Bible Devotions

Thoughts, Actions, Feelings – in that Order

 

My pastor taught about a reoccurring pattern he saw in the lives of those he ministered to.  What they thought about influenced what they did and as a result they had certain feelings.  This pattern is the same whether it is about good and healthy things or negative and unhealthy things. 

 

For example, if my thoughts are focused on how my needs are not being met, my actions are influenced to do something to get my needs met and my feelings tell me it’s not working.  Those feelings influence my thoughts and so the unhealthy cycle continues.  If, however, we choose to keep our thoughts on God, our actions are influenced by God and our feelings become healthy as we look at things from God’s perspective.  It’s the same reoccurring pattern or cycle; thoughts lead to action, action leads to feeling and feelings influence the thoughts.

 

That’s why Paul told us to be renewed in our minds.  Romans 12:2 NKJV says “And 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.”  When we forsake that which the world does and focus on God, our thoughts are renewed and we are able to know what is pleasing to God. 

 

Another example of this pattern is given by Jesus in John 3:18-21 NKJV: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”  Can you see the pattern?

 

Unhealthy

Healthy

He who does not believe (verse 18, thoughts)

Their deeds were evil (verse 19, actions)

Hates the light (verse 20, feelings)

 

He who believes (verse 18, thoughts)

Does the truth (verse 21, actions)

Comes to light (verse 21, feelings)

 

If we find our self on the unhealthy side of this cycle, we can change by allowing God to change our thoughts and by taking godly actions whether we feel like it or not.  Our feelings will catch up as we do what God prefers.  From my own personal experience, God enabled me to love my husband when the feelings weren’t there.  Due to obedience to God’s Word, my thoughts were renewed, my actions were godly and the result was new feelings of love developed between us. 

 

Though we are not ruled by our emotions because Christ alone is our Lord and King, feelings can be used as an alert system.  Feelings can tell us if we’re operating on the unhealthy or healthy side of this cycle.  Check your feelings, dig into God’s Word and let the mind of Christ lead you forward. 

 Lord, thank you for your saving grace and empowerment to do what please you.  Keep us on your godly pathway and help us remember our righteousness comes from you.  In Jesus’ name Amen.
© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in God’s Word. Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

 

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A Comparison Part 1

Study the life of Jesus Christ as shown in the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John).   Create for a picture of God’s character and then consider the character of man.

 

Jesus Human

Sinless, perfect, pure, spotless

Sinful

 

This comparison helps us recognize our need for a Savior.  Romans 3:23 says we all have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory.  John declares the good news: “Behold! The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29 NKJV).  Jesus is the perfect lamb, pure and spotless given as a sacrifice to pay the price for the sinful world.  Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ.

 

Jesus Human

Aligned with the Father’s will

Manipulate to get our will done

 

Jesus knew His purpose and did not waver one bit.  He was all about doing His Father’s work.  He did only what His Father wanted done in complete and perfect submission and obedience to God’s will.  Ours is a self-centered nature that clashes with God’s will.  We want our way and usually manipulate and scheme to get it.

 

Jesus Human

Consistent with prayer

Occasionally pray (especially with the ‘big” stuff)

 

Jesus was always praying.  He made time for prayer.  He never made decisions without praying first.  He stayed connected to the Father through prayer.  As a result He was strengthened and enabled to carry out God’s purposes.  We, on the other hand, pray sometimes.  The Bible teaches us to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17).  However, we forget to bring all things before the Lord in prayer.  Somehow we think God is too busy to hear even our smallest concerns.  We tend to call out to God when there’s a crisis or in a stressful situation.  But God longs for us to turn to Him in all situations.  Do we come to Him when we need to make a decision?  Do we ask for wisdom and guidance?  We do not come to Him as much as we should.  Therefore, Jesus is a good example of bringing everything to God in prayer.

 

May the comparisons we’ve drawn today encourage you to seek Him in all you do.  Know you are saved by His death and resurrection.  May Jesus’ example of following God’s will be our desire in our life.  May we bring everything before Him in prayer to stay connected with God and His will. 

 

Lord, Jesus thank you for your example to follow.  Thank you for leading us on the path of righteousness.  We ask for your guidance day by day.  Give us the desire for God’s will in our life. Help us turn to you so often in prayer not one area of our life is unexposed to your light.  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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Imitators of God

Read Ephesians 4 through Ephesians 5:1-2

 

Paul writes in Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God”.  Let’s explore what that means by reading Ephesians 4 together.

 

Forgive as We are Forgiven

Walk worthy of our calling by being tenderhearted and forgiving towards one another.  Always remembering God forgave us, therefore, we forgive others.  We treat others better than they deserve because again that’s what God does to us.  We don’t deserve His abundant supply of mercy and grace, do we?  And yet, He generously pours it out on us.  He calls us to do the same to others around us.  We do our part to live at peace with others, getting along with all people to the best of our abilities.  When we are wronged we don’t hold it against them, we don’t seek revenge but rather give space and time for God to work it out.  God says vengeance is mine (Deuteronomy 32:35).

 

Sacrifice My Will

We consciously turn from our former conduct and put off the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts.  We lay aside all things that hinder our walk, such as sin that easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1).  We repent of our sins when we are made aware of them.  We cast down every thought that exalts it self over God (2 Corinthians 10:5).  We concentrate on being renewed in the Spirit of our mind, letting God’s word have its way (Romans 12:2), equipping us to put on the new man created after God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

Walk in Love

God is love, we walk in Him (1 John 4:8).  If we abide in Him, He abides in us (1 John 4:16).  First Corinthians 13:4-7 defines love as “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  So we speak the truth in love and are encouraged to do good without growing weary.  Our God does not grow weary of doing good for us, therefore, we don’t grow weary either.  Doing good also means knowing our purpose, using our gifts, talents and abilities to edify, encourage and build up others.  Therefore, we redeem the time and make the most of every opportunity by walking in love.

 

Follow Me

So if we look to Jesus as our example we will seek the Father and his will in all things.  We pray for strength to carry out His plan and purposes.  We lay aside our will and ask to have the Father’s will be done.  We will sacrifice our self for others as many times as is required until Christ returns to take us home.  Jesus did not leave us without the power to accomplish all this.  No, He left us His Spirit to guide us and empower us to do all God desires us to do. 

 

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:1-2).

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your example to us.  Thank you for your spirit to lead us and equip us for all God wants us to do.  May be seek the Father and carry out His will in our generation.  In your name 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.

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Proclaim the Good News

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

What is the Good News?

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

 

How do we proclaim it?

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

 

Who do we proclaim it to?

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

 

 Where do we proclaim it?

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

 

Why do we proclaim it?

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

 

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

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

 

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


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Does “Too Good to be True” Really Exist?

Once you received some mail from a popular sweepstakes company claiming you had already won a grand prize.Your mind races at the possibility and all you could do with the winnings.Does this sound too good to be true?Well, from the world’s perspective it is too good to be true.

What about a relationship with Jesus Christ?Is that too good to be true? Matthew 19:26 NKJV says “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Let’s consider a few benefits of believing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Truth Revealed

God’s Word is alive and it renews us day by day.The more we read, the more He reveals Himself and our sinful nature.If we choose, we can respond the way God anticipates which is to agree with Him about our sin.When we do, we allow His Word to renew our minds, changing the way we think.For some this may mean a once prideful person has been transformed into a humble one.For others who were critical and judgmental it may mean their stony hearts are transplanted with a new tender heart of love.God’s Word reveals the truth and when we accept His truth wonderful things happen.Please don’t take this as once we become a Christian all our problems go away.Oh no, that is definitely not what’s being conveyed.But rather wonderful changes within occur when truth is allowed to penetrate our inner beings.

Sins Forgiven

Psalm 103:12 NKJV says “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Jesus Christ took on our sin, paid the penalty for us by dying on the cross.Even better news than that is Jesus rose again.Death was not the end of Him, only the beginning of a new life.With His resurrection we are given a new life too.Romans 10:9 NKJV says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”So the free gift of salvation God offers is as easy as believing and you will be saved.Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” To further this wonderful benefit, Romans 8:1 also tells us there is no condemnation in Christ when we walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

Rewards Here

Psalm 37:4 NKJV says “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”Choose to follow Him, read His Word, and apply His truths in your life.Allow His Word to become real to you by living it out.When you do He rewards you.I’m not saying we come to the Lord simply for the benefits He offers.But I am saying if you are diligent to seek Him and serious about pursuing Him, He will bring blessings into your life.His word straightens us out and plants our feet on a firm foundation.He directs us on the pathway of righteousness.He leads us by His Spirit which He gave us as a guarantee of our salvation.He changes the way we think, which improves our attitudes.He enables us to love, forgive, and consider others above our self.He provides everything we need to live a godly life here and now while we wait for the return of Christ.He restores broken relationships.He breaks the chains that bind us to our addictions.He sets us free from sin.The rewards He gives are unending and this is only speaking of here on earth.There are far more blessings in the eternal sense, where no eye has seen, nor ear have heard, nor any mind can imagine what treasures await those who love God.

Is a relationship with Christ too good to be true?While it does seem too good to be true, I want to reassure you all these things do exist.There is no end to how good God can make it.For me, I have found my relationship with Christ to be more rewarding, exciting, intimate, loving and honoring than I ever dreamed was possible.I have experienced a new mind, new attitude, forgiveness of my sin, acceptance by the Father, a renewed love, a restored marriage and blessings of a second child.I could go on, but I won’t.I do encourage you to think about your life and count your blessings from knowing Christ.It will revitalize your walk.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your willingness to die to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and make us right with the Father.Thank you for the many rewards from our relationship with you.Thank you for giving us eternal life in you.In your precious name 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.


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Way of the Righteous

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

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

 

Let’s look at each verse in more detail. 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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Does “Too Good to be True” Really Exist?

Once you received some mail from a popular sweepstakes company claiming you had already won a grand prize.  Your mind races at the possibility and all you could do with the winnings.  Does this sound too good to be true?  Well, from the world’s perspective it is too good to be true.

What about a relationship with Jesus Christ?  Is that too good to be true? Matthew 19:26 NKJV says “But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

Let’s consider a few benefits of believing Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior.

Truth Revealed

God’s Word is alive and it renews us day by day.  The more we read, the more He reveals Himself and our sinful nature.  If we choose, we can respond the way God anticipates which is to agree with Him about our sin.  When we do, we allow His Word to renew our minds, changing the way we think.  For some this may mean a once prideful person has been transformed into a humble one.  For others who were critical and judgmental it may mean their stony hearts are transplanted with a new tender heart of love.  God’s Word reveals the truth and when we accept His truth wonderful things happen.  Please don’t take this as once we become a Christian all our problems go away.  Oh no, that is definitely not what’s being conveyed.  But rather wonderful changes within occur when truth is allowed to penetrate our inner beings.

Sins Forgiven

Psalm 103:12 NKJV says “As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.” Jesus Christ took on our sin, paid the penalty for us by dying on the cross.  Even better news than that is Jesus rose again.  Death was not the end of Him, only the beginning of a new life.  With His resurrection we are given a new life too.   Romans 10:9 NKJV says “that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”  So the free gift of salvation God offers is as easy as believing and you will be saved.  Romans 6:23 says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” To further this wonderful benefit, Romans 8:1 also tells us there is no condemnation in Christ when we walk according to the Spirit and not according to the flesh.

Rewards Here

Psalm 37:4 NKJV says “Delight yourself also in the LORD, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.”  Choose to follow Him, read His Word, and apply His truths in your life.  Allow His Word to become real to you by living it out.  When you do He rewards you.  I’m not saying we come to the Lord simply for the benefits He offers.  But I am saying if you are diligent to seek Him and serious about pursuing Him, He will bring blessings into your life.   His word straightens us out and plants our feet on a firm foundation.  He directs us on the pathway of righteousness.  He leads us by His Spirit which we gave us as a guarantee of our salvation.  He changes the way we think, which improves our attitudes.  He enables us to love, forgive, and consider others above our self.  He provides everything we need to live a godly life here and now while we wait for the return of Christ.  He restores broken relationships.  He breaks the chains that bind us to our addictions.  He sets us free from sin.  The rewards He gives are unending and this is only speaking of here on earth.  There are far more blessings in the eternal sense, where no eye has seen, nor ear have heard, nor any mind can imagine what treasures await those who love God.

Is a relationship with Christ too good to be true?  While it does seem too good to be true, I want to reassure you all these things do exist.  There is no end to how good God can make it.  For me, I have found my relationship with Christ to be more rewarding, exciting, intimate, loving and honoring than I ever dreamed was possible.  I have experienced a new mind, new attitude, forgiveness of my sin, acceptance by the Father, a renewed love, a restored marriage and blessings of a second child.  I could go on, but I won’t.  I do encourage you to think about your life and count your blessings from knowing Christ.  It will revitalize your walk.


Lord Jesus, thank you for your willingness to die to cleanse us from all unrighteousness and make us right with the Father.  Thank you for the many rewards from our relationship with you.  Thank you for giving us eternal life in you.  In your precious name we pray. Amen.

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Heart of the Matter

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

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

Starting out with a Wicked Heart

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

Our Heart has Many Attributes

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

Our Heart Determines our Focus

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

We can Control our Heart

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

The Lord Looks at and Tests the Heart

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

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

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

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

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

How’s your heart?

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

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

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God’s Characteristics

Today’s reading is a phenomenal chapter outlining characteristics of God.  Before you’ll see that let’s, start with pray:  Father God above, you alone are worthy of all praise.  You know all things.  You have provided everything we need to live a godly life until Christ returns.  Reveal your truths today through your Word by your Holy Spirit.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

Read Deuteronomy 29.  Read it slowly.  Read it more than once.  Take time to reflect on it.  Look for the facts first.  Move to the meaning of the words next.  Look for the timeless principle God is showing you.

Deuteronomy 29 is about the Lord speaking to the children of Israel through Moses.  He is reminding them of all God has done in their presence.  He is encouraging them to remain in covenant with the faithful God Almighty.

As mentioned, this chapter outlines some of God’s characteristics. Let’s take a look:

  • God’s power is on display in verses 2 – 3.
  • God’s compassion is evident in verses 4-8.
  • God’s kindness is extended in verse 9.
  • God’s authority and our accountability are shown in verses 10-11.
  • God’s faithfulness and reliability are depicted in verses 12-13.
  • God’s fairness to all is discussed in verses 14-15.
  • God’s mercifulness is outlined in verses 16-19.
  • God’s jealousy is graphically displayed in verses 20-22.
  • God’s wrath is explained in verses 24-28.
  • God’s revelation is spoken of in verse 29.

God, who is all-powerful, compassionate, kind, faithful, fair, merciful, jealous and has all authority is angry with those who do not come to Him.  God has blessings upon blessings for those who will receive Him.  God’s plans are not to harm but to prosper us.   In verse 9 He says “keep the words of this covenant that you may prosper.”

God wants all to prosper under His blessings, but it is conditional.  If we choose to enter the covenant we must acknowledge He is God, deny our self and idols, and turn to Him.   If we don’t turn, we choose to deceive our self, live in denial and we reap curses instead of blessings.  God doesn’t want us saying “‘I shall have peace, even though I follow the dictates of my heart’—as though the drunkard could be included with the sober.” (verse 19)  If we are to experience peace, it will be when we yield to God’s way of living, depending on Him to provide as a result of our obedience.

Speaking about depending on Him, it is God who makes and keeps the covenant with us.  He is faithful even when we are not.  For Romans 5:8 says “But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”  He was willing to make a way for us, even while we were His enemies.  We shunned Him.  We exalted our self as god.  We lived how we wanted to, yet God came in the flesh to die for our crimes against Him.  God’s covenant is for everyone who is willing to enter it.

It is my sincerest desire you take time with God and His word.  Prayerfully read it daily.  Let it change the way you think.  May you regard God’s Word as the oxygen you breathe, for in it contains the truth about life and death.  May you, as Moses said in Deuteronomy 30:19: “Choose life.”

Lord God, thank you for your life-giving words.  Thank you for your Spirit helping us discern your truth.  Teach us your way of life.  Enable us to receive your blessings through obedience to you.  We come, just as we are, to you this day.  In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

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

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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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