Bible Devotions

Identifying Your Spiritual Gifts

The best place to start in understanding spiritual gifts is the Bible.  Find out what it says about spiritual gifts.  Here are few verses to read and consider:

Romans 12:3 – 8

1 Corinthians 12:1 -11, 27 – 31

Ephesians 4:11 – 12

1 Peter 4:9 – 11

Read the above verses, prayerfully.  Ask the Lord which of these gifts He has given you.

To help you document your gifts, most churches have an assessment sheet.  Saddleback Church as a one called S.H.A.P.E.  It stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience.  Assessing each area prayerfully, while writing down what you know about each area can help you understand what gifts you have. 

 Spiritual Gifts

Think about what other people have said you are good at.  Write those things down.

 Heart

What motivates you or really gets your passions flowing?  What do you love doing? Write it down.

 Abilities

List your current abilities.  Are you creative?  Are you organized?  Can you balance a checkbook?  Name everything you can think of.

 Personality

What kind of personality do you have?  Are you introverted or extroverted? Do you like routine or variety? Are you self-controlled or self-expressive? Are you cooperative or competitive?

 

Experience

What have you lived though?  What trials or obstacles have you overcome?  Don’t forget your work and educational experience too. 

 

With all these items written before you, prayerfully consider how God might want you to use these gifts to build His kingdom and equip the believers for ministry.  God will bless you as you live your life exercising your spiritual gifts for God’s glory.  Life will be exciting.  You will be energized.  As you refresher others, you in turn will be refreshed.  It’s God’s way. 

 

How about it?  Have you discovered your spiritual gifts?  Are you using them for God?  If not, why? 

 Lord, thank you for your variety of spiritual gifts and the knowledge you provide exactly the right gifts for each believer to prepare them for your call in their life.  Thank you for your equipping.  Enable each of us to be a doer of the word, seeking first your kingdom that you may have all the glory.  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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Blessed by Doing

 

Are you a forgetful hearer?  You listen to God’s Word at church on Sunday, but come Monday you are living your life as you choose with no regard to what you heard on Sunday? 

 

The Bible tells us those who hear only actually deceive themselves.  James 1:22 NKJV says “But be doers of the word, and not just hearers only, deceiving yourselves.”  So how does one become a doer of the word? 

 

James 1:25 NKJV gives us some clues: “But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”    James continues to say we need to bridle our tongue, care for orphans and widows in their trouble and keep our self uncorrupted by the world.

 

Jesus teaches us by carrying out God’s commands we become like a wise man. Matthew 7:24 NKJV says “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  Jesus continued to say though rain, floods and wind came against the house, it stood because it was founded upon the rock.  The same is true for us, when we trust in Christ we become founded upon the rock.  Nothing can move us. 

 

Jesus also taught us about servants and masters in John 13:1-17, when he washed the disciple’s feet.  A servant is not above the master.  We are servants to God, which means our own will is NOT above God’s.  Likewise, the one sent is not greater than the one doing the sending.  We are sent by God to carrying out His good purposes in this life.  We are NOT greater than God who’s sending us.  Jesus capped off this teaching saying “If you know these things blessed are you if you do them.” 

 

Look at what James 1:12 NKJV says “Blessed is the man who endures temptation; for when he has been approved he will receive the crown of life which the Lord promised to those who love Him.”

 

So fellow believer, let us endure temptations and follow Christ’s example.  Let us be doers of the word that we may be called wise and not deceive our self.  For Jesus said in Matthew 7:21 NKJV “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your cleansing, healing, righteousness word.  Thank you for your Spirit enabling us to walk in your word and become doers of the word.  Help us continue in your way all the days of life that we may be lights to the world for you. 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.


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Lazy or Wise?

But we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you withdraw from every brother who walks disorderly and not according to the tradition which he received from us. For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us. 2 Thessalonians 3:6-9 NKJV

Paul was not a burden to anyone. Neither should we be.  Everyone must work, just as Paul worked.  We are responsible for ourselves.  It’s nobody else’s job. There’s plenty of NKJV scripture addressing laziness.

Proverbs 14:23 In all labor there is profit, but idle chatter leads only to poverty.

Proverbs 19:15 Laziness casts one into a deep sleep, and an idle person will suffer hunger.

Proverbs 13:4The soul of a lazy man desires, and has nothing; but the soul of the diligent shall be made rich.

Proverbs 15:19The way of the lazy man is like a hedge of thorns, but the way of the upright is a highway.

We can also apply these scriptures to our spiritual walk.  If we become lazy in our relationship with Christ or rely on other’s to feed us spiritual food, we run the risk of spiritual poverty and hunger.   We must be diligent in our own study of God’s Word.

 

As mentioned earlier we each are responsible for ourselves. This applies to our spiritual welfare as well.  What does scripture say about being wise?  It says scripture makes simple folks wise and tells us how to be wise if we listen to it.  Look at the next two NKJV scriptures:

Psalm 19:7The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul; The testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;

Proverbs 8:33 Hear instruction and be wise, and do not disdain it.

How are you doing with your walk?  Are you relying on someone to feed you spiritual food?  Are you diligent in your quiet times and studying God’s Word? If not, why? What’s stopping you?

 

Lord, thank you for making us wise through your perfect Word.  Help us to avoid being lazy in any capacity.  Enable us to hear your instruction and be wise.  Amen.

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public CharityEquipping you with Words of Wisdom


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Wisdom and Obedience

 A wise man hears and increases learning. Proverbs 1:5 NKJV 

What do you think of when you say the word wisdom?  Does good judgment come to mind?  What about obedience?  That’s right obedience.  Ever consider how obedience and wisdom go hand and hand?   Let’s review Proverbs 1 and 2 and conclude with first two verses of Proverbs 3.  Get out your bible and read along with me.   

Where does wisdom come from? 

According to Proverbs 2:6 it comes from God:  For the Lord gives wisdom, from His mouth come knowledge and understanding.  Therefore, with our hearts open to God, we ask Him for wisdom.  James 1:5 NKJV says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”

How does wisdom work?

Look at Proverbs 2:7-9 and see what the Lord does for those who seek Him, cry out for discernment, apply their heart to understanding and incline their ear to wisdom:

  • He stores up wisdom for us

  • He is our shield

  • He guards the paths of justice

  • He preserves the way of His saints

 The benefit of wisdom entering our heart is knowledge pleasant to our soul. Discretion preserves us, understanding will keep us, to deliver us away from evil (Proverbs 2:10-12). 

Wisdom tied to Obedience?

Jesus told us to be wise as serpents and harmless as doves in Matthew 10:16.  James calls us to be doers of the word (James 1:22).  Jesus said in Matthew 7:24 “Therefore whoever hears these sayings of Mine, and does them, I will liken him to a wise man who built his house on the rock.”  But this not just a New Testament teaching, no this goes back to the Old Testament as well.  Jeremiah 23:22 says “But if they had stood in My counsel, and had caused My people to hear My words, then they would have turned them from their evil way and from the evil of their doings.”   

 

Wisdom comes when we hear God’s Word and apply His truth in our life.  When we actually do what we hear, wisdom is the result.  That wisdom guards our life by the power and grace that comes from God alone. 

 

 

Got Wisdom?

My son, do not forget my law, but let your heart keep my commands; for length of days and long life and peace they will added to you. Proverbs 3:1-2 NKJV. 

 Lord Jesus, may our hearts be open to Your precious wisdom giving Word.  Enable us to not only hear but do what You have told us.  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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Worth It

overlooking-rio.jpg 

Have you ever wondered if giving your life to Christ was really worth it?  King David did.  Let’s review what he penned in Psalm 73:10-17 NKJV.

 

10 Therefore his people return here,
         And waters of a full cup are drained by them.
 11 And they say, “How does God know?
         And is there knowledge in the Most High?”
 12 Behold, these are the ungodly,
         Who are always at ease;
         They increase in riches.
 13 Surely I have cleansed my heart in vain,
         And washed my hands in innocence.
 14 For all day long I have been plagued,
         And chastened every morning.
         
 15 If I had said, “I will speak thus,”
         Behold, I would have been untrue to the generation of Your children.
 16 When I thought how to understand this,
         It was too painful for me—
 17 Until I went into the sanctuary of God;
         Then I understood their end.

 

David was focusing on the prosperity of the ungodly.  They seem to have it all while denying God.  “How can this be?” thought David.  He starts thinking all is in vain because of the difficulties he’s having.  Have you ever thought this way?  When we allow our minds to go to this place, it will lead us down a path we don’t want to go.  Thankfully David doesn’t stay in the self-pity mode but goes to God for clarity. 

 

Keep in mind the things shared today aren’t the only things God might want to say in this section of scripture, but these are just a few things worth pointing out.

 

First, doubt is the tool of our enemy.  When we doubt, let it be an alert warning us our focus on the Lord is slipping.  Doubt creeps in when we start comparing our self to others.

 

Second, depending on our own understanding will lead to disappointment and frustration.  Don’t rack your brain trying to understand how people could do what they do.  Proverbs 3:5-6 says “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.”

 

Third, recognizing the bigger picture can soften our heart for others and help us realize the precious gift of life given to us.  Those who choose not to accept Christ will be eternally separated from God, who loves them and doesn’t want a single one to perish.  Perhaps for the ungodly this life is as close to heaven as they will ever get and that’s why God is seemingly lenient on them.  Maybe this will encourage us to pray for them, for God to open their eyes while there’s still time. 

 

To recap, giving our life to Christ is definitely worth it.  Yes, there are seasons of difficulties as God chastens those He loves, but in the end we are heaven bound.  Yes, sometimes it is hard to understand why things happen as they do, but we can fully trust God has it under His control.  Accepting this in faith releases us to carry out what God calls us to do.  Maybe that’s praying for the unsaved around us.

 Lord thank you for your wisdom and clarity in your word. Help us keep our eyes on you, rather than others around us.  Enable us to lean on you rather than our own understanding.  May we trust in you and carry out your purposes.  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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Another Chance to Witness

thinkonit-devotions-fear-thou-not.jpg Read Acts 4:5-13

 

Peter and John were imprisoned for telling people about Jesus’ resurrection from death and for healing a lame man.  After being in jail over night, they are brought out before the rulers, elders, scribes, the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander and everyone else from the high priest’s family.  Can you imagine this company Peter and John were surrounded by?   These were the religious elite; men of power and influence to be revered.  If you had to stand before them, wouldn’t they make your knees knock?  They were probably pretty intimidating.

 

Notice Peter’s response when asked by them in what name have you done this by?  

The Bible does not say if Peter was afraid, trembling with fear, or even worried about the situation, and I don’t think he was because his mind was on Christ.  In verses 8-12 it says Peter was filled with the Holy Spirit so the words which proceeded out of his mouth were focused on the issue at hand: He was being judged for doing something good.  He healed a man by Jesus’ name and now he stands on trial.  Peter laid everything on the table: (I’m paraphrasing) Look, you want to know who’s name we did this, I’ll tell you.  Let it be known to you all by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but God raised from the dead, by Him was this man who stands before you made whole again.  The stone rejected by you the builders has become the chief cornerstone.  In no other name is there salvation.

 

The religious leaders were amazed at Peter and John’s boldness.  They were used to making people quake at their commands.  But here’s Peter and John not moving a muscle, not the least bit scare of them, and instead they were bold.  It didn’t make sense.  They marveled when they noticed these men were uneducated, untrained and had been Jesus Christ. 

 

What made them realize Peter and John had been with Jesus?  Could it have been the calm way they responded to the charges against them?  Could it have been the way Peter pointed out the leader’s sin and brought it back to Jesus being the only way to salvation?  Could it have been the fact Peter healed a man like Jesus had done? Can others see you have been with Jesus?

 

There are two great take-aways from this section of scripture. 

 1. Keep our eyes on Jesus

Isaiah 26:3 NKJV “You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You.”  No matter what’s going on around us, when we keep our mind on Him, He will keep us in perfect peace.   Living our life for an audience of One, is certainly easier than worrying about what others think of us. 

 2. Follow the leading of Holy Spirit. 

Don’t fret over what you should do or say.  Listen to what Mark 13:11 NKJV says: “But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit.”  God will give us the right words at the right time. 

 

How are you doing?  Where’s your focus today?  Is it on your problems and circumstance or is it on Jesus?  Are you listening to the Spirit’s leading or following your own agenda?  We are wise in doing these two things then others will be able to say you’ve been with Jesus. 

 Lord, thank You for keeping us in perfect peace in our messy circumstances when we keep our mind on You.  Enable us to follow Your leading and speak what You tell us.  May the world see we have been 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.

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Psalm 63 ~ O God, You are my God

sunset.jpgAny time some one declares “You are my God” to the One True God, there will be evidence of that declaration in their life.  Looking at Psalm 63, we see the pattern.   

1 O God, You are my God;
         Early will I seek You;
         My soul thirsts for You;
         My flesh longs for You
         In a dry and thirsty land
         Where there is no water.
 2 So I have looked for You in the sanctuary,
         To see Your power and Your glory.

 

King David knew who his God was.  He openly declared it.  Because of this proclamation you see David doing several things.  He seeks, thirsts, longs for, and looks for God.  So will we when we choose God.  Why is that?  Look at the next three verses.

 

3 Because Your lovingkindness is better than life,
         My lips shall praise You.
 4 Thus I will bless You while I live;
         I will lift up my hands in Your name.
 5 My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness,
         And my mouth shall praise You with joyful lips.

 

David knows God’s lovingkindness is better than life itself.  The result of knowing this lovingkindness is praise.  He praises, blesses and lifts his hands to God alone.  The result of praise and worship of God is a satisfied soul.  How about you?  Doesn’t your soul feel satisfied when we worship our God?

 6 When I remember You on my bed,
         I meditate on You in the night watches.
 7 Because You have been my help,
         Therefore in the shadow of Your wings I will rejoice.
 8 My soul follows close behind You;
         Your right hand upholds me.

 

David knows this relationship with God takes effort.  That’s why we see him remembering and meditating on God and His help.  Choosing to remember all the times God has helped us out of a difficult spot, or healed us, and saved us from our sin, and given us life, will cause us to rejoice and cling to Him.  The result is a confidence that comes from God’s right hand as He upholds us.

 

9 But those who seek my life, to destroy it,
         Shall go into the lower parts of the earth.
 10 They shall fall by the sword;
         They shall be a portion for jackals.
         
 11 But the king shall rejoice in God;
         Everyone who swears by Him shall glory;
         But the mouth of those who speak lies shall be stopped.

 

Throughout David’s life when his enemies sought to destroy him, he remembered they will get what’s coming to them.  He left vengeance in God’s hands and turned to God rejoicing.  This is a good pattern for us to follow as well.  Every person is accountable to God, therefore, we can let God handle them and choose to rejoice in God instead.

 

So you see, every one who has put their trust in God will have signs of this decision in their life.  They will be constantly seeking God, remembering God’s help and turning things over to Him.  They will be confident in God’s salvation.  This confidence will shine like the stars in the galaxy, pointing others towards God.

 Lord thank you for your Word.  May we declare you are our God.  May our life show signs of this declaration.  May we seek, thirst, long and look for You always.  May we remember all You have done for us and rejoice.  Help us to turn everything over to You, for You alone are God.  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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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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