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.


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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

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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.

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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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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.

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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.

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Man’s Help is Useless

sunset.jpgGive us help from trouble, for the help of man is useless.  Psalm 60:11 NKJV 

When you find yourself in trouble where do you turn for help?  Some might say to them self “I just need to pick myself up and try harder”.  Others might pick up the phone to call a trusted friend to talk it over.  Still others might turn to a spouse or a parent. 

 

All of these methods are useless – unless your first stop is God.  Our Lord Jesus Christ is the only One who can truly help no matter what the situation.  He knows everything past, present and future.  Don’t you think He would give you sound advice?  Ask Him for help before you run to a person for advice. 

 

Now, God may end up using a people to help you, but we must remember where the help really comes from – God.   You might consider praying something like this before you seek human wisdom: 

 Lord, your ways and thoughts are higher than mine.  You know what’s in store for me.  Please grant me wisdom in my inmost being that I may know the way to go.  In Jesus’ name I ask these things. Amen. 

The Bible teaches all who seek Him will find Him (Proverbs 8:17) and all who ask for wisdom will be given it (James 1:5).  It may take some time conditioning your self to call on the Lord first, but it is well worth the effort.  For God is a Rewarder of those who seek His face (Hebrews 11:6).

Lord, thank you for your word and your Holy Spirit to lead us into your Truth.  Enable us to turn to you first each time we need help.  Let us remember you are our only hope.  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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Rest for Our Souls

“In returning and rest you shall be saved; In quietness and confidence shall be your strength.”  Isaiah 30:15 NKJV

 

How are we saved?  Returning to the Lord and resting in what Jesus has done for us is the only way we are saved.  First we need to recognize we are sinners and need a savior.  Second we need to turn to the Lord for forgiveness.  Third we need to trust Him to save us.   

 

Isn’t it beautiful how the Lord says in rest you shall be saved?  That means there’s no striving, no earning, no pleading, no bargaining, just rest.  We are to leave the saving up to Him.  He has done it all.  We are to come to Him and rest in His finished work on the cross. 

 

Look at the second part of the verse: in quietness and confidence shall be your strength.  The only way to hear the Lord is to be quiet and listen.  Do you have time where you just sit and listen for the Lord?  If not, why? 

 

The more we listen to the Lord, doing what He says, the more our confidence grows because we know He always means what He says.  We become doers of the Word and our trust in Him grows.  In turn our confidence is built up in Him.   Then nothing can shake our faith because we are not dependant on our self but rather on Him. 

 

Take time today to ponder this verse.  Read it many times.  Ask the Lord to show you what He’s trying to say and what this verse should mean to you. 

 Lord, thank you for your work on our behalf.  Thank you for saving us and giving us confidence in your finished work.  Enable us to return to you daily, being quiet to hear you when we pray.  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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