Bible Devotions

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 1

Study the life of Jesus Christ as shown in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).   Create for a picture of God’s character and then consider the character of man.

 

Jesus Human

Sinless, perfect, pure, spotless

Sinful

 

This comparison helps us recognize our need for a Savior.  Romans 3:23 says we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.  John declares the good news: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV).  Jesus is the perfect lamb, pure and spotless given as a sacrifice to pay the price for the sinful world.  Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ.

 

Jesus Human

Aligned with the Father’s will

Manipulate to get our will done

 

Jesus knew His purpose and did not waver one bit.  He was all about doing His Father’s work.  He did only what His Father wanted done in complete and perfect submission and obedience to God’s will.  Ours is a self-centered nature that clashes with God’s will.  We want our way and usually manipulate and scheme to get it.

 

Jesus Human

Consistent with prayer

Occasionally pray (especially with the ‘big” stuff)

 

Jesus was always praying.  He made time for prayer.  He never made decisions without praying first.  He stayed connected to the Father through prayer.  As a result He was strengthened and enabled to carry out God’s purposes.  We, on the other hand, pray sometimes.  The Bible teaches us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  However, we forget to bring all things before the Lord in prayer.  Somehow we think God is too busy to hear even our smallest concerns.  We tend to call out to God when there’s a crisis or in a stressful situation.  But God longs for us to turn to Him in all situations.  Do we come to Him when we need to make a decision?  Do we ask for wisdom and guidance?  We do not come to Him as much as we should.  Therefore, Jesus is a good example of bringing everything to God in prayer.

 

May the comparisons we’ve drawn today encourage you to seek Him in all you do.  Know you are saved by His death and resurrection.  May Jesus’ example of following God’s will be our desire in our life.  May we bring everything before Him in prayer to stay connected with God and His will. 

 

Lord, Jesus thank you for your example to follow.  Thank you for leading us on the path of righteousness.  We ask for your guidance day by day.  Give us the desire for God’s will in our life. Help us turn to you so often in prayer not one area of our life is unexposed to your light.  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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Imitators of God

Read Ephesians 4 through Ephesians 5:1-2

 

Paul writes in Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God”.  Let’s explore what that means by reading Ephesians 4 together.

 

Forgive as We are Forgiven

Walk worthy of our calling by being tenderhearted and forgiving towards one another.  Always remembering God forgave us, therefore, we forgive others.  We treat others better than they deserve because again that’s what God does to us.  We don’t deserve His abundant supply of mercy and grace, do we?  And yet, He generously pours it out on us.  He calls us to do the same to others around us.  We do our part to live at peace with others, getting along with all people to the best of our abilities.  When we are wronged we don’t hold it against them, we don’t seek revenge but rather give space and time for God to work it out.  God says vengeance is mine (Deuteronomy 32:35).

 

Sacrifice My Will

We consciously turn from our former conduct and put off the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts.  We lay aside all things that hinder our walk, such as sin that easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1).  We repent of our sins when we are made aware of them.  We cast down every thought that exalts it self over God (2 Corinthians 10:5).  We concentrate on being renewed in the Spirit of our mind, letting God’s word have its way (Romans 12:2), equipping us to put on the new man created after God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

Walk in Love

God is love, we walk in Him (1 John 4:8).  If we abide in Him, He abides in us (1 John 4:16).  First Corinthians 13:4-7 defines love as “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  So we speak the truth in love and are encouraged to do good without growing weary.  Our God does not grow weary of doing good for us, therefore, we don’t grow weary either.  Doing good also means knowing our purpose, using our gifts, talents and abilities to edify, encourage and build up others.  Therefore, we redeem the time and make the most of every opportunity by walking in love.

 

Follow Me

So if we look to Jesus as our example we will seek the Father and his will in all things.  We pray for strength to carry out His plan and purposes.  We lay aside our will and ask to have the Father’s will be done.  We will sacrifice our self for others as many times as is required until Christ returns to take us home.  Jesus did not leave us without the power to accomplish all this.  No, He left us His Spirit to guide us and empower us to do all God desires us to do. 

 

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:1-2).

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your example to us.  Thank you for your spirit to lead us and equip us for all God wants us to do.  May be seek the Father and carry out His will in our generation.  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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Pursue Love

Read 1 Corinthians 13. 

What Love Isn’t

Love isn’t the warm, gushy feeling you get when being romanced by your sweetheart.  Love is not a sexual desire or longing for physical interlude with another person.  These are examples of mere feelings.  While feelings may accompany love, they are not love.

 

What Love Is

According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  In addition, we know from 1 John 4:16 “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  These attributes of love are really attributes of God and those who love God. 

 

Steps to Love

We need to realize we have a choice to love.  Love isn’t easy or free of effort.  It takes a decision to love.  It takes determination to continue to love.  Most importantly it requires the Holy Spirit to love.  As God is love, we can not love without God’s presence.  That’s where the Holy Spirit comes into play.  For those who believe Jesus died for our sin and rose again for our eternal salvation, the Holy Spirit is given to us and enables us to love. 

 

Results of Love

There is no doubt when someone loves.  You can see it in their life.  Love exhibits it self in your life and the lives of others around you.  Jesus gave us lots of examples to follow: washing His disciples’ feet, feeding thousands, denying His will and following His Father’s will, and laying down His life for His friends, as well as many other examples.  Love changes things.  Love forgives.  It extends mercy rather than judgment.  Love builds up rather tearing people down.  Love seeks to restore rather than destroy.  Just look the relationship of God and His people.  Although His people repeatedly sinned and rebelled against Him, He still made it possible, through Christ, to be saved. 

 

Above all else we can choose to do in this life; the greatest of these is the choice to love.  Pursue love today. 1 John 4:7 NKJV says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

 Lord, thank you for loving us and enabling us to love you and others.  Help us choose to love and follow your example.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit in us to lead us in your love.  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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Seeking a Spirit-Filled Life

The Bible has much to say about a Spirit-filled life.  Every believer wants to be filled with God’s Spirit and the truth is they are.  Today we are going to look at what a Spirit-filled life looks like.  As you read, consider whether these traits are visible in your own life.  If not, pray to our Father and ask Him to help you remove the obstacles preventing this kind of life.  

Marked by Humility

Believers who are well aware of their own sin are much more likely to be forgiving of another’s sin.  They are not judging, critical or condemning for they themselves know they are sinners too. They extend mercy and grace to others because they’ve received mercy and grace from God.  Humble people tend to lack pride, self-promotion and wanting their own way. 

 Considered to be Loving

A loving person is one who is servant-hearted and considers others above themselves.   First Corinthians 13:4-8 NKJV says this about love: “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
Love never fails.”

 Confident in God

The Spirit-filled believer is confident in God’s ability as proven by what God has already done in their life.  They know they are forgiven, a huge miracle in itself.  They are not bound by past sins because Christ has already paid the price for those sins.  Praying without ceasing is commonplace in this person’s life because they have experienced the power of God and subsequently know how to depend on God for everything. 

 

Obedient to God

The believer who practices daily living God’s commands is considered to be obedient.  This individual knows there is safety and security in submitting to the authority of God.  The one goal of the believer is to love God with all their body, soul, mind and strength and love others as themselves (Luke 10:27). The obedient disciple of Christ will deny self, carry their cross and follow Him daily by putting off the old sinful nature and purposing putting on the new Spirit-directed nature (Luke 9:23, 2 Corinthians 5:17). 

 

In summary a Spirit-filled life will be evident by the spiritual fruit we see in their lives.  Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV lists the type of fruit produced by the Spirit: “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”  If you are feeling discouraged about your progress, do not be deceived but rather cast those thoughts away from you.  Remember no one lives the Spirit-filled life perfectly in this life, but as believers we are called to yearn for it.  God is the one working in us to transform us to His image and He’s not done with us yet. 

 Lord, we thank you for saving us from a life of sin and for giving us you’re Spirit to guide us into truth to live for you.  Thank you for your life-giving word equipping us to live godly lives until Christ returns.  May we bring glory by allowing the Spirit to produce its fruit in our lives.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

 

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How to Walk in the Spirit

Humble Self before God

It’s not about us.  This world does not exist to gratify our selfish desires, though many live as like it does.  The world and its entire people were created for God’s pleasure.  Psalm 149:4 NKJV “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” The Bible teaches us in Mark 8:34 to deny self and think of others first, in doing so, we honor God and operate in a humble manner. We become humble rather than prideful.  Pride is something God hates (Proverbs 8:13).

 

Transform through God’s Love

In humility we are able to understand the love God has for us.  It is a love so deep, willing to sacrifice His own Son to die for our sins (John 3:16).  It is a love so pure and good it can not leave us to our own devices. It pursues us.  It changes us, draws us deeper into a more meaningful life.  It perfects us, if we’ll let it (1 John 4:18).

 

Sense God’s Hand Everywhere

Keeping our mind focused on God enables us to look for and expect to see God working behind every circumstance.  The more we see God’s hand, the deep our faith grows, further equipping us to walk in the Spirit.  Again, we must be willing to see (1 Samuel 12:16).  When we do see, praise God for what He’s doing.  An attitude of praise is helpful for remaining in the Spirit.

 

Conform My Will to His

Having the proper perspective on self and God enables us to submit to the will of God.  Upon realizing we are not the center of all existence, rather God is, and it becomes easier to submit to His authority (Romans 10:13).  All human authority was put there by God and we are obligated to submit to that authority as well (Romans 13:1).  As we do submit is it honoring to God.  It may also put in right relations with others (Ephesians 5:21).

 

While this short article does not explain everything about the Spirit, it should be a good guide to get you started.  Walking by the Spirit is about staying humble, considering others first, being transformed by God’s love, sensing His hand everything, and allowing our will to be molded to God’s will.

 Lord, thank you for your love, your Son, you Word and your Spirit.  Lead us in your truth.  Shape us in your image.  Equip us to walk in the Spirit.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

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Humble Yourselves In The Sight Of The Lord, And He Will Lift You Up

Read James 4

Fights, wars, murder, coveting, and seeking pleasures are all signs of someone who is an enemy of God. These outward expressions reveal the adultery within. The heart is far from God, puffed up with pride.

Pride makes us do things against God. We speak evil of others, judging them as though we ourselves were god. We boast of all we plan to do. Yet this boasting is foolishness and arrogant.  Being preoccupied with all we plan to do, causes us to miss what God wants to do in and through us.

Humility protects us from pride, self-will, and arrogance.  James exhorts believers to submit to God by doing two things: (1) Draw near to God and He will draw near to you (2) Resist the devil and he will flee from you.

So when these ungodly behaviors appear in our life, stop. Confess our sins and turn our hearts back to God.

Thank you God, for being willing to hear our prayers to forgive us one more time when we confess our sins. Thank you for your faithfulness to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and purify us as though we never sinned.  Thank you, Jesus, for taking our punishment for us.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit who helps us live a pleasing life to you. In Jesus’ 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.

Bible Devotions on Humility
http://thinkonitbibledevotions.com/Bible_Verses_by_Topic_Humility.aspx

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The Meekness of Wisdom, Spiritual Wisdom

Read James 3

There are two kinds of wisdom. One is a worldly wisdom. The other is a spiritual wisdom. How can we tell the difference between them?

James explains where there is bitter envy, self-seeking, boasting, and lying this is wisdom of the world, which is earthly, sensual, and demonic. Spiritual wisdom comes from God is pure, peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, with no partiality or hypocrisy.

Picture the meekness of wisdom as we consider how Jesus behaved during his arrest and crucification.  He was pure and sinless. He was peaceful when arrested. He was gentle when He healed the soldier’s ear cut off by his overly enthusiast disciple. He willingly yielded Himself to cruel men to be killed. He was full of mercy as He hung nailed to the cross and asked the Father, “Forgive them they know not what they do.” Jesus played no favorites when he told the thief on the cross next to Him, “Today you will be in paradise.” Jesus was not a hypocrite as He said He would lay down his life and take it up again and He did!

True wisdom allows us to be meek, as Jesus’ example points out. He knew who He was. He knew where He came from and where He would return.  He knew His power and that of His Father. He knew He could do anything He wanted to do, yet He choose to do the One thing to save all who believe!

Unless we understand who we are in Christ, it is difficult to be humble. Only seeing the reality of our hopelessness of our own strength, and the power of Christ can we humble ourselves.

How is your wisdom?

Check it against James’ definition. Are there signs of bitter envy or self-seeking embedded in your logic? If so watch out. You are operating from a worldly view.  Are you able to show good conduct through works done in the meekness of wisdom? If so you are on your way to walking worthy of your calling as a child of God.

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Foolish or Wise?

Are you so foolish? Having begun in the Spirit, are you now being made perfect by the flesh? Galatians 3:3 NKJV 

Wasn’t it wonderful when you were first saved?  You found relief through Jesus Christ, who forgave your sins, made you whole, and gave you a new life in His Spirit. As God declared after He spoke the world in to existence, “It is good”. 

However, there are times when we can feel trapped in our humanity.  Yes, we’ve been saved.  Yes, we’ve been given God’s Spirit as a guarantee.  But something subtle has crept in and causes us to lean on our own understanding rather than depending on the Spirit to guide us.  Unforgiveness, pride, selfishness, perfectionism, resentment, bitterness, anger, and other things cause us to be foolish rather than wise.   

Just the other day I found myself in an emotionally charged conflict with my husband. What did I do, you ask?  I’d like to say I was filled with the Spirit and responded out of love.  Sadly, I didn’t.  Something in this conflict triggered an old wound that sent me into my old reaction patterns.  In that moment I chose foolish rather than wisdom.  

At times like these, we need to stand fast in our faith, remembering and applying what we have learned from God’s Word.  If we only read God’s Word but don’t do it, we are like the foolish man who built his house upon the sand rather than the rock foundation.  When the storms of life came, his house came down with a mighty crash.  (Matthew 7:25-27) 

Next time you find yourself in a messy situation, choose wisdom follow the Spirit.  Acknowledge God in all you do and lean not on your own understanding and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3:5-6).  

Lord God forgiver of our souls, thank you for caring for us.  Thank you for sending your Spirit to guide us into all truth and teach us to live in wisdom. In Jesus name Amen.  

 

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Seek Jesus Diligently

I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently will find me. Proverbs 8:17 NKJV 

 

In the Beth Moore Breaking Free Bible Study Session 5 video, Beth mentioned a phrase that hit home for me.  She something to the affect we receive salvation when we ask for it, but we have to continue to seek satisfaction. The lesson explained salvation and satisfaction are not the same thing.  Once you are saved doesn’t mean you become satisfied.  Can anyone relate to that? 

 

As an ex-perfectionist, I surely can relate.  Nothing was ever enough for me.  But that’s changed now that I know Christ personally.  It wasn’t because I was saved by His grace when He forgave me though.  It’s been an on-going journey of learning satisfaction comes from seeking Him daily. 

 

Our satisfaction comes from knowing Christ.  Not just knowing about Him, but knowing Him deeply and intimately.  That kind of knowing doesn’t just happen either.  It takes work to develop.  Notice today’s verse says “those who seek me diligently”?  It requires effort on our part to diligently seek Him.

 

How do you seek Him?  There are several ways I seek Him.  Maybe some will work for you.  Here’s a partial list to get you thinking.

 

  1. Turn to God – 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. Proverbs 3:5-6 NKJV

  2. Pray – Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38 NKJV

  3. Confess – If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9 NKJV

  4. Be Filled with the Spirit – And do not be drunk with wine, in which is dissipation; but be filled with the Spirit, Ephesians 5:18 NKJV

 

The results of all these diligence in seeking Him–You find Him!   Knowing Him intimately and allowing Him to come into your deepest inner parts is a most extraordinary, wonderful, and pleasant experience.  It’s difficult to put into words so you’ll just have to trust me on this.  Better yet, why not find out for yourself? 

 

Lord thank you for making yourself known to those you diligently seek you.  Thank you for your guidance and love. Thank you for your Holy Spirit drawing us into an intimate relationship with you.  Thank you for filling us up with your presence. In Jesus name Amen.

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