Bible Devotions

Proclaim the Good News

Sing to the LORD, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Psalm 96:2 NKJV 

What is the Good News?

God loves you and wants you to be with Him forever in heaven.  But because we have a sinful nature our relationship with God has been broken.  God loved us so much, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to mend our relationship with God.  Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin (John 3:16).  We are no longer under judgment for our sins.  We are pardoned.  We are forgiven.  We are set free from bondage of sin.  We call this Salvation (Romans 6:23).  That’s only part of the good news.  There’s more! Jesus’ resurrection from the dead gives those who believe in Him a new life.  It’s a second chance to do life right.  He came to give us life and that more abundantly (John 10:10). 

 

How do we proclaim it?

We start by reading God’s Word to obtain a firm understanding of what God’s done for us.  The more God’s Word is allowed in our heart, the more we become like Him.  Our life, the choices we make, and the things we think about and the words we say become godly.  Morphing into the person God created us to be, we become lights to other around us.  Obeying God’s Word and living it out means we’ll use our gifts, talents, and abilities for God’s glory.  We’ll begin serving God by what we do and the attitudes behind why we do it.  The result is serving others as we learn to walk by the spirit rather than satisfying our own selfish desires (Romans 8:4).   We do these things moment by moment and day by day.

 

Who do we proclaim it to?

We proclaim the good news to anyone who asks about the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).  As we go about our business we have an eye on the look out for anyone downtrodden, hopeless and hurting.  We take special care for the widows and orphans and poor among us (James 1:27).  We come along side them, serving and helping where we can, waiting for an opportunity to share God’s love and salvation story. 

 

 Where do we proclaim it?

Anywhere we are we proclaim the good news.  We share at work as we conduct business, or at home while having dinner with our family.  It could be at school in between classes or on the soccer field while we’re playing.  We can proclaim the good news any time and any where.  Remember we live in a free country.  We are not persecuted for our faith, as in some countries.  So what’s holding us back?  People are dying for good news.  We have it, so let’s start sharing it.

 

Why do we proclaim it?

God does not want a single one to perish but all to come to Him for salvation (2 Peter 3:9).  He wants people to come to faith and trust in Jesus Christ so they will be saved.  We share the good news out of love for God and love of others.  We share out of respect for God and obedience to His commands.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 “Go make disciples of all the nations”.   We proclaim the good news to praise God for all He’s done.  In doing so we strengthen our own convictions and help other’s faith and trust grow in God’s plan. 

 

In summary the good news is forgiveness of sin, eternal life in Christ, and a new life now.  We share the good news through obedience to God’s Word and coming along side the hurting, serving and helping them.  We proclaim the good news where ever we may be all for the glory of God. 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for saving us.  Thank you for your Word to us.  Give us the wisdom, discernment and courage to share your good news with the world around us.  May we be obedient to your Word shining your love on those around us all for your 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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Has Anything Come Between You and Your Family?

However, Jesus did not permit him, but said to him, “Go home to your friends, and tell them what great things the Lord has done for you, and how He has had compassion on you.” Mark 5:19 NKJV 

Ever feel like shouting how great the Lord is for His mercy towards you?   

I’m sure this man from Mark 5 felt the way the psalmist did when he penned “Praise the LORD! Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever” Psalm 106:1 NKJV.  

This man was trapped by demon possession and finally set free by Jesus Himself.   As Jesus was leaving the area, the man begged to be with Him, but Jesus did not permit him.  Instead of allowing the man to come with Jesus away from his place of torment, Jesus commanded him to go home.   

Think about this for a moment, if you will.  This man’s family hadn’t seen him in awhile.  The Bible doesn’t tell us how long the man was held captive by the demons, but we can assume he wasn’t able to stay in close fellowship with his family during his captivity.   Maybe his friends had written him off as a lost cause.  Maybe his family gave up hope that he would be restored.  We don’t know for sure.   

To me this verse tells of Jesus’ love for family and friends.  He wants them to be restored as a family again.   He wants the man to share what the Lord has done for him with his own family and friends.  At home, the man would witness to his family and friends.   

How about you?  Has anything come between you and your family-friends?  Isn’t is time you head home and share the wonderful things the Lord has done for you?  

Lord, your mercies endure forever.  All praise and honor belong to you!  Thank you for setting us captives free!  Thank you for sending us home to share what great things you have done for us.  Your compassion never ends!  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. Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.


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If I bear witness of Myself, My witness is not true

Read John 5:31-40.

In Biblical times, it was custom to have two or three witnesses to establish the truth.  Well, Jesus gave us four witnesses.  Jesus never ran around saying, “Hey everyone I am the Savior of the world.”  He didn’t say, “I am God so you’d better listen to me.”  Instead, He relied on four other witnesses — the word of God, God the Father, what others said of Him, and His life.

Jesus told the Jews the scriptures testified of Him.  He went so far as explaining, if they had believed Moses then they would believe Him because the word of God was written about Him.  Think about this.  All the writing of Moses, the first five books of the Bible, testified of Jesus.  Contained in those five books are the account of creation, sin, sacrifice, the Ten Commandments, disobedience by children of God, inheritance and the promises of God.  All those things were pictures of Jesus and His purpose.   Then there are the prophetic books indicating the Messiah coming from a virgin birth and other references of the Messiah’s work when He arrived here (Isaiah 61:1-3, Isaiah 53).  Scripture speaks of Jesus.

Jesus explained the Father Himself, who sent Me, has testified of Me.  Remember, when John the Baptist, baptized Jesus?  A voice from heaven said, “This is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.”  At the transfiguration, Peter, James and John, witnessed the Father speaking from heaven again saying, “This is My Son, listen to Him.”  God the Father testified of Jesus.

Jesus let others say who He was.  In both Matthew 26:62-64 and Mark 15:2 when the priests and Pilot asked him if he was the son of God, king of the Jews, Jesus answered, “It is as you say.”  He didn’t rub their noses in it.  He didn’t fight His way out of the circumstance He was in.  He didn’t monologue all the proof points of His deity.  He simply let other’s speak of Him.  In John 1:29, John 1:32-35, John the Baptist proclaimed Jesus to be the Lamb of God and the Son of God.  Peter confessed Him as “the Christ”.  Philip told his brother we’ve found the Messiah, come and see.  Even Simeon an elderly priest upon seeing the 8 day old Jesus, said  he could die in peace for he had seen the promised One.

As if all these witnesses were not enough, Jesus also let His life and His works demonstrate who He was.  No mere human could have done all the things Jesus did.  His works pointed to His deity and power.  He healed a man who was born blind.  Never before had that happened.  He cast out demons from a little girl, the little boy, and the man at the tombs.  He healed lepers which was incurable in those days.  He even raised the dead multiple times.  There was a young man, a little girl, Lazarus and of course Himself, all were raised from the dead.

Following Jesus example, we don’t need to tell people we are Christians.  Our very life should be testimony enough.  Proverbs 27:2 says “Let another man praise you; and not your own mouth; a stranger and not your own lips.”   As we take Jesus’ commands to heart and begin living them out, our lives become the very “light of the world” Jesus called us to be.  Jesus told us to love one another for in doing so the world will know we are His disciples.

Would others know you’re a Christian by your behavior, words, or works?  What does your life say about Jesus?

Lord thank you for your example, your word and your spirit to lead us into all truth.  Guide us this day that your word may abide in us.  Let your love shine through us so the world may see you, believe you are real and be saved for all eternity.  In your precious name, Jesus, 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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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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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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Impact for God’s Kingdom

thinkonit-devotions-yellow-sunflowerdelight.jpg

Read Acts 4:1-14

 

Peter and John were at the temple teaching and preaching to various people about Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.  The first thing to notice is the different kinds of people they spoke to: regular people, religious people such as priests, working people like the captain of the temple and other religious people called the Sadducees. 

 

To me this speaks of getting God’s Word out to all people, no matter what their background or current state of living they may be in.  God wants all His creation to hear and believe His Word.  The Bible teaches God doesn’t want a single one to perish (Matthew 18:14).

 

Next we see a threefold reaction to this teaching.  First, the people became greatly disturbed.  When you are not ready for the truth it can be very disturbing.  Think about it.  You’re going about your business, thinking everything is fine and then you’re confronted with the truth and can plainly see you’re on the wrong side.  That doesn’t make a lot of people feel real comfortable.  The Bible teaches men loved darkness rather than light (John 3:19).  In darkness, their evil deeds can go on unnoticed by others.  We are called to expose the darkness with God’s glorious light (Ephesians 5:11).  For as we walk in the light, the blood of Christ cleanses us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:7).

 

Second, the people grabbed Peter and John and through them in jail.  Following Christ has its cost.  Peter and John were experiencing it.  All they did was speak what they knew to be true and they were treated harshly by being wrongly imprisoned.  In our country, we might not find our selves being thrown in prison for witnessing to someone (at least not yet); we will encounter persecution of some kind.  For example, folks you considered friends may stop hanging with you when you start telling them about Jesus.  Why, even your own family members may shun you.  Just remember, Jesus said that would happen in Matthew 5.

 

Third, about five thousand men heard the word and believed.  Can you imagine having an impact like that?  Simply speaking God’s truth and five thousand people came to believe!  Now, that’s a miracle only God can work.  Doesn’t the minor inconvenience Peter and John experienced pale in comparison?  We may not always see this kind of result, but we can trust God to work the miracles when we are obedient to His calling.  Galatians 6:9 tells us not to grow weary of doing good for at the right time we’ll reap a harvest if we don’t lose heart.  We are to continue on whether or not it looks like we’re making a difference, because in reality we are making an impact for God’s Kingdom through our obedience.

 Lord, thank you for your word and your spirit leading us in truth.  May we be bold like Peter and John to share your word with everyone regardless of the inconvenience it may bring.  May we continue to do what is right, knowing you will work it out for good.  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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