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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Why Prayer is Important

Have you ever had a close, intimate and satisfying relationship with someone you never talked to?  Of course you haven’t and it’s ridiculous to think it’s possible.  So why would we pretend to have a close relationship with God, without prayer? 

 

Prayer is communication with God.  Through prayer we offer our praise and worship to the One True God who deserves all praise.  Extolling all the virtues of God’s greatness helps us see life from His perspective.  It helps us see ourselves in proper relationship to Him.  We are His servants.  He is our God.

 

Prayer communication is a two way street.  We talk to God and He talks to us.  We don’t just bring our cares, worries, frustrations to Him.  But He speaks to us, revealing Him self to us through prayer.  There have been times when I puzzled over how a certain thing was going to work out in my life and through prayer God calmed my fear of uncertainty and answered my requests, further building my trust in Him.  He helps us recognize all things are possible when we believe Him.  He gives rest to those who seek Him wholeheartedly through prayer. 

 

Ephesians 1:17-20 NKJV records some powerful blessings that come through prayer.  

  • You receive the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him
  • Your eyes of your understanding being enlightened
  • You may know what is the hope of His calling
  • You understand the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints
  • You understand exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe

 

Prayer is a mighty piece of God’s armor we are called to use in our fight to remain victorious in this life.  Read Ephesians 6:10-20, paying close attention to verse 18.  After all the putting on of the various pieces of armor, Paul urges us to pray in the spirit always, being watchful with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.  Why?  Because critical we stay connected to our power source.

 

How’s your prayer life?  Are you seeking to know God through prayer?  He’s waiting to talk with you?  Looking for peace that surpasses all understanding?  Look up to the One who can provide that peace, Jesus Christ. 

 

Lord Jesus thank you for hearing our prayers, calming our fears and speaking to us through prayer.  Thank you for giving us the spirit of wisdom, revelation and knowledge of God, greatness of your power and the hope of your calling through prayer.  Enable us to understand the riches of your glory and greatness of your power towards us. 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
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Prove Yourself

The word of the Lord is proven; he is a shield to all who trust in Him.  Psalm 18:30 NKJV 

How is the God’s Word proven to you?  For me, the Lord has proven not only His Word, but Himself to me on several occasions. 

One way He proves Himself is through answered prayer.  When I was a new believer, the Lord was very generous in answering my prayers.  I kept a journal with all my prayers and all the ways God answered those prayers.  It was exactly what I personally needed to help develop faith in God.

Other ways He proves Himself is through confirmations.  If I receive a thought and believe it to be the direction God wants me to follow, I wait for the confirmations before heading down that path.  It doesn’t take long, before I recognize the same thought/direction in a sermon, radio program, or something I read or even a certain situation.  Usually these confirmations come in three’s and sometimes fours!  As if God really wants to get my attention! 

Can you relate?  No?  Try reading God’s Word, watching for Him to speak to you not only through the very words you read, but through the situations of your life.  Pray God opens your eyes to see Him and hear Him.  That’s a prayer He’s sure to answer! 

Lord God Almighty, thank you for proving Yourself to us, even though You are God and shouldn’t need to, You choose to for our benefit.  Thank You for hearing our prayers and opening our eyes and ears to see and 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.

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Accepting His Will

 

So when he would not be persuaded, we ceased, saying, “The will of the Lord be done.” Acts 21:14 NKJV

 

Why is it so hard to accept the will of the Lord?  One reason is we can’t understand why pain and suffering are part of the Lord’s will.  When we study God’s word, it is pretty clear we will have tribulations.

 

James 1:2-3 NKJV “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”

 

John 16:33 NKJV “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

 

Romans 8:17 NKJV “and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.”

 

Trials, testing, and tribulation are part of life.  But all of it God uses for good to those who love God and are called according to His purposes (Romans 8:28).

 

Another reason for not accepting the Lord’s will is stubbornness or self-centeredness.  Again, studying God’s word reveals we are not the only stubborn ones.  Even God’s chosen ones, the Israelites, were stubborn.

 

Exodus 32:9 NKJV “And the LORD said to Moses, “I have seen this people, and indeed it is a stiff-necked people!”

 

2 Chronicles 30:8 NKJV “Now do not be stiff-necked, as your fathers were, but yield yourselves to the LORD; and enter His sanctuary, which He has sanctified forever, and serve the LORD your God, that the fierceness of His wrath may turn away from you.”

 

Acts 7:51 NKJV “You stiff-necked and uncircumcised in heart and ears! You always resist the Holy Spirit; as your fathers did, so do you.”

 

Let’s face it we want our way most of the time.  I have found when I am least willing to accept God’s will it is due to my own immaturity.   If thoughts like “I deserve it”, “It’s not fair”, “I have a right to…” are present, you can be sure you are out of God’s will.  Self-serving thoughts are not part of God’s will.

 

What did Jesus teach?  He told us to deny self, pick up our cross and follow Him (Mark 8:34).  He said if someone strikes you on the cheek, turn and give them the other cheek also (Matthew 5:39).  Jesus is our role model.  He laid down His life for us.  We in turn lay down our claim/desire to have things our way.

 

Ignorance is another reason for not accepting God’s will.  It is pretty hard to accept something you have never heard of before.  This is an easy one to correct.  Start reading God’s word.  Join a small group so you can talk with others about questions you may have about what you have read.  Pray God will open your eyes.

 

When Judgment Day comes, ignorance will not be an excuse that saves your hide. 

Romans 1:20-21 NKJV “For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse, because, although they knew God, they did not glorify Him as God, nor were thankful, but became futile in their thoughts, and their foolish hearts were darkened.” Creation points to God.  The stars of above, the ocean depth, the uncountable grains of sand on the beaches, and even the tree branches that reach heavenward all point to a creator.  The world we live in shows obvious signs of a “designer”.  It didn’t just happen by chance.  I saw a bumper sticker the other day saying “THE BIG BANG THEORY: GOD SPOKE AND BANG IT HAPPENED”. The evidence of God is all around us.  It’s even within us.  If you studied human anatomy for any length of time you would find evidence of God in how the body works.  We were made to know God, because He has put eternity in our hearts. (Ecclesiastes 3:11).

We have looked at a few reasons for not accepting God’s will.  What’s holding you back?  If trials have stopped you in your tracks, trust God to use it for good.  If self-centeredness or stubbornness is the issue, pray for God to give you a desire to follow him.  If ignorance holds you back, read God’s word.

 

Jesus gives us peace beyond what the world offers.  You just need to trust and obey, there’s no better way.

 Lord thank you for your life-giving word. Give us a desire to follow hard after you.  Help us be God-center rather than self-absorbed. Give us endurance to get through the tough spots in life.  Help us see life from your perspective.  In Jesus’ name Amen.   © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Now I know for Certain

 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” Acts 12:11 NKJV 

God knows exactly what each of us needs to truly believe.  In Peter’s case, he was able to walk with Jesus Christ for 3 years and was given the power to heal people (Acts 9:33-35) and raise them from the dead (Acts 9:36-41).  He also received a vision regarding the definition of clean food to relieve his fears of associating with Gentiles and he was miraculously delivered from prison (Acts 12).  All these things lead Peter to conclude: “Now I know for certain”. 

 

It was the same for me.  The Lord forgave me of great sin, removed my bitter/resentful/angry heart and replaced it with a tender heart of love.  He answered even my smallest prayers.   He renewed my marriage and blessed us with a second son.  He has blessed me with many godly encouragers in my life and this writing ministry.  He speaks to me through His Word, by impressions and through repeated confirmations.  All these things have led me to say, like Peter, “Now I know for certain” the Lord is true, just and right and all He allows is used for His glory, even the bad things. 

 

What do you need in order to believe in Jesus? 

 

God already knows and is working on revealing it to you in His perfect timing.  If you struggle with some unanswered questions, ask God to help you trust Him.  The answer will come at just the right time.  Then you will be able to say “Now I know for certain”.

 Lord, bless those who are struggling today with answers to their prayers.  Continue your good work in them.  Draw them to a deeper understanding of you, so they may say “Now I know for certain”.  In Jesus’ name Amen.   

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Devoted to What?

 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of what was called the Italian Regiment, 2 a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always. Acts 10:1-2 NKJV 

Merriam Webster defines devout as (1) devoted to religion or to religious duties or exercises, (2) expressing devotion or piety (attitude), (3) devoted to a pursuit, belief, or mode or behavior, serious, earnest. 

 

Based on outward appearances this Cornelius would have looked like he knew God.  However, God knew the true condition of this man’s heart.  God knew he was missing something so He sent Cornelius a message and at the same time He prepared Peter to deliver the message. 

 

Reading Acts 10 reminds me of other verses:

  • Matthew 7:7-8 “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.”
  • Proverbs 8:17 NKJV “I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.”
  • Jeremiah 29:13 NKJV “And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.”

 

This man was earnestly, sincerely seeking God.  He was rewarded for his obedience and brought to a fuller, more complete knowledge of God when Peter shared Christ with him.  God is awesome.  He does hear and answer our prayers.  When we seek Him, He is found.

 

What’s our take-away?  Don’t let outward appearances keep us from sharing Christ.  Just because someone looks religious by their actions, doesn’t necessarily mean they know the Lord Jesus our Savior. Speak to them about Christ when you are lead by the Spirit to do so.  You’ll never be sorry, when someone believes in Christ through your faithfulness to share.

 Lord, thank you for your word that proves to us you are as you say you are and you do as you say you will do.  Thank you that we can trust you are a God of your Word.  Help us to be sensitive to your leading and share Christ with everyone around us at your prompting.  In Jesus name Amen.  

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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