Bible Devotions

Liberty in Christ

And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32 NKJV 

Believing in God

Living a life of liberty in Christ is possible by believing God.  The Bible tells us there is no darkness in Him, He can not lie, and His plans are to prosper us rather than to harm us (1 John 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11).  God is good and we can count on that.

 

Understanding the Truth

The Bible is the Word of God written through men as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Bible tells us it is good for doctrine, teaching, rebuking and correcting a man in righteousness that he might be lacking nothing (2 Timothy 3:16).   God gave each believer the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us for the purpose of guiding us into all truth (Romans 5:5, John 16:7-14). 

 

Agreeing with God

A sinner is anyone who chooses his/her own way over God’s way. The Bible teaches we are all sinners who fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23).  As we read God’s Word it becomes obvious how we miss His glorious standard for us.  When we become aware of our sinfulness, we are expected to confess our sins and seek His forgiveness.  The Bible tells us He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

 

Accepting the Gift

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). While on earth, Jesus Christ was God in human form.  He was the perfect, sinless example of how we are to during our life time.  He came to pay the price of our sin and make it possible for us to live for eternity.  In John 14:6 NKJV Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Anyone who believes in their heart and confesses with their mouth Jesus is Lord will be saved (Romans 10:9).

 

Renewing Your Mind

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).  Only God’s truth can renew your mind.  The Bible teaches us to think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, are of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy – meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8).  Reading and meditating on God’s Word is crucial for renewing your mind.

 

Denying the Lies

As God’s Word infiltrates our minds and hearts, the lies we have believed start becoming visible.  We can recognize the lies easier by comparing them to the Word of God.  The Bible teaches us the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  We are responsible for our thoughts.  If our thoughts are filled with lies, we need to capture them, make them obedient to Christ.  God’s Holy Spirit in us gives us the very power we need to make God’s Word dwell in our minds rather than lies.

 

Practicing the Truth

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  The old life of sin is gone and the new life of the Spirit has come.  If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).  Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).  When you do walk in the Spirit the following fruit will be evident in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Living in Victory

If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:18).  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:  He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:2-4).  Christ has freed us from the power of sin, if we will accept His work, and allow His Spirit to renew our minds with God’s Word, we will live obediently and abundantly in truth. 

 

 Lord, thank you for your Word and Spirit.  Enable us to turn to you for forgiveness of sins. Teach us to walk by the Spirit that we may live in the liberty of Jesus Christ.  In His precious 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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Though you have not known Me

“I am the LORD, and there is no other; There is no God besides Me. I will gird you, though you have not known Me,” Isaiah 45:5 NKJV 

I am amazed at God’s grace and mercy.  After becoming a believer and disciple of Jesus Christ more than a decade ago, God has been revealing the ways He kept me safe during the time in my life I had not known Him. Surely He is God and there are none like Him.   

Looking back on my life, I can see the course He set me on.  Even though I did not know Him, He was, in fact, guarding my life.  For example, to ensure I didn’t just drift into a minimum wage job after high school, a trade school recruiter convinced me to register for classes leading to a Theory of Electronics Associates Degree.  I thought given my previous rejection in modeling business, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to show the world I was not just a pretty face!  However, God had plans to use this path to deal with the growing perfectionism in me and to provide for my future family.  Now, I can see He brought this opportunity into my life for a reason.  His hand was engaged arranging all the situations and circumstances that would eventually lead me to my salvation.   

I have experienced what Romans 8:28 says “And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.”  The bad stuff of the past was used for good because it directed me to Him.  Be encouraged, no matter what comes into your life, He’ll use it for His glory and bring good from it.   

How about you?  In what ways has God’s hand been in your life before you knew Him?  As you become more aware, praise God, for He is good.  

Lord, thank you that even when we didn’t know you, there you were arranging things that would lead to our salvation.  Thank you for coming after us with your love, grace and mercy.  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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Liberty in Christ

And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32 NKJV

Believing in God

Living a life of liberty in Christ is possible by believing God.  The Bible tells us there is no darkness in Him, He can not lie, and His plans are to prosper us rather than to harm us (1 John 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11).  God is good and we can count on that.

Understanding the Truth

The Bible is the Word of God written through men as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Bible tells us it is good for doctrine, teaching, rebuking and correcting a man in righteousness that he might be lacking nothing (2 Timothy 3:16).   God gave each believer the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us for the purpose of guiding us into all truth (Romans 5:5, John 16:7-14).

Agreeing with God

A sinner is anyone who chooses his/her own way over God’s way. The Bible teaches we are all sinners who fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23).  As we read God’s Word it becomes obvious how we miss His glorious standard for us.  When we become aware of our sinfulness, we are expected to confess our sins and seek His forgiveness.  The Bible tells us He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

Accepting the Gift

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). While on earth, Jesus Christ was God in human form.  He was the perfect, sinless example of how we are to during our life time.  He came to pay the price of our sin and make it possible for us to live for eternity.  In John 14:6 NKJV Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Anyone who believes in their heart and confesses with their mouth Jesus is Lord will be saved (Romans 10:9).

Renewing Your Mind

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).  Only God’s truth can renew your mind.  The Bible teaches us to think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, are of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy – meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8).  Reading and meditating on God’s Word is crucial for renewing your mind.

Denying the Lies

As God’s Word infiltrates our minds and hearts, the lies we have believed start becoming visible.  We can recognize the lies easier by comparing them to the Word of God.  The Bible teaches us the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  We are responsible for our thoughts.  If our thoughts are filled with lies, we need to capture them, make them obedient to Christ.  God’s Holy Spirit in us gives us the very power we need to make God’s Word dwell in our minds rather than lies.

Practicing the Truth

There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:1).  The old life of sin is gone and the new life of the Spirit has come.  If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).  Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).  When you do walk in the Spirit the following fruit will be evident in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

Living in Victory

If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:18).  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:  He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:2-4).  Christ has freed us from the power of sin, if we will accept His work, and allow His Spirit to renew our minds with God’s Word, we will live obediently and abundantly in truth.

Lord, thank you for your Word and Spirit.  Enable us to turn to you for forgiveness of sins. Teach us to walk by the Spirit that we may live in the liberty of Jesus Christ.  In His precious name, Amen.

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc.

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Accepting His Will

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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Everything for Good?

 

And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose. Romans 8:28 NJKV

 

What an extreme idea!  God uses everything for good to those who love Him.  If everything is used for my beneficial good, then surely I will be filled with a great confidence in God working out the details. 

 

Sadly, a lot of times hurts from those we love drives us deeper in despair.  Where is the good when the harsh words are flying?  It is during those times we forget God’s promise to bring good out of everything.  When we are hurt, we just want to get out of the pain, so our focus is on fleeing.  Our focus is on the short-term gain of removing the pain. 

 

Sometimes God does great things in the short-term.  One time, God saved me from accidentally running over a mother pushing her baby’s stroller in a crosswalk, when I didn’t see them!  But most of the time, God is working on developing the fruit of the Spirit or in other words His character in us.  This is a long-term process, not short-term.

 

Think about a peach.  Does it simply pop out of the branch one day?  No.  It takes time to grow.  It starts out as a blossom, which is pollinated by a bee.  It turns into a small bud and over several weeks, as the tree provides nourishment, it grows into what we know is a peach. 

 

We are just like that peach.  We are God’s blossoms pollinated by His Word through the Holy Spirit.  When we start seeing evidence of our changed life we enter the budding phase.  With proper nourishment from the Tree of Life (God’s Word), over time we grow more like Jesus Christ. 

 

God creator of the universe, who has every day of our life written in His book before He ever made us, uses all things in our life to develop His fruit, His character in us.  Can He use my mistakes?  Absolutely He’ll help us make better choices next time.  Can He use the wrong things done to me?  You know He does when He teaches us to forgive those who hurt us and bless those you use us. Can He use my wrong motives? Sure He can, as He reveals His pure motives we learn to trust Him.  Can He use my financial burden?  Yes.  He helps us see all things come from Him.  Can He use my grieving over a death? You bet He will use it to guide our thoughts to eternity.  Can He use a toddler’s temper tantrum? No doubt He uses these to help us grow our patience.

 

It is really about how we think about all that goes on in our life.  Philippians 4:8 teaches us to keep our thoughts fixed on what is true, noble, just, pure, lovely, of good report, virtuous and praise worthy.  We are to meditate on these things.  The tough part is most of the time things masquerade in bad situations, negative attitudes, self-centered behavior and other evil of our day.

 

The challenge to us believers is to take God at His Word, to trust some how some way He will bring good out of it.  We may not see the good right away.  It may take time, just like the peach took time to grow.  Hang in there through the tough stuff, having confidence in God’s ability to bring good from it. In the end, we know God will bring good to those who love Him. 

 

Lord thank you for bringing good out of all things.  Help us to trust in your timing.  Enable us to keep our thoughts fixed on you as you develop the fruit of the Spirit in us.  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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God’s call for Saul

 

But the Lord said to him, “Go, for he is a chosen vessel of Mine to bear My name before Gentiles, kings, and the children of Israel. Acts 9:15 NKJV

 

Read Acts 9.

 

God tells Ananias that Saul is His chosen vessel and outlines His purpose for Saul’s life.  Saul is to go before the Gentiles, kings and the children of Israel to bear God’s name. 

 

What did Saul do after he received his sight and spent time with the disciples at Damascus?  In verse 20 it says he went immediately to preach Christ in the synagogues.  In verse 22 is says Saul increased all the more in strength and confounded the Jews.   I wonder if Saul was supposed to go to the Jews first.  Back in Acts 9:15 God said for him to go to the Gentiles, then kings and then the children of Israel.  Perhaps where Saul started was his own choosing and not the Lord’s.  

 

Verses 23-24 says: “Now after many days were past, the Jews plotted to kill him. But their plot became known to Saul. And they watched the gates day and night, to kill him.”  To me, this confirms it wasn’t the time to witness to the Jews.  But wait, God is so good.  His grace shines brightly in verse 25 when the disciples help Saul escape.  Next Saul goes to Jerusalem and again his life is threatened, this time by the Hellenists.  Again, God’s grace is visible in verse 30 when Saul is able to escape to Caesarea and Tarsus.

 

This is fascinating to me.  Talk about open and closed doors of opportunity.  Saul was bursting through every door trying to tell the good news of Christ to the Jews.  It seems logical Saul would want to go to the Jews first. After all he was a Jews.  But God had a different plan. Sometimes it takes a few failed attempts until we find the right path.

 

God’s goodness is evident as well in verse 31 when it says: “Then the churches throughout all Judea, Galilee, and Samaria had peace and were edified. And walking in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the Holy Spirit, they were multiplied.”  This is further confirmation God uses all things for good for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28).  Saul may not have been destined to go to the Jews first, but God still used those attempts to edify and multiply the churches. 

 

Reread this section of God’s Word.  Keep your eye focused on God’s grace.  It’s a beautiful thing.  God always makes a way out.  He still does for us today.  Look at what 1 Corinthians 10:13 NKJV says: “No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.”   This was written by Saul, who later became Paul.  He knows what he’s talking about.

  Lord thank you for calling us for your purpose.  May we be quick to listen and follow your direction. And when we fail to go your way first, may your grace bring goodness out of it anyway.  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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