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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A Comparison Part 2

 We are continuing our comparison between Jesus and humans. 


Jesus Human


Struggle to forgive, choosing to hang on to the hurt longer than we should


Did Jesus wait until people had there act together before He forgave them of their sin?  No He didn’t.  In some cases, He forgave them when they weren’t expecting it (Matthew 9:2, John 18:11, John 5:14). Jesus knows what we need, even when we don’t.  Forgiveness of sins sets us free to become who God intended us to be.  Jesus seemed to forgive quite easily.  Imagine hanging on a cross, nails driven into your flesh and calling out to God “Father, forgive them for they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).  How about us?  How easily do we forgive?  We are never asked to forgive more than we our self have been forgiven (Luke 6:37). 


Jesus Human

Unconditional Love

Love when it goes our way (I’ll love you if you do this or that)


God so loved the world He willingly sacrificed His Son to pay for our sins (John 3:16).  He did it, while we could care less about Him.  Now that’s unconditional love: doing for another with no expectation of getting anything in return.  Oh how hard it is for us to love like that.  We tend to think along the lines of “I’ll love you as long as you met my needs.”


Jesus Human

Secure with who He was and where He came from

Insecure, doubting and fearful


Jesus was secure with Himself. He was confident in who He was.  There was no doubt about what He came to do (John 13:3).  Insecurity in us is caused by our refusal to follow God’s perfect plan.  When we rebel against God we open our self up to the tricks of our enemy.  Satan’s main weapon is doubt and fear.  Our slowness to accept what God has for us causes us to doubt our purpose, our identity and our meaning which robs God’s glory.  


Jesus Human

Compassion for others

Occasionally care for others when it’s convenient


How many times does the Bible say Jesus looked on them with compassion?  Matthew 9:36, Mark 1:41, Luke 10:33 are just a few examples. He had compassion many more times as well.  The point is no matter how busy or tired Jesus was He always had compassion for others.  He focused on the bigger picture—saving souls.  How often are we compassionate towards others?  We occasionally care for others, when it is convenient to our schedules.  True compassion reaches out always.


Jesus Human

He is truth

Struggle to be truthful, tell “little white lies” or fail to speak the truth in love


Jesus is the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). He is truth, therefore He can not lie (Titus 1:2).  The James 1:21 teaches “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  If don’t practice the truth in our lives are deceiving our self.  What is it to deceive but to lie to our self?  We lie to our self when we don’t do what God calls us to.  We lie to others when we choose not to speak the truth in love. 


So why do this comparison?  If was not to injury us, but to encourage us.  These things cannot do be done without God’s grace and power.  If we attempt to do all these things in our own strength we will fail.  But Jesus hasn’t abandoned us; instead He fills us with His Spirit.  It is His Essence in us with all power and might which carries out God’s desire through us.  Jesus says follow Me.  Are you willing?

 Lord Jesus thank you for all you have done for us.  Enable us to recognize your hand in our life.  Teach us to depend on your might rather than our own efforts.  Lead us in your way.  In Jesus’ name Amen. 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.

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The Faithful are Answered part 3

Part 3 of 3


Read 1 Samuel 1-3


All through these chapters we see the contrast between good and evil.  God’s Word is full of examples outlining the consequences of godly behavior, as well as what happens to the wicked.  This section of scripture is no different.  The table below outlines a few examples of the different types of behavior and how it is rewarded.




V1:11 Hannah earnestly prays for male child and v1:20 God gives her Samuel

V2:12 Sons of Eli were corrupt and V2:34 both will die on the same day as a sign of God’s judgment.

V1:26-27 Hannah gives Samuel back to the God as she promised and v3:20 Samuel becomes prophet of God

V2:25 Eli’s sons did not heed the voice of their father and the Lord desired to kill them.

V3:21 Samuel ministers to the Lord and God reveals Himself

V3:13 Eli’s sons made themselves vile and Eli didn’t restrain them therefore v3:14 Eli’s house won’t be atoned for by sacrifice or offering forever.


Please notice the good side is represented by purity of heart and obedience.  Also note, the evil side is represented by self-centered willfulness and disobedience.


Eli, the priest and his two sons perpetrated evil on a regular basis.   This is set up in contrast to the purity of Hannah’s request for a child and Samuel the answer to her prayers.  Notice each time the deeds of Eli’s sons were mentioned, the next statement is about Samuel: “But Samuel ministered before the Lord”.   


Eli, the priest failed as a parent to teach his own children about the Lord.  Then as if to show Eli his error, God sends Samuel to live with him.  Samuel coming from the purity of Hannah remains pure while living with Eli and the wicked sons.  Samuel ministers to the Lord, without even knowing the Lord yet.


The time comes when the Lord calls Samuel, but he doesn’t recognize the call and thinks it is Eli calling him.  Three times the Lord calls Samuel and three times he runs to Eli saying “Here I am”.  Finally, Eli discerns it is the Lord calling Samuel and instructs him to listen / respond to the Lord.  Eli was not right with God because of the evil he allowed to continue in the house of God.  The fact it took Eli three times to figure it out the Lord was calling says Eli was not attuned to the Lord.   He should have been able to recognize it sooner.


Eli didn’t teach his own sons, so he probably didn’t teach Samuel either.  Notice how Samuel is right before God in the same environment as Eli’s wicked sons.   What was the difference?  One difference is Samuel had a praying mother, Hannah.  She was so grateful the Lord answered her prayers, she probably prayed for Samuel everyday. 


What can we draw from the examples today?  We each have a choice to follow God or not.  Our environment is not to be blamed for whether we or not we choose God.  As we see Samuel being raised in a wicked environment still chose to follow God.  We can to.

 Lord thank you for your clear instructions.  Enable us to turn to you in obedience.  Cast away from us any selfish, rebellious thoughts and deeds and equip us for godly living until Christ returns.  In Jesus’ name Amen. © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more articles, devotions and book reviews, visit today.

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Avoid Things the Lord Hates

These six things the Lord hates, yes, seven are an abomination to Him; Proverbs 6:16 NKJV 

Read Proverbs 6. 

The book of proverbs is a wonderful gift of God.  It is written for our instruction to provide us practical advice for living, how to get along with others and how to make godly decisions.  We are wise to heed the instructions found in this book. 

Let’s look at the seven things mentioned in Proverbs 6:17-19:

(1)   A proud look

(2)   A lying tongue

(3)   Hands that shed innocent blood

(4)   A heart that devises wicked plans

(5)   Feet that are swift in running to evil

(6)   A false witness who speaks lies

(7)   And one who sows discord among brethren

Now before you dismiss this list and say to yourself “I don’t have any of these”, please prayerfully consider where you might be deceiving yourself.    While we may not have hands ready to kill, we may struggle with feet swift in running to evil.  Another way to put it is our willingness to do our thing rather than God’s.   

Or have you ever pretended everything was going well in a relationship, but underneath it really wasn’t?  Well, that example falls into the “false witness” camp.  Are you argumentative?  Do you always have to be right?  Again that’s a good example of sowing discord.  Do you try to figure things out on your own, without consulting God?  This too I’m afraid, is an example of a heart that devises wicked plans. 

We are not free from this list.  It applies to us in some shape or form.  We would be wise to listen to God’s Word, seek His counsel and forgiveness. 

For further study, you might consider comparing this list with the last five of the Ten Commandments found in Deuteronomy 5: 17-21.  See if you can recognize how both lists relate to our relationships with others.

 Lord, thank you for your life-giving word.  Help us to see our self as we really are – in need of your Spirit to guide us in righteousness.  Thank you for dying to pay for our sins.  Thank you for rising again to give us life eternal.  In your precious name, Jesus we pray. Amen. 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.


The Lord’s Heart for His People

Read Isaiah 1.  

The message from the Lord is so clear, logical, and reasonable although so many refused to hear it.  Although this message was to the Israel, it does give us a better understanding of God’s heart towards His people and how His people responded to Him. 

 Their Choice to Rebel

God made Israel, although He is their Father, the children rebelled against Him.  They wandered away and didn’t realize their sin.  They provoked the Lord’s anger as they turned away from Him.  In verses two through four we see the Lord saying even the ox and donkey know their master, but not my own children.  Nothing hurts like your own child shunning you.

 Their Desolation

In verse five through nine, God goes on to outline His children’s sickness and describes the desolation because of it.  He reminds them they would not exist had He not saved a remnant. 

 Their Worthless Worship

He further outlines the problem with the children’s worship and how wicked it had become to Him.  God is Holy, therefore, He is forced to hide His eyes from His children and refused to answer their prayers.  They worshiped Him with their mouths but their hearts were far from Him.  Can you hear God’s heart breaking as He describes this?


God’s Expectations

God reminds the children what is expected of them in Isaiah 1:16-17 NKJV: “Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; put away the evil of your doings from before My eyes.  Cease to do evil, learn to do good, seek justice, rebuke the oppressor, defend the fatherless, plead for the widow.”   Notice how the first four items are geared to the individual’s responsibility:  (1) Wash yourself, (2) cease doing evil, (3) learn to do good, and (4) seek justice.  All of these are aimed at changing their inward heart and mind.  Next, God says (1) rebuke the oppressor, (2) defend the fatherless, and (3) plead for the widow.  Notice how these three items appear to be outward reaching and geared towards helping others.  God’s message has always been the same:  Love God and love others.


Reward for Obedience

Isaiah 1:18-20 NKJV says “Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord, though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow…” God says let’s work together, “if you are willing and obedient you shall eat the good of the land; but if you refuse and rebel, you shall be devoured by the sword.”  The reward for obedience was exchanging their scarlet sin into white wool.   Again, we see God showing the way to forgiveness. 

 God’s Work

Sadly, the children of Israel didn’t want to obey, so God takes matters into His own hands.  He explains in verses 24-31 He will take vengeance on His adversaries, He will purge away the dross and alloy from His children, He will restore the judges and Zion will be redeemed with justice.  Consider what the Lord said He will do.  Know the word “will” is in the present tense.  The Lord is doing these things within the moment of today. Next God describes happens to those who don’t turn to Him.  All those who forsake Him shall be consumed.  They shall be ashamed.  They shall be embarrassed.  They shall burn together in the end and no one shall quench them.  Consider the future tense of the word “shall”.  Notice how the statements about judgment are all future tense.  The Lord is patient and doesn’t want a single one to perish.  But in order for there to be justice these things must happen to those who do not return to the Lord. 

 Lord, thank you for your word.  May be better understand your heart and choose to draw closer to you as we study your word.  Renew our minds and enable us to live for you.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word. Visit us at today.

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Why Resistant to God?

We are all resistant to God at some point in our lives.  The Bible tells us in Romans 3:23 “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God”.   To sin is to rebel against God.  Even unintentional sin, is resistance to God.  Today, let us examine several reasons why we may be resistant.  As you read, ask yourself if these scenarios are present in your life.

 Too Prideful

Proverbs 29:23NKJV “A man’s pride will bring him low, but the humble in spirit will retain honor.” Pride takes on many forms. It can be selfishness, thinking your better than someone else, false humility, know-it-all attitude, self-sufficiency and on it goes.  Pride hinders us from hearing and receiving God’s truth about our self.  If you have a hard time taking a criticism, offering forgiveness, or saying “I’m sorry” you might be prideful.

 Too Critical

Being critical or judgmental of others can also lead to an inability to receive God’s love.  This is also tied very closely with pride.  Are you measuring others by some impossible standard?  If you were to measure yourself by the same standard would you pass or fail?  What right do you have to judge someone?  Are you God?  Look at what Jesus said in John 8:15 NKJV “You judge according to the flesh; I judge no one.” Only God can judge rightly because He knows a person’s heart.


Too Wounded

Have you been hurt by someone you love?  Having a hard time trusting again?  Do you feel like you have to protect your self from getting hurt again?  We’ve all be wounded.  Let’s face it, we’ve all wounded others.  We’re not perfect.  The Bible tells us in John 16:33 we will continue to have trails and sorrow but we are not to worry because Jesus has overcome the world.  If we allow our wounded-ness keep us from God’s healing grace we are our own worst enemy. 


Too Fearful

God’s love casts out fear.  Anyone still fearful is someone who’s not been perfected by God’s marvelous love yet (1 John 4:18).  Does fear have you parallelized?  Are you afraid of discovering the depth of your sin?  Are you fearful of knowing God because you think He’ll send you off to some foreign country to minister?  The Bible is full of “Do not fear” and “Do not be afraid” statements God makes towards man.  God is good.  There is no darkness within Him (1 John 1:5).  His intentions are for our best interest (Jeremiah 29:11).  We can trust He will take care of us. 

 Key Take-Aways

God loves you and doesn’t want anyone to perish.  (John 10:28)

God is not out to get you, but rather to draw you closer to Him. (Matthew 11:28-30)

God wants you to live an abundant live now and live with Him for all eternity. (Isaiah 55:1, John 10:10)


What do you think?  Did you discover any areas in your life needing God’s restorative touch?  Call on Him.  Ask Him to come and heal the broken places in your heart.  Ask Him to cut away the pride and criticalness in your attitude.  Ask Him to fill you with His love to cast out all fear.  He is faithful and will answer prayers aligned with His will.  Those seeking Him will find Him.  Taste and see the Lord is good. 

 Lord God Almighty, you alone can make a difference in our life.  Thank you for sending Jesus to take away our sin and open the door to you.  Enlighten us to the things hindering our relationship with 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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Learn to do relationships God’s way – Ephesians Bible Study


A Look at Deuteronomy 27:11-26

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

Read Deuteronomy 27:11-26 NKJV.

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

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




# of Ten Commandment


Cursed is the one who makes a carved or molded image

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



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

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



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

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

8, 10


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

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.


Neighbor, Justice

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

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.


Family, Personal Integrity, Sex

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

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

5, 7


Cursed is the one who attacks his neighbor secretly.

You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.


Neighbor, Justice, Personal Integrity

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

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

6, 9

There are several things that come out of this analysis.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Sin Has Consequence

And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Genesis 18:20-21 NKJV

You have probably heard the “Miranda Rights” read to someone being arrested on a TV show before. It goes something like “every word you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Well, everything we think, do and say will be used to determine our destiny.

Every decision we make to sin or not is known by God. Everything we do is witnessed by Him. There is nothing that will not be exposed. God is the Great Judge. He is just and fair. His rulings are right and true. He doesn’t make hasty decisions. Instead He investigates, verifies and gives the benefit of doubt to the accused.

If you read Genesis 18:22-33 you will see God is fair. Abraham pleaded with God for the sake of the righteous. God said He would spare the city if even ten righteous people were in it. But there were no righteous people and so God judged Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities were destroyed.

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah chose to sin. Their sin was very grave. It was so bad that an outcry was heard by God. Therefore, God had a choice to make: let the people continue doing wicked, evil, detestable things or take care of the problem so as not to spread wickedness to others.

They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, no, not one. Psalm 14:3 NKJV

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 NKJV

Sin is always dealt with. Romans 6:23 NKJV says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The end of sin is death. Therefore, to continue to sin is to knowingly accept the fact one day we will die to pay the penalty of that sin. But did you also notice the later half of Romans 6:23 says “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord?”

It’s our choice to either follow God and live or follow sin and die. God will honor our choice. But we must make sure we are willing to accept the consequence of our choice.

Almighty God, thank you Lord Jesus for dying in our place to pay our sin debt. May we always remember the choice is ours to accept your gift and live or turn our backs on you and die. Give us a desire for your way. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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


Repent with Sincerity

Remember what 2 Chronicles 7:14 said? There are four steps leading to healing. Humble ourselves, pray and seek God were the first three steps. These steps prepared us for the action step.

The fourth step in healing is repentance. Don’t let the word “repent” scare you. It simply means turning from and turning to something. It’s a decision to change your mind. It means to stop one way and start another. God asks us to turn from ungodly ways and turn to Him.

So let’s look at what we need to turn from as 2 Timothy 3:2-5 outlines:

For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, unloving, unforgiving, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away!

Pastor Rick Warren took these items and looked each word up in the Greek to seek further meaning. We’ll use his list (taken from January 10-11, 2009 sermon) as our checklist below. Rate how frequently you see these appearing in your life. Use the following scale: 1 for not at all, 2 for occasionally, 3 more than I’d like, 4 becoming a habit, and 5 all the time.


1 2 3 4 5

Money focused

1 2 3 4 5

Self promoting

1 2 3 4 5

Status conscious

1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5

Rude, disrespectful

1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5

Crude and profane

1 2 3 4 5

Unkind and heartless

1 2 3 4 5

Unwilling to forgive

1 2 3 4 5

Slanders and gossips

1 2 3 4 5

Impulsive and uncontrolled

1 2 3 4 5

Loves violence

1 2 3 4 5

Cynical, hate do-gooders

1 2 3 4 5


1 2 3 4 5

Reckless and rash, irresponsible

1 2 3 4 5

Puffed up with pride

1 2 3 4 5

Choosing pleasure over God

1 2 3 4 5

Fake spirituality

1 2 3 4 5

If you rated any item more than a 1, stop. Pray and ask God to help you repent of this ungodly behavior. Confess it and ask for forgiveness.

Acts 3:19 NKJV says “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” Now who doesn’t want their sins blotted out and times of refreshing to come?

Act now. Turn from your ungodly ways and turn to God Himself. In this turning you are repenting. If repentance comes with sincerity, it is well pleasing to God and He will be glorified.

Lord Almighty, your Holy Spirit convicts the world of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come. May your word settle deep without our hearts that we may be convicted of ungodly behaviors to confess them and be freed from them. Forgive us our sins and send your times of refreshing. In Jesus’ name Amen.

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

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Rules versus Righteousness


“They came to the chief priests and elders, and said, “We have bound ourselves under a great oath that we will eat nothing until we have killed Paul.”” Acts 23:14 NKJV

As I pondered over this verse I thought of rules versus righteousness. There were about forty Jews who took this oath to kill Paul. These men were angry enough to take a pledge to kill someone.  But to let anger drive you to make hasty decisions you will regret later is not only foolishness but it is sin.  The Bible teaches “in your anger do not sin” (Psalm 4:4 NIV). 

According to these Jews the rules had to be followed.  Anyone who rejected the rules would be punished.  Isn’t that just like man? We make a rule and expect others to follow it.  When they don’t, we say they deserve punishment.  If God wanted us to follow rules, He wouldn’t have sent His Son, Jesus.  For God said, “This is my Son, whom I love and I am well pleased.  Listen to Him.” (Matthew 17:5 NIV)

These Jews were so bent on following a rule of taking an oath they were blind to how wrong their planned action was.   Paul did nothing worthy of death, yet these men were willing to deny them self food and water until they killed him. Killing someone without cause is wrong.  Jesus took this a step further saying even being angry at your brethren without cause puts us in danger of judgment (Matthew 5:22 NKJV).  

The thing is we usually think we have a just cause, don’t we?  That’s where righteousness comes in. Righteousness defined by Merriam Webster is acting in accord with divine or moral law: free from guilt or sin and morally right or justifiable.  The Bible teaches us in Psalm 14:3 NKJV “They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, no, not one”.  No one is good, except God.  Our righteousness is worthless in His sight.  The only righteousness that is worth its weight in gold comes from God Himself.  These Jews were not practicing righteousness that comes from God, but what comes from man.  If they were following God, I’m sure they would have remembered Exodus 21:14 NKJV “But if a man schemes and kills another man deliberately, take him away from my altar and put him to death.”

Next time anger tries to over take you, stop and ask your self “Why am I angry?”, “Am I trying to get someone to follow my rule?”, “Am I acting in accord with God’s Word?” Submit to the Lord, resist the devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7).   God’s righteousness is what we need, not rules. 

 Lord thank you for your precious word and your Holy Spirit who reveals your truth to us.  Thank you for your righteousness that sets us free from rules and brings us into relationship with you.  Help us in every way grow into your likeness.  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 devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit today.

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