Bible Devotions

God is so Good

Read Psalm 107

There is a definite pattern displayed in this psalm. I have experienced first hand, and you probably have too if you were to stop long enough to consider it.

The first pattern is regarding men. By men I don’t mean the male variety. Rather I mean all people, male, and female, young and old alike. People are thankless. They are determined to go their own way, no matter the consequence. When they finally had enough pain, suffering, disappointment, their time has already been long gone.

It is quite sad really. Never recognizing how good we have it until terrible events threaten our well being. Why must it come to this? Why must we learn the hard way? It is because of our sinful nature. The Bible tells we were born in sin, all have gone astray, not one is good and no one really seeks God.

So we see this repeated pattern of man- denying his Maker, deliberately living apart from God’s ways and reaping the negative consequences.

There is another pattern at work in this psalm. This too I have seen over and over again in my life, as you no doubt have. This second pattern shows off God’s character- The Lord of Mercy. As man falls into depravity and cries out, who is there to rescue him? None other than the Lord Most High. The Redeemer. God Himself.

If you were to read this psalm again keeping a watchful eye on all the God does, you would find God rescues every time. Not some of the time, but every time. No matter how many times he has saved before, he still comes to our aid. Over and over again, his mercy endures forever.

Look at his good deeds. He redeems us from our enemy. He delievers us out of our distresses. He leads us by the right way. He satisfies our longings. He saves us from trouble. He brakes the chains that bind us. With his word he heals us. He guides us. He turns the wilderness into pools of water. He blesses us greatly.

Why does he do it? Because God is love. Love acts. He is true, right and pure. He made us. He knows what is best for us. He knows our nature. He knows we can not save our self, no he does it for us. He sent his Son, Jesus to die in our place that we might live in Him. He sealed us in his grace.

He grants us enternal life and power to live our life here and now. He is with us and will never leave us. He is awesomely good.

Have you ever chronicled your life as this psalm did? If you did, I’m sure you would come to the same conclusion – we are mere dust, but God is mighty to save.

O glorious God, you are might to save. Thank you for loving us so tenderly. Thank you for saving us when we did not deserve it. Thank you for making it possible to live a godly life until you return for us.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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How Do We Love?

Wouldn’t it be nice if there was an easy formula to follow to express love to you spouse?  How interesting.  When I began that sentence I thought for sure I would answer YES.  On second thought, NO it wouldn’t be nice if there was a formula.  A major part of relationships is discovery.  If we knew exactly how to love our spouse, we’d fall into compliancy because there would be no room to grow. 

 

Think about when you were first dating your spouse.  No doubt you spent countless hours together talking about everything under the sun, as I did.  It was fascinating to learn of someone else’s experiences in life.  It was equally exhilarating to talk about our own experiences and have some pay complete attention and be interested in what you were saying.  Those times together were times of growing, times of getting to know each other.

 

As each person was created uniquely by God Almighty, the way in which a person feels loved is just as unique.  While some like when the spouse is helpful around the house, others may prefer if their spouse would just sit and listen to them.  Some spouses enjoying outdoor activities together, while others may like indoor activities, such as reading.  No one way to love fits all people.  I, for one, am thankful! 

 

God didn’t create us to be robots who mechanically loved him and others by following a formula.  He designed us to express love differently depending on who we’re matched with. 

 

So how do we love?

 

The Bible tells us God is love.  Anyone who loves knows God.  1 John 4:7-11 NKJV “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love. 9 In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. 11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.”  

The source of our love, the reason we can love at all is because GOD LOVED US FIRST.  He knew, in advance, we needed help and He set out to deliver us before we even knew we needed it.    

Let me give you a real world example.  I recently took a class on Japanese culture and how it differs from American culture.  It was a very interesting class!  In the Japanese culture, you are brought up thinking of others.  You are taught to not only to care for the other person’s needs first but to anticipate their needs as well.  Just imagine if everyone anticipated each others needs, there would be no reason to worry about your own needs being met.  Everyone would be taking care of them.  How beautiful!  That, my friends, is what God did for us.  He anticipated our need for salvation and He took care of it for us by sending His son, Jesus Christ, to die for our sins.  He did this out of His love for us.   We, too, are called to meet the needs of our spouse, just as God met our need for salvation.   

Are you anticipating your spouse’s needs?  Have you even thought about their needs?  Or are you so focused on your own unmet needs you can’t begin to think of theirs?   God wants us to love each other.  Part of that means anticipating and meeting the needs of our spouse.    

Having difficulties figuring out how to anticipate needs?  Here’s some examples but remember, everyone’s different.  You’ll have to investigate or experiment with your spouse on what works for them.  

1)      Take his/her clothes to the dry cleaner before they even ask. 2)      Remember to take something out for dinner in the morning, so the spouse who cooks dinner won’t have to. 3)      Make arrangement for a quiet evening out, just the two of you, to surprise them. a.       Hint:  Hire a baby sitter for a solid year.  Plan dates each month, the babysitter will block off on his/her calendar.  Tell the babysitter you’ll pay them whether or not you use them on those dates.  You’ll never have to worry about finding a babysitter again. 4)      Leave love notes around the house or in the car. 5)      Straighten up the house. 

A good rule of thumb, follow The Golden Rule from Matthew 7:12 NLT “Do to others whatever you would like them to do to you.” 

Lord, thank you for your active love that cares for our needs before we even realize them.  Help us to love our spouses as you have loved us.  Teach us to anticipate and met their needs so that your love may be poured over them through us.  Help us discover and carry out meaningful ways to love our spouse. 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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Love is a Result

Love is the finished product. We can not wake up one day and decide to love everyone.  It may work temporarily. But as soon as the object of that love does something hurtful, we stop loving.

 

Jesus said, “You can do nthing apart from Me.” He meant it.  All our efforts, self will and determination will fail.  Only God’s love lasts forever, unchanged.  Even when the object of His love turns his/her back on Him, God still loves them. For the bible tells us nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.  Hell can’t, heaven can’t, our fears can’t, even our mistakes can’t.  God is love. Therefore, His love remains forever. (1 John 4:7)

 

If we crave more love in our life the answer is found in Jesus Christ.  First John 4:15 says “whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God. We have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love and he who abides in love, abides in God and God in him. Therefore, God is mightier than you and me.

 

As long as we abide in God, we can love others.   First John 4:4 says “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.”  Jesus said in John 15:10 “If you keep my commandments you will abide in Myu love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”

 

As a result of abiding in God and He in us we will love one another because it is His spirit in us doing the loving. John 3:6 says we must be born again to receive the Spirit.  When He comes to live in us He is responsible for guiding us in all truth, convicting us of sin, righteousness and judgement to come, which helps us stay on track with God’s Commandments.

 

Then the fruit of the Spirit will appear.  Galations 5:22 tells us the first fruit of the Spirit is love.  Everything the Spirit of God does is loving.  Once we accept Jesus Christ into our life, God gives us His Spirit which empowers and equips us to desire and do what is pleasing to Him.  That means we have the ability to love others as ourself and love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

 

Just because we have received God’s Spirit doesn’t mean we automatically love all the time.  For God designed us with free-will.  We still can choose to walk by the Spirit or by our old worldly ways.  The bible calls this walking by the flesh.

 

God gives us every opportunity to love.  He has equipt us to love, but the choice is still ours.  Next time we are tempted to __________________ (you fill in the blank), S.T.O.P. Before you react, respond or reherse how you might react, think of this acrostic:
S = Seek God’s perspective

T = Turn to the bible

O = Open your heart

P = Pray for God’s leading

Hiding God’s word in your heart and mind is a great way to guard against temptation.  You may be tempted to become easily angered, be rude, or be selfish.  Whatever your temptation God always provides a way of escape. Seek Him before, during and after the trying time and you will have peace that surpasses all understanding.

 

O Lord, thank you for your finished love for us.  Your love never ends. We never have to earn your love, for we have it already.  You are able to help us in everything.  Thank you, Jesus. Amen.

 

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

 

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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!

 

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Nothing is Impossible for God

And the LORD visited Sarah as He had said, and the LORD did for Sarah as He had spoken. Genesis 21:1 NKJV

Sarah who was barren and also in her 80s or 90s had laughed when the Lord told her she would conceive and bear a son. Sometimes God’s promises seem impossible. With God nothing is impossible. If He says it will happen you can rest assured it will happen. God can do the impossible.

I once was filled with bitterness, resentment, anger, hatred and murderous thoughts. My heart was hardened by years of disappointments and unmet relational needs. But then I learned of Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for me. I called upon His name. He met me where I was and lifted me out of the pit I was in just like Psalm 40:2 NKJV says: He also brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my steps.”

As I began the journey of my new life I discovered the truth of Romans 12:2 NKJV: “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.” God’s word did renew my mind! And just as Ezekiel 11:19 NKJV says: “Then I will give them one heart, and I will put a new spirit within them, and take the stony heart out of their flesh, and give them a heart of flesh,” God replaced my stony heart with a tender heart of flesh.

What I thought was impossible proved to be incredibly possible with God’s help. I know now God does what He says He will do. He can be trusted. He is faithful and just.

Is there something you think is impossible for God going on in your life today? Trust Him. He won’t let you down. Instead He may give you the desires of your heart, when you delight in Him just as Psalm 37:4 NKJV says.

Lord God Almighty, we are thankful nothing is too hard for you. Thank you for being faithful and just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Draw us near you today. 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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God’s Kindness

Whoever is wise will observe these things, and they will understand the lovingkindness of the LORD. Psalm 107:43 NKJV

 

Read Psalm 107.

 

The entire Bible is full of stories, examples, and poetry of God’s kindness towards mankind.  Psalm 107 is no exception.  The psalmist starts out by saying “Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! His mercy endures forever.  Let the redeemed of the Lord say so.”  As the Psalm progresses though, we see how men turned their backs on God, or demonstrate their sinfulness, or continued in their own way and find them self in distress.  But one thing remains the same every time they cried out to the Lord in their troubles; the Lord answered them by delivering them out if their distresses.

 

So the Lord saved His people repeatedly whether or not they deserve to be saved.  In this, He showed lovingkindness towards the people who continued to stray.  Notice every time the people were in trouble, all they had to do was call on the Lord and He would save them.  But they did have to call on the Lord.  That appears to be our part, realizing we need the Lord’s help.  Then God’s part was delivering them from their troubles, which he did faithfully every time they called out to Him.

 

Have you ever had someone ask you for help and he didn’t want to give it to them?  Maybe your attitude-filled teenager needed help on homework but because of the “way” he asked, you didn’t feel like helping him.  Well, according to this Psalm, God didn’t wait for the people to clean up their act before He helped them.  No, God helped them when they called with no strings attached.

 

One other thing to point out about this Psalm is how men never fully grasped God’s lovingkindness towards them.  It says whoever is wise will observe these things and they will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord, but for the most part the people did not notice the lovingkindness of the Lord.  They continued what they were doing it until it caused such great distress they had to call out the Lord.

 

Romans 12:2 NKJV “do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” indicates that we must be different in our thinking.  We cannot just continue to drift along through life.  We need to allow God’s word to change the way we think.  Then we will be able to observe all that God does for us and we will understand the lovingkindness of the Lord.

 

Lord thank you so much for all You do for us.  Give us the spiritual eyes that we may see just how much you really do care for us on a daily basis.  Fill us with your spirit that we may act towards others as you act towards us.  In your name we pray Jesus 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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