Bible Devotions

Fear of the Lord

  

…And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied. Acts 9:31 NKJV

 

Proverbs 1:7 NJKV says “The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge…” but knowledge of what?  Well, perhaps it is knowledge that life is not all about us, but rather all about God and His purpose.  It’s about focusing on God’s plans instead of our own self-centered plans.  Fear of the Lord is about having the proper view of God, who is the One really in control.  Everything exists because of Him and He sustains it all (John 1:3).   Fear of the Lord is about being reverent and respectful of God’s sovereignty and His right to rule.  It is a demonstrated respect for God through our obedience to His ways.

 

Walking in the fear of the Lord implies action on our part.  Once we begin to understand who God is and our own fallen nature, our life changes.  We are not sitting, standing, or laying down but walking, always moving, learning, reaching for more of the Lord, His Will and His Word.  When we act on what we’ve learned as James 1:5 says about becoming “doers of the word”, it is followed by the comfort of the Holy Spirit.

 

The comfort of the Holy Spirit is something quite extraordinary.  What brings comfort? Certainty, security, confidence, assurance and peace all provide a measure of comfort.  The Holy Spirit provides these as He confirms our spirit with His in us.  He guides us in all truth, so as more truth is revealed the more certain we are in our faith (John 16:13).  As He brings to remembrance all things Jesus taught our confidence increases because we know the right words will be spoken in every situation (John 14:26).  When we are steadfast in the Lord we have peace and comfort from the Holy Spirit which tells us we’re on the right path (Isaiah 26:3).

 

The result of walking in the fear of the Lord and in comfort of the Holy Spirit is God’s glorious purpose is fulfilled.  God doesn’t want a single person to perish, but all to come to Christ and be saved (Matthew 18:14).  As we are obedient, the brighter His light shines out through us.  We are the light of the world Jesus told us in Matthew 5:14.  His work in and through us will cause others to come to Him.  This is how the church, the body of Christ is multiplied.

  

Lord thank you for your word and your Holy Spirit in us leading us in all truth.  Enable us to be doers of the word that your light will shine forth from us and cause many to come and be saved.  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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Careful with Comparisons

 

Do you ever compare your self to others?

 

Let’s say someone wrongs you.  In your heart you think “I would never do such a horrible thing.”  Are you not comparing your self to the person who did wrong?  What do you gain through this comparison?  Do you feel better than them or self-righteous?  Watch out, that’s how judgmental attitudes are formed.

 

Maybe you wouldn’t do exactly what they did, but guaranteed you let someone down before.  We all have made mistakes.  In the chapter on suffering in the Peace Making Women book it says we are more like the wrong-doer than unlike them.  Think about that.  It’s good to remember when we’re wronged by someone we are more like them than unlike them.  Instead of allowing thoughts of “I’d never do that”, try to remember you’ve failed at times too.  Then let God’s grace and mercy shine through.

 

How about when a neighbor has a better car, nicer lawn and more beautiful house than you?  Compared to you they have the best of everything.  Have you ever compared your things to their things?  What good can come from such a comparison?  Why do you suppose God included coveting as one of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:21)?  In all likelihood, it’s because He knew we’d be tempted to be envious of others.  Envy left unchecked turns into bitterness.  Bitterness clouds our judgment and grows into resentment. 

 

Instead of envying try thanking God for blessing your neighbor so richly and asking God to help them be good stewards of all He’s giving them.  Stay focused on God to avoid our self-center stinking thinking.

 

When comparisons start, be careful because that’s when we start developing judgmental, condemning or bitter attitudes.  That’s certainly not God honoring.  The only comparison we need is that of Christ.  How well do we respond like Christ in each situation?  Even then we need to be careful because it is not about being perfect by our own efforts.  Isaiah 64:6 tells us our efforts towards righteousness are like filthy rags.  It’s more about allowing Christ to live through us changing the way we react to what life throws at us.

 Lord thank you for your amazing mercy and grace towards us.  Help us remember to extend the same mercy and grace towards others.  Enable us to keep our eyes on you rather than others around us.  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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Let God be Magnified

thinkonit-devotions-they-shall-obtain-joy-and-gladness.jpg Our strength comes from the Lord.  How will others see that?  They will see it by watching how we handle all that comes into our life.

 

As more difficulties, more work, and more demands are brought on us, God is magnified by our perseverance.  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Our dependence on Him to provide the strength to get through will be evident to all.

 

I have a friend whose life is filled with chaos not of her own making.  You wouldn’t believe all the things this woman has lived through, yet she is the “poster-child” of perseverance and faith.  She has been an inspiration to me.  No matter what happens she faces it like Psalm 70:4 NKJV “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified”.”

 

When things get tough remember Psalm 71:16 says “I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only”.

 

I am tremendously busy at work lately.  Usually I will have a busy day here or there, but since Labor Day my meeting schedule has been booked solid.  I don’t see a slow down until some time in October!  In situations like this, it’s easy to become frazzled or stressed because there’s no marginal time.  However, this is a prime opportunity to depend on God’s strength.  Where God leads, He will provide.  As I turn to Him in this busy season, His Peace is poured out on me.  Others can see how calm I am though there are many demands on me.  When they ask how I do it, there’s my chance to tell them how great God is!

 

You see, when we respond God’s way in all things, we really stand out.  That’s what being a witness for God is about.  You don’t have to shout or force people to see, they can see God’s doing something through our simple obedience to Him.  The result, God’s magnified and we get a chance to share His love with others when they ask.

 Lord, thank you for the opportunities to depend on You for our strength. Thank you for blessing our obedience in unexpected ways.  Let us make a difference for You in how we choose to handle life’s circumstances.  May our choices be honoring to 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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One to Many

thinkonit-devotions-and-the-peace-of-god.jpgRead Acts 3.

 

God uses ordinary things to convey His glory.  Let’s look at Act 3 as an example.  It starts out with an ordinary scene: a lame beggar at the temple gate.  In that day and age the lame had no way to support themselves except for asking for a handout.  This scene turns out to be the spring board to sharing God’s message. 

 

Look at how God’s glory radiates from this scene.  When the lame man is healed personally, what does he do?  Acts 3:8 tells us he was walking, leaping and praising God.  When a life is changed by God it is dramatic, just like this lame man walking again was dramatic.  When my hardened heart was melted away by God’s love and forgiveness I was jumping for joy praising God too. 

 

Others were affected by this man’s healing causing them to wonder what was going on.  The lame man was so excited about being healed and Acts 3:9 tells us others saw him.  When we react to what God’s done for us and we are not ashamed or afraid to show it, others take notice.  This is exactly what God wants.  He wants us to be examples of His grace, so others will come to Him for salvation. 

 

As people often do, they gravitate to the humans involved in an extraordinary event.  Again God has a way to use that.  Look at what Peter did when all the people looked to him as the miracle worker in Acts 3:12-16.  Peter turns the people’s attention off himself and on to God who did the work.  Next he reminds the people of their refusal to accept Jesus as the Son of God and how they murdered him on the cross.  He goes on to say it is by Jesus’ name, through faith in His name that has made this man strong.  If Peter had stopped here, it would have been crushing for those who heard but that was not the plan of God. 

 

Peter explains “I know that you did it in ignorance, as did also your rulers”.  All the things the prophets spoke had to be fulfilled he tells them.  In essence they played a critical role in fulfilling prophecy.  However, it’s now time for them to repent, be converted that their sins may be blotted out and times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord (Acts 3:19).  Peter offers the people a way out, showing them how all of God’s prophets spoke of these things and how the message was to turn them away from their sins.

 

Isn’t it beautiful how God uses one changed life to cause many others to come to know him?  What’s holding you back from displaying God’s glory?  You never know who could be influenced to make a decision for Christ through your example, just as this lame man didn’t know his healing would result in many coming to know God’s awesome power. 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for taking away our sin and giving us power in your name.  May we boldly live out our changed lives so others may come to know you.  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 articles, devotions and book reviews, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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