verse six.

In verses four and five we see the wicked would not go unpunished: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.”

Be encouraged, no matter how bad it gets around us, God knows what He’s doing.  Listen to the psalmist in verses 10 through 12:  “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.   Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

The reminder in this psalm is two fold.  First, we need to turn our self away from worldliness and keep our self God-centered.  Second, we are not of this world if we have put our trust in Jesus Christ. 

 Lord, thank you for your precious word conveying your love and mercy to all.  Enable us to turn away from worldliness and set our minds on you.  Enable us to trust you more fully this day.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

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He’s Watching Everything

The eyes of the Lord are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.  Proverbs 15:3 NKJV 

Does this bring you comfort and encouragement?  Or does it strike terror in your heart?

It depends on whether you are being obedient or not, doesn’t it?  If a child knows his parents are not looking, he may reach into the cookie jar when he’s not supposed to.  If the child knows he’s being watched, he may not attempt to take something he’s not supposed to. 

 

It’s the same with our spiritual walk.  If you’ve given your life over to Christ’s rule, by recognizing your sin, seeking forgiveness through Christ, then His Spirit lives within you.  You know He is with you everywhere.  He is there in your thoughts.  He is there in your outward actions.  He is ready to step in to help you when ever to you turn to Him for assistance. 

 

One of the problems is we forget He’s so close, because He’s not visible like a human being is.  We think we can handle things on our own.  But when we do we are shunning God.  He wants to be the first thing we think about.  He wants to be the first one we consult when faced with a decision.  He wants us to seek Him for daily direction.  Proverbs 15:11 says “Hell and Destruction are before the Lord; so how much more the hearts of the sons of men.”  This speaks of the Lord watching us.  He’s checking us out to see if we’ll do the right thing.  He’s watching our move to see if we’ll choose to draw closer to Him or continue doing things our own way.

 

The Bible says “fear of the Lord” hundreds of times.  Fear of the Lord is to have proper reverence for who God is.  Remember, He spoke this world into existence.  He can easily speak it out of existence if He wanted to.  He is merciful and patient as He does not want a single person to perish but all to come to know Him and be saved.

 

Fear of the Lord keeps us in proper perspective too.  If we reverence God for who He is, we will clearly see us for who we really are.  We are sinners needing forgiveness.  With that securely in our mind, we are more dependent on God to walk with us to deliver us from continuing down a path of sin. 

 

Proverbs 15:33 says “The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom and before honor is humility.”  A key to gaining wisdom is fear of the Lord.   Before we can attain wisdom, we must humble our self before the Lord. 

 

What do you think?  Are you willing to humble your self before our Lord?  He’s willing to forgive your transgressions and guide you along the path of righteousness. 

 Lord, thank you for watching over us and being in us who believe in Christ.  Help us have proper reverence of you.  Enable us to be quick to run to you for counsel.  May we continue to humble our self before you and attain your wisdom.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

 

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Why Resistant to God?

We are all resistant to God at some point in our lives.  The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.   To sin is to rebel against God.  Even unintentional sin, is resistance to God.  Today, let us examine several reasons why we may be resistant.  As you read, ask yourself if these scenarios are present in your life.

 Too Prideful

Proverbs 29:23NKJV “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” Pride takes on many forms. It can be selfishness, thinking your better than someone else, false humility, know-it-all attitude, self-sufficiency and on it goes.  Pride hinders us from hearing and receiving God’s truth about our self.  If you have a hard time taking a criticism, offering forgiveness, or saying “I’m sorry” you might be prideful.

 Too Critical

Being critical or judgmental of others can also lead to an inability to receive God’s love.  This is also tied very closely with pride.  Are you measuring others by some impossible standard?  If you were to measure yourself by the same standard would you pass or fail?  What right do you have to judge someone?  Are you God?  Look at what Jesus said in John 8:15 NKJV “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.” Only God can judge rightly because He knows a person’s heart.

 

Too Wounded

Have you been hurt by someone you love?  Having a hard time trusting again?  Do you feel like you have to protect your self from getting hurt again?  We’ve all be wounded.  Let’s face it, we’ve all wounded others.  We’re not perfect.  The Bible tells us in John 16:33 we will continue to have trails and sorrow but we are not to worry because Jesus has overcome the world.  If we allow our wounded-ness keep us from God’s healing grace we are our own worst enemy. 

 

Too Fearful

God’s love casts out fear.  Anyone still fearful is someone who’s not been perfected by God’s marvelous love yet (1 John 4:18).  Does fear have you parallelized?  Are you afraid of discovering the depth of your sin?  Are you fearful of knowing God because you think He’ll send you off to some foreign country to minister?  The Bible is full of “Do not fear” and “Do not be afraid” statements God makes towards man.  God is good.  There is no darkness within Him (1 John 1:5).  His intentions are for our best interest (Jeremiah 29:11).  We can trust He will take care of us. 

 Key Take-Aways

God loves you and doesn’t want anyone to perish.  (John 10:28)

God is not out to get you, but rather to draw you closer to Him. (Matthew 11:28-30)

God wants you to live an abundant live now and live with Him for all eternity. (Isaiah 55:1, John 10:10)

 

What do you think?  Did you discover any areas in your life needing God’s restorative touch?  Call on Him.  Ask Him to come and heal the broken places in your heart.  Ask Him to cut away the pride and criticalness in your attitude.  Ask Him to fill you with His love to cast out all fear.  He is faithful and will answer prayers aligned with His will.  Those seeking Him will find Him.  Taste and see the Lord is good. 

 Lord God Almighty, you alone can make a difference in our life.  Thank you for sending Jesus to take away our sin and open the door to you.  Enlighten us to the things hindering our relationship with you.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

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How Easily They Forgot Who They Followed

Read Mark 6

 

 

After reading this chapter, what seems like for the hundredth time, it started to take on a whole new meaning.  Instead of focusing on one or two verses and drawing some conclusions, the Spirit prompted me to read the whole chapter again.  As I read it over again several times, I began to focus on the disciples, their actions, and their words.  Try it for yourself. 

In the opening verses 1 – 4 we see the disciples followed Jesus to His own town, where the people who knew Jesus from childhood had difficulty believing what He taught. 

Verses 7-12 Jesus sends out the disciples in pairs to preach the gospel of repentance.  In the process Jesus gives them the power to cast out demons and heal the sick.  Maybe Jesus sent the disciples out because His own people didn’t believe Him. Perhaps the people might believe if the message came from someone else.   In any case, please notice Jesus provided the power to do what He wanted the disciples to do.

Later in verse 30-32 the twelve disciples returned with a report of all the things they did.  No doubt, the disciples had explained everything with great excitement and rejoicing.  Imagine being able to cast out an unclean spirit or to heal a sick person.  It must have been astounding!  Jesus, knowing what is to come, responses by asking the disciples to come away and rest.  After having a wonderful spiritual experience, we would be wise to take Jesus’ advice and rest, for many times temptation comes on the heels of elation. 

Next in verses 33-43 is the feeding of 5,000, a familiar story.  Remember, the disciples had just been through an exciting spiritual journey casting out demons, healing people, and resting with Jesus when they returned. Verse 34-36 says “And Jesus, when He came out, saw a great multitude and was moved with compassion for them, because they were like sheep not having a shepherd. So He began to teach them many things.When the day was now far spent, His disciples came to Him and said, “This is a deserted place, and already the hour is late. Send them away, that they may go into the surrounding country and villages and buy themselves bread;for they have nothing to eat.””  What a contrast between Jesus’ compassion for the people and the disciples’ response “send them away”.   Obviously, the disciples were focused on themselves, rather than on the work of God or other people.    Do you suppose the disciples were resentful of all the people because they wanted to spend more time with Jesus?  Were they just tired? Or did they wish the responsibility of caring for all the people would go away?   In any case, look how Jesus responses to the disciples: “You give them something to eat.”  How do the disciples respond to that?  No way, how could we afford to feed all these people.  Now, what a minute, didn’t Jesus give the disciples the power to cast out demons and to heal the sick?  Yes.  No where did we read that power was taken away from the disciples.  Here they are being tested.  Are they passing or failing the test?  It doesn’t look good from my vantage point.  

In verses 45-52 we see the disciples are tested further by going before Jesus to the other side of the lake.  Jesus stays behind to send the people home and to pray.  He notices a strong wind has made the disciples’ journey across the water difficult, the rowing was hard.  He decides to visit them by walking to them on the water, thereby demonstrating some of His Godly power, revealing who He really is to His frightened disciples.  How do the disciples respond?  The Bible says “And when they saw Him walking on the sea, they supposed it was a ghost, and cried out; for they all saw Him and were troubled.”  If they saw Him, why were they afraid?   Verse 52 gives us the answer: “For they had not understood about the loaves, because their heart was hardened.”  They failed the first test regarding the feeding of the 5,000, because they didn’t think they had the power to perform the miracle and it caused their hearts be hardened with unbelief.  When the next testing came, they saw Jesus, knowing what He was capable of so far, yet they didn’t believe He could walk on water.   So, they failed again with a greater degree of disbelief.  So it goes with us.  One disbelief leads to another and another.  This is an excellent reminder for us to keep ourselves in the love of God.  

The disciples had forgotten the power given to them and therefore couldn’t feed the needy people.  The disciples had also forgotten where their power came from and as a result, could not rejoice when the Power of God was demonstrated.  Remember the feeding of 5,000?  How five loaves and two fishes could feed that many people was an awesome miracle, but the disciples didn’t rejoice at all.  When we forget God’s Holy Spirit is in us we, too, will fail rejoice when we witness God’s miracles.   

Next, they saw Jesus walking on water.  Another amazing miracle, but instead of rejoicing at His mighty power they became fearful.  1 John 4:18 NKJV tells us: There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears has not been made perfect in love.” 1 John 4:16 NKJV teaches us: “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  If the disciples had abided in His love, they would not have been fearful.  When did they stop abiding in His love?  About the time they forgot His power was in them.   

If you find yourself fearful, cut yourself some slack.  You’re not perfected yet.  Know that God’s not done with you yet.  Allow God’s Word to shape you into His image.  Remember, it is God in you giving you the desire, the will, and the power to carry out His glorious purposes.

 Lord thank you for your precious Word that teaches us about you.  Help us to learn from what we read.  Enable us to leverage your power in us to accomplish all you ask of us.  Teach us to abide in your love.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

 

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Given to Fear

Read 1 Samuel 27

David gives in to fear and doubt.  He take matters into his own hands without consulting the Lord.  Allowing his fear to drive him, he decides to go to the land of the Philistines to flee from Saul.

David talks Achish into giving him some town where he may dwell. The king granted his request. David stayed in that land for close to a year and a half.
David turned into a deceiver while there.  For he would raid the Geshurites, Girzites and Amalekites. These places belonged to the enemy’s of Israel. David would kill all the people so no one could tell anyone.

When the king asked David about his raids, David would lie, saying he fought against the southern area of Judah or Jerahmeelites or Kenites. Achish believed David.  The king thought Dave made his people of Israel abhor him, so David would be his servant forever.

Allowing fear and doubt control us, leads to further sin as we saw with David.  If we doubt God’s favor we make wrong choices.  God was certainly with David. We saw the various times he escaped Saul. Yet somehow David forgot God’s deliverance. He turned to make things happen for himself.

How often do we do the same thing?  We get tired of how long God takes and turn to our own plans.  What is the result? We sabotage God’s plans for us. We make matters worse. We lead ourself into further sin with each self-willed decision.
However bad our decisions turns out, God is bigger.  He is able to work all things for good in the lives of those who love Him and are called according to his purposes.  Even our mistakes can’t stop God’s plans.

O’Gracious God, even when we mess things up, you are there to make it right. Thank you for loving us and not leaving us to our own defenses. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Bible Devotions on Thoughts

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Unfounded Fear

Read Judges 6:25-32

Earlier in the day Gideon had an encounter with the Angel of the Lord.  Gideon had built an alter and called it “The Lord is Peace” because the Lord said “Peace be with you; do not fear, you shall not die.”

I wonder if the Angel was referring to the Old Testament reference about “if you saw God, you would die” or whether he was speaking about what was to come.  Maybe he was addressing both situations because Gideon did not die from either encounter.

Later the same night the Lord told Gideon to tear down the altar of Baal and the wooden image beside it.  He also told him to build an alter to the Lord your God on top of this rock in proper arrangement.  Gideon gathered 10 servants and did as the Lord said.  Gideon feared his father’s household and the men of the city so he did it at night time rather that by day, but the point is he did it.

Gideon hears from the Lord and obeys, but he is fearful.  Isn’t that much like us?  We hear the Lord’s instructions but are fearful to act, just like Gideon.

The next day, the men of the city saw their alter of Baal torn down and the new alter to God in its place.  They asked who did this.  Someone said Gideon, son of Joash did this.  They called Joash to bring out your son that he may die.

Can you imagine what was going through Gideon’s mind at that point? He’s already afraid of his father’s household and now the people want to kill him! Gideon’s dad has the sense to tell them to get lost.  He says if Baal’s really a god let him deal with it.  Gideon’s dad, Joash, is a model of God the Father.  Joash stands up for Gideon.  He tells the men of the city “if Baal is a god, let him plead for himself because his alter was torn down.”  So Gideon is spared.

In the end Gideon’s fear was pointless.  This should be a lesson for us.  Fear is a tool of our enemy used to derail God’s purpose in and through us.  We may be fearful at times, but as long as we obey God’s instructions despite the fear, we shall be victorious.

Dear Lord, thank you for being real and rewarding those who seek you.  Thank you that you do not measure our faithfulness by the absence of fear.  Though we may fear, we still desire to obey.  Thank you for the courage to step out in faith, fear or no fear.  May we rise to your calling and obey every word from you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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©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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