Bible Devotions

Confess with Humility

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Are you able to admit when you are wrong? How about confessing your part in a disagreement? Are you able to come before someone and share your flaws, problems, addictions, hang-ups, or struggles?

If you answered yes, then chances are you are on your way to be humble. If you answered no even to one of these questions you might have to deal with your pride. James 4:8 NIV says “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble. I don’t know about you, but I don’t want God opposing me. I want his grace instead.

No one can be humble when they are full of pride. One must first empty out the pride before humility will shine. How do we empty out the pride?

Start by identifying all the ways pride shows up in your life. This may take some time. You may want to start a journal to keep track of the times you spot it. If you don’t think you have pride, ask God to help you see. Look for situations where your thoughts are constantly about you. Bingo! There’s pride. Watch for times when your feelings are hurt when no recognizes your good deed and log that down too. Yep, more pride. Listen to your words. Are they bragging or boasting about your hard work or your efforts? Now, you’re starting to see pride.

This next step helps you deal with pride appropriately. Once pride is identified, learn to confess it to God through prayer as soon as possible. This will help get rid of pride before it becomes a stronghold. Learning to pray on the spot to confess your pride when it happens also develops a lifestyle of prayer which will draw you closer to God.

The last step in this exercise is talking things over with a trusted Christian friend of the same sex as you. Sometimes lessons aren’t learned completely until they’re shared with another believer who can help you see what you might have missed. Other times the believer is there for moral support. James 5:16 NIV says “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” It’s difficult being completely honest with our self. We need the strength of other believers to encourage onward so we don’t grow weary of doing what it right.

Proverbs 28:13 NIV says “He who conceals his sins does not prosper, but whoever confesses and renounces them finds mercy.” If we want to learn to be humble, we identify pride in our life then confess it to God and others through prayer. Openly facing our flaws and asking for God’s grace is the path towards humility. Of course, none of this is possible with out the power from Jesus Christ in us. Through Him we can do all things.

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

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God’s call for Saul

 

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

 

Read Acts 9.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  Lord thank you for calling us for your purpose.  May we be quick to listen and follow your direction. And when we fail to go your way first, may your grace bring goodness out of it anyway.  In Jesus’ name Amen.    © Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word.  For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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Single-Minded Devotion

 

What do we devote our time and energy to?  Where do our thoughts reside during the day?  Can we say, like David did in Psalm 73:25, “Whom do I have in heaven besides You? And there is none upon the earth that I desire besides You.”?

 

Do we believe God?  Sure, most of us could easily say we believe in God, but that’s different.  Do we believe Him?  Reading a promise of God such as “I will never leave you or forsake you”, what goes through your mind?  Is it nice to know?  Do you think it can’t possible apply to you?  Can you grasp the “never” part?  Never is a mighty long time, yet God tells us He will never leave us.

 

Do we believe Christ died for us?  Certainly there is no doubt He died.  But for us He chose to die, paying our sin debt while we were still His enemies.  Romans 5:6 says “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly.”  Does the knowledge of our pardon from hell cause exceeding joy?  It does when we believe it. 

 

Do we believe Christ rose again to give us life and power through His Holy Spirit?  Our life is hidden in Him in the heavenly places.  Or should we say His life is hidden in us.  Those who believe and accept Christ have been given His Holy Spirit who dwells within us.  Our power and strength come not from our own resources, but from Christ in us.  Philippians 4:13 tells us we can do all things through Christ who strengthens us.

 

In believing God, we take seriously His Word to us.  The Bible is inspired by God and written for our instruction, teaching, correction and training in righteousness (2 Timothy 3:15-17).  Therefore, when it tells us to put on the whole armor of God and stand firm against our enemy, we do so (Ephesians 6:10-20).  Likewise, when it says lay aside all things that hinder our walk, especially sin that so easily entangles us, we do it (Galatians 5:1).  When it teaches us to be renewed in our thinking (Romans 12:2), focus our thoughts on eternal things (2 Corinthians 4:17-18), we train to do just that.  It is in our diligent and relentless pursuit of God, our mind is wholly devoted to Him.

 

Here are a few tips for helping set your mind on Him:

  • Next time you are faced with a decision, ask God for wisdom to make the right choice.
  • When you drive by a car accident, pray for the people involved to be healed and for the rescue workers to have what they need to save them.
  • Waking up in the morning, say “Good Morning, God.  Thank you for that good night’s sleep.”
  • When going to bed at night thank God for keeping you safe all day. 
  • At meals time, say a simple pray of thanks to God for providing the food.

 

These few things, along with Bible Study, church attendance and fellowship can greatly increase your focus on God.  Yet, all of these will be worthless if your attitude about doing them is not right.  We do these things out of love for God and wanting to know Him more.  If you do these because you feel guilty or forced to, don’t do it.  Let the Spirit lead you and stay open to His prompting.

  Lord thank You for Your word.  Teach us more about You.  Draw us closer to You.  Help us focus on 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.

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Let God be Magnified

thinkonit-devotions-they-shall-obtain-joy-and-gladness.jpg Our strength comes from the Lord.  How will others see that?  They will see it by watching how we handle all that comes into our life.

 

As more difficulties, more work, and more demands are brought on us, God is magnified by our perseverance.  Philippians 4:13 says “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”  Our dependence on Him to provide the strength to get through will be evident to all.

 

I have a friend whose life is filled with chaos not of her own making.  You wouldn’t believe all the things this woman has lived through, yet she is the “poster-child” of perseverance and faith.  She has been an inspiration to me.  No matter what happens she faces it like Psalm 70:4 NKJV “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; and let those who love Your salvation say continually, “Let God be magnified”.”

 

When things get tough remember Psalm 71:16 says “I will go in the strength of the Lord God; I will make mention of Your righteousness, of Yours only”.

 

I am tremendously busy at work lately.  Usually I will have a busy day here or there, but since Labor Day my meeting schedule has been booked solid.  I don’t see a slow down until some time in October!  In situations like this, it’s easy to become frazzled or stressed because there’s no marginal time.  However, this is a prime opportunity to depend on God’s strength.  Where God leads, He will provide.  As I turn to Him in this busy season, His Peace is poured out on me.  Others can see how calm I am though there are many demands on me.  When they ask how I do it, there’s my chance to tell them how great God is!

 

You see, when we respond God’s way in all things, we really stand out.  That’s what being a witness for God is about.  You don’t have to shout or force people to see, they can see God’s doing something through our simple obedience to Him.  The result, God’s magnified and we get a chance to share His love with others when they ask.

 Lord, thank you for the opportunities to depend on You for our strength. Thank you for blessing our obedience in unexpected ways.  Let us make a difference for You in how we choose to handle life’s circumstances.  May our choices be honoring to 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.

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