Bible Devotions

God Hears

 

When God says something will happen we can rest assured it will come to pass.  King David wanted to build a house for God, but God said it would not be David, but his son Solomon who would do it (1 Chronicles 28:3). 

 

Fast forward to 2 Chronicles 7:11 NKJV “Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house:  and Solomon successfully accomplished all that came into his heart to make in the house of the Lord and in his own house.”  See.  God said Solomon would build the house of the Lord and Solomon really did finish it.

 

When the Lord calls someone to do something for His kingdom, He equips.  One of Solomon’s purposes from God was to complete the Lord’s house.  With God’s help, he not only did it, but he “successfully accomplished all that came into his heart”.  Everything God plants in our heart to do, He makes happen. 

 

It is so encouraging to know God can be trusted to follow through on whatever He promises.  So when we read 2 Chronicles 7:14 we should have great joy: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

 

God will hear, forgive and heal, if we choose to humble our self before Him.  As we agree with God about our sins, seek Him and turn from our old ways, He will hear and respond.  That was the case for me.  Once I humbled myself, confessed my sins, He answered me, forgave me and healed me.  All that’s left is for me to continue carrying out God’s purpose in my life, as He reveals it to me.  This I know: He is the One working it out through me.  My part is willing obedience to Him.

 

How about you?  Have you humbled yourself before the Lord?  Have you agreed with God about your sin?  Are you seeking His forgiveness?  Why wait?  He’s waiting.  He will answer when you turn to Him.

 Lord, thank you for hearing us when we humble our self before you.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  Thank you for being faithful to answer us.  Draw us near.  May we always hear 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.

Are you on Facebook? Join our Fan Page
http://www.facebook.com/ThinkOnItBible

Advertisements
2 Comments »

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.

4 Comments »

The Faithful are Answered part 3

Part 3 of 3

 

Read 1 Samuel 1-3

 

All through these chapters we see the contrast between good and evil.  God’s Word is full of examples outlining the consequences of godly behavior, as well as what happens to the wicked.  This section of scripture is no different.  The table below outlines a few examples of the different types of behavior and how it is rewarded.

 

Good

Evil

V1:11 Hannah earnestly prays for male child and v1:20 God gives her Samuel

V2:12 Sons of Eli were corrupt and V2:34 both will die on the same day as a sign of God’s judgment.

V1:26-27 Hannah gives Samuel back to the God as she promised and v3:20 Samuel becomes prophet of God

V2:25 Eli’s sons did not heed the voice of their father and the Lord desired to kill them.

V3:21 Samuel ministers to the Lord and God reveals Himself

V3:13 Eli’s sons made themselves vile and Eli didn’t restrain them therefore v3:14 Eli’s house won’t be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.

 

Please notice the good side is represented by purity of heart and obedience.  Also note, the evil side is represented by self-centered willfulness and disobedience.

 

Eli, the priest and his two sons perpetrated evil on a regular basis.   This is set up in contrast to the purity of Hannah’s request for a child and Samuel the answer to her prayers.  Notice each time the deeds of Eli’s sons were mentioned, the next statement is about Samuel: “But Samuel ministered before the Lord”.   

 

Eli, the priest failed as a parent to teach his own children about the Lord.  Then as if to show Eli his error, God sends Samuel to live with him.  Samuel coming from the purity of Hannah remains pure while living with Eli and the wicked sons.  Samuel ministers to the Lord, without even knowing the Lord yet.

 

The time comes when the Lord calls Samuel, but he doesn’t recognize the call and thinks it is Eli calling him.  Three times the Lord calls Samuel and three times he runs to Eli saying “Here I am”.  Finally, Eli discerns it is the Lord calling Samuel and instructs him to listen / respond to the Lord.  Eli was not right with God because of the evil he allowed to continue in the house of God.  The fact it took Eli three times to figure it out the Lord was calling says Eli was not attuned to the Lord.   He should have been able to recognize it sooner.

 

Eli didn’t teach his own sons, so he probably didn’t teach Samuel either.  Notice how Samuel is right before God in the same environment as Eli’s wicked sons.   What was the difference?  One difference is Samuel had a praying mother, Hannah.  She was so grateful the Lord answered her prayers, she probably prayed for Samuel everyday. 

 

What can we draw from the examples today?  We each have a choice to follow God or not.  Our environment is not to be blamed for whether we or not we choose God.  As we see Samuel being raised in a wicked environment still chose to follow God.  We can to.

 Lord thank you for your clear instructions.  Enable us to turn to you in obedience.  Cast away from us any selfish, rebellious thoughts and deeds and equip us for godly living until Christ returns.  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.

Leave a comment »

The Lord’s Heart for His People

Read Isaiah 1.  

The message from the Lord is so clear, logical, and reasonable although so many refused to hear it.  Although this message was to the Israel, it does give us a better understanding of God’s heart towards His people and how His people responded to Him. 

 Their Choice to Rebel

God made Israel, although He is their Father, the children rebelled against Him.  They wandered away and didn’t realize their sin.  They provoked the Lord’s anger as they turned away from Him.  In verses two through four we see the Lord saying even the ox and donkey know their master, but not my own children.  Nothing hurts like your own child shunning you.

 Their Desolation

In verse five through nine, God goes on to outline His children’s sickness and describes the desolation because of it.  He reminds them they would not exist had He not saved a remnant. 

 Their Worthless Worship

He further outlines the problem with the children’s worship and how wicked it had become to Him.  God is Holy, therefore, He is forced to hide His eyes from His children and refused to answer their prayers.  They worshiped Him with their mouths but their hearts were far from Him.  Can you hear God’s heart breaking as He describes this?

 

God’s Expectations

God reminds the children what is expected of them in Isaiah 1:16-17 NKJV: “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.  Cease to do evil, learn to do good, seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”   Notice how the first four items are geared to the individual’s responsibility:  (1) Wash yourself, (2) cease doing evil, (3) learn to do good, and (4) seek justice.  All of these are aimed at changing their inward heart and mind.  Next, God says (1) rebuke the oppressor, (2) defend the fatherless, and (3) plead for the widow.  Notice how these three items appear to be outward reaching and geared towards helping others.  God’s message has always been the same:  Love God and love others.

 

Reward for Obedience

Isaiah 1:18-20 NKJV says “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” God says let’s work together, “if you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.”  The reward for obedience was exchanging their scarlet sin into white wool.   Again, we see God showing the way to forgiveness. 

 God’s Work

Sadly, the children of Israel didn’t want to obey, so God takes matters into His own hands.  He explains in verses 24-31 He will take vengeance on His adversaries, He will purge away the dross and alloy from His children, He will restore the judges and Zion will be redeemed with justice.  Consider what the Lord said He will do.  Know the word “will” is in the present tense.  The Lord is doing these things within the moment of today. Next God describes happens to those who don’t turn to Him.  All those who forsake Him shall be consumed.  They shall be ashamed.  They shall be embarrassed.  They shall burn together in the end and no one shall quench them.  Consider the future tense of the word “shall”.  Notice how the statements about judgment are all future tense.  The Lord is patient and doesn’t want a single one to perish.  But in order for there to be justice these things must happen to those who do not return to the Lord. 

 Lord, thank you for your word.  May be better understand your heart and choose to draw closer to you as we study your word.  Renew our minds and enable us to live 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.

Leave a comment »

Heart of the Matter

But if your heart turns away and you are not obedient, and if you are drawn away to bow down to other gods and worship them, I declare to you this day that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live long in the land you are crossing the Jordan to enter and possess. Deuteronomy 30:17-18 NKJV

The Bible has a lot to say about the heart. In fact, using BibleGateway.com’s keyword search on “heart” reveals 926 different references throughout the entire Bible.  We’ll look at a few verses to get a better understanding of the complexity of our heart.

Starting out with a Wicked Heart

  • Genesis 6:5 NKJV – Then the LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.
  • Jeremiah 17:19 NKJV – The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it?

Our Heart has Many Attributes

  • Luke 24:38 NKJV – And He said to them, “Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts?
  • Proverbs 19:3 NKJV – The foolishness of a man twists his way, And his heart frets against the LORD.
  • Proverbs 12:25 NKJV – Anxiety in the heart of man causes depression, But a good word makes it glad.
  • Proverbs 15:13 NKJV – A merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, But by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken.
  • Matthew 5:28 NKJV – But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.
  • Proverbs 28:14 NKJV – Happy is the man who is always reverent, But he who hardens his heart will fall into calamity.

Our Heart Determines our Focus

  • Matthew 12:35 NKJV – A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good things, and an evil man out of the evil treasure brings forth evil things.
  • Luke 12:34 NKJV – For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

We can Control our Heart

  • Deuteronomy 11:16 NKJV – Take heed to yourselves, lest your heart be deceived, and you turn aside and serve other gods and worship them.
  • Psalm 78:37 NKJV – For their heart was not steadfast with Him, Nor were they faithful in His covenant.
  • 1 Chronicles 22:19 NKJV – Now set your heart and your soul to seek the LORD your God.
  • Proverbs 2:2 NKJV – So that you incline your ear to wisdom, And apply your heart to understanding;
  • Proverbs 22:17 NKJV – Incline your ear and hear the words of the wise, And apply your heart to my knowledge;

The Lord Looks at and Tests the Heart

  • 1 Samuel 16:7 NKJV – But the LORD said to Samuel, “Do not look at his appearance or at his physical stature, because I have refused him. For the LORD does not see as man sees; for man looks at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.”
  • Psalm 7:9 NKJV – Oh, let the wickedness of the wicked come to an end, But establish the just; For the righteous God tests the hearts and minds.
  • Proverbs 17:3 NKJV – The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, But the LORD tests the hearts.

We could go on, but we’ll stop there as this list should begin to portray the complexity of the heart.  Now, what do we do with this information?

God desires us to love Him with all our heart, with all our soul, and with all our strength (Deuteronomy 6:5).   He wants us to give our entire being over to Him in a whole-hearted commitment.  He even makes it possible by giving us the Holy Spirit to purify our hearts by faith (Acts 15:8-9). As the paslmist said “Create in me a clean heart, O God, And renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10), we know God would answer that prayer because it’s inline with His perfect will.

Our take away is to remember the heart is central to our relationship with Jesus Christ.  If we believe with the heart and confess with the mouth Jesus Christ is Lord, we will be saved (Romans 10:9-10). Therefore, we need to continually feed our heart wisdom, knowledge, and truth or it will turn back to evil.

The book of Romans tells us to overcome evil with good.  So we need to consciously be on guard protecting our hearts.  Keeping our hearts set on Jesus that we may be pure and blameless when He returns.  Paul tells us to keep our thoughts fixed on things lovely, pure, true, honorable and just because these nourish the heart.   Whatever is in our heart will eventually come out.  Lord tests our hearts and through adversity, trials and tribulations a person’s heart is revealed.

How’s your heart?

Lord thank you for creating a clean heart in us today.  Thank you for your grace we receive by faith in Jesus Christ.  Help us to set our hearts on you so we won’t be deceived or turn away to other gods.  In your precious name we pray, Jesus, 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.

Leave a comment »

Love Lord or Love Death

Paha L from Stock.Xchng

Paha L from Stock.Xchng


Now therefore, listen to me, my children, for blessed are those who keep my ways. Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it. Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors. For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the LORD; But he who sins against me wrongs his own soul; All those who hate me love death.” Proverbs 8:32-36 NKJV

Those who listen, keep and hear God’s instructions will find the Lord, find life, obtain favor and will be blessed. Sounds like a great deal to me. While the opposite is to sin against the Lord, which wrongs our own soul, causes us to hate the Lord and love death instead!

Now, why would we purposely choose to wrong our own soul or cause us to hate the Lord and love death? Perhaps this devotion may help us identify areas we do exactly this without realizing it.

Let’s begin.

Who do I listen to? Many of us may say we listen to God, but do we really? Maybe you’re like me in that sometimes I find myself listening to my emotions, my unmet needs, my desires, or my wants. Others may listen to the old negative thoughts or lies that hold us back from all God wants to give us. Still others may be stuck listening to people’s advice rather than the Lords. Perhaps you listen to people’s complaints. But God says listen to Me.

Who’s ways do I keep? Who’s boundaries do we really follow? Maybe we don’t have boundaries at all. Perhaps we keep the ways to please those around us. Doing or not doing things to avoid “rocking the boat” is the way people pleasing. Maybe we keep whatever ways that met our expectations. But God says keep My ways.

Do I hear instruction? Is my heart and mind open to His instruction? If not, why? Have I departed from His word? Do we really follow His instruction? When He tells us not to steal, are we stealing? When He tells us to love our neighbor as our self are we? To hear instruction means we are willing to put into practice. In doing so, we demonstrate the hearing of instruction.

How did you do on the pop quiz? Did you discover areas you need to work on? That’s great, for now you know how to pray and seek God’s wisdom and power to change those areas to be pleasing to God.

Lord your word says those who seek you diligently will find you. Lord we long for you, we want more of you. Help us not to be frustrated by our lack of obedience but to be compelled to live for you. Lord we need your help to become the person you want us to be. We know you are with us and provide us everything we need to live a godly life until you return. In Jesus’ precious name we pray. Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has lead small group Bible studies for almost a decade. She is creator of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com , YourBibleWitnessAtWork.com, and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

Leave a comment »