Bible Devotions

Pure in Heart

Read Psalm 73

Truly God is good to Israel, to such as are pure in heart.  But for me, my feet had almost stumbled; my steps had nearly slipped.  For I was envious of the boastful, when I saw the prosperity of the wicked. (Psalm 73:1-3)

The pure at heart will see God (Matthew 5:8).  Does this mean physically see God, as we see another person? No, I don’t think so.  Instead it’s about having spiritual eyes to see God in the middle of everything.  It’s a spiritual discernment that comes upon the child of God who is pure at heart.

This spiritual discernment helps us keep our eyes on what’s most important and not be caught up in the temporary things of every day life.  After Jesus died and rose again, He had a conversation with Peter.  During this talk Peter asked “What about him?” referring to John.  Jesus said “If I will that he remain till I come, what is that to you?  You follow Me.”  Jesus is showing Peter the importance of focusing on Him alone.  A lesson we could all use.

Apostle Paul wrote much about focusing our minds on Christ.  Think on these things… Philippians 4:-7-8.  Keep our eyes on the eternal, not the temporary… 2 Corinthians 4:17-18.  Renew our minds…Romans 12:2.

Does being pure at heart mean we are to be sinless?  Absolutely not, for no man or woman could ever be sinless this side of heaven (Romans 3:23).  Just look at David’s example.  He was called a man after God’s own heart, yet he was an adulterer and a murderer.  How could he be a man after God’s own heart?  It’s because when he fouled up, he always returned to the Lord.  Yes, he sinned – we all do.  David turned from his sin and turned back to God.  In turning, he received God’s mercy and so can we.

Envy distracts us and takes our eyes off Jesus.  Just as David experienced we will also stumble, slip, and fall if we start looking at anything or anyone other than God.   Don’t worry about what others are doing and saying. Live your life for an audience of One. Live for God’s approval then you will win favor of not only God but man.

What did we learn today?  We learned being pure at heart gives us spiritual discernment to keep our eyes laser focused on God no matter what.  Envy is a sure sign we’ve gotten our eyes off the Lord.

Lord thank you for your constant leading us back on track with you.  Thank you for your precious Word of Truth.  May we apply what we’ve learned in our lives today.  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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Doing Our Part

 As they ministered to the Lord and fasted, the Holy Spirit said, “Now separate to Me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them.” Acts 13:2 NKJV  

Obedience to the Lord

Did you happen to notice the first part of this verse?  It was “as they ministered” which means they did stuff for the Lord.  The point is action.  There must be a “doing” to our obedience to the Lord.  James 1:22 says we must be “doers of the word and not hearers only, deceiving ourselves.”    Even Jesus was obedient to the Father.  John 6:38 says “For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent Me.”   So laying aside our will and choosing to follow God’s will demonstrate our obedience to Him.  But did you know this is not something we can do on our own?

 

Receiving the Holy Spirit

Jesus taught us everything of our sinful nature is worthless in John 6:63: “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life.”  Where does the Holy Spirit come from?  He is sent to us from Christ Himself (John 16:7).  John 15:26 says “But when the Helper comes, whom I shall send to you from the Father, the Spirit of truth who proceeds from the Father, He will testify of Me.”  How do we receive the Holy Spirit? Ephesians 1:13-14 says “In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.” In other words, once you believe in Jesus Christ as your Savior, the Holy Spirit is given to you as a guarantee that you are saved. 

 Understanding God’s gift

First Corinthians 2:13-14 says “These things we also speak, not in words which man’s wisdom teaches but which the Holy Spirit teaches, comparing spiritual things with spiritual. But the natural man does not receive the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; nor can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.”  The Holy Spirit is our teacher, guiding us in all truth.  Without Him we wouldn’t understand spiritual things.  He opens our eyes and makes us realize the sin in our life, so we can fully embrace the grace given to us.  Romans 8:16 says “The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God.” Romans 5:5 says “Now hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us.” Romans 8:2 says “For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” First Corinthians 2:12 says “Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might know the things that have been freely given to us by God.”  All this a great news, for now we know we are able to understand the glorious riches stored up for us in Christ Jesus. 

 

Empowering our Witness

Knowing all the depth of God’s love isn’t just for our benefit.  No, it’s more about sealing our understanding and compelling us to share His glorious plan with others.  One of the things I love about God is how He equips those He calls.  Let’s review some verses about that.  Acts 1:8 says “But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”  See He’s giving us the power to be His witness.  Romans 8:26-27 says “Likewise the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes intercession for us with groaning which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”  Even when we don’t know how to pray, He helps us through His Spirit interceding for us.   How does this empowering happen?  Romans 12:1-2 give us a clue.  It says “I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. 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.”  By offering our lives as living sacrifices, allowing God’s Word to change the way we think, we prove God’s will is perfect, acceptable and good.   Romans 8:5 says “For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit.” As we learn to walk by the Spirit rather than by our natural self, we become God’s witness to the world. 

 

What do you think?  Are you ready to do what God has already shown you?  Do you understand His precious gift better?  Is the Holy Spirit compelling you to share His message with others?

 

If you answer no to any of these questions, ask God to help you see things from His perspective.  Continue reading God’s Word and the truth will be revealed as His Spirit teaches you. 

 Lord thank you for your word and your Holy Spirit.  Lead us on the pathways of life and enable us to witness to the world through an obedient life in Christ.  In Jesus’ precious 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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Parallels

parallel-roads-along-residential-area-ph121_017.jpg  Two roads before us.  

The Bible tells us everything exists for God to bring glory to Him.  Genesis 1:31 NKJV says “Then God saw everything that He had made, and indeed it was very good.”  All creation speaks of God and points back to Him.  Everything we see physically has an underlying purpose to guide people back to God. 

There are two vital principles to both the physical and the spiritual life.  Both sustaining and learning efforts must be present for an enjoyable, satisfying life to exist, whether physical or spiritual. 

For example, we must sustain our self physically with food, water and sleep, else we perish.  What happens when we don’t eat?  We get hungry, weak, and vulnerable to attack, as well as we might get sick and/or die.  Well, the same thing happens in our spiritual life when we don’t take in God’s Word.

How do we know we have a spiritual self?  When we become Christians by trusting Jesus Christ to save us, we are born again with a new spiritual dimension.  The old is gone and new has come, we are new creations in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17).

 Just as the physical body needs food, water, and sleep to survive, the spiritual body requires the same elements.  Food is Jesus Christ who is the bread of life (John 6:35).  God’s Word tells us about Jesus.  Luke 4:4 NKJV says “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word of God.”  Jesus Christ in Holy Spirit form is the living water springing up within us to everlasting life (John 7:10 and John 7:38).  Sleep or rather rest comes when we keep our mind steadfast on God because we trust Him (Isaiah 26:3 and Philippians 4:8-9).  

We also need to keep learning else we injure our self and others and/or perish.  Just like a young child must learn not to touch a boiling pot on the stove, else they get burned, we as children of God must learn not to touch or become involved with anything that would cause us or others to sin.   We also have to learn to walk by the Spirit.  We learn to speak the truth in love, just as we learn to love others as our self.  

How do we learn?  The same way we do physically.  In school we learn from our teacher.  In Spirit, we learn from the Holy Spirit as well as from Bible teachers and pastors.  We have role models to follow (apostles and saints from the Bible).  In school we might have a study group, and in Spirit we learn from other believers through fellowship.   

Both our physical and spiritual life depend on effort on our part to sustain and continue learning.   Are you neglecting your spiritual life?  There are grave consequences in doing so.  May this short devotion be just what you need to spark a renewed effort to sustaining and learning in your spiritual life.    

Lord help us have spiritual eyes to see You in everything.  May the world around us always keep pointing us back to You.  Help us continue to sustain our relationship with You.  Let us not grow weary in doing what You’ve called us to do.  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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