Bible Devotions

The Teachable Moment

Yesterday my son and I were out looking for a new backpack to prepare him for school.   We found a store with exactly the right one, so we went to the check out line.  As the clerk was ringing up our purchases, he could not find the price tag for the backpack.  Unfortunately, there was not another one like it to verify the price.  So the clerk asked me how much it was.  I replied “There were similar ones for $49.95”.  The clerk, not wanting to over charge me declared, “I’ll ring it up as $29.95.”  We left the store.

 

While walking to the next store, I unzipped the backpack to place inside the other bag of school supplies to make my load easier to carry.  That’s when I saw it — the price tag.   As I slowly withdrew the price tag, I said aloud “Wow, we got a great deal on this backpack”, showing my son the real price.  My son replied, “Now, you’re going to go back aren’t you?”

 

My answer surprised me a little, as we were in a hurry.  “Yes, I’m going back.  I could not possibly go on as if nothing happened, for that would be lying.  If I chose to keep the backpack, how would that be showing I live by the Word of God?  Would it be truthful? Would I be a doer of the Word?”  So we returned to the store where we bought the backpack.

 

As the clerk saw me draw near, he had a surprised look on his face.  Although he was helping another customer, he asked me why I had returned.  I told him, I found the price tag and couldn’t live with being under-charged for the item.  He was very grateful I returned.  The man the clerk was helping even commented “you did the right thing.”   I said, “Thank you, I know.  You see I have my 13 year old son with me, so it is good for him to seem me practice what I preach.”

 

After the transaction was over, my son and I discussed how important it was to be truthful at all times, even when it may not be convenient.  We will all be accountable to God one day on how we handled each situation.  We also talked about how that one situation was a good witness to several people; the clerk, the other customer, the store manager and my son, not to mention my husband when we shared the story with him too. Proverbs 12:22 says “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.”  I just love how the Lord uses the ordinary to help teach us the way to go.  It was a delight to do the right thing.  This situation reminded me of Proverbs 22:6 in action: “Train up a child in the way he should go.  And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Lord Jesus, thank you for your Holy Spirit enabling us to make the right decisions by being truthful.  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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Identifying Your Spiritual Gifts

The best place to start in understanding spiritual gifts is the Bible.  Find out what it says about spiritual gifts.  Here are few verses to read and consider:

Romans 12:3 – 8

1 Corinthians 12:1 -11, 27 – 31

Ephesians 4:11 – 12

1 Peter 4:9 – 11

Read the above verses, prayerfully.  Ask the Lord which of these gifts He has given you.

To help you document your gifts, most churches have an assessment sheet.  Saddleback Church as a one called S.H.A.P.E.  It stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience.  Assessing each area prayerfully, while writing down what you know about each area can help you understand what gifts you have. 

 Spiritual Gifts

Think about what other people have said you are good at.  Write those things down.

 Heart

What motivates you or really gets your passions flowing?  What do you love doing? Write it down.

 Abilities

List your current abilities.  Are you creative?  Are you organized?  Can you balance a checkbook?  Name everything you can think of.

 Personality

What kind of personality do you have?  Are you introverted or extroverted? Do you like routine or variety? Are you self-controlled or self-expressive? Are you cooperative or competitive?

 

Experience

What have you lived though?  What trials or obstacles have you overcome?  Don’t forget your work and educational experience too. 

 

With all these items written before you, prayerfully consider how God might want you to use these gifts to build His kingdom and equip the believers for ministry.  God will bless you as you live your life exercising your spiritual gifts for God’s glory.  Life will be exciting.  You will be energized.  As you refresher others, you in turn will be refreshed.  It’s God’s way. 

 

How about it?  Have you discovered your spiritual gifts?  Are you using them for God?  If not, why? 

 Lord, thank you for your variety of spiritual gifts and the knowledge you provide exactly the right gifts for each believer to prepare them for your call in their life.  Thank you for your equipping.  Enable each of us to be a doer of the word, seeking first your kingdom that you may have all the glory.  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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Proclaim the Good News

Sing to the LORD, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Psalm 96:2 NKJV 

What is the Good News?

God loves you and wants you to be with Him forever in heaven.  But because we have a sinful nature our relationship with God has been broken.  God loved us so much, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to mend our relationship with God.  Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin (John 3:16).  We are no longer under judgment for our sins.  We are pardoned.  We are forgiven.  We are set free from bondage of sin.  We call this Salvation (Romans 6:23).  That’s only part of the good news.  There’s more! Jesus’ resurrection from the dead gives those who believe in Him a new life.  It’s a second chance to do life right.  He came to give us life and that more abundantly (John 10:10). 

 

How do we proclaim it?

We start by reading God’s Word to obtain a firm understanding of what God’s done for us.  The more God’s Word is allowed in our heart, the more we become like Him.  Our life, the choices we make, and the things we think about and the words we say become godly.  Morphing into the person God created us to be, we become lights to other around us.  Obeying God’s Word and living it out means we’ll use our gifts, talents, and abilities for God’s glory.  We’ll begin serving God by what we do and the attitudes behind why we do it.  The result is serving others as we learn to walk by the spirit rather than satisfying our own selfish desires (Romans 8:4).   We do these things moment by moment and day by day.

 

Who do we proclaim it to?

We proclaim the good news to anyone who asks about the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).  As we go about our business we have an eye on the look out for anyone downtrodden, hopeless and hurting.  We take special care for the widows and orphans and poor among us (James 1:27).  We come along side them, serving and helping where we can, waiting for an opportunity to share God’s love and salvation story. 

 

 Where do we proclaim it?

Anywhere we are we proclaim the good news.  We share at work as we conduct business, or at home while having dinner with our family.  It could be at school in between classes or on the soccer field while we’re playing.  We can proclaim the good news any time and any where.  Remember we live in a free country.  We are not persecuted for our faith, as in some countries.  So what’s holding us back?  People are dying for good news.  We have it, so let’s start sharing it.

 

Why do we proclaim it?

God does not want a single one to perish but all to come to Him for salvation (2 Peter 3:9).  He wants people to come to faith and trust in Jesus Christ so they will be saved.  We share the good news out of love for God and love of others.  We share out of respect for God and obedience to His commands.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 “Go make disciples of all the nations”.   We proclaim the good news to praise God for all He’s done.  In doing so we strengthen our own convictions and help other’s faith and trust grow in God’s plan. 

 

In summary the good news is forgiveness of sin, eternal life in Christ, and a new life now.  We share the good news through obedience to God’s Word and coming along side the hurting, serving and helping them.  We proclaim the good news where ever we may be all for the glory of God. 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for saving us.  Thank you for your Word to us.  Give us the wisdom, discernment and courage to share your good news with the world around us.  May we be obedient to your Word shining your love on those around us all for your glory.  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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Blessed by Doing

 

Are you a forgetful hearer?  You listen to God’s Word at church on Sunday, but come Monday you are living your life as you choose with no regard to what you heard on Sunday? 

 

The Bible tells us those who hear only actually deceive themselves.  James 1:22 NKJV says “But be doers of the word, and not just hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  So how does one become a doer of the word? 

 

James 1:25 NKJV gives us some clues: “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”    James continues to say we need to bridle our tongue, care for orphans and widows in their trouble and keep our self uncorrupted by the world.

 

Jesus teaches us by carrying out God’s commands we become like a wise man. Matthew 7:24 NKJV says “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  Jesus continued to say though rain, floods and wind came against the house, it stood because it was founded upon the rock.  The same is true for us, when we trust in Christ we become founded upon the rock.  Nothing can move us. 

 

Jesus also taught us about servants and masters in John 13:1-17, when he washed the disciple’s feet.  A servant is not above the master.  We are servants to God, which means our own will is NOT above God’s.  Likewise, the one sent is not greater than the one doing the sending.  We are sent by God to carrying out His good purposes in this life.  We are NOT greater than God who’s sending us.  Jesus capped off this teaching saying “If you know these things blessed are you if you do them.” 

 

Look at what James 1:12 NKJV says “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who love Him.”

 

So fellow believer, let us endure temptations and follow Christ’s example.  Let us be doers of the word that we may be called wise and not deceive our self.  For Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 NKJV “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your cleansing, healing, righteousness word.  Thank you for your Spirit enabling us to walk in your word and become doers of the word.  Help us continue in your way all the days of life that we may be lights to the world for you. 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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Way of the Righteous

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1:6 NKJV 

Read Psalm 1.  This is a wisdom psalm.  Its purpose is to provide us with wisdom for godly living.  If we carry out what is described in verses one and two, then verse three will occur.  We are also to remember this doesn’t apply to the ungodly.  Their path leads to destruction declares verses four through six. 

 

Let’s look at each verse in more detail. 

 

Verse one:  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;” What kind of attitude does one who walks in counsel of the ungodly have?  They probably have a self-centered attitude caring only about satisfying their own desires.  How about the one who stands in the path of sinners?  They may have a “live and let live” attitude that says everyone is entitled to do what they want.  What kind of thoughts does a person who sits in the seat of the scornful have?  I imagine the scornful have critical, judging and condemning thoughts.  The Bible teaches us we will be blessed if we don’t follow these patterns of living.

 

Verse two: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” The more we read of God’s Word, the more delight we take from it.  As we’re faithful to seek out God through His Word, He will fill us with delight.  Please notice the delight doesn’t come unless we read His Word.  It is conditional.  If we want the delight, we need to meditate day and night in His Word.  Romans 12:2 says be renewed in the mind by allowing God to change the way you think. His Word and His Spirit in us are the agents that renew our minds.

 

Verse three:  “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Here we have more benefits of focusing on God and His Word.  Look at what Jesus said in John 4:14 NKJV “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  The Word is God’s water and source of life.  Without God’s water we can not bear fruit, but with it we shall prosper.

 

Verse four: “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.” The ungodly will not endure.  There is a time when they will be no more.

 

Verse five: “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”  Those who choose to go their own way will have a difficult time when judgment comes.  This verse clears states they won’t be able to stand.  They will be removed from the assembly of the righteous.  Next time we clash with the ungodly, we are to show mercy to them. Just as Jesus cried out on the cross “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing” we too should seek the Father’s forgiveness on their behalf.  They really don’t know what’s coming.

 

Verse six:  “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” The way of the righteous is secure but the ungodly way leads to death.  Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The ungodly do not understand the path their on.  Pray for the ungodly around you.  While you’re at it, continue your own steadfastness.  Keep yourself in the love of God by continuing in His Word, meditating day and night, and practicing what you learn in your life. 

 

Jesus told us we are the light of the world; therefore we are to let His light shine from us to everyone around us.  In this way, many more may come to know the Lord as their personal savior. 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for dying in our place.  Thank you for making it possible for us to have a relationship with God.  Thank you for leading us deeper into your truth.  May we be mindful of your Word and pray for those who do not know you yet.  In your name we pray, Jesus.  Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Consistency is Key

It’s so easy to feel repulsed or disgusted when we recognize greed, selfish ambition, lust for power or any other sin in someone else’s life, isn’t it? 

 

After reading Mark 10:35-52 I came across something I hadn’t seen before.   That’s one of the reasons I love the Bible.  You can read the same story over and over again and always see something new.   The first story I’m referring to is actually a conversation between James, John and Jesus in verses 35 – 41.  Let’s take a closer look: 

 

Then James and John, the sons of Zebedee, came to Him, saying, “Teacher, we want You to do for us whatever we ask.”
36 And He said to them, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
37 They said to Him, “Grant us that we may sit, one on Your right hand and the other on Your left, in Your glory.”

 

I was incensed when I read the first verse above.  How dare they come to Jesus with such self righteous attitude!  “Teacher, we want You do for us whatever we ask.”  What right do they have to demand Jesus do whatever they ask?  So how easy it is to become disgusted with others?

 

Notice how calmly and matter-of-fact Jesus responds to these two? “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus asked.  Jesus, the One who knows our thoughts and our intentions, knows what James and John are about to ask.  Armed with that kind of knowledge I would be ready to read them the riot act regarding how inappropriate their request was, but not Jesus.  Knowing what’s in their hearts, He still chooses to respond to them with grace, mercy and kindness.

 

Now, let’s take a look at the next story.  This one is about how blind Bartimaeus receives his sight in verses 46 – 52. 

 

Now they came to Jericho. As He went out of Jericho with His disciples and a great multitude, blind Bartimaeus, the son of Timaeus, sat by the road begging. 47 And when he heard that it was Jesus of Nazareth, he began to cry out and say, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!”
48 Then many warned him to be quiet; but he cried out all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!”
49 So Jesus stood still and commanded him to be called. Then they called the blind man, saying to him, “Be of good cheer. Rise, He is calling you.”
50 And throwing aside his garment, he rose and came to Jesus.
51 So Jesus answered and said to him, “What do you want Me to do for you?”
The blind man said to Him, “Rabboni, that I may receive my sight.”
52 Then Jesus said to him, “Go your way; your faith has made you well.” And immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus on the road.

 

 

What’s the first thing you notice about how Bartimaeus approaches Jesus?  How is it different from the way James and John approached Jesus?  Bartimaeus cries out asking for mercy, while James and John came with “you owe us something” attitude.  Bartimaeus was humble and recognized his need.  James and John were puffed up with pride and focused on selfish gain.

 

How did Jesus respond to Bartimaeus?  The same way He did with James and John.  “What do you want Me to do for you?” Jesus answered him. 

 

Don’t you think it would have been easier to answer Bartimaeus because of his condition?   If I had the power to heal, I probably would have healed him in an instant out of pity.  Look again at how Jesus responded.  He did not coddle the blind man.  Nor did He look on him with pity.  He responded exactly the same way he did with James and John. 

 

Isn’t it fascinating how consistently loving, merciful and kind Jesus was?  We so readily respond to others based on what we see and ear, but Jesus responds to others based on who He is and not based on what’s going on around Him.  That’s a wonderful lesson for us too. 

 

If we are to be “lights of the world” shining His glory into this dark world, we’ll need to learn how to consistently respond to everyone the way Jesus did.  I know I still need work in this area.  For example, I find myself responding negatively to my teenager’s attitude and lack of respect, rather treating him as Jesus would.  What about you?

 

Can you think of a time you responded inappropriately to someone?  Do you find yourself responding nicely to one person and not the next?  Do you go out of your way to help one person, but shy away from extending a helping hand to someone you don’t really get along with?   

 

Examine you life to identify areas you need to change.  Ask God to help you change.  This prayer He’ll gladly answer, as He’s already working in us to will and act according to His purposes. 

 

Lord, thank you for showing us how to respond to others with consistent kindness and mercy.  Where we may not be consistent, help us be conformed into your image.  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.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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Shine as Lights in the World

Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. Matthew 5:16.  

Jesus said we are the light of the world.  Paul also teaches us to shine as lights in the world.  What does this mean to shine? 

 

After pondering this for some time yesterday, and considering what God has said in His Word, there are several things that stand to me.  Believers, we have Christ dwelling in us and it should be obvious to the rest of the world.  It’s not us doing the shining, but it’s Christ in us shining out of us.  We reflect Christ to the world. 

 

How does the light shine?  What happens that causes the light to shine forth?

  • We are called to do all things without complaining and disputing, so we become blameless and harmless and shine among the crooked and perverse generation we live in.  (Philippians 2:15)
  • We are called to deny self, pick up our cross and follow Jesus daily.  His example leads us to put aside our own will and follow God’s will instead. (Luke 9:23)
  • We are called to walk by the spirit so we don’t fulfill the lust of the flesh. (Galatians 5:16)
  • We are called to put off our old sinful nature and put on Christ’s righteousness instead.  (Ephesians 4:22)
  • We are told to overcome evil with good.  (Romans 12:21)
  • If our enemy is hungry, feed him.  If he’s thirsty, give him something to drink.  (Proverbs 25:21)
  • We’re commanded to love our enemy, bless those who curse us, do good to those who hate us, and pray for those who spitefully use us and persecute us. (Matthew 5:44)
  • We’re commanded to forgive one another because God’s forgiven us. (Luke 6:37) 

There are many more examples I could site, but knowing what the Word of God says is one thing and putting these things into practice by obeying the Word of God is what makes the difference.   

Think about it the next time you’re tempted to grumble or complain about having to do something you don’t really want to do.  What would Jesus do?  Would He complain or would He simply serve?  We are to reflect Jesus.  As a result, our responses to life’s demands should cause others to notice there’s something positively different about us.   

Living in obedience to God’s Word will have a radical impact on the world around us because it is so different.  Review the above list again.  By nature, we do not think or behave like that.  But, by the Spirit, we do.   

Are you allowing the Spirit to lead you in obedience to God’s Word?  When you do, you are shining as a light to the world. 

Lord thank you for your word and spirit that helps us live the life you desire for us.  Enable us to shine as lights to the world.  May we be obedient to your word and be a witness for you.  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.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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A Modern Christmas Miracle

Miracles come in different packages.  Some miracles may simply be someone “showing up” at an appropriate time to help.  Others might be obedience to God’s prompting resulting in a blessing for someone who needed it.

 

 

I wanted to share my story of a Christmas miracle that happened when we “adopted-a-family” at Christmas time.  Usually, the family is a single mother, raising multiple kids on her own.  However, this year was starting to look like we missed the opportunity to help.

We got off to a late start and didn’t contact our church as early as we normally do.  I called the church anyway and hoped there was still time.  Unfortunately, the woman at church explained, the program had closed and all families on the list were already matched up with folks to provide for them.  “However” she said, “I’ll take your name and number, just in case we get another call.”


I was disappointed we hadn’t called earlier, but God is so good.  He arranged everything.  You see, at the very moment I was speaking with the woman at church, another woman was leaving a voice mail message saying she needed assistance. Within the next hour, I received a phone call from our church saying there was someone who needed help!  God knew our heart and desire to give even though it was last minute on our part He arranged the circumstance to allow us to bless someone.  But that’s not the best part!

 

 

When I visited with Carol, the woman we were providing for, she had told me about her miracle.  Earlier that day, Carol was in the parking lot of the small apartment complex where she lived.  She happened to be talking with a neighbor about her dire situation, while standing behind a parked car.  She didn’t know at the time, there was a woman sitting in the parked car, waiting to back out of the parking space.  After some time went by, Carol finally saw she was keeping this woman from leaving and quickly ran to her car window to apologize for delaying her.

The woman in the car said “No worries.  I’m supposed to give this to you” and she handed Carol a scrap of paper with Saddleback Church’s phone number on it.  Carol thanked the woman and stepped back allowing her to back out of the parking space.  Carol had never heard of Saddleback Church, but decided to call them anyway.

Back in her apartment, with her three kids and two little dogs, she called the number.  Not knowing what she would say really, except that she needed help, the phone rang and rang and rang.  Finally, she received a voice mail message saying to leave her information and someone would get back to her, which she did.  She let out a sign, figuring it was probably too late anyway and went about her business.

Carol was so surprised when I called her just a couple hours later!  I explained our plan for provision and made arrangements to meet her later that evening.   My 12 year old son and I went to meet Carol and her kids around 8pm that night.   When we met we embraced and the tears of gratefulness began to flow.  Carol was amazed at what God had done!  I was thankful to be used to convey God’s blessing to her and her family.


It’s a beautiful thing being used by God.  Listening to His prompting and following through.  You just never know who will be blessed by your obedience.  In this case, we were able to bless a struggling single mom and her three kids.  In return, we were blessed knowing they would have a Merry Christmas after all.

 

May Jesus be your miracle this Christmas!

 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity

 

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Discipleship and Fellowship

 

Do you know what discipleship is?  A disciple is someone who follows Christ.  A disciple is what we call a believer. Discipleship is helping believers follow Christ and grow their relationship with the Lord.  It goes hand in hand with fellowship.  Let’s look a couple verse that depict discipleship and fellowship. 

 Acts 14:21-23 NKJV: “And when they had preached the gospel to that city and made many disciples, they returned to Lystra, Iconium, and Antioch, strengthening the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith, and saying, “We must through many tribulations enter the kingdom of God.” So when they had appointed elders in every church, and prayed with fasting, they commended them to the Lord in whom they had believed.” 

Paul and Barnabas spent time in Lystra preaching the gospel and making many disciples.  Notice what they did:

(1)   They strengthen souls of the disciples.

(2)   They exhorted them to continue in faith.

(3)   They reminded them we will always have tribulations.

(4)   They prayed for the believers.

 

How do you strengthen someone’s soul?  You come along side them.  You share with them the wonderful works God has done that you’ve been privileged to participate in. How do you exhort someone to continue in faith?  Again you come along side of them, reminding them of God’s promise found in God’s Word.  Meeting together to read, study and apply God’s Word is how we develop our faith, instill God’s values and live a life witnessing God’s mercy and grace. 

 Acts 2:42 NKJV: “And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers.” 

The early church is our model.  In Acts 2, we see what they did when they meet together.  Similar to what we saw in Acts 14.  The continued steadfastly meaning they came together regularly.  They took initiative to stay connected.  They were dedicated to one another.  When they meet they had common goals. 

(1)   They studied God’s Word (apostle’s doctrine).

(2)   They shared God’s work in each other’s life (fellowship).

(3)   The shared communion together (breaking of bread).

(4)   The prayed together. 

 

This is what we do in small groups.  We come together to read God’s Word and pray for each other.  As we do, we strengthen each other’s faith.  Our small group acts like a safety net.  Each believer walks the tight rope of righteousness, should their feet slip, our group supports and encourages the believer and helps him/her regain their spiritual balance. 

 

Are you in a small group yet?  If not, ask God to lead you to one.  Do you’re part to join one.  Your faith will grow as you experience fellowship in the Lord.

 

Lord thank you for your word and small groups of believers to help us stay focused 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 devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Doing Our Part

 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2 NKJV  

Obedience to the Lord

Did you happen to notice the first part of this verse?  It was “as they ministered” which means they did stuff for the Lord.  The point is action.  There must be a “doing” to our obedience to the Lord.  James 1:22 says we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.”    Even Jesus was obedient to the Father.  John 6:38 says “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”   So laying aside our will and choosing to follow God’s will demonstrate our obedience to Him.  But did you know this is not something we can do on our own?

 

Receiving the Holy Spirit

Jesus taught us everything of our sinful nature is worthless in John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”  Where does the Holy Spirit come from?  He is sent to us from Christ Himself (John 16:7).  John 15:26 says “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”  How do we receive the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 1:13-14 says “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” In other words, once you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit is given to you as a guarantee that you are saved. 

 Understanding God’s gift

First Corinthians 2:13-14 says “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  The Holy Spirit is our teacher, guiding us in all truth.  Without Him we wouldn’t understand spiritual things.  He opens our eyes and makes us realize the sin in our life, so we can fully embrace the grace given to us.  Romans 8:16 says “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 5:5 says “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 8:2 says “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” First Corinthians 2:12 says “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”  All this a great news, for now we know we are able to understand the glorious riches stored up for us in Christ Jesus. 

 

Empowering our Witness

Knowing all the depth of God’s love isn’t just for our benefit.  No, it’s more about sealing our understanding and compelling us to share His glorious plan with others.  One of the things I love about God is how He equips those He calls.  Let’s review some verses about that.  Acts 1:8 says “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  See He’s giving us the power to be His witness.  Romans 8:26-27 says “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”  Even when we don’t know how to pray, He helps us through His Spirit interceding for us.   How does this empowering happen?  Romans 12:1-2 give us a clue.  It says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  By offering our lives as living sacrifices, allowing God’s Word to change the way we think, we prove God’s will is perfect, acceptable and good.   Romans 8:5 says “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” As we learn to walk by the Spirit rather than by our natural self, we become God’s witness to the world. 

 

What do you think?  Are you ready to do what God has already shown you?  Do you understand His precious gift better?  Is the Holy Spirit compelling you to share His message with others?

 

If you answer no to any of these questions, ask God to help you see things from His perspective.  Continue reading God’s Word and the truth will be revealed as His Spirit teaches you. 

 Lord thank you for your word and your Holy Spirit.  Lead us on the pathways of life and enable us to witness to the world through an obedient life in Christ.  In Jesus’ precious 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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