Bible Devotions

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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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 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 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 today.


Single-Minded Devotion


What do we devote our time and energy to?  Where do our thoughts reside during the day?  Can we say, like David did in Psalm 73:25, “Whom do I have in heaven besides You? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides You.”?


Do we believe God?  Sure, most of us could easily say we believe in God, but that’s different.  Do we believe Him?  Reading a promise of God such as “I will never leave you or forsake you”, what goes through your mind?  Is it nice to know?  Do you think it can’t possible apply to you?  Can you grasp the “never” part?  Never is a mighty long time, yet God tells us He will never leave us.


Do we believe Christ died for us?  Certainly there is no doubt He died.  But for us He chose to die, paying our sin debt while we were still His enemies.  Romans 5:6 says “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”  Does the knowledge of our pardon from hell cause exceeding joy?  It does when we believe it. 


Do we believe Christ rose again to give us life and power through His Holy Spirit?  Our life is hidden in Him in the heavenly places.  Or should we say His life is hidden in us.  Those who believe and accept Christ have been given His Holy Spirit who dwells within us.  Our power and strength come not from our own resources, but from Christ in us.  Philippians 4:13 tells us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.


In believing God, we take seriously His Word to us.  The Bible is inspired by God and written for our instruction, teaching, correction and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:15-17).  Therefore, when it tells us to put on the whole armor of God and stand firm against our enemy, we do so (Ephesians 6:10-20).  Likewise, when it says lay aside all things that hinder our walk, especially sin that so easily entangles us, we do it (Galatians 5:1).  When it teaches us to be renewed in our thinking (Romans 12:2), focus our thoughts on eternal things (2 Corinthians 4:17-18), we train to do just that.  It is in our diligent and relentless pursuit of God, our mind is wholly devoted to Him.


Here are a few tips for helping set your mind on Him:

  • Next time you are faced with a decision, ask God for wisdom to make the right choice.
  • When you drive by a car accident, pray for the people involved to be healed and for the rescue workers to have what they need to save them.
  • Waking up in the morning, say “Good Morning, God.  Thank you for that good night’s sleep.”
  • When going to bed at night thank God for keeping you safe all day. 
  • At meals time, say a simple pray of thanks to God for providing the food.


These few things, along with Bible Study, church attendance and fellowship can greatly increase your focus on God.  Yet, all of these will be worthless if your attitude about doing them is not right.  We do these things out of love for God and wanting to know Him more.  If you do these because you feel guilty or forced to, don’t do it.  Let the Spirit lead you and stay open to His prompting.

  Lord thank You for Your word.  Teach us more about You.  Draw us closer to You.  Help us focus on You.  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 today.

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Let God be Magnified

thinkonit-devotions-they-shall-obtain-joy-and-gladness.jpg Our strength comes from the Lord.  How will others see that?  They will see it by watching how we handle all that comes into our life.


As more difficulties, more work, and more demands are brought on us, God is magnified by our perseverance.  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Our dependence on Him to provide the strength to get through will be evident to all.


I have a friend whose life is filled with chaos not of her own making.  You wouldn’t believe all the things this woman has lived through, yet she is the “poster-child” of perseverance and faith.  She has been an inspiration to me.  No matter what happens she faces it like Psalm 70:4 NKJV “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified”.”


When things get tough remember Psalm 71:16 says “I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only”.


I am tremendously busy at work lately.  Usually I will have a busy day here or there, but since Labor Day my meeting schedule has been booked solid.  I don’t see a slow down until some time in October!  In situations like this, it’s easy to become frazzled or stressed because there’s no marginal time.  However, this is a prime opportunity to depend on God’s strength.  Where God leads, He will provide.  As I turn to Him in this busy season, His Peace is poured out on me.  Others can see how calm I am though there are many demands on me.  When they ask how I do it, there’s my chance to tell them how great God is!


You see, when we respond God’s way in all things, we really stand out.  That’s what being a witness for God is about.  You don’t have to shout or force people to see, they can see God’s doing something through our simple obedience to Him.  The result, God’s magnified and we get a chance to share His love with others when they ask.

 Lord, thank you for the opportunities to depend on You for our strength. Thank you for blessing our obedience in unexpected ways.  Let us make a difference for You in how we choose to handle life’s circumstances.  May our choices be honoring to You.  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 today.

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Outcry to God or Prophetic Verses?

thinkonit-devotions-i-am-comeabundantly.jpg   Read Psalm 69  

Reading Psalm 69 there seems to be more than just David’s outcry to God going on.  You may need to read this psalm more than once to pick it up.  It was interesting to see this psalm in a different light.  At first, I was going to write about how verse 6 is a good moral lesson for us to remember how our behavior affects others and may prevent others from coming to Christ.  However, the more I meditated on that verse in context of the whole psalm, more meaning came out and it wasn’t limited to being just about David.  I started to see how much of this psalm is about Jesus. 


For example, look at verse seven through twelve:

7 “Because for Your sake I have borne reproach;
         Shame has covered my face.
 8 I have become a stranger to my brothers,
         And an alien to my mother’s children;
 9 Because zeal for Your house has eaten me up,
         And the reproaches of those who reproach You have fallen on me.
 10 When I wept and chastened my soul with fasting,
         That became my reproach.
 11 I also made sackcloth my garment;
         I became a byword to them.
 12 Those who sit in the gate speak against me,
         And I am the song of the drunkards.”


Is that not fitting of Jesus?  Think about each line and how it fits Jesus to a tee.


Compare verse 8 above with Matthew 12:46-47.  In Matthew his mother and brothers were coming to get and try to take him home because at this time they didn’t believe and thought he was crazy.  Therefore, he became a stranger or alien to his own family.


Compare verse 9 with 1 Peter 2:24 NKJV “who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” Didn’t Jesus take the reproach of those who were against God upon Himself?


What about verse 11 above?  Whose name do people use when they curse?


Also see verses nineteen through twenty-one as reference to Jesus’ time on the cross.  Verses twenty-nine to thirty-one speak of how Jesus’ time on cross is more acceptable than offering ox and bulls. 


One more interesting point is in verses twenty-two through twenty-eight that seems to be outlining the consequences for not accepting Jesus’ offer of salvation.  While verses thirty-two through thirty-four seem to be the consequences of those who do accept Him.


We don’t have time to outline the whole psalm here, but I did want to give you a taste and hopefully compel you to check it out for yourself.


In closing, we can see how Acts 10:43 NKJV “To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” is in fact, true.

 Lord thank You for your word of truth.  Lead us deeper in our relationship with You.  Enable us to share with others the generous mercy You extend to all people.  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 today.

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Land with no Water


Read Psalm 65.

What happens to dirt when it hasn’t been watered in a long time?  It hardens doesn’t it?

If the drought continues, the dirt becomes incredibly hard almost concrete-like so that it is difficult to do anything with it.

We have a section of dirt in the backyard that has no sprinkler system.  Because the dirt doesn’t get any water it is so hard we can’t penetrate the surface with a shovel.  It’s virtually useless for growing anything.

This picture of dry ground symbolizes how a person without God’s Word, the water of life, becomes hardened, dry and unusable. 

Look specifically at verses nine and ten.  See how God deals with a hardened heart:

9 You visit the earth and water it,
         You greatly enrich it;
         The river of God is full of water;
         You provide their grain,
         For so You have prepared it.
 10 You water its ridges abundantly,
         You settle its furrows;
         You make it soft with showers,
         You bless its growth.

Notice how every sentence is about how God does something.  It’s all about Him.  He is in control.  He knows what He’s doing.  His plan is to soften everyone’s hard heart, just as dry ground is softened by much rain.  This picture makes it clear on our own we become dry and hard but with God’s watering we become settled, softened and ready for growth.  God’s life-giving Word is the water we need to stay soft and profitable for growth.

Check your heart today?  Are there any hard spots that need water?  If so, pray:

 Lord let your life-giving Water rain down on me, settle my furrows, soften my ridges and bless my growth.  In Jesus’ name we pray. 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 today.

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Psalm 63 ~ O God, You are my God

sunset.jpgAny time some one declares “You are my God” to the One True God, there will be evidence of that declaration in their life.  Looking at Psalm 63, we see the pattern.   

1 O God, You are my God;
         Early will I seek You;
         My soul thirsts for You;
         My flesh longs for You
         In a dry and thirsty land
         Where there is no water.
 2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
         To see Your power and Your glory.


King David knew who his God was.  He openly declared it.  Because of this proclamation you see David doing several things.  He seeks, thirsts, longs for, and looks for God.  So will we when we choose God.  Why is that?  Look at the next three verses.


3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
         My lips shall praise You.
 4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
         I will lift up my hands in Your name.
 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
         And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.


David knows God’s lovingkindness is better than life itself.  The result of knowing this lovingkindness is praise.  He praises, blesses and lifts his hands to God alone.  The result of praise and worship of God is a satisfied soul.  How about you?  Doesn’t your soul feel satisfied when we worship our God?

 6 When I remember You on my bed,
         I meditate on You in the night watches.
 7 Because You have been my help,
         Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
 8 My soul follows close behind You;
         Your right hand upholds me.


David knows this relationship with God takes effort.  That’s why we see him remembering and meditating on God and His help.  Choosing to remember all the times God has helped us out of a difficult spot, or healed us, and saved us from our sin, and given us life, will cause us to rejoice and cling to Him.  The result is a confidence that comes from God’s right hand as He upholds us.


9 But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
         Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
 10 They shall fall by the sword;
         They shall be a portion for jackals.
 11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
         Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
         But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.


Throughout David’s life when his enemies sought to destroy him, he remembered they will get what’s coming to them.  He left vengeance in God’s hands and turned to God rejoicing.  This is a good pattern for us to follow as well.  Every person is accountable to God, therefore, we can let God handle them and choose to rejoice in God instead.


So you see, every one who has put their trust in God will have signs of this decision in their life.  They will be constantly seeking God, remembering God’s help and turning things over to Him.  They will be confident in God’s salvation.  This confidence will shine like the stars in the galaxy, pointing others towards God.

 Lord thank you for your Word.  May we declare you are our God.  May our life show signs of this declaration.  May we seek, thirst, long and look for You always.  May we remember all You have done for us and rejoice.  Help us to turn everything over to You, for You alone are God.  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 today.

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Man’s Help is Useless

sunset.jpgGive us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.  Psalm 60:11 NKJV 

When you find yourself in trouble where do you turn for help?  Some might say to them self “I just need to pick myself up and try harder”.  Others might pick up the phone to call a trusted friend to talk it over.  Still others might turn to a spouse or a parent. 


All of these methods are useless – unless your first stop is God.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only One who can truly help no matter what the situation.  He knows everything past, present and future.  Don’t you think He would give you sound advice?  Ask Him for help before you run to a person for advice. 


Now, God may end up using a people to help you, but we must remember where the help really comes from – God.   You might consider praying something like this before you seek human wisdom: 

 Lord, your ways and thoughts are higher than mine.  You know what’s in store for me.  Please grant me wisdom in my inmost being that I may know the way to go.  In Jesus’ name I ask these things. Amen. 

The Bible teaches all who seek Him will find Him (Proverbs 8:17) and all who ask for wisdom will be given it (James 1:5).  It may take some time conditioning your self to call on the Lord first, but it is well worth the effort.  For God is a Rewarder of those who seek His face (Hebrews 11:6).

Lord, thank you for your word and your Holy Spirit to lead us into your Truth.  Enable us to turn to you first each time we need help.  Let us remember you are our only hope.  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 today.

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