Bible Devotions

Can you praise God when things aren’t going your Way?

Read Psalm 56.

What clues did the psalmist leave us that might help us learn to praise God in the midst of a trial?

Recognize God is still in control.Twenty-three times the psalmist points to God or references Him, in only thirteen verses.  This proves he knew God was in control.  He continued to call out to God through this psalm.

Recognize you are powerless. Humility is critical to getting help.  If you are not humble, you will never ask for help.  Look at verses one and two.  The Psalmist recognizes his weakness.  He knew he was unable to save him self and his enemies were too strong for him.  We should be so wise to see our own limitations.

 Trust God to work it out. Several times the psalmist uses affirming statements of trusting God.  Verses like “I will trust in You”, “In God I have put my trust”, and “This I know because God is for me” demonstrate he knew God’s Word and helped solidify his own faith and trust in God.

Remember the end of the rebellious. “Shall they escape by iniquity?”  God’s Word is clear the rebellious will not see the Kingdom of God.  There’s a place reserved for the wicked, unless they turn from their evil ways.  The psalmist reminds himself though they may say and do many evil things their reward is eternal separation from God.  They will not escape.

 Remember God’s delivered our soul from death. If the wicked are judged how much more sweet is the deliverance of the righteous?  Remembering the Lord has saved you, kept you from falling, and enabled you to live is cause for praise, even in the middle of a trial.

Next time you’re in facing a trial, remember how the psalmist dealt with it.  Know God is in control, you are powerless, trust Him to work it out and remember both the end of your enemy and your eternal salvation.  Then don’t forget to praise God in the middle of it.

Lord, thank you for your word of encouragement.  Help us to turn to you.  Teach us to trust you even in the middle of chaos.  Empower us with your Spirit.  Remind of us our end that we may be confident in your salvation.  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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Proclaim the Good News

Sing to the LORD, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Psalm 96:2 NKJV 

What is the Good News?

God loves you and wants you to be with Him forever in heaven.  But because we have a sinful nature our relationship with God has been broken.  God loved us so much, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to mend our relationship with God.  Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin (John 3:16).  We are no longer under judgment for our sins.  We are pardoned.  We are forgiven.  We are set free from bondage of sin.  We call this Salvation (Romans 6:23).  That’s only part of the good news.  There’s more! Jesus’ resurrection from the dead gives those who believe in Him a new life.  It’s a second chance to do life right.  He came to give us life and that more abundantly (John 10:10). 

 

How do we proclaim it?

We start by reading God’s Word to obtain a firm understanding of what God’s done for us.  The more God’s Word is allowed in our heart, the more we become like Him.  Our life, the choices we make, and the things we think about and the words we say become godly.  Morphing into the person God created us to be, we become lights to other around us.  Obeying God’s Word and living it out means we’ll use our gifts, talents, and abilities for God’s glory.  We’ll begin serving God by what we do and the attitudes behind why we do it.  The result is serving others as we learn to walk by the spirit rather than satisfying our own selfish desires (Romans 8:4).   We do these things moment by moment and day by day.

 

Who do we proclaim it to?

We proclaim the good news to anyone who asks about the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).  As we go about our business we have an eye on the look out for anyone downtrodden, hopeless and hurting.  We take special care for the widows and orphans and poor among us (James 1:27).  We come along side them, serving and helping where we can, waiting for an opportunity to share God’s love and salvation story. 

 

 Where do we proclaim it?

Anywhere we are we proclaim the good news.  We share at work as we conduct business, or at home while having dinner with our family.  It could be at school in between classes or on the soccer field while we’re playing.  We can proclaim the good news any time and any where.  Remember we live in a free country.  We are not persecuted for our faith, as in some countries.  So what’s holding us back?  People are dying for good news.  We have it, so let’s start sharing it.

 

Why do we proclaim it?

God does not want a single one to perish but all to come to Him for salvation (2 Peter 3:9).  He wants people to come to faith and trust in Jesus Christ so they will be saved.  We share the good news out of love for God and love of others.  We share out of respect for God and obedience to His commands.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 “Go make disciples of all the nations”.   We proclaim the good news to praise God for all He’s done.  In doing so we strengthen our own convictions and help other’s faith and trust grow in God’s plan. 

 

In summary the good news is forgiveness of sin, eternal life in Christ, and a new life now.  We share the good news through obedience to God’s Word and coming along side the hurting, serving and helping them.  We proclaim the good news where ever we may be all for the glory of God. 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for saving us.  Thank you for your Word to us.  Give us the wisdom, discernment and courage to share your good news with the world around us.  May we be obedient to your Word shining your love on those around us all for your 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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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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Kiss the Son

Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.  Psalm 2:12 NKJV 

Read Psalm 2.

Have you ever looked around at the world today and wondered what was going on?  Why does everyone seem to be angry, jealous, and selfish?

The psalmist saw worldliness in his generation, just as we do in ours.  Verse one says “Why do the nations rage, and the people plot a vain thing?” However, he didn’t use the depravity he saw as an excuse to deny God himself.  Instead he chose to praise God, reinforcing in his own mind God had everything under control.  “Yet I have set My King On My holy hill in Zion” says the Lord in verse six.

In verses four and five we see the wicked would not go unpunished: “He who sits in the heavens shall laugh; the Lord shall hold them in derision.  Then He shall speak to them in His wrath, and distress them in His deep displeasure.”

Be encouraged, no matter how bad it gets around us, God knows what He’s doing.  Listen to the psalmist in verses 10 through 12:  “Now therefore, be wise, O kings; be instructed, you judges of the earth.   Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.  Kiss the Son, lest He be angry, and you perish in the way, when His wrath is kindled but a little.  Blessed are all those who put their trust in Him.”

The reminder in this psalm is two fold.  First, we need to turn our self away from worldliness and keep our self God-centered.  Second, we are not of this world if we have put our trust in Jesus Christ. 

 Lord, thank you for your precious word conveying your love and mercy to all.  Enable us to turn away from worldliness and set our minds on you.  Enable us to trust you more fully this day.  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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Way of the Righteous

For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish. Psalm 1:6 NKJV 

Read Psalm 1.  This is a wisdom psalm.  Its purpose is to provide us with wisdom for godly living.  If we carry out what is described in verses one and two, then verse three will occur.  We are also to remember this doesn’t apply to the ungodly.  Their path leads to destruction declares verses four through six. 

 

Let’s look at each verse in more detail. 

 

Verse one:  “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor stands in the path of sinners, nor sits in the seat of the scornful;” What kind of attitude does one who walks in counsel of the ungodly have?  They probably have a self-centered attitude caring only about satisfying their own desires.  How about the one who stands in the path of sinners?  They may have a “live and let live” attitude that says everyone is entitled to do what they want.  What kind of thoughts does a person who sits in the seat of the scornful have?  I imagine the scornful have critical, judging and condemning thoughts.  The Bible teaches us we will be blessed if we don’t follow these patterns of living.

 

Verse two: “But his delight is in the law of the Lord, and in His law he meditates day and night.” The more we read of God’s Word, the more delight we take from it.  As we’re faithful to seek out God through His Word, He will fill us with delight.  Please notice the delight doesn’t come unless we read His Word.  It is conditional.  If we want the delight, we need to meditate day and night in His Word.  Romans 12:2 says be renewed in the mind by allowing God to change the way you think. His Word and His Spirit in us are the agents that renew our minds.

 

Verse three:  “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water that brings forth its fruit in its season, whose leaf also shall not wither; and whatever he does shall prosper.” Here we have more benefits of focusing on God and His Word.  Look at what Jesus said in John 4:14 NKJV “but whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. But the water that I shall give him will become in him a fountain of water springing up into everlasting life.”  The Word is God’s water and source of life.  Without God’s water we can not bear fruit, but with it we shall prosper.

 

Verse four: “The ungodly are not so, but are like the chaff which the wind drives away.” The ungodly will not endure.  There is a time when they will be no more.

 

Verse five: “Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.”  Those who choose to go their own way will have a difficult time when judgment comes.  This verse clears states they won’t be able to stand.  They will be removed from the assembly of the righteous.  Next time we clash with the ungodly, we are to show mercy to them. Just as Jesus cried out on the cross “Father, forgive them for they know not what they are doing” we too should seek the Father’s forgiveness on their behalf.  They really don’t know what’s coming.

 

Verse six:  “For the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the ungodly shall perish.” The way of the righteous is secure but the ungodly way leads to death.  Romans 6:23 “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  The ungodly do not understand the path their on.  Pray for the ungodly around you.  While you’re at it, continue your own steadfastness.  Keep yourself in the love of God by continuing in His Word, meditating day and night, and practicing what you learn in your life. 

 

Jesus told us we are the light of the world; therefore we are to let His light shine from us to everyone around us.  In this way, many more may come to know the Lord as their personal savior. 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for dying in our place.  Thank you for making it possible for us to have a relationship with God.  Thank you for leading us deeper into your truth.  May we be mindful of your Word and pray for those who do not know you yet.  In your name we pray, Jesus.  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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Wondrous Things

Open my eyes, that I may see wondrous things from Your law. Psalm 119:18 NKJV

I have found for God to open my eyes to show me wondrous things from his law three things need to be true: desire, diligence and motive.  There must be a desire to want God.  There must be a determination to seek him.  The reason for the seeking must be of pure motive.

How can we want him if we don’t know him?  That’s why we read the Bible to get to know God better.  How can we seek him if we don’t seek him in his word?  Those found faithful in the small things will be given more.  Be consistent in your study of God’s word.  The more you show up in his word the more God reveals to you.

How do we know if our motives are pure?  One way is to ask yourself “Am I seeking to gain or to know? Do I want God to do something for me?  Or do I long to know him?”  We come to God because he is God not because we want something.  That’s not to say God doesn’t want to supply our wants desires and needs.  They just shouldn’t be the primary reason for coming to him.  If they are, don’t worry. God has a way of changing your motives over time.  He did for me!

I have found God is willing to open my eyes to wondrous things in his work when I approach with desire, diligence, and pure motives.  I hope you will join me in his word today.

Lord, thank you for being willing to reveal wondrous things to those who seek you.  Equip us with desire, diligence and pure motives towards you and your word.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

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Heart of the Matter

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

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

Starting out with a Wicked Heart

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

Our Heart has Many Attributes

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

Our Heart Determines our Focus

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

We can Control our Heart

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

The Lord Looks at and Tests the Heart

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

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

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

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

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

How’s your heart?

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

©Elizabeth Marks has led small group Bible studies for almost a decade.  Author of ThinkOnItBibleDevotions.com and BeingWomenOfInfluence.com websites she has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.

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Seven Wonders

 

Read Psalm 119.

 

As I read Psalm 119 over and over, I started to see many things appear.  Let’s take a look the seven wonderful themes revealed in this section of scripture.  Read the psalm with me. 

 Reflecting on God

The psalmist writes 55 positive affirmations of God, His Word and His Character throughout this psalm.   This is a good example for us to follow too.  We need reminding of how big God really is to keep our problems in the proper perspective.  A several times the psalmist seems overly occupied with his thoughts about his difficulties and the wicked men around him.  During these times, he pens wonderful things as he realizes God is in control.  For example:

“The proud have dug pits for me…All your commandments are faithful.”

“Rivers of water run down from my eyes, because men do not keep Your law.  Righteous are You O Lord, and upright are Your judgments.”

“I see the treacherous and am disgusted because they don’t keep your word.  The entirety of Your word is truth, and every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever.”

 

Did you notice each time his mind focused on man, he pulled himself out of it by choosing to focus on God instead.  How beautiful!

 Following God’s Commands

The writer stresses the importance of following God’s commands by using words such as keep, kept, cling and observe 29 times in this psalm.  For example:

“To keep Your percepts diligently.”

“I shall observe it with my whole heart.”

“But now I keep Your word.”

“Because I keep Your percepts.”

“That I will keep Your righteous judgments.”

 

Remember at the time this psalm was written they had The Ten Commandments and a plethora of man-made laws added to it.  God said “Keep the Sabbath” and man added over 600 explanatory laws to “help” people keep the Sabbath, but all it did was make it harder to keep.  That seems like a lot of pressure, if you ask me.  Man can make up many rules and regulations, but one thing is for sure “rules with out relationship results in rebellion”, as our pastor always says.

 

Directing One’s Self

Twenty-eight times the psalmist uses “I will” statements as if to tell himself he is planning to stay on this path.  The future tense of these statements seems to reinforce his idea or his plan to follow God.  Below are some examples:

“I will never forget Your precepts.”

“But I will meditate on Your precepts.”

“But I will keep Your precepts with my whole heart.”

“I will delight myself in Your commandments.”

“I will walk at liberty.”

“I will speak of Your testimonies.”

 

Having a goal or commitment is definitely a good thing.  These “I will” statements are mini-proclamations of his desire to follow God.  We need to remember we can’t follow Him by our own strength or will power.  We need His Holy Spirit in us to guide us in all truth and help us live for Him.

 

Recounting Your Good Works

With almost the same quantity, the writer uses the past tense “I have” statements as he examines the good he has already done.  Some examples are:

“I have done justice and righteousness.”

“Yet I have not strayed from Your precepts.”

“I have inclined my heart to perform Your statutes.”

 

While there is nothing wrong about reminiscing over good you have done, we do need to be careful our thoughts do not turn into a prideful account of “Look how good I am”. We can not be righteous in our own power.  Our righteousness is like “filthy rags” in God’s sight.

 

Meditating on God’s Word

A good anecdote to the problem of pride is to stay in God’s Word.  This could be one reason the psalmist mentions he will meditate, consider, incline or contemplate God’s Word 14 times.   Knowing God’s Word is truth and actively taking it in to ponder it, examine it, and consider the impacts of it are two different things.  Any time something is repeated means it is important.  We meditate on God’s Word to keep His truth firmly planted in our mind.  Listen to what the psalmist says:

“I will meditate on Your precepts, and contemplate Your ways.”

“So shall I meditate on Your wonderful works.”

“It is my meditation all the day.”

 

Thinking about God’s Word is how we take it in and let it sink deep within our hearts.  Considering the impact of God’s Word in our life is how we implement what we’re learned.

 

Delighting in God’s Commandments

Fifteen times the psalmist references delight, rejoice or long for God’s Word.  Reading God’s Word has this affect.  Hear the joy the psalmist experienced:

“But I delight in Your law.”

“Unless Your law had been my delight, I would have perished in my affliction.”

“Behold I long for Your precepts.”

“For Your law is my delight.”

“I rejoice at Your Word, as one who finds great treasure.”

 

God’s Word penetrates our heart and touches us at our core.  It instructs, corrects, trains, and comforts us in our troubles.  There is nothing like the Word of God! 

 

Accepting Our Weakness

The last verse of this psalm sums it all up for me.  “Let my soul live and I shall praise You; and let Your judgments help me.  I have gone astray like a lost sheep; Seek Your servant, for I do not forget Your commands.”

 

The psalmist acknowledges God is in control and it’s His Word that helps him.  Notice he also acknowledges his own weakness.  This is critical for us too.  We are all like lost sheep.  No matter how many times we say “I will” do what God wants our will is not strong enough to make us carry it out.  The psalmist recognizes this and puts it in God’s hands when he says “seek your servant”.  For it truly is God in us working to act and will us on God’s path.

 

Let’s recap what we’ve studied so far.  If our focus is on circumstances/troubles we are overwhelmed.  The solution is to remind ourselves of God and His all powerful ways.  If we try to keep God’s commands through will power alone we fail.  Even if we recount our good works, they are nothing but rags unless done by the power of the Holy Spirit in us.  The solution lies within God’s Word.  With the help of the Holy Spirit unlocking this treasure, we can accomplish all God prepared for us to do.  The result: God is honored and His Word is cherished more than sliver and gold.

 

How about you?  Did you enjoy reading Psalm 119 with me?  I hope so. 

 

Lord Jesus, thank you for your rich word leading us into everlasting life.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit who opens our eyes to your truth.  Helps us live for you this day.  In your precious name we pray, 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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Getting our Attention

 

Read Acts 9.

 

God has ways of getting our attention.  With Saul of Tarsus, God literally knocked Saul off his horse and blinded him. Sometimes God allows sickness or other physical ailments to get us to slow down.  Maybe we have been doing too much and need a reminder to do only what the Lord wills. Other times God might use a loss of a job to get our attention. 

 

The question is are we paying attention?  Are we reading the signs God’s placed in our lives? 

 

The Lord doesn’t just get our attention and leave us wondering.  He is specific with us.  Look at how He interacts with Saul in Acts 9:6 “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”  I find that very comforting.  Imagine you were just struck blind.  I’m sure our mind would be racing thinking all sorts of things: how will I provide for my family, how can I care for myself, who will help me, how do I get things done, etc.   Though we may not be afflicted in same way as Saul, the Lord still wants us to listen for what we must do and be confident He will lead us. 

 

During the days Saul had no sight, I’m sure he spent plenty of time praying.  He was probably reassessing his life wondering what he did wrong to deserve this affliction. Isn’t that just like us?  When something goes “wrong” we think we must have done something to cause it.  I’m sure that’s the case sometimes like when we have to reap the consequences for our sin.  There are plenty of other situations that are not caused by us but rather used for God to develop His image in us.  Maybe we need to learn patience or perseverance or faith.  Circumstances can help us develop godly character traits.

 

In Acts 9:9 it says Saul went without food or drink for the entire three days.  The Bible doesn’t tell us why.  We could speculate many reasons.  Perhaps he meant his denial of food as a fast to help increase he chances of his prayers being heard.  Maybe he was so consumed with his predicament he just couldn’t eat.  Here’s a stretch, maybe he was fearful that someone who try to poison him in his weakened state.  After all he was persecuting the Christians in that day.  We don’t know why he didn’t eat or drink in all that time.  But we do know God was using those days to radically change Saul’s life. 

 

Is God trying to get your attention?  Listen.  He will tell you what you must do.  Isaiah 26:3 says of God: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Also in Isaiah 30:15 “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” It’s time for us to follow the advice of Psalm 46:10:  “Be still and know I am God.”   Lastly, we’ll end with Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

 

Lord thank you that all things work together for good for those who love you and are called according to your purposes.  Help us recognize when you are trying to get our attention.  Enable us to listen for your clear direction.  Give us the courage to obey.  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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Tough Times Praise God

 

Seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it?  When tough times come and they always do, we have a choice.  We can choose to dwell in it and become angry or bitter.  Or we can choose to look to God instead by recalling all He has done, remembering His promises and keeping hope alive.

 

Now both options require work on our part.  Whichever we choose, our mind will be working.  Words and actions will follow for good or bad.  The choice is ours.

 

It’s terribly easy to allow our self to think “it’s all about me”.  We may not ever think those exact words, but when our thoughts are all about how something affects us, we are on the path leading away from God and peace. 

 

It’s much more difficult to discipline our self to remember “it’s all about God”.  Turning our thoughts away from the problem at hand, to consider all God has promised to us takes time.  We have to know His promises before we can remember them.  Reading God’s Word is where we find out about His promises.  Each one is like a nugget of gold we mine for in His Word.  Try reading Psalms 90 – 106.  There are plenty of examples on how to focus on God’s greatness during the trials of life. 

Two Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV says “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  Keeping our eyes on the eternal things helps us endure the temporary heartache and troubles of this life.

Remember we are children of God, adopted into His family when we accepted Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as payment for our sins.  God will not abandon us.  He will be with us.  He is in us.  So don’t let your current troubles weight you down.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Lord when we are consumed with our troubles remind us to turn to you.  In you is rest and peace when we trust in you.  Help us endure what we must, trusting you each moment.  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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