Bible Devotions

Can you praise God when things aren’t going your Way?

Read Psalm 56.

What clues did the psalmist leave us that might help us learn to praise God in the midst of a trial?

Recognize God is still in control.Twenty-three times the psalmist points to God or references Him, in only thirteen verses.  This proves he knew God was in control.  He continued to call out to God through this psalm.

Recognize you are powerless. Humility is critical to getting help.  If you are not humble, you will never ask for help.  Look at verses one and two.  The Psalmist recognizes his weakness.  He knew he was unable to save him self and his enemies were too strong for him.  We should be so wise to see our own limitations.

 Trust God to work it out. Several times the psalmist uses affirming statements of trusting God.  Verses like “I will trust in You”, “In God I have put my trust”, and “This I know because God is for me” demonstrate he knew God’s Word and helped solidify his own faith and trust in God.

Remember the end of the rebellious. “Shall they escape by iniquity?”  God’s Word is clear the rebellious will not see the Kingdom of God.  There’s a place reserved for the wicked, unless they turn from their evil ways.  The psalmist reminds himself though they may say and do many evil things their reward is eternal separation from God.  They will not escape.

 Remember God’s delivered our soul from death. If the wicked are judged how much more sweet is the deliverance of the righteous?  Remembering the Lord has saved you, kept you from falling, and enabled you to live is cause for praise, even in the middle of a trial.

Next time you’re in facing a trial, remember how the psalmist dealt with it.  Know God is in control, you are powerless, trust Him to work it out and remember both the end of your enemy and your eternal salvation.  Then don’t forget to praise God in the middle of it.

Lord, thank you for your word of encouragement.  Help us to turn to you.  Teach us to trust you even in the middle of chaos.  Empower us with your Spirit.  Remind of us our end that we may be confident in your salvation.  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.


Advertisements
1 Comment »

My Way or His?

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.  Do not be wise in your own eyes, fear the Lord and depart from evil.Proverbs 3:5-7

When we are wise in our own eyes and trust in our limited understanding, it is seen as evil in God’s eyes.  Yes, evil.  The Webster’s dictionary defines evil as sinful, wicked, bad character or conduct, causing discomfort, offensive, disagreeable, or causing harm.

When I lean on my own limited understanding, I tend to get frustrated.  I don’t know how it will all turn out.  I don’t know what steps are needed to produce the results God wants.  I may express with my mouth, “Lord help me with this project at work” but after the words are spoken, I lean back on my understanding of the project.  This is prideful. This is sinful. This is evil. The Lord said, “They honor Me with their mouth but their hearts are far from Me.”Oh how painful to realize the reality that I am evil, I am sinful to my core!

But how delightful and joyful to remember God loved me to send Jesus to the cross to pay the wages of sin on my behalf.  Jesus died in my place. He cleared the sinful charges from my record. I am alive because He brought me back from sin and death!

When I catch myself sliding back into my pre-Christ state, I rejoice in recognizing Jesus has done everything needed to allow me to trust in the Lord. This is why we have cause for rejoicing in the Lord always.  As many times as we slip up, Jesus’ death on cross covers it! We are free in Christ.  There is no condemnation in Him.  The price was paid. If I should wallow in my grief over my sinfulness, it is like thinking I have to do something to fix it.  But that’s just it, Jesus already fixed it.  Therefore, to wallow in the disappointment of sin again is a slap across Jesus’ face.  He gave us a precious gift.  We need to embrace it.

Look at this way. If someone gave you a very inexpensive gift, would you rush to the store where it was bought and pay for it again?  Of course not! The gift was paid for already.  It was given to you with no strings attached.  The price of the gift is paid.  You are free to enjoy the gift.

As hard as it is to comprehend God’s goodness, there is one who doesn’t want you to “get it.”  Satan doesn’t want you to enjoy the gift Jesus offers you.  He wants you to believe you can’t be forgiven, you’ll never be clean, and you’re not really “saved” because you keep sinning.  None of those accusations are from God.

God so loved the world He gave His son.  Jesus didn’t come to condemn us but to save what was lost.  Next time you realize you have sinned, praise Jesus you recognize it and thank Him for taking care of it for you.  Rejoice knowing He has done the work to clear your record.  You are free to enjoy His gift of life!

 

O’Precious Jesus, thank you for saving us. Help us to receive the great gift you have given us, in all that entails.  In your name we pray Amen.

 

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity

Are you a small group leader? Check out our resources to help you maintain a healthy & balanced small group at http://thinkonitbibledevotions.com/smallgroups.aspx

Leave a comment »

A Song for Children of Israel

Now therefore, write down this song for yourselves, and teach it to the children of Israel; put it in their mouths, that this song may be a witness for Me against the children of Israel. Deuteronomy 31:19 NKJV

God gave Moses a song to teach the children of Israel so they would be reminded of their depravity and God’s greatness.   Read Deuteronomy 32:1-12 .

It starts by saying heaven and earth shall listen and hear.  It describes this teaching is the nourishment we need to grow.  Next it outlines some of the things that make God great:

  • He is the Rock
  • His work is perfect
  • His ways are justice
  • A God of truth
  • He is righteous and upright

The focus shifts away from God and turns to the people.  What does it say about the people?

  • They corrupted themselves.
  • They are blemished
  • They are perverse and crooked.
  • They are foolish and unwise.

The songs turns back to God, admonishing the people to consider history.  Ask your father and ask your elders what God did in the past.  The rest of the verses up to verse 12 outline all God did for the children of Israel.

  • He found him in a desert land.
  • He encircled him.
  • He instructed him.
  • He kept him as the apple of His eye.
  • The Lord alone led him.

To see the greatness of God, we need to see our own perverseness.  Let’s review a few definitions:

  • Corrupt: to change from good to bad in morals, manners, or actions. Morally degenerate and perverted; Depraved, putrid, tainted, to become rotten or spoiled.
  • Crooked: not straight, dishonest.
  • Perverse: turned away from what is right or good; corrupt.  Obstinate in opposing what is right, reasonable or acceptable; wrongheaded.

Do these definitions help us see our stubbornness toward God?  The preceding verses highlighted God and His abilities.  God’s ways are perfect. He is truth.  He is righteous and upright.  God is all that and more.  Yet, we are obstinate in opposing what is right.  We stubbornly choose to continue in our self-sufficiency, in the strength of our determination or willpower.  A day is coming when we discover we cannot carry on in our power any longer.  We grow weary and burdened from our self-inflicted march leading to hopelessness and despair.

But God is patient.  He waits for us to come to our senses.  He has given us everything we need to live a godly life filled with abundance by His grace.  God uses everything to work out His perfect plan.  Oddly enough our poor decisions play a key role, for some need to live apart from God in order to know more fully the mercy and grace He offers when they are read to receive it.

If you had a deadly but treatable disease, would you not take advantage of medical treatments to cure the disease?

The Bible tells us we all are infected with a deadly disease called sin.  The wages of sin is death.  But the good news is there’s a free cure – Jesus Christ.  For the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus Christ.  For those our sins may be as scarlet, He washes them white as snow.  He removes our sin as far as the East is from the West.  He remembers our sin no more.  Jesus died to pay for our sin, so we wouldn’t have to.  That’s how much He loves us!

How do I receive this cure?

Believe Jesus died for your sins that God raised Him from the dead and confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and you will be saved.

Pray something like….

Dear God, I know now I am a sinner. Jesus died in my place to pay for my sins.  As you raised Him from the dead, raise me to a new life in you.  Jesus is Lord. In His name I pray. Amen.

Believe you have received and you shall have eternal life.  If you prayed that prayer from your heart, welcome to the family of God.  You have just passed from death to life. Congratulations!

Don’t stop there. Continue to read God’s word to learn more about your Savior and His plan for you.

Lord God Almighty, you love us with an everlasting and unchangeable love.  Thank you for your willingness to make a way for us to know you.  Thank you for dying in our place so we could be made alive in you.  Thank you for your teaching to guide in how we should live.  Continue your good work in us until it complete on the day Christ returns.  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.

Leave a comment »

Effort or Revelation?

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law. Deuteronomy 29:29 NKJV

Have you ever been stuck in needing to know something?  There’s a situation happening in your life and you have this unrelenting need to know why it’s happening.  Ever been there?

The children of Israel had that problem too.  Moses gave them some good advice.  “The secret things belong to the Lord our God…” He suggests that the unknown or secret things belong to God and are not for us to know, so move on.

Moses continues saying, “but those things which are revealed belong to us…” In effect he is admonishing the children of Israel to leave the unknown to God and focus on what has been revealed to us.  That’s great advice.  Focusing on the uncertain only creates worry and anxiety.  However, focus on what is known is more tangible, concrete, stable and comforting. This verse is reassuring for a number of reasons.

First is suggests God is the one in control.  He decides what we need to know giving our current situation, state of maturity and belief in Him.  He gives us exactly what we need in that moment, no more and no less.  Second our knowledge doesn’t come from the effort, strain or desire we place in studying God’s Word.  It is good to study God’s Word, but we must recognize our dependence on God to reveal His Truth to us.  The third reason this verse is reassuring is because what is revealed belongs to us forever.  God’s wisdom is not granted temporarily.  It is given forever.  The truth He reveals cannot be taken away.  Oh, we may forget it sometimes but God even ensures against that by giving us His Holy Spirit.  The Holy Spirit’s job is to bring to remembrance all God has shown us.  How fabulous is that?

Some folks think studying God’s Word is like mining for gold.  It takes a lot of hard work to uncover a single nugget of truth.  But those who think that are relying on their own effort to understand.  Yes, there is effort involved in studying God’s Word, but God is the one revealing His truth at the appropriate time.  Have you ever read a passage of scripture and found more meaning in it than the first time you read it?  The first time you might get some understanding, but some time later you read the same verse and this time it has a fuller meaning.   That’s God showing you a little more.  There is the element of obedience required, where we continue to read and study God’s Word.  The payoff happens when God decides to unlock His Words when you’re ready for the truth.  It’s a beautiful thing when that starts happening.

Why does God reveal anything to us in the first place?  The answer is wrapped up in the last part of today’s verse: “that we may do all the words of this law.”  God wants us to succeed. He wants His children to prosper. Following God’s plan is the only way.  When He reveals Himself to us, we are more likely to trust and follow Him.  It’s a process that will last our entire life.  He reveals a little more each day.  We learn to trust Him more with each circumstance.  Therefore, we are more inclined to trust Him with the next situation that arises.

God is in control.  Our effort doesn’t increase our knowledge because God reveals truth in His timing.  His Holy Spirit helps us not forget the truth He reveals, so we may have it forever.  Is God great or what?

Thank you, God, for revealing what we need to know when we need it.  We trust you to provide exactly the truth needed for every situation.  We come to you in complete dependence on 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.

Leave a comment »

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.

3 Comments »

Sin Has Consequence

And the LORD said, “Because the outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is great, and because their sin is very grave, I will go down now and see whether they have done altogether according to the outcry against it that has come to Me; and if not, I will know.” Genesis 18:20-21 NKJV

You have probably heard the “Miranda Rights” read to someone being arrested on a TV show before. It goes something like “every word you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.” Well, everything we think, do and say will be used to determine our destiny.

Every decision we make to sin or not is known by God. Everything we do is witnessed by Him. There is nothing that will not be exposed. God is the Great Judge. He is just and fair. His rulings are right and true. He doesn’t make hasty decisions. Instead He investigates, verifies and gives the benefit of doubt to the accused.

If you read Genesis 18:22-33 you will see God is fair. Abraham pleaded with God for the sake of the righteous. God said He would spare the city if even ten righteous people were in it. But there were no righteous people and so God judged Sodom and Gomorrah. The cities were destroyed.

The people of Sodom and Gomorrah chose to sin. Their sin was very grave. It was so bad that an outcry was heard by God. Therefore, God had a choice to make: let the people continue doing wicked, evil, detestable things or take care of the problem so as not to spread wickedness to others.

They have all turned aside, they have together become corrupt; There is none who does good, no, not one. Psalm 14:3 NKJV

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. Romans 3:23 NKJV

Sin is always dealt with. Romans 6:23 NKJV says “For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The end of sin is death. Therefore, to continue to sin is to knowingly accept the fact one day we will die to pay the penalty of that sin. But did you also notice the later half of Romans 6:23 says “the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord?”

It’s our choice to either follow God and live or follow sin and die. God will honor our choice. But we must make sure we are willing to accept the consequence of our choice.

Almighty God, thank you Lord Jesus for dying in our place to pay our sin debt. May we always remember the choice is ours to accept your gift and live or turn our backs on you and die. Give us a desire for your way. 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.

2 Comments »

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.

Leave a comment »

In Your Anger Do Not Sin

But Paul, greatly annoyed, turned and said to the spirit, “I command you in the name of Jesus Christ to come out of her.” Acts 16:18 NKJV

 

There are two things I’d like to point out from this verse.  One Paul is human just like us and he knew who the authority was.

 

(1)    Seeing Paul annoyed really comforts me, as I become annoyed a lot.  But Paul, when annoyed, responded with Christ rather than criticism.  That makes him a great example for us.   Paul lived what he preached.  He wrote “in your angry do not sin” (Ephesians 4:26).  We see in today’s verse, Paul didn’t let his annoyance become sin.  He chose the high way instead of the human way.   He turned the matter over to Jesus.  And Jesus took care of the problem.

(2)    Paul knew in himself he had no power.  Christ has all the power and authority.  Jesus said to us “If you ask anything in My name, I will do it” (John 14:14).  Paul took Jesus at His word and was able to do some extraordinary things.

 

We can too.  In the moment when we are annoyed, angry, hurt, lonely, grieving or in any other unpleasant state of mind, we can choose to trust Jesus.  We can pray, as Paul did, “I command you _____________ (fill in the blank with your emotion or negative thought) in the name of Jesus Christ to leave me this minute.” Watch and see how the Lord helps you in with that struggle.  It worked for Paul.  It works for me.  It will work for you too.

 

Lord thank you for your word that brings us to your truth each time we read it.  Thank you for your power and authority over all things, even our emotions.  Help us to trust you in our weakness moments.  For you are our strength.  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 devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

2 Comments »

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.

2 Comments »

Now I know for Certain

 And when Peter had come to himself, he said, “Now I know for certain that the Lord has sent His angel, and has delivered me from the hand of Herod and from all the expectation of the Jewish people.” Acts 12:11 NKJV 

God knows exactly what each of us needs to truly believe.  In Peter’s case, he was able to walk with Jesus Christ for 3 years and was given the power to heal people (Acts 9:33-35) and raise them from the dead (Acts 9:36-41).  He also received a vision regarding the definition of clean food to relieve his fears of associating with Gentiles and he was miraculously delivered from prison (Acts 12).  All these things lead Peter to conclude: “Now I know for certain”. 

 

It was the same for me.  The Lord forgave me of great sin, removed my bitter/resentful/angry heart and replaced it with a tender heart of love.  He answered even my smallest prayers.   He renewed my marriage and blessed us with a second son.  He has blessed me with many godly encouragers in my life and this writing ministry.  He speaks to me through His Word, by impressions and through repeated confirmations.  All these things have led me to say, like Peter, “Now I know for certain” the Lord is true, just and right and all He allows is used for His glory, even the bad things. 

 

What do you need in order to believe in Jesus? 

 

God already knows and is working on revealing it to you in His perfect timing.  If you struggle with some unanswered questions, ask God to help you trust Him.  The answer will come at just the right time.  Then you will be able to say “Now I know for certain”.

 Lord, bless those who are struggling today with answers to their prayers.  Continue your good work in them.  Draw them to a deeper understanding of you, so they may say “Now I know for certain”.  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.

1 Comment »