Bible Devotions

Equipped for Mercy

 

God so loved the world He sent His Son to die for it (John 3:16).  Can you imagine giving your son to die for a world who doesn’t recognize what you’ve done for it?  Most military families know what this is like.  They chose to go into the service perhaps to do something great or become someone focused on something bigger than self. 

 

We believers are called to make a similar sacrifice each day, to live out our life focused on God’s bigger plan.  Christ didn’t wait for the world to accept Him before He died for it.  We can’t wait either.  We are called to die to self and forgive others just as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). 

 

Along with Christ’s forgiveness comes liberty, only we use this liberty as an opportunity to server one another in love (Galatians 5:13).  We don’t grow weary in doing what is right, for Christ didn’t grow weary before He completed His task of savings us all.  For it is by His great power in us that enables us to finish the work we’ve been called to do. 

 

Therefore, we keep on extending God’s mercy to everyone we come in contact with.  The mercy we extend could very well be the turning point for someone causing them to give their life to Christ. 

 Lord, thank you for your mercy.  Help us keep our mind focused on you and your purposes.  Let us not grow weary in doing all that you called us to.  Equip us with your mercy and allow us to forgive as you have forgiven us.  In Jesus’ name Amen. 

 

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Single-Minded Devotion

 

What do we devote our time and energy to?  Where do our thoughts reside during the day?  Can we say, like David did in Psalm 73:25, “Whom do I have in heaven besides You? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides You.”?

 

Do we believe God?  Sure, most of us could easily say we believe in God, but that’s different.  Do we believe Him?  Reading a promise of God such as “I will never leave you or forsake you”, what goes through your mind?  Is it nice to know?  Do you think it can’t possible apply to you?  Can you grasp the “never” part?  Never is a mighty long time, yet God tells us He will never leave us.

 

Do we believe Christ died for us?  Certainly there is no doubt He died.  But for us He chose to die, paying our sin debt while we were still His enemies.  Romans 5:6 says “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”  Does the knowledge of our pardon from hell cause exceeding joy?  It does when we believe it. 

 

Do we believe Christ rose again to give us life and power through His Holy Spirit?  Our life is hidden in Him in the heavenly places.  Or should we say His life is hidden in us.  Those who believe and accept Christ have been given His Holy Spirit who dwells within us.  Our power and strength come not from our own resources, but from Christ in us.  Philippians 4:13 tells us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

 

In believing God, we take seriously His Word to us.  The Bible is inspired by God and written for our instruction, teaching, correction and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:15-17).  Therefore, when it tells us to put on the whole armor of God and stand firm against our enemy, we do so (Ephesians 6:10-20).  Likewise, when it says lay aside all things that hinder our walk, especially sin that so easily entangles us, we do it (Galatians 5:1).  When it teaches us to be renewed in our thinking (Romans 12:2), focus our thoughts on eternal things (2 Corinthians 4:17-18), we train to do just that.  It is in our diligent and relentless pursuit of God, our mind is wholly devoted to Him.

 

Here are a few tips for helping set your mind on Him:

  • Next time you are faced with a decision, ask God for wisdom to make the right choice.
  • When you drive by a car accident, pray for the people involved to be healed and for the rescue workers to have what they need to save them.
  • Waking up in the morning, say “Good Morning, God.  Thank you for that good night’s sleep.”
  • When going to bed at night thank God for keeping you safe all day. 
  • At meals time, say a simple pray of thanks to God for providing the food.

 

These few things, along with Bible Study, church attendance and fellowship can greatly increase your focus on God.  Yet, all of these will be worthless if your attitude about doing them is not right.  We do these things out of love for God and wanting to know Him more.  If you do these because you feel guilty or forced to, don’t do it.  Let the Spirit lead you and stay open to His prompting.

  Lord thank You for Your word.  Teach us more about You.  Draw us closer to You.  Help us focus on You.  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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Impact for God’s Kingdom

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Read Acts 4:1-14

 

Peter and John were at the temple teaching and preaching to various people about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  The first thing to notice is the different kinds of people they spoke to: regular people, religious people such as priests, working people like the captain of the temple and other religious people called the Sadducees. 

 

To me this speaks of getting God’s Word out to all people, no matter what their background or current state of living they may be in.  God wants all His creation to hear and believe His Word.  The Bible teaches God doesn’t want a single one to perish (Matthew 18:14).

 

Next we see a threefold reaction to this teaching.  First, the people became greatly disturbed.  When you are not ready for the truth it can be very disturbing.  Think about it.  You’re going about your business, thinking everything is fine and then you’re confronted with the truth and can plainly see you’re on the wrong side.  That doesn’t make a lot of people feel real comfortable.  The Bible teaches men loved darkness rather than light (John 3:19).  In darkness, their evil deeds can go on unnoticed by others.  We are called to expose the darkness with God’s glorious light (Ephesians 5:11).  For as we walk in the light, the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7).

 

Second, the people grabbed Peter and John and through them in jail.  Following Christ has its cost.  Peter and John were experiencing it.  All they did was speak what they knew to be true and they were treated harshly by being wrongly imprisoned.  In our country, we might not find our selves being thrown in prison for witnessing to someone (at least not yet); we will encounter persecution of some kind.  For example, folks you considered friends may stop hanging with you when you start telling them about Jesus.  Why, even your own family members may shun you.  Just remember, Jesus said that would happen in Matthew 5.

 

Third, about five thousand men heard the word and believed.  Can you imagine having an impact like that?  Simply speaking God’s truth and five thousand people came to believe!  Now, that’s a miracle only God can work.  Doesn’t the minor inconvenience Peter and John experienced pale in comparison?  We may not always see this kind of result, but we can trust God to work the miracles when we are obedient to His calling.  Galatians 6:9 tells us not to grow weary of doing good for at the right time we’ll reap a harvest if we don’t lose heart.  We are to continue on whether or not it looks like we’re making a difference, because in reality we are making an impact for God’s Kingdom through our obedience.

 Lord, thank you for your word and your spirit leading us in truth.  May we be bold like Peter and John to share your word with everyone regardless of the inconvenience it may bring.  May we continue to do what is right, knowing you will work it out for good.  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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