Bible Devotions

Thoughts, Actions, Feelings – in that Order

 

My pastor taught about a reoccurring pattern he saw in the lives of those he ministered to.  What they thought about influenced what they did and as a result they had certain feelings.  This pattern is the same whether it is about good and healthy things or negative and unhealthy things. 

 

For example, if my thoughts are focused on how my needs are not being met, my actions are influenced to do something to get my needs met and my feelings tell me it’s not working.  Those feelings influence my thoughts and so the unhealthy cycle continues.  If, however, we choose to keep our thoughts on God, our actions are influenced by God and our feelings become healthy as we look at things from God’s perspective.  It’s the same reoccurring pattern or cycle; thoughts lead to action, action leads to feeling and feelings influence the thoughts.

 

That’s why Paul told us to be renewed in our minds.  Romans 12:2 NKJV says “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.”  When we forsake that which the world does and focus on God, our thoughts are renewed and we are able to know what is pleasing to God. 

 

Another example of this pattern is given by Jesus in John 3:18-21 NKJV: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”  Can you see the pattern?

 

Unhealthy

Healthy

He who does not believe (verse 18, thoughts)

Their deeds were evil (verse 19, actions)

Hates the light (verse 20, feelings)

 

He who believes (verse 18, thoughts)

Does the truth (verse 21, actions)

Comes to light (verse 21, feelings)

 

If we find our self on the unhealthy side of this cycle, we can change by allowing God to change our thoughts and by taking godly actions whether we feel like it or not.  Our feelings will catch up as we do what God prefers.  From my own personal experience, God enabled me to love my husband when the feelings weren’t there.  Due to obedience to God’s Word, my thoughts were renewed, my actions were godly and the result was new feelings of love developed between us. 

 

Though we are not ruled by our emotions because Christ alone is our Lord and King, feelings can be used as an alert system.  Feelings can tell us if we’re operating on the unhealthy or healthy side of this cycle.  Check your feelings, dig into God’s Word and let the mind of Christ lead you forward. 

 Lord, thank you for your saving grace and empowerment to do what please you.  Keep us on your godly pathway and help us remember our righteousness comes from you.  In Jesus’ name Amen.
© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in God’s Word. Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

 

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Does Knowledge of God Prevents Sin?

 

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 NKJV

 

Have you ever noticed how a small child will act appropriately when there are adults around?  As soon the parental units are no longer in sight, that same child will do what they are not allowed to do otherwise.  Why is that? 

 

Well it’s the same with all of us adults.  If we know God is watching, we’ll be on our best behavior.  However, if there’s no knowledge of God we’re likely to do things not pleasing to God.   Knowledge of God helps us remember He is always watching.  It’s not the creepy big brother kind of watching.  He’s watching His creation with the loving eyes of a parent watching his own child.   Because He’s God, maker of all we see, there is nothing hidden from Him.  All things are bare before Him.  Knowing this leads to fear of the Lord.  In other words, fear of the Lord is a healthy and proper respect for the supreme authority over us.

 

He knows everything and sees all things.  Keeping this firmly planted in our minds will help us choose wisely the activities we partake in.  A friend of mine who has five children has a wonderful rule in her house: If you wouldn’t want mom to know about it then you probably should not do it.  It’s the same principle God lays out.  We need to remember we are all under a higher authority – God Almighty.

 

While God makes allowances for sinful behavior by accepting sacrifice in the Old Testament, He would rather the people keep knowledge of Him top of mind to prevent the sin in the first place.  He expects the same from us.  Hosea 4:6 NKJV says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” 

 

The Lord doesn’t want a single person to perish but all to come to eternal life in Him through faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  He has given us everything we need to know He exists.  Look at creation around us, it all points to our Heavenly Father.  We have His word to help us better understand His character and unrelenting love towards us.  Understanding His marvelous love for us and His willingness to take matters into His own hands to save us, should compel us to live rightly before Him.  If it doesn’t it’s an indication of our lack of knowledge of God.

 

How do we gain knowledge? 

 

Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” 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.”  Knowledge comes from God, Himself.  He will give it freely to those who earnestly seek Him.  So dig in, study His Word, and let His Spirit lead you into His glorious truth so your mind may be renewed.  It’s never too late to gather knowledge of God.  So jump into His Word today.

 Lord, thank you for your guidance through your word.  Thank you for your leading through the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for your love compelling us to know you more.  Draw us closer to you.  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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Where Do You Turn

Listen to Me, you who follow after righteousness, you who seek the Lord; Look to the rock from which you were hewn and to the hole of the pit from which you were dug.  Isaiah 51:1 NKJV 

Listen

There are many voices calling to us, but there is only one we should listen to.  God’s still small voice is the only one to be trusted for only He has out best interests in mind.

 

Follow

There are many examples to follow, but there is only one we should model our life around.  God Almighty’s Son Jesus Christ was perfectly obedient in all ways, even to the point of death to bring salvation to all who would believe in Him.  His example should be our measuring stick to compare our life to.

 

Seek

There are many things to seek in this life, but only one satisfies.  Jesus Christ fills the empty space within us that compels us to seek in the first place.  Seek first His Kingdom and all these things will be added, says Jesus. 

 

Look

There are many things to look to but only one encourages and builds us up.  God Almighty who created all things with a spoken word.  He made you in His image.  We must never forget that.  When thinking about whose image we bear, we must also remember the pit from which He pulled us out.  In doing so, we remain humble knowing how undeserving we are of His lavish grace, love and forgiveness. 

 

Read Isaiah 51.  It is a wonderful reminder of God’s strength, all He has done and all He will do.  If ever your mind drifts away from the Lord, rein it back in by reading God’s Word.  Remember His sovereignty, His might and your own sinfulness is a great place to start. 

 Lord, thank you for speaking to us through your word.  Thank you for your clear directions for life.  Thank you for dying for our sins and rising again to give us new life.  In Jesus’ 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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If it’s God’s Will, He Makes it Possible

Ezra discovered this truth about God, even though it took a long while to finish what he was called to do.  In the first year of King Cyrus of Persia, a proclamation was put in writing to rebuild the house of God. An offering was made. All those carried away as captives into Babylon were numbered. There was 42,360 remaining who could prove their lineage.

Adversaries arose to frustrate the plans to build God’s house. These enemies were able to cause the building to cease until the 2nd year of King Darius.  But God made King Darius search the archives for King Cyrus’ decree.  Once he found it, he too allowed the building to continue.

The temple was finished in the sixth year of the reign of King Darius. The children of Israel, the priests, Levites, and the rest of the descendants of captivity, celebrated the dedication of this house of God with joy.

Getting to this milestone took time.  How long we don’t know exactly.  But we do know it took all of King Cyrus’ reign and six years of Kind Darius’ reign.  This was only the first part of Ezra’s calling to fulfill God’s purposes.

As the children of Israel began following God’s laws once again, we see them offering sacrifices. The priests purified themselves and prepared the Passover Lambs.  The people who returned from captivity separated themselves from the filth of the nations in order to seek the Lord God of Israel. They kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread for seven days with joy. The Lord strengthened their hands in the work of the house of the God.

Seven years later Ezra came to Jerusalem. Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel. King Artaxeres says to Ezra, according to your God-given wisdom, set magistrates and judges to judge the people who know the law of God and teach those who don’t know. Whoever won’t observe God’s law, let judgment be executed speedily. This judgment could be death, banishment, or confiscation of property or imprisonment.

Ezra took 1,754 people and priests with him. He proclaimed a fast to humble themselves before God, to seek from Him the right way for them to go. God answered his prayer.

When the Levites came to Ezra, they had not separated themselves from the land. They had married pagan women and had children born to them. To understand why this was such a big deal, we need to journey back to discover what the Levites God-given role was in the beginning.  We are not going to recount everything from the book of Leviticus, as there are twenty-seven chapters! The Levites were God’s chosen priests who were responsible to carry out the offerings; peace offering, sin offering, trespass offering. They were to be consecrated to God for this service.

The Levites who came to Ezra had defiled their God-appointed office! Ezra tore his garment, sat astonished and fasted. After a time of reflection Ezra fell on his knees and spread out his hands to God in prayer. He confessed the sins of the people. He praised God for not punishing them as they deserved. He wept bitterly.

The sons of priests came and said to Ezra, “We have trespassed against our God and taken pagan wives. Now let us make a covenant with our God to put away all these wives and children born to them, according to the commandment of God.”  Ezra made the priests, Levites and all Israel swear an oath that they would do according to this word.

After several days, the people came, the proclamation went out. The people came in great assembly. Ezra preached to make confession to the Lord to call the people to separate themselves from the people of this land and from the pagan wives. All the assembly answer, “Yes as you have said, so we must do!”

Ezra’s role was to remind the people of God’s ways and teach those who don’t know it yet. God used Ezra to not only rebuild the house of God, but also to restore the people’s hearts to God. The later part of Ezra’s calling is the same for us in our age.  If we know God and His words we need to share it with others that they might turn their hearts to God and be saved in Jesus’ name!

Lord, you have a plan and purpose for each of us. Help us to see it, and work with you to complete it no matter how long it takes. In Jesus’ name I 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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