Bible Devotions

The Teachable Moment

Yesterday my son and I were out looking for a new backpack to prepare him for school.   We found a store with exactly the right one, so we went to the check out line.  As the clerk was ringing up our purchases, he could not find the price tag for the backpack.  Unfortunately, there was not another one like it to verify the price.  So the clerk asked me how much it was.  I replied “There were similar ones for $49.95”.  The clerk, not wanting to over charge me declared, “I’ll ring it up as $29.95.”  We left the store.

 

While walking to the next store, I unzipped the backpack to place inside the other bag of school supplies to make my load easier to carry.  That’s when I saw it — the price tag.   As I slowly withdrew the price tag, I said aloud “Wow, we got a great deal on this backpack”, showing my son the real price.  My son replied, “Now, you’re going to go back aren’t you?”

 

My answer surprised me a little, as we were in a hurry.  “Yes, I’m going back.  I could not possibly go on as if nothing happened, for that would be lying.  If I chose to keep the backpack, how would that be showing I live by the Word of God?  Would it be truthful? Would I be a doer of the Word?”  So we returned to the store where we bought the backpack.

 

As the clerk saw me draw near, he had a surprised look on his face.  Although he was helping another customer, he asked me why I had returned.  I told him, I found the price tag and couldn’t live with being under-charged for the item.  He was very grateful I returned.  The man the clerk was helping even commented “you did the right thing.”   I said, “Thank you, I know.  You see I have my 13 year old son with me, so it is good for him to seem me practice what I preach.”

 

After the transaction was over, my son and I discussed how important it was to be truthful at all times, even when it may not be convenient.  We will all be accountable to God one day on how we handled each situation.  We also talked about how that one situation was a good witness to several people; the clerk, the other customer, the store manager and my son, not to mention my husband when we shared the story with him too. Proverbs 12:22 says “Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord, but those who deal truthfully are His delight.”  I just love how the Lord uses the ordinary to help teach us the way to go.  It was a delight to do the right thing.  This situation reminded me of Proverbs 22:6 in action: “Train up a child in the way he should go.  And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

Lord Jesus, thank you for your Holy Spirit enabling us to make the right decisions by being truthful.  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.

Advertisements
1 Comment »

Are You Troubled?

Restless

Does your situation have you in a choke hold?  Are anxious thoughts plaguing you?  Do unmet needs have you down?  Are you paralyzed by fear?

 

When our thoughts are centered on our self, our situation and our own needs, we can be sure we are playing into our enemy’s trap.  For these are the opposite of what God would have us focus on.  Think about Jesus’ ministry on earth.  Was He ever troubled over how He would pay His bills?  Did He fret over what He would wear?  Was He ever concerned about get His own needs met?  No He wasn’t.  Instead He was focused on God and God’s will. So when we find our self stuck by our problems, our thoughts and our fears, we need to remember God has a plan and we’re part of it. 

 

Remember God

Mediate on God and His glory to help bring back the proper perspective.  Psalm 104 is a great example of thinking on God’s handiwork.  Thinking about all He has created will help you remember how powerful, mighty and awesome He is.  Thinking about His strength your problems seem smaller by comparison.  God knows all things from the beginning to the end and everything in between.  He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is steadfast on Him because you trust Him (Isaiah 26:3).  Remember God’s perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

 

Do Your Part

Put on God’s armor so you may stand firm.  Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV says “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” 

 

Think on helpful things.  Philippians 4:7-8 NKJV says “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.”  Do good and don’t grow weary for at the right time you will reap a harvest of right living (Galatians 6:9).  Do not doubt the Lord will accomplish all He says He will.  Seek first His kingdom and all things will be added to you. 

 

When you find yourself restless check your thoughts.  Remember God and focus your thoughts on Him.  With God’s power within you do your part to abide in His love and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). 

 Lord, thank you for being able to calm our restless souls.  Thank you for your word to guide us in our knowledge of you.  Thank you for your spirit to lead us in your truth.  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.


Leave a comment »

The Faithful are Answered part 2

Read 1 Samuel 1 – 3. 

We learned in 1:28 Hannah lent Samuel back to the Lord, which was her offering to the awesome God who had given him to her in the first place.   Hannah had the right perspective.  She knew all things, babies included, belonged to the Lord.  In Chapter 2 we see Hannah’s exuberant and praiseful prayer to God for answering her pleads for a child. 

In verse 2:11 we see Hannah and her husband went home, but the child ministered to the Lord before Eli the priest.  

 

How does a small child minister before the Lord?  Could it be, as he goes about being a child, living out of who he is God is honored?  How interesting. 

 

Next we’re introduced to Eli’s sons, who are not so godly.  They defiled them selves and the people who came to worship.  God is not pleased.  Amidst of this we see Samuel ministering to the Lord, even as a child, wearing a linen ephod. 

 

God blesses Hannah and she ends up having three sons and two daughters, because she honored her vow to lend Samuel to the Lord.  Here’s more evidence the faithful are answered.  Meanwhile, Samuel grew before the Lord.

 

In verses 2:22–25 we see Eli’s half-hearted attempt to confront his sons over they evil and wicked behavior but they would not heed their father’s voice.  Verse 26 then says:  “And the child Samuel grew in stature and in favor both with the Lord and men.” A man of God came to Eli and told him of God’s wrath to come upon them because of the sins of his sons.  Now the boy Samuel ministered to the Lord before Eli. 

 

In Chapter 3 we see Samuel being called by God, but he had not recognized it was the Lord until the forth attempt.   Verse 3:7 says “(Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord yet revealed to him.)”

 

All through Samuel’s life so far, he is mentioned as ministering to the Lord but he never really knew the Lord, nor was the word of the Lord revealed to him yet.  This shows us people can appear to be godly, doing all the “right” outwardly things but still not know the Lord.  It’s not fault of the Samuel for not knowing the Lord.  The Lord simply hadn’t revealed Himself to him yet. 

 

After Eli explains to Samuel the Lord was calling him, Samuel waited to hear from the Lord.  The Word of the Lord came to Samuel.  He listened to what the Lord said and the next morning, he fearfully told Eli everything. Read verses 3:11-21 to see what the Lord told him.  Believe me if you were Samuel you might be timid about conveying this particular message.  This is a beautiful picture of a faithful servant.  He hears from the Lord, remembers the message and shares the message as soon as possible regardless of how the message might be received.  We should be so faithful.

 

The result of being faithful was two fold for Samuel.  First, Samuel grew and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.  How cool is that?  The Lord was with Samuel causing all of his words to be effective.  The second result was the Lord revealed Himself to Samuel in Shiloh by the Word of the Lord.  The Lord reveals Himself to the faithful.  What could be better than seeing more of the Lord?

 

Lord God Almighty may you be with us as you were with Samuel.  Let none of our words fall to the ground but instead be used to further your kingdom.  Reveal yourself to us Lord by your Word.  Lead us into a deeper relationship with you.  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.

Leave a comment »

The Ripple Effect

Have you ever noticed how one negative thing leads to another?  It seems once one thing goes wrong, many more wrongs follow.  Did you ever notice it’s not just negative or wrong that follow this pattern?  The pattern or rather principle is simple.  It’s called reaping and sowing.  The Bible teaches us these farming terms as a way of explaining how life works. 

 

Plant a corn seed and corn will grow.  This is called sowing.  At the appropriate time, you receive a harvest of corn.  This is called reaping.  It’s the same with any other kind of seed.  It doesn’t matter whether it’s a bean, tomato, or cucumber seed. All seeds will yield the kind of fruit God intended.   Sow this, reap that.  Understand?

 

In life, we too plant seeds.  Granted these are not physical seeds we put in the ground, but seeds none the less.  The seeds we sow come from things like our thoughts, our attitudes, our body language, and our actions or behaviors. 

 Our Thoughts

Our thoughts make all the difference in the world.  If we choose to dwell on unhealthy things, it is like planting a bad crop.  We will reap the consequences of unhealthy thoughts in the area of our attitude and actions.   With our thoughts focused on negative and unhealthy things, we make unwise choices.  Conversely, when we set our minds on healthy things like Philippians 4:8-9 suggests we reap a pleasant harvest of God’s peace guarding our hearts and minds. 

 Our Attitudes

Our attitudes come from whatever we allow our mind or thoughts to focus on.  Our attitude also rubs off on others.  Think about when you’ve been around someone with a bad attitude.  What did you not like about being with them?  To me hanging around those with bad attitudes causes me to be more negative and start complaining.  Those bad attitudes plant seeds in others.  When our attitude could use a little adjusting, the best place to start is with our thoughts.  Stop and think about what you are thinking.  Begin to notice what you dwell on.  Ask God to help you recognize unhealthy thoughts and replace them with godly thoughts instead.  Memorizing scripture is a great way to get God’s good stuff stored away in your gray matter.

 Our Body-Language

With our bodies we can convene sincere interest or disrespect for others.  Let me give you an example, a wife and husband are having a conversation.  The wife doesn’t necessarily agree with what the husband is saying and it’s very obvious because of her stance (hands on her hips) and her eye-rolling.  This communicates disrespect towards her husband.  The sad part is she probably doesn’t even know it.  We need to be cautious of our bodies and what we might be communicating through our body language.

 Our Actions

Of all the items we’ve discuss so far, this one is probably the “no-brainer”.   Actions we can see.  Therefore, it is should be pretty evident we are influencing others by what we choose to do or not do.    If a parent chooses to drink alcohol and smoke around their children, then there’s a good possibility the children will grow up thinking drinking and smoking are okay.  Our actions leave marks in another’s life whether for good or bad.  Our decision is to make our actions count for good.  Galatians 6:8 NKJV “For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life.” What good actions are doing today to influence others? 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your saving grace.  Teach us to sow good seed that we may reap a good harvest of right living.  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.

1 Comment »

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.

1 Comment »

Getting our Attention

 

Read Acts 9.

 

God has ways of getting our attention.  With Saul of Tarsus, God literally knocked Saul off his horse and blinded him. Sometimes God allows sickness or other physical ailments to get us to slow down.  Maybe we have been doing too much and need a reminder to do only what the Lord wills. Other times God might use a loss of a job to get our attention. 

 

The question is are we paying attention?  Are we reading the signs God’s placed in our lives? 

 

The Lord doesn’t just get our attention and leave us wondering.  He is specific with us.  Look at how He interacts with Saul in Acts 9:6 “Arise and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.”  I find that very comforting.  Imagine you were just struck blind.  I’m sure our mind would be racing thinking all sorts of things: how will I provide for my family, how can I care for myself, who will help me, how do I get things done, etc.   Though we may not be afflicted in same way as Saul, the Lord still wants us to listen for what we must do and be confident He will lead us. 

 

During the days Saul had no sight, I’m sure he spent plenty of time praying.  He was probably reassessing his life wondering what he did wrong to deserve this affliction. Isn’t that just like us?  When something goes “wrong” we think we must have done something to cause it.  I’m sure that’s the case sometimes like when we have to reap the consequences for our sin.  There are plenty of other situations that are not caused by us but rather used for God to develop His image in us.  Maybe we need to learn patience or perseverance or faith.  Circumstances can help us develop godly character traits.

 

In Acts 9:9 it says Saul went without food or drink for the entire three days.  The Bible doesn’t tell us why.  We could speculate many reasons.  Perhaps he meant his denial of food as a fast to help increase he chances of his prayers being heard.  Maybe he was so consumed with his predicament he just couldn’t eat.  Here’s a stretch, maybe he was fearful that someone who try to poison him in his weakened state.  After all he was persecuting the Christians in that day.  We don’t know why he didn’t eat or drink in all that time.  But we do know God was using those days to radically change Saul’s life. 

 

Is God trying to get your attention?  Listen.  He will tell you what you must do.  Isaiah 26:3 says of God: “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.” Also in Isaiah 30:15 “In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.” It’s time for us to follow the advice of Psalm 46:10:  “Be still and know I am God.”   Lastly, we’ll end with Proverbs 3:5-6 “Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”

 

Lord thank you that all things work together for good for those who love you and are called according to your purposes.  Help us recognize when you are trying to get our attention.  Enable us to listen for your clear direction.  Give us the courage to obey.  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.

Leave a comment »

Impact for God’s Kingdom

thinkonit-devotions-yellow-sunflowerdelight.jpg

Read Acts 4:1-14

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 Lord, thank you for your word and your spirit leading us in truth.  May we be bold like Peter and John to share your word with everyone regardless of the inconvenience it may bring.  May we continue to do what is right, knowing you will work it out for good.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

 

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

Leave a comment »

Land with no Water

dry-cracked-ground.jpg   

Read Psalm 65.

What happens to dirt when it hasn’t been watered in a long time?  It hardens doesn’t it?

If the drought continues, the dirt becomes incredibly hard almost concrete-like so that it is difficult to do anything with it.

We have a section of dirt in the backyard that has no sprinkler system.  Because the dirt doesn’t get any water it is so hard we can’t penetrate the surface with a shovel.  It’s virtually useless for growing anything.

This picture of dry ground symbolizes how a person without God’s Word, the water of life, becomes hardened, dry and unusable. 

Look specifically at verses nine and ten.  See how God deals with a hardened heart:

9 You visit the earth and water it,
         You greatly enrich it;
         The river of God is full of water;
         You provide their grain,
         For so You have prepared it.
 10 You water its ridges abundantly,
         You settle its furrows;
         You make it soft with showers,
         You bless its growth.

Notice how every sentence is about how God does something.  It’s all about Him.  He is in control.  He knows what He’s doing.  His plan is to soften everyone’s hard heart, just as dry ground is softened by much rain.  This picture makes it clear on our own we become dry and hard but with God’s watering we become settled, softened and ready for growth.  God’s life-giving Word is the water we need to stay soft and profitable for growth.

Check your heart today?  Are there any hard spots that need water?  If so, pray:

 Lord let your life-giving Water rain down on me, settle my furrows, soften my ridges and bless my growth.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.  

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

Leave a comment »