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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God Uses Ordinary People

Reading Isaiah 53 this morning, verse two stuck in my mind:  “He had no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”  The more that verse played in my mind, the more Hebrews 11 came to mind.  God has a history of taking regular, ordinary people and doing some extraordinary things through them. 

 

Read Hebrews 11.

 

Able was an ordinary young man who gave an excellent offering to the Lord.  Enoch pleased God.  Noah built an ark when God asked him to.  Abraham lived with his wife along with his dad, when God called him out of his country.  Sarah was barren but gave birth to Isaac in her old age.  Jacob was an ordinary father who played favorites with his sons.  Joseph was a regular teenager who’s brothers were jealous and sold him into slavery, but God used all that was wrongly done to him for good when he became second in charge in Egypt. Moses was a normal Hebrew boy God used to deliver the people from crushing hand of Pharaoh.  Joshua was an ordinary man with faith in God, so he led the people of God to defeat Jericho.  Rahab was a common prostitute, yet she believed God and saved the Joshua’s spies.  There are many more examples through out the Bible.  The point is God used all these ordinary people, who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to fight the armies of the aliens (Hebrews 11:33-34).

 

If Christ Himself was ordinary being a lowly carpenter’s son, why would we expect God to use only special people for His purposes?  The fact is He doesn’t.  “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;” 1 Corinthians 1:27 declares.   Why just look at who Jesus chose for His disciples?  A tax collector named Levi (Matthew) and simple fishermen (Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John).  These uneducated men went on to turn the world upside down because they had been found to have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). 

 

What did all these ordinary people have in common? They believed God in faith.  Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”.  From the Old Testament examples to the New Testament examples, the people believed God against all odds.  They willingly submitted to His will in their life, even when it meant giving up their livelihood to follow Him.  Some left family and friends, some left their countries to live in a foreign land and still others gave up their jobs to follow God’s leading.  Their faith was real and it was demonstrated with action.  They were obedient to God’s commands.  When God said go, they went.

 

Think God can’t or won’t use you?  Think again.  His glory shines the greatest through the weakest of vessels.   When it seems impossible that good can come from a highly dysfunctional life, that’s just when God shows up to make everyone gasp at the wonderful of His mercy and love.   If you believe God, submit to His will and are obedient to His Word, stand back and watch the work of the Lord.  “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” says the Lord in Isaiah 43:19 NLT.

 Lord thank you for using ordinary people for your purposes.  It gives us hope that our lives can make a difference for your kingdom.  May we believe you, submit to your will and be quick to obey your commands.  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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Peace

We all want peace, don’t we?

What exactly is peace? 

From a worldly standpoint peace means absence of war or conflict.  However, spiritual peace, right standing with God, brings a peace not dependant on earthly circumstances.  Have you found yourself in a chaotic situation, yet you were calm and undisturbed?  It was not because you didn’t care about what was happening but on the contrary you were passionate about it and yet this peace exuded from you.     If you haven’t experienced that kind of peace yet, don’t worry your turn is coming.  I remember having a very “blessed” feeling amidst the baby crying, dog barking, phone ringing while trying to have a conversation over dinner one time.  It was such a wonderful moment it still moves me to worship God every time I think about it.  That’s the serenity of the peace we’re talking about today.

 

Where do we find it?

 

Jesus said “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).   After explaining to His disciples the Holy Spirit would come to bring to remembrance everything He taught them, Jesus said “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).  Peace and the Holy Spirit are inseparable.

 

How do we get it?

 

Unity with the Holy Spirit and obedience to God’s Word is a good place to start.  Listening to the Spirit’s prompting and quickly following through with whatever direction He gives will definitely be rewarded.  Paul taught our thoughts play a huge role in whether we obtain God’s peace or not in Philippians 4:8-9: “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. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

 

Did you see the connection?  Meditate on these things and do them.  There it is – obedience to God brings God’s peace.  However, we also need to be careful to obey for the right reasons.  We obey out of love for Christ.  He is the vine, we are the branches.  In Him we bear much fruit but apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

 

How’s your peace today?  If it’s running low, check back in with the Holy Spirit, ask God to help you back on the path, read God’s Word and then be quick to obey.

Lord Jesus, we are so amazed by your wonderful peace.  Thank you for all you do in us. May your Spirit continue to lead us on the path of righteousness as we seek you in obedience to your Word.  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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In His Presence

Those who choose to enter into God’s presence and earnestly seek Him in all they do, say or think will be blessed.  David was named by God as “a man after God’s own heart”.  That’s a pretty incredible thing to say about someone who was a murderer and adulterer.  But that’s story for another time.  Yes, David failed at times, just like we do, but he would always return to the Lord.  That makes him a good role model for us.  Read what King David writes in Psalm 84. 

My soul longs, yes, even faints for the courts of the Lord, my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. (Psalm 84:2 NKJV) Does your soul long for God?  Do you ache for Him?  If not, learn about Him.  Study what He’s done for you.  Focus on the majesty of Him and you will want to be near Him. 

 

Blessed are those who dwell in Your house; they will still be praising You. (Psalm 84:4 NKJV) Staying focused on God no matter what’s going on around you causes you to see things from a different perspective.  When you remember God knows what He’s doing, you can praise Him, even while going through a tough trial in life.  David had plenty of trials in his life.  If David could praise God in the middle of his trials, surely we can too.

 

Blessed is the man whose strength is in You, whose heart is set on pilgrimage.  (Psalm 84:5 NKJV) Realizing we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us is a blessing.  David knew where his strength came from – the Lord.  In addition, he knew he was on a journey.  We are also on a journey to our real home in heaven.  Like Paul taught us we are to remember to keep our eyes on the eternal things and not the things we can see.  When eternity is our focus, we set our hearts in the direction of God and His Kingdom.  Then we can easily say what David did in Psalm 84:10 NKJV, “For a day in Your courts is better than a thousand. I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of wickedness.”    

 

Our soul longs for the Lord, our minds are set on eternity, and our strength comes from Him. For further reassurance, look at look at Psalm 84:11 NKJV: “No good thing will He withhold from those who walk uprightly.”  There are blessings waiting for you who follow the Lord. 

 Lord, thank you for using ordinary people as examples for us.  Thank you for the mercy and grace you pour out on us.  Help us long for you.  Guide our thoughts to the eternal things.  Remind us where our strength comes from.  Reassure us of your love and enable us to walk uprightly before 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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Impact for God’s Kingdom

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Read Acts 4:1-14

 

Peter and John were at the temple teaching and preaching to various people about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  The first thing to notice is the different kinds of people they spoke to: regular people, religious people such as priests, working people like the captain of the temple and other religious people called the Sadducees. 

 

To me this speaks of getting God’s Word out to all people, no matter what their background or current state of living they may be in.  God wants all His creation to hear and believe His Word.  The Bible teaches God doesn’t want a single one to perish (Matthew 18:14).

 

Next we see a threefold reaction to this teaching.  First, the people became greatly disturbed.  When you are not ready for the truth it can be very disturbing.  Think about it.  You’re going about your business, thinking everything is fine and then you’re confronted with the truth and can plainly see you’re on the wrong side.  That doesn’t make a lot of people feel real comfortable.  The Bible teaches men loved darkness rather than light (John 3:19).  In darkness, their evil deeds can go on unnoticed by others.  We are called to expose the darkness with God’s glorious light (Ephesians 5:11).  For as we walk in the light, the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7).

 

Second, the people grabbed Peter and John and through them in jail.  Following Christ has its cost.  Peter and John were experiencing it.  All they did was speak what they knew to be true and they were treated harshly by being wrongly imprisoned.  In our country, we might not find our selves being thrown in prison for witnessing to someone (at least not yet); we will encounter persecution of some kind.  For example, folks you considered friends may stop hanging with you when you start telling them about Jesus.  Why, even your own family members may shun you.  Just remember, Jesus said that would happen in Matthew 5.

 

Third, about five thousand men heard the word and believed.  Can you imagine having an impact like that?  Simply speaking God’s truth and five thousand people came to believe!  Now, that’s a miracle only God can work.  Doesn’t the minor inconvenience Peter and John experienced pale in comparison?  We may not always see this kind of result, but we can trust God to work the miracles when we are obedient to His calling.  Galatians 6:9 tells us not to grow weary of doing good for at the right time we’ll reap a harvest if we don’t lose heart.  We are to continue on whether or not it looks like we’re making a difference, because in reality we are making an impact for God’s Kingdom through our obedience.

 Lord, thank you for your word and your spirit leading us in truth.  May we be bold like Peter and John to share your word with everyone regardless of the inconvenience it may bring.  May we continue to do what is right, knowing you will work it out for good.  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 http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com 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 http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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