Bible Devotions

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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Repent with Sincerity

Remember what 2 Chronicles 7:14 said? There are four steps leading to healing. Humble ourselves, pray and seek God were the first three steps. These steps prepared us for the action step.

The fourth step in healing is repentance. Don’t let the word “repent” scare you. It simply means turning from and turning to something. It’s a decision to change your mind. It means to stop one way and start another. God asks us to turn from ungodly ways and turn to Him.

So let’s look at what we need to turn from as 2 Timothy 3:2-5 outlines:

For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Pastor Rick Warren took these items and looked each word up in the Greek to seek further meaning. We’ll use his list (taken from January 10-11, 2009 sermon) as our checklist below. Rate how frequently you see these appearing in your life. Use the following scale: 1 for not at all, 2 for occasionally, 3 more than I’d like, 4 becoming a habit, and 5 all the time.

Self-absorbed

1 2 3 4 5

Money focused

1 2 3 4 5

Self promoting

1 2 3 4 5

Status conscious

1 2 3 4 5

God-insulting

1 2 3 4 5

Rude, disrespectful

1 2 3 4 5

Unappreciative

1 2 3 4 5

Crude and profane

1 2 3 4 5

Unkind and heartless

1 2 3 4 5

Unwilling to forgive

1 2 3 4 5

Slanders and gossips

1 2 3 4 5

Impulsive and uncontrolled

1 2 3 4 5

Loves violence

1 2 3 4 5

Cynical, hate do-gooders

1 2 3 4 5

Double-dealing

1 2 3 4 5

Reckless and rash, irresponsible

1 2 3 4 5

Puffed up with pride

1 2 3 4 5

Choosing pleasure over God

1 2 3 4 5

Fake spirituality

1 2 3 4 5

If you rated any item more than a 1, stop. Pray and ask God to help you repent of this ungodly behavior. Confess it and ask for forgiveness.

Acts 3:19 NKJV says “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Now who doesn’t want their sins blotted out and times of refreshing to come?

Act now. Turn from your ungodly ways and turn to God Himself. In this turning you are repenting. If repentance comes with sincerity, it is well pleasing to God and He will be glorified.

Lord Almighty, your Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come. May your word settle deep without our hearts that we may be convicted of ungodly behaviors to confess them and be freed from them. Forgive us our sins and send your times of refreshing. In Jesus’ name 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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Humble as a Child

humble-child.jpgTherefore whoever humbles himself as this little child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 18:4 NKJV

 

What does it mean to be humble like a child? 

 

Merriam-Webster’s definition of humble is:

  1. not proud or haughty: not arrogant or assertive
  2. reflecting, expressing, or offered in spirit of deference or submission; a humble apology.
  3. A: ranking low in a hierarchy or scale: insignificant, unpretentious B: not costly or luxurious: a humble contraption.

 

A small or little child is not proud, haughty, arrogant or assertive for the world has yet to corrupt him.  We are called to be as the child, unpolluted by the world’s corruption (James 1:27).

 

A child has no problem expressing himself, saying what he wants or needs.  As we age, we are hurt by our own mistakes, taken advantage of by others, persecuted for our beliefs and made to feel used and abused.  As a result, we turn inward and cower from expressing our selves completely or truly.  We are cautious not to get hurt again.

 

There is no unpretentious in a child, no plotting or scheming or manipulating to get what he wants. As we said above, we are hurt by the world so our natural tendency is to scheme, plot or manipulate to get our way in most situations.  A lot of times we don’t even recognize we’re doing this.  The Bible exalts us to have pure motives, to seek the best interest of others rather focusing on what’s best for us (Philippians 2:4). 

 

A child can ask for forgiveness and even forgive so easily.  We are called to forgive frequently.  Matthew 18:21-22 NKJV “Then Peter came to Him and said, “Lord, how often shall my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? Up to seven times?” Jesus said to him, “I do not say to you, up to seven times, but up to seventy times seven.”

 

Think about the position of a child in the family.  They are low on the hierarchy because they are new to this world.  They don’t know how the world operates yet.  Children know they have parents who care, protect, love and cherish them.  Guess what?  God cares for us.  He protects us.  He loves us. He cherishes us. 

 

How about you?  Are you humble as a child? Are you proud or arrogant?  Are you able to expressing yourself? Are you unpretentious without evil motives?  Are you able to ask for and extend forgiveness?  Do you realize God loves you?

 

Lord God Almighty, thank you for your clear word to us this day.  Thank you for helping us come to know all we have in you.  Enable us to be humble as a child.  In Jesus’ name we pray. 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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Honor or Embarrassment

For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 14: 11 NKJV

 

Jesus taught us many things as He went from place to place.  One time He was invited to a wedding feast and as He watched the guests arriving and finding their seats He told this parable in Luke 14:7-12:

 

So He told a parable to those who were invited, when He noted how they chose the best places, saying to them: 8 “When you are invited by anyone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in the best place, lest one more honorable than you be invited by him; 9 and he who invited you and him come and say to you, ‘Give place to this man,’ and then you begin with shame to take the lowest place. 10 But when you are invited, go and sit down in the lowest place, so that when he who invited you comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, go up higher.’ Then you will have glory in the presence of those who sit at the table with you. 11 For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  

 

Jesus’ teaching is practical and simple.  His instructions are straight to point out exactly what’s wrong – pride, self-promoting, exalting self.  He is clear on how to change – humble your self.  

 

When we choose to fight, strive or desire recognition, appreciation, honor and respect, we are exalting our self.  Jesus said “For whoever exalts himself will be humbled.”  This I know from personal experience.  My life before I knew Christ was all about me, therefore, I had to be humbled.  Let me tell you it is not good, but painful to be humbled.

 

However, we have a choice.  We can choose to humble our self.  Look at the last part of what Jesus said “and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”  Again, I tell you from my own experience, when I stopped trying “to make it happen” for myself, others beginning praising and honoring me, to which I reply by giving God the glory.

 

So that’s the challenge today.  Get our eyes off our self.  Focus on Jesus and His power working in us.  Watch how others react when we are no longer self-proclaiming but other’s oriented. 

 

Lord Jesus, thank you for coming into our lives and straightening us out.  Thank you we no longer need to strive for honor, because in you we have honor.  Teach us humility by allowing others before us.  In your name we pray. 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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Conflicts – No one wins unless handled Biblically

 

As Peacemaking Women book shared in the Biblical Peacemaking chapter, we are called to unity in Christ through the Spirit of peace.  To validate that a review of scripture reveals the following verses on unity and living at peace with others:

  • Ephesians 4:1-3 “I, therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you to walk worthy of the calling with which you were called, with all lowliness and gentleness, with longsuffering, bearing with one another in love, endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
  • Philippians 2:1-3 “Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, fulfill my joy by being like-minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.
  • Romans 12:17-19 “Repay no one evil for evil. Have regard for good things in the sight of all men. If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men. Beloved, do not avenge yourselves, but rather give place to wrath; for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord.
  • Romans 15:5-7 “Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
  • 1 Corinthians 1:9-11 “Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.”

 

But conflict arises for many reasons and upsets this unity, if we allow it.  Rather than reacting too quickly in a heated emotional state, we are wise to wait and pray for discernment.  Reviewing scripture is a good place to start getting our focus back on God and His will for our lives through the conflict at hand. Seek first to have God point our anything offending in us, so we may confess our sins and remain humble.  Only when our sin is dealt with properly will we be able to humbly help others with their sin. 

 

What’s our solution to conflict?  As always, it’s found in the Word of God and prayer.  Following Jesus and the apostles’ examples of how they handled conflict, their teachings on restoring and forgiving others will show us the right way to approach conflict in our lives.

 Lord thank you for your wisdom and guidance through the pages of your blessed Word.  Thank you for your Spirit leading on the pathway of righteousness.  May we seek to be right with you before attempting to help any one else.  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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