Bible Devotions

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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Jesus is the express image of God

 

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 NKJV 

The Bible teaches no one has seen God (John 1:18). It also teaches Jesus is the image of Him who is invisible (Colossians 1:15).  Why, even Jesus Himself said to His disciples “If you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father” (John 14:9).   God Almighty is too magnificent for mere humans to see and comprehend.  So when Jesus Christ was here on earth in human form, he was the representation of God Himself, in a physical way we humans would be able to understand.  Jesus was a picture of God’s character.  His life was a model for us to follow.  

Likewise, we Christians (or little Christ) are to be representatives of God to the unbelieving world.  By choosing to live God’s way instead of our way, we let God’s glory shine out from within.  We are not our own, we were purchased by the precious blood of Christ (1 Corinthians 6:18-20).  Now, let our bodies become tools of righteousness used by God for His glory (Romans 6:13).   

Lord Thank You for sending Jesus into the world, that we may know You.  Thank You for Your Word and Your Spirit which leads us in all truth.  Thank You for being a God who cares for us and will reveal Yourself to those who seek You.  In Jesus name, Amen.  

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Released from Bondage

Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil, 15 and release those who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. Hebrews 2:14-15 NKJV 

Jesus Christ came that we might be freed to live a life abundantly (John 10:10), being no longer bound by sin’s power (Romans 8:4).  When He willingly followed God’s plan of salvation and chose to die on the cross for us, He broke the power death had over us.  For now, we know with certainty where we will go when we leave this life.  We will enter into the presence of our Lord Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 5:8).   Death is no longer a threat to us, but now a doorway into eternity with the Lord.

 

 

 

 

Are you afraid of death?  If you answer yes, I encourage you to read God’s Word.  The more you learn of God’s glorious plans, the more you will be comforted knowing God has saved you. 

Have you given your life to Christ?  If not, you can be freed from the fear of death.  Read God’s Word, recognize you are a sinner (Romans 3:23) and Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6).  Pray to the Father, “I know I’m a sinner and need a savior.  Please forgive me and come into my life. In Jesus’ name Amen.”  Continue reading God’s Word and watch the glorious change appear in your life. 

Let’s take a look at some of the things are freed from, where Christ comes into our life:

Selfishness

Pride

Stubbornness

Bitterness

Resentfulness

Hatred

Anger

Self-loathing

Perfectionism

Envy

Strife

Jealousy

Complaining

Loneliness

Lust

Sinful desires

When we stop to remember all that we’ve been freed from, there is plenty of reason to “Shout to the Lord” with praise and thankfulness.  Rejoice, Christian, rejoice!

Lord, thank You for freeing us from bondage of sin.  Let us rejoice always with thanksgiving and gratefulness to You for setting us free to live an abundant life in Christ. In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

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Jesus Made the World

 

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 NKJV 

It was through Jesus Christ the entire world and the universe was made.  None of what we see would exist if not for Jesus who created it.  Look at what John 1:1-5 NKJV says: “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.” 

Before I came to know Jesus, I used to think about nature and imagine God created it.  But when I looked at everything man made, I did not see God or how God was part of it.  Now, I understand that God gives the ability, skills and talents to man, which enables him to make things.  1 Peter 4:11 NKJV “…If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” So when I see an incredible skyscraper building, I now relish the thought God endowed the man with the ability to create such a functional work of art.  

How about you?  Do you recognize all things are made through Christ?  If not, why?   

Lord God above thank You all things are made by You for Your glory and pleasure.  Enable us to see You in all things and help us keep You first in our minds. Where we don’t recognize Your work, please give us eyes to see.  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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Jesus is Heir of All Things

 

 

God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son, whom He has appointed heir of all things, through whom also He made the worlds; 3 who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person, and upholding all things by the word of His power, when He had by Himself purged our sins, sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, 4 having become so much better than the angels, as He has by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they. Hebrews 1:1-4 NKJV 

Jesus Christ is heir of all things, which is to stay all things belong to Him.  Think about when you become an heir of property, you become responsible for that asset.  All decisions as to what to do with it become yours, as heir and rightful owner.  There is no question of who owns it therefore no one can just walk up and snatch it away from you, because you are the heir.  If Jesus is heir of all things, this means He’s heir of you and me.  I find that wonderful news.  Look at what John 10:29 NKJV says: “My Father, who has given them to Me, is greater than all; and no one is able to snatch them out of My Father’s hand.”  Once the heir has been chosen by God, nothing can change who receives the inheritance. 

In Luke 20 Jesus told a parable about the vineyard owner, who hired some people to tend the vineyard for him.  When harvest time came the owner sent his servants to collect his portion of the harvest.  Yet, the servants working the vineyard had begun to think of the vineyard as their own and killed the servants.  After several attempts to collect the harvest the owner’s servants were slaughtered each time.  The owner decides to send his son thinking he would be respected.  Look at what Luke 20:13-15 NKJV says: “Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do? I will send my beloved son. Probably they will respect him when they see him.’ 14 But when the vinedressers saw him, they reasoned among themselves, saying, ‘This is the heir. Come, let us kill him, that the inheritance may be ours.’ 15 So they cast him out of the vineyard and killed him. Therefore what will the owner of the vineyard do to them?”  

People may try to take possession of what is not theirs and it may appear in the short term they succeeded.  However, in the end they shall receive their reward.  God is a fair and just God who will hold each person accountable.  Think about who the heir of you is. 

Are you like the vinedressers, trying to take your own life as an inheritance unto yourself?  Remember, we are not our own.  We were purchased with the precious blood of Jesus Christ (Acts 20:28). 

Father God above, You alone are our heir.  We belong to You through Christ’s sacrifice on the cross to purchase our freedom from sin.  Help us to remember we are Yours. In Jesus name, Amen. 

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Be Refreshed

I thank my God, making mention of you always in my prayers, 5 hearing of your love and faith which you have toward the Lord Jesus and toward all the saints, 6 that the sharing of your faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. 7 For we have great joy and consolation in your love, because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother. Philemon 1:4-7 NKJV 

Today’s verse is so invigorating to me, like stepping into a nice warm bubble bath and letting all the cares of the world melt away in the bubbles. Once I’ve had a good soak in God’s Word, I feel like I can tackle any problem that comes my way.  I am renewed, recharged and equipped for life.  Imagine if these verses were written specifically to you.  How might you respond?   God’s Word is such a comfort to me and my hope is that you may find it so too.  

In the opening verse, Paul mentions how he thanks God and mentions Philemon in his prayers.  I don’t know about you, but something twinkles inside me, when I know others are thanking God and praying for me.  What an honor that someone would spend time with God praying on my behalf.   Paul goes on about how he has heard about Philemon’s love and faith.  Have you heard of other’s love and faith?  Usually to hear about something, means someone has to talk about it.  If you haven’t heard of other’s love and faith, then perhaps it’s time to start talking about the love and faith you see around you.   

Verse 6 says “that the sharing of your faith may become effective…”  Isn’t that what we’re supposed to do, share our faith?  I heard/read a devotion recently that talked about the transformation that takes place when you become a Christian and how that same transformation causes us to speak out about our faith, to share it with others because it is really good news.  If it’s really such great news, why are we not telling everyone we know?  

Because of the desire God gave me to encourage others with His Word the last verse is precious to me: “because the hearts of the saints have been refreshed by you, brother.”  It is my sincerest prayer that through these devotions, you may be refreshed too.  

Lord, thank You for Your Word that refreshed and renews our thinking.  Thank You for being available to us through prayer.  Give us a desire to please You by reading Your Word daily.  Enable us to live out what we learn from Your Word.  In Jesus name.  Amen. 

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Titus 3:9-11 NKJV

But avoid foolish disputes, genealogies, contentions, and strivings about the law; for they are unprofitable and useless. 10 Reject a divisive man after the first and second admonition, 11 knowing that such a person is warped and sinning, being self-condemned. Titus 3:9-11 NKJV 

There is a time to retreat.  The Bible teaches we are not to engage is foolish disputes.  That tells me I am to over look things that would trigger a foolish dispute.  Some examples might be:

 

·         Perhaps someone is putting the dishes away in the wrong spot, rather than correct them and cause contention, I am to let it go. 

 

·         Someone is working on a project and you see there is a better way to do it.  You want to inform them to do it your way.  Rather than impress your way on them, you hold your tongue and allow them to finish the project on their own.

 

There is a time to reject someone who obviously isn’t willing to follow God’s commands.  If after you’ve attempted to bring them back to the Lord through godly admonishment and they still refuse to turn from their ways, we are called to “release” them.  Stop going after them.  Let them run their own course, keeping them prayer and in time, they may see the error of their way. 

 

In 1 Corinthians 5:13 NKJV Paul admonishes the church to “put away from yourselves the evil person.” He was speaking of a man in the church who was in obvious sin.  I think this verse goes well with today’s scripture.  We are to reject the decisive man, who chooses to walk contrary to the Lord.  Don’t linger and potentially enter into to foolish discussions.  Separate your self from such a one, for bad company corrupts good character.  

Lord, thank You for Your Word and Your Spirit who leads us into all truth.  Enable us to seek more of You and obey Your commands out of a heart of love, longing to please You. Help us know when to retreat rather than go after someone for Your sake.  Lead us day by day. In Jesus name, Amen.  

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Remember

  

Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. Titus 3:1-2 NKJV  

 

Fellowship is key to our obedient walk with Christ.  We need others in our lives, that be a “Paul” to us.  Look at what Paul writes in Titus.  He’s explaining we need to remind each other certain things, like obeying authorities and being ready for good work.  He also reminds us to love our neighbor and gives examples such as speak evil of no one, be peaceable, gentle and show humility to everyone.  All of these are very good advice to follow.     

Reading further into Titus 3, Paul reminds us what kind of people we also were at one time.  “3 For we ourselves were also once foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving various lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful and hating one another.”  He doesn’t do it to shame us, but he remind us all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23).  No one is exempt from sin’s presence.  We are all affected by it.  This should help us stay humble towards one another.   

I love how scripture is so complete.  If we just stopped there, we’d be a mess.  We’d see 1) we need to obey and 2) we are sinners.  Not much hope in the first couple verses to motivate us towards obedient behavior, is there?   

At the right time, the rest of the verses come into play.  “4 But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared, 5 not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us, through the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit, 6 whom He poured out on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, 7 that having been justified by His grace we should become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”  Can you imaging trying to carry out all of that good behavior in our own strength?  How exhausting!  In verse 4-7, Paul reminds us yet again, it’s not by our power that we can do these things.  It’s all because Christ sacrificed Himself, paid for our sins, set us free from the bondage of sin, and in rising from the dead, He gave us new life and enabled us to live out a godly life by giving us His Spirit to live in us.  All of this He did, not because we did anything to deserve it, but because of His mercy and grace!  This is what’s motivating!   

Let’s talk about some examples.   

How would you feel if you’d forgotten your lunch at home and had no money to buy lunch at school or work?  Then a friend or co-worker notices you have nothing to eat and buys you lunch without even asking you, and delivers to you.  How would you feel?   

Let’s say you have a flat tire and you’re stranded on the side of the road.  You don’t know the first thing about changing a flat tire and you don’t belong to a convenient road side assistance program.  Just then a nice man stops, changes the tire for you and gets you back on the road.  How would you feel?  

What are your thoughts?  Would you have felt grateful in either of these situations?  I would.  These examples can not even come close to comparing to the wonderfulness of Christ’s help.  Jesus did more than change a flat tire or buy you food for a day.  He gave you a new life.  He purchased your ticket to heaven, your eternal home.  He picked you and I up out of the garbage, washed us off and set us, as jewels in His crown, into a new godly life! 

In conclusion, Paul goes on to say “8 This is a faithful saying, and these things I want you to affirm constantly, that those who have believed in God should be careful to maintain good works. These things are good and profitable to men.”  In order words, remind each other of all we have to be grateful for.  Do not let yourself or those around you slip into the routine of life and therefore be tempted to forget all that Christ has done.   Remembering these things will motivate us to carry on the good works God has called us to.   Fellowship with other believers can help us keep our focus on the Lord and what He’s done for us.  Where are you today?  Are you connected in a small group?  Join one today. 

Lord, thank You for Your Word that straightens us out and shows us all we have to be grateful for.  Bring godly people into our lives to be like Paul, reminding us of all You have done for us. Thank You, Jesus for Your mercy and grace.  In Your name, Amen.  

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Thought Life

To the pure all things are pure, but to those who are defiled and unbelieving nothing is pure; but even their mind and conscience are defiled.  Titus 1:15 NKJV 

 

How important are the thoughts we allow in our mind?  According to God’s Word, they are very important.  When we allow thoughts to linger or dwell on them, they turn into feelings.  Once feelings have kicked it, our emotions try to convince us into taking action.  It’s just how we were made.  

 

Romans 12:2 NKJV says “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.”  The mind plays a critical role in transforming us.  The mind must be renewed.  This indicates the mind needs to be renewed.  There is something dark in our mind which is not good, therefore, it needs to be renewed.   

 

Every moment since becoming a born again believer, I’ve noticed a conflict in my mind between what my mind wants to think about and what the Bible tells us we should think about.  Notice today’s verse.  It says “to the pure all things are pure”.  Do you see all things as pure?  If not, it’s an indication our thought life isn’t what it’s supposed to be.     

 

Philippians 4:8 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.”  These are want we should focus on and keep bringing our mind back to.  Only when we maintain our focus on these things, will we be able to say “to the pure all things are pure”.  Also remember who is all these things?  There is only one person – Jesus Christ.  When we dwell on the true, noble, just, pure, etc, we are dwelling on Christ Himself.   

 

To have this kind of focus takes work.  This isn’t as easy as waking up one morning and saying “Okay, self, you’re going to think only good thoughts today.”  Oh no, it takes a conscience awareness of what we are thinking about.  We have to create a new standard for what is acceptable in our thoughts.  If we judge our thoughts against Philippians 4:8 and find our thoughts don’t agree, then we are to cast it out of our mind.   

 

2 Corinthians 10:3-6 NKJV says “For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 6 and being ready to punish all disobedience when your obedience is fulfilled.”  We have God’s might to help us bring every thought captive and make it obedient to Christ.  Our weapons to fight this mental battle are not limited to our human strength.  Instead they are mighty spiritual weapons able to defeat our enemy.   

 

Let’s recap.  We’ve learned what we think about is important and is an indicator of our spiritual condition.  We’ve discussed what we should be thinking about and we’ve discovered we’ve got God’s might to help us fight the mental battle and bring our thoughts into obedience.   

 

How are your thoughts today?  Did you check them against Philippians 4:8?  It’s not too late.  Simply ask God for help bringing your thoughts into submission.   

 

Lord God Almighty, thank you for your word that reveals the areas we fall short.  Thank you for leading us on the path of life.  Thank you for purifying us from all unrighteousness and giving us the strength we need to fight the mental battle and align our thoughts with you.  In Jesus name Amen.  

 

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Living the Word

 

 

The other day my son and I had a brief argument. Well, not really.  He walked into the room, got in my face and asked me something.  I didn’t like how he got in my face or the attitude with which the words were flung at me, so without answering his question I asked my own question:  “Why do you speak to me with such an attitude?”

“Because you speak to me with an attitude” was his reply.  Ouch!

 

There’s some truth in his statement. The whole scenario got me thinking.  I’ve been praying about how to change this dynamic for some time now.  Yesterday, very clearly the Lord was revealing how I may be good about reading His Word, but I’m missing the part about applying it.  Specifically regarding the following two verses:

 

Leviticus 19:18NKJV “You shall not take vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the children of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.” 

How interesting.  Was I holding a grudge against me son?  I think I was very resentful of how he was treating me.  Father, forgive me.  However, thinking about loving my neighbor as myself, made me wonder how would I want to be treated, if I were in my son’s shoes?  

I’m sure you’ve heard the Golden Rule:  Treat others as you would want to be treated.  Well, there’s good reason for it.  Look at what Matthew 7:2 NLT says: “For you will be treated as you treat others.”  Therefore, I think I was speaking with attitude towards my son, perhaps mixed with anger and frustration (but we’ll save that for another story).  

These verses were percolating in my mind, like a coffee pot brewing hot java. The next morning while driving my son to school I began to share with him what God had showed me regarding what transpired the night before.  “When we love our neighbor, we are willing to do for them what we would want done for us.  Truly loving someone means we’ll be intentional with our words.  Rather than letting ourselves react to what someone says to us, we hold our tongue, wait and then purposefully respond out of love.  This also means that we respond in love, regardless of whether the person speaking to us deserves to be treated nicely or not.  We express love because God has loved us, when we don’t deserve it.  It is our responsibility, as Christians, to show the same kind of love to those around us, even when they don’t deserve it.  By doing so, we become witnesses of God’s grace, mercy and love.  That’s what makes us different from the world.  That example can draw others to God.”  

This may seem like a no-brainer for some of you and it did to me.  While I knew this before the scenario occurred, God brought me to a deeper understanding of this truth.  It was a wonderful moment of Aha!   Now, I really get it! 

How about you?  Are you loving your neighbor as yourself?  Stop and take a moment to consider how you are treating people around you.  Are you treating them how you would want to be treated?  Or are you letting resentment creep in to color your response toward them? 

Lord God Almighty, you alone deserve all praise, you alone deserve all love.  Thank you, Lord for showing us the real way to love others as our self.  Enable us to respond with loving intentions rather than out of an automatic reaction.  In Jesus name Amen. 

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