Bible Devotions

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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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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Where does Forgiveness From?

But 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 NKJV 

Have you heard about “claiming the blood of Christ” in your prayers?  Some churches teach it as a way of obtaining power over what you struggle with.  I wanted to know where this saying came from, so I became searching the Bible for it. 

 

When I searched for “claim the blood”, there were no results.  I searched for “claim”, but only found 8 references and all of them were not focused on the blood of Christ.  I searched again, this time for “blood of Jesus Christ”, “blood of Christ”, or “blood of Jesus”.  All together, there were 20 references found in the New Testament. 

 

What is so significant about blood, and specifically about Jesus’ blood?  To understand blood’s importance you must travel back to the Old Testament.  Leviticus 17:11 NKJV says this about blood, “For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you upon the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that makes atonement for the soul.’”  In Old Testament times, God gave the people a method of covering their sins, called atonement.  This practice of offering a blood sacrifice was repeated every year, because the blood of animals could never remove man’s sin.  It was atonement for sin.

 

From Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary, here’s what it says about “Blood”:To blood is ascribed in Scripture the mysterious sacredness which belongs to life, and God reserved it to himself when allowing man the dominion over and the use of the lower animals for food. Thus reserved, it acquires a double power: (1) that of sacrificial atonement; and (2) that of becoming a curse when wantonly shed, unless duly expiated. (Genesis 9:4; Leviticus 7:26; 17:11-13)            From Smith’s Bible Names Dictionary, there was a lengthy explanation about Atonement Day.  If you’re interested in reading more about that, use this link: BibleGateway.com Dictionaries: ATONEMENT, THE DAY OF.

Without the shedding of blood, there is no forgiveness of sins.  Therefore, Jesus’ blood is most precious because only HIS blood  forgives sins once and for all.  The shedding of His blood occurred once, never to be repeated.  Look at what Ephesians 1:7 NKJV says, “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace”.

 

What do we conclude from this study?  While the Bible never uses the words “claiming the blood of Christ”, in a sense that’s what we do when we put our faith in Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of our sins. 

 

Are you, not necessarily with words, claiming the blood of Christ in your life?  Today’s verse explains how.  If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses us from all sin.

 

Father God above, you know our weakness and provide a way for us to be cleansed from all unrighteousness through the blood of Jesus Christ.  Thank you for shedding your Son’s blood that we may be forgiven and have fellowship with you.  Enable us to claim victory over sin through faith in Jesus Christ.  In His precious name, Amen.  

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Simplicity in Christ

But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.  2 Corinthians 11:3 NKJV 

 

Did you ever notice how the simplest instructions are the hardest to follow?  Have you ever wondered why?

In my opinion, I think perhaps we’re full of pride and don’t recognize it.  Think about it.  You purchased some item that requires you to put it together, but instead of reading and following the directions you rush to put it together based on the picture on the outside of the box.  In the end, it’s not quite right.  There are pieces left over that leave you wondering where they go.

Sadly, we treat God’s Word like that sometimes.  We think we know best and decide not to read the instructions He’s given us.  After all, His message is so simple.  Romans 10:9 NKJV “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.”  We have a picture in our minds of what a Christian is.  Since we don’t validate that picture with the truth of God’s Word, we’re trying to live a life God never intended.  Then we find we are still not satisfied, as though something else is needed for us to be saved.   

That’s where we’re wrong.  Nothing more is needed.  Jesus died for our sins.  When we acknowledge who He is and what He did for us, all we need to do is accept His gift; freedom from sin and eternal life.   Once you’re saved, you’re saved.  But that doesn’t mean we can neglect God’s Word.  We still need to read it to understand our self and God better and to remain out of bondage of sin.  

Lord Jesus thank you for your simple message, although it was not simple for you to carry out.  Help us to accept your gift of salvation and continue to grow in our knowledge and understanding of our self (our weaknesses) and you (your character). Deliver us from the entanglement of sin and set our feet on the pathway of life.  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 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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Responsibility within a Family

Then Moses and the priests, the Levites, spoke to all Israel, saying, “Take heed and listen, O Israel: This day you have become the people of the LORD your God. 10 Therefore you shall obey the voice of the LORD your God, and observe His commandments and His statutes which I command you today.” Deuteronomy 27:9-10 NKJV

God choose the children of Israel to become His people.  They were to live differently from the surrounding nations.  They were set apart to God.  They were to reflect God’s character to others by obeying His voice and observing His statutes and commandments.

They were about to enter “the promised land flowing with milk and honey.”  God was about to fulfill His promise to those He loved.  God did not want the children of Israel to think this was the end of the journey and become complacent in their new home.  Rather He wanted them to remember to listen to Him and observe His ways.

Think for moment about a family with parents and children.  The children belong to the parents.  They are responsible to listen and obey all their parents say.  The parents are responsible for providing for, teaching and correcting the children so they may have healthy, productive lives.

The parents are not responsible for their neighbor’s children.  They don’t walk in their neighbor’s house and start instructing their neighbor’s children what to do.  The neighbor’s children are not responsible to them, so they have their own parents who they are responsible to.  Likewise, our children are not responsible to our neighbor’s parents because we are their parents.

In order for this responsibility to kick in, one must first become part of a family.  Some are physically born into a family and others are adopted into a family.  Once you’re in a family you become responsible to the parents and their commands.

When we live in family, we start looking and acting alike.  Ever notice how the children look much like their parents.  Even adopted children who come from different birth parents, start looking and acting like their adoptive parents.

That’s what is going on here in scripture.  The children of Israel have become part of God’s family.  As a result, they have the responsibility to listen and obey God’s commands and live different from those who are not part of God’s family.  The children of Israel’s lives were to show the world around them they were in fact part of God’s family.

How about you?  Have you become part of God’s family yet?  All you need to do is trust Jesus through faith and God’s grace will activate.  If you haven’t done this yet, there’s no time like now.  Simply ask Jesus to forgive your rebellion and He will.  God will send His Holy Spirit to live in you so you’ll know you are His.

So you are part of God’s family by grace through faith in Jesus Christ.  Does your life reflect God’s character?  Have you stepped up to the responsibility to God and His commands?  If not, ask God to show you what and give you a willing heart to change.

God Almighty who loves us and wants us to become part of His family, thank you for making it possible through Jesus Christ.  May we accept your work on our behalf.  May we become your children and responsible to your voice and commands.  Enable us this day to live for you.  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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Tough Times Praise God

 

Seems like an oxymoron doesn’t it?  When tough times come and they always do, we have a choice.  We can choose to dwell in it and become angry or bitter.  Or we can choose to look to God instead by recalling all He has done, remembering His promises and keeping hope alive.

 

Now both options require work on our part.  Whichever we choose, our mind will be working.  Words and actions will follow for good or bad.  The choice is ours.

 

It’s terribly easy to allow our self to think “it’s all about me”.  We may not ever think those exact words, but when our thoughts are all about how something affects us, we are on the path leading away from God and peace. 

 

It’s much more difficult to discipline our self to remember “it’s all about God”.  Turning our thoughts away from the problem at hand, to consider all God has promised to us takes time.  We have to know His promises before we can remember them.  Reading God’s Word is where we find out about His promises.  Each one is like a nugget of gold we mine for in His Word.  Try reading Psalms 90 – 106.  There are plenty of examples on how to focus on God’s greatness during the trials of life. 

Two Corinthians 4:17-18 NKJV says “For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,  while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”  Keeping our eyes on the eternal things helps us endure the temporary heartache and troubles of this life.

Remember we are children of God, adopted into His family when we accepted Jesus Christ’s death on the cross as payment for our sins.  God will not abandon us.  He will be with us.  He is in us.  So don’t let your current troubles weight you down.  Jesus said in Matthew 11:28-30 NKJV “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Lord when we are consumed with our troubles remind us to turn to you.  In you is rest and peace when we trust in you.  Help us endure what we must, trusting you each moment.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

 

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Wisdom and Obedience

 A wise man hears and increases learning. Proverbs 1:5 NKJV 

What do you think of when you say the word wisdom?  Does good judgment come to mind?  What about obedience?  That’s right obedience.  Ever consider how obedience and wisdom go hand and hand?   Let’s review Proverbs 1 and 2 and conclude with first two verses of Proverbs 3.  Get out your bible and read along with me.   

Where does wisdom come from? 

According to Proverbs 2:6 it comes from God:  For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  Therefore, with our hearts open to God, we ask Him for wisdom.  James 1:5 NKJV says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

How does wisdom work?

Look at Proverbs 2:7-9 and see what the Lord does for those who seek Him, cry out for discernment, apply their heart to understanding and incline their ear to wisdom:

  • He stores up wisdom for us

  • He is our shield

  • He guards the paths of justice

  • He preserves the way of His saints

 The benefit of wisdom entering our heart is knowledge pleasant to our soul. Discretion preserves us, understanding will keep us, to deliver us away from evil (Proverbs 2:10-12). 

Wisdom tied to Obedience?

Jesus told us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves in Matthew 10:16.  James calls us to be doers of the word (James 1:22).  Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  But this not just a New Testament teaching, no this goes back to the Old Testament as well.  Jeremiah 23:22 says “But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.”   

 

Wisdom comes when we hear God’s Word and apply His truth in our life.  When we actually do what we hear, wisdom is the result.  That wisdom guards our life by the power and grace that comes from God alone. 

 

 

Got Wisdom?

My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will added to you. Proverbs 3:1-2 NKJV. 

 Lord Jesus, may our hearts be open to Your precious wisdom giving Word.  Enable us to not only hear but do what You have told 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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Careful with Comparisons

 

Do you ever compare your self to others?

 

Let’s say someone wrongs you.  In your heart you think “I would never do such a horrible thing.”  Are you not comparing your self to the person who did wrong?  What do you gain through this comparison?  Do you feel better than them or self-righteous?  Watch out, that’s how judgmental attitudes are formed.

 

Maybe you wouldn’t do exactly what they did, but guaranteed you let someone down before.  We all have made mistakes.  In the chapter on suffering in the Peace Making Women book it says we are more like the wrong-doer than unlike them.  Think about that.  It’s good to remember when we’re wronged by someone we are more like them than unlike them.  Instead of allowing thoughts of “I’d never do that”, try to remember you’ve failed at times too.  Then let God’s grace and mercy shine through.

 

How about when a neighbor has a better car, nicer lawn and more beautiful house than you?  Compared to you they have the best of everything.  Have you ever compared your things to their things?  What good can come from such a comparison?  Why do you suppose God included coveting as one of the Ten Commandments (Deuteronomy 5:21)?  In all likelihood, it’s because He knew we’d be tempted to be envious of others.  Envy left unchecked turns into bitterness.  Bitterness clouds our judgment and grows into resentment. 

 

Instead of envying try thanking God for blessing your neighbor so richly and asking God to help them be good stewards of all He’s giving them.  Stay focused on God to avoid our self-center stinking thinking.

 

When comparisons start, be careful because that’s when we start developing judgmental, condemning or bitter attitudes.  That’s certainly not God honoring.  The only comparison we need is that of Christ.  How well do we respond like Christ in each situation?  Even then we need to be careful because it is not about being perfect by our own efforts.  Isaiah 64:6 tells us our efforts towards righteousness are like filthy rags.  It’s more about allowing Christ to live through us changing the way we react to what life throws at us.

 Lord thank you for your amazing mercy and grace towards us.  Help us remember to extend the same mercy and grace towards others.  Enable us to keep our eyes on you rather than others around us.  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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