Bible Devotions

Does Knowledge of God Prevents Sin?

 

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 NKJV

 

Have you ever noticed how a small child will act appropriately when there are adults around?  As soon the parental units are no longer in sight, that same child will do what they are not allowed to do otherwise.  Why is that? 

 

Well it’s the same with all of us adults.  If we know God is watching, we’ll be on our best behavior.  However, if there’s no knowledge of God we’re likely to do things not pleasing to God.   Knowledge of God helps us remember He is always watching.  It’s not the creepy big brother kind of watching.  He’s watching His creation with the loving eyes of a parent watching his own child.   Because He’s God, maker of all we see, there is nothing hidden from Him.  All things are bare before Him.  Knowing this leads to fear of the Lord.  In other words, fear of the Lord is a healthy and proper respect for the supreme authority over us.

 

He knows everything and sees all things.  Keeping this firmly planted in our minds will help us choose wisely the activities we partake in.  A friend of mine who has five children has a wonderful rule in her house: If you wouldn’t want mom to know about it then you probably should not do it.  It’s the same principle God lays out.  We need to remember we are all under a higher authority – God Almighty.

 

While God makes allowances for sinful behavior by accepting sacrifice in the Old Testament, He would rather the people keep knowledge of Him top of mind to prevent the sin in the first place.  He expects the same from us.  Hosea 4:6 NKJV says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” 

 

The Lord doesn’t want a single person to perish but all to come to eternal life in Him through faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  He has given us everything we need to know He exists.  Look at creation around us, it all points to our Heavenly Father.  We have His word to help us better understand His character and unrelenting love towards us.  Understanding His marvelous love for us and His willingness to take matters into His own hands to save us, should compel us to live rightly before Him.  If it doesn’t it’s an indication of our lack of knowledge of God.

 

How do we gain knowledge? 

 

Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” James 1:5 NKJV says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  Knowledge comes from God, Himself.  He will give it freely to those who earnestly seek Him.  So dig in, study His Word, and let His Spirit lead you into His glorious truth so your mind may be renewed.  It’s never too late to gather knowledge of God.  So jump into His Word today.

 Lord, thank you for your guidance through your word.  Thank you for your leading through the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for your love compelling us to know you more.  Draw us closer to 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.

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Where Do You Turn

Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the Lord; Look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.  Isaiah 51:1 NKJV 

Listen

There are many voices calling to us, but there is only one we should listen to.  God’s still small voice is the only one to be trusted for only He has out best interests in mind.

 

Follow

There are many examples to follow, but there is only one we should model our life around.  God Almighty’s Son Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient in all ways, even to the point of death to bring salvation to all who would believe in Him.  His example should be our measuring stick to compare our life to.

 

Seek

There are many things to seek in this life, but only one satisfies.  Jesus Christ fills the empty space within us that compels us to seek in the first place.  Seek first His Kingdom and all these things will be added, says Jesus. 

 

Look

There are many things to look to but only one encourages and builds us up.  God Almighty who created all things with a spoken word.  He made you in His image.  We must never forget that.  When thinking about whose image we bear, we must also remember the pit from which He pulled us out.  In doing so, we remain humble knowing how undeserving we are of His lavish grace, love and forgiveness. 

 

Read Isaiah 51.  It is a wonderful reminder of God’s strength, all He has done and all He will do.  If ever your mind drifts away from the Lord, rein it back in by reading God’s Word.  Remember His sovereignty, His might and your own sinfulness is a great place to start. 

 Lord, thank you for speaking to us through your word.  Thank you for your clear directions for life.  Thank you for dying for our sins and rising again to give us new life.  In Jesus’ 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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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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Are You Troubled?

Restless

Does your situation have you in a choke hold?  Are anxious thoughts plaguing you?  Do unmet needs have you down?  Are you paralyzed by fear?

 

When our thoughts are centered on our self, our situation and our own needs, we can be sure we are playing into our enemy’s trap.  For these are the opposite of what God would have us focus on.  Think about Jesus’ ministry on earth.  Was He ever troubled over how He would pay His bills?  Did He fret over what He would wear?  Was He ever concerned about get His own needs met?  No He wasn’t.  Instead He was focused on God and God’s will. So when we find our self stuck by our problems, our thoughts and our fears, we need to remember God has a plan and we’re part of it. 

 

Remember God

Mediate on God and His glory to help bring back the proper perspective.  Psalm 104 is a great example of thinking on God’s handiwork.  Thinking about all He has created will help you remember how powerful, mighty and awesome He is.  Thinking about His strength your problems seem smaller by comparison.  God knows all things from the beginning to the end and everything in between.  He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is steadfast on Him because you trust Him (Isaiah 26:3).  Remember God’s perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

 

Do Your Part

Put on God’s armor so you may stand firm.  Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV says “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” 

 

Think on helpful things.  Philippians 4:7-8 NKJV says “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.”  Do good and don’t grow weary for at the right time you will reap a harvest of right living (Galatians 6:9).  Do not doubt the Lord will accomplish all He says He will.  Seek first His kingdom and all things will be added to you. 

 

When you find yourself restless check your thoughts.  Remember God and focus your thoughts on Him.  With God’s power within you do your part to abide in His love and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). 

 Lord, thank you for being able to calm our restless souls.  Thank you for your word to guide us in our knowledge of you.  Thank you for your spirit to lead us in your truth.  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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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.

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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.

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A Look at Deuteronomy 27:11-26

And Moses commanded the people on the same day, saying, “These shall stand on Mount Gerizim to bless the people, when you have crossed over the Jordan: Simeon, Levi, Judah, Issachar, Joseph, and Benjamin; and these shall stand on Mount Ebal to curse: Reuben, Gad, Asher, Zebulun, Dan, and Naphtali. Deuteronomy 27:11-13 NKJV

Read Deuteronomy 27:11-26 NKJV.

At first glance this list of curses may seem out of place.  Why command them to recite these curses rather than the actual Ten Commandments given to them earlier in Deuteronomy 5: 6-21?  As we study this further, we see these verses may be practical, real-life, re-statements of the Ten Commandments.

Let’s look at the curses and the Ten Commandments in table format, as well as categorize each.

Category

Curse

Commandment

# of Ten Commandment

God

Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image

You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth;

2

Family

Cursed is the one who treats his father or his mother with contempt.

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you.

5

Neighbor

Cursed is the one who moves his neighbor’s landmark.

You shall not steal. You shall not covet your neighbor’s wife; and you shall not desire your neighbor’s house, his field, his male servant, his female servant, his ox, his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor’s.

8, 10

Neighbor

Cursed is the one who makes the blind to wander off the road.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9

Neighbor, Justice

Cursed is the one who perverts the justice due the stranger, the fatherless, and widow.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9

Family, Personal Integrity, Sex

Cursed is the one who lies with his father’s wife, because he has uncovered his father’s bed. Cursed is the one who lies with any kind of animal. Cursed is the one who lies with his sister, the daughter of his father or the daughter of his mother. Cursed is the one who lies with his mother-in-law.

Honor your father and your mother, as the LORD your God has commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may be well with you in the land which the LORD your God is giving you. You shall not commit adultery.

5, 7

Neighbor

Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

9

Neighbor, Justice, Personal Integrity

Cursed is the one who takes a bribe to slay an innocent person.

You shall not murder. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

6, 9

There are several things that come out of this analysis.

First, I don’t see a reference to commandments three and four:  “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain, for the LORD will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.  Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the LORD your God commanded you.”  I wonder why?

Second, there are four curses regarding sex.  If God repeated this one four times, I’m pretty sure He wants us to remember this one.   This one seems to be about honoring father, mother, family members and self by not joining our self inappropriately.

Third, analyzing the categories makes it clear family and neighbor relations are very important to God.  He wanted the children of Israel to live in relationship with one another.  If everyone did their part, surely none of these curses would be a problem.

Sadly, we learn throughout the Bible the people were not able to refrain from such abominations.  There are plenty of examples of how these commandments were broken and not just in the Old Testament, but also in the New Testament.  Here are just a few to get you thinking:

  • Exodus 32:1-10 NKJV – “They have turned aside quickly out of the way which I commanded them. They have made themselves a molded calf, and worshiped it and sacrificed to it, and said, ‘This is your god, O Israel, that brought you out of the land of Egypt!’”
  • 2 Samuel 16:21-22 NKJV – “And Ahithophel said to Absalom, “Go in to your father’s concubines, whom he has left to keep the house; and all Israel will hear that you are abhorred by your father. Then the hands of all who are with you will be strong.” So they pitched a tent for Absalom on the top of the house, and Absalom went in to his father’s concubines in the sight of all Israel.”
  • 1 Corinthians 5:1 NKJV – “It is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and such sexual immorality as is not even named among the Gentiles—that a man has his father’s wife!”
  • Matthew  26:14-15 NKJV – “Then one of the twelve, called Judas Iscariot, went to the chief priests and said, “What are you willing to give me if I deliver Him to you?” And they counted out to him thirty pieces of silver.”

So what does this mean to us today?   God gave His Word to us as instruction, correction and training in righteousness.  2 Timothy 3:16-17 NKJV  says “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”

Therefore, what can we learn from this reading?  What needs to change with in our thoughts, attitudes, behavior and relationships?  Ask God to reveal all the reasons you do not obey His voice.   Thank Him for completing the good work which He started in you.

Lord God Almighty your plans and purposes are wise and just.  You lead us by your Spirit and Truth.  Equip us with your word.  Give us a pure desire for you.  Reveal anything in us that offends you.  Thank you, Jesus, for cleansing us from all unrighteousness.  In Jesus’ precious 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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Responsibility within a Family

Then Moses and the priests, the Levites, spoke to all Israel, saying, “Take heed and listen, O Israel: This day you have become the people of the LORD your God. 10 Therefore you shall obey the voice of the LORD your God, and observe His commandments and His statutes which I command you today.” Deuteronomy 27:9-10 NKJV

God choose the children of Israel to become His people.  They were to live differently from the surrounding nations.  They were set apart to God.  They were to reflect God’s character to others by obeying His voice and observing His statutes and commandments.

They were about to enter “the promised land flowing with milk and honey.”  God was about to fulfill His promise to those He loved.  God did not want the children of Israel to think this was the end of the journey and become complacent in their new home.  Rather He wanted them to remember to listen to Him and observe His ways.

Think for moment about a family with parents and children.  The children belong to the parents.  They are responsible to listen and obey all their parents say.  The parents are responsible for providing for, teaching and correcting the children so they may have healthy, productive lives.

The parents are not responsible for their neighbor’s children.  They don’t walk in their neighbor’s house and start instructing their neighbor’s children what to do.  The neighbor’s children are not responsible to them, so they have their own parents who they are responsible to.  Likewise, our children are not responsible to our neighbor’s parents because we are their parents.

In order for this responsibility to kick in, one must first become part of a family.  Some are physically born into a family and others are adopted into a family.  Once you’re in a family you become responsible to the parents and their commands.

When we live in family, we start looking and acting alike.  Ever notice how the children look much like their parents.  Even adopted children who come from different birth parents, start looking and acting like their adoptive parents.

That’s what is going on here in scripture.  The children of Israel have become part of God’s family.  As a result, they have the responsibility to listen and obey God’s commands and live different from those who are not part of God’s family.  The children of Israel’s lives were to show the world around them they were in fact part of God’s family.

How about you?  Have you become part of God’s family yet?  All you need to do is trust Jesus through faith and God’s grace will activate.  If you haven’t done this yet, there’s no time like now.  Simply ask Jesus to forgive your rebellion and He will.  God will send His Holy Spirit to live in you so you’ll know you are His.

So you are part of God’s family by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Does your life reflect God’s character?  Have you stepped up to the responsibility to God and His commands?  If not, ask God to show you what and give you a willing heart to change.

God Almighty who loves us and wants us to become part of His family, thank you for making it possible through Jesus Christ.  May we accept your work on our behalf.  May we become your children and responsible to your voice and commands.  Enable us this day to live for you.  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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A More Complete Picture

Can we understand God by reading one Bible verse? Can we know Him through one devotional reading? Can we grasp His glory through one prayer? Is it possible to know Him through encounters with others?

The answer to the individual question is no, but collectively perhaps. Let me explain with an analogy.

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Can we taste the sweet goodness of an angel food cake by eating the ingredients one at a time? A raw egg is not so tempting. The sweet sugar might be, but the flour is plenty blain by itself. Yet when these ingredients are mixed together in the proper proportion, what a delight they become.

So it is with our relationship Jesus Christ. No one thing can reveal all there is to know about Him. No one thing can demonstrate the depth of His love for us, save for the cross. But to create a more complete understanding of God, He wants us to balance our activities. Just like having the right portions of ingredients for a cake.

In this way, we are made aware something grand. Something only God can reveal – His true nature. The Lord says in Psalm 34:8 NKJV “Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good; Blessed is the man who trusts in Him!”

We are designed to be together with others. We are collectively the body of Christ. He is the vine and we are the branches. Jesus tells us in John 15 we can nothing apart from Him. We can not grow on our own. Growth comes by the Holy Spirit through our connections with God and others.

Self check: Rate your self on how many times or how much effort you put into each of the following activities each month. Using a scale from 1 to 5, where 1 is not much and 5 is a lot.

Bible reading/studying 1 2 3 4 5

Prayer 1 2 3 4 5

Worship 1 2 3 4 5

Serving 1 2 3 4 5

Fellowship 1 2 3 4 5

Sharing Christ with others 1 2 3 4 5

Rate your self every month. Keep a record of your results. Hopefully you will notice your numbers increasing over time as you continue diligently applying God’s Word in your life.

Lord, thank you for being there for us, showing us what you expect, giving us your Spirit and your word as well as other believers to help us grow. Give us a deeper desire for you. Draw us closer to you. Help us be diligent in our spiritual development. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

©Elizabeth Marks has led 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.

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