Bible Devotions

Mindful of the Things of God

Get behind Me, Satan!  For you are not mindful of the things of God, but the things of men.  Mark 8:33 NKJV 

Remember, the gospels are a narrative genre requires us to look at the full context of any specific verse to fully understand what is being communicating.  As you read, ask yourself two questions:

(1) What further insight does this reveal about Jesus as Messiah? 

(2) As His disciple, how should I respond to Him? 

 

Read Mark 8:27-38. 

 

In verses 27-29 Jesus asks His disciples who people were saying He was.  Then He asked His disciples the same question and Peter replied “You are the Christ”.   In verse 31 Jesus explains what’s going to happen to Him.  In verse 32 a paraphrase of Peter, “No way, Lord, let it not happen to you.”  In verse 33 Jesus replies with today’s verse above.  In the remaining verses Jesus teaches about the commitment required in being one of His disciples. 

 

Jesus’ rebuke of Peter is a strong one which re-enforces the importance we should place on our thoughts.  If we allow our thoughts to dwell on our self, our desires and what’s best for us, we are effectively walking with Satan rather than with our Lord. 

 

When Jesus says whoever desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up the cross and follow Me, He was indicating the kind of commitment required to be His disciple.  First, He says him deny himself.  This is not a martyr mentality, but rather a choice to think of others instead of self.  That is so contrary to our natural thoughts, isn’t it?  Would you be willing to do that?  Second, He says take up the cross which seems to indicate the need for crucifying all that is not of God in our life.  It is a symbolic way of describing the purifying process in our life as we strip away all that would hinder our walk with the Lord.  Third, He says follow Me.  This step can only be accomplished if, in fact, the first two steps are carried out. 

 

As Christ, Jesus is mindful of God’s will and carries out God’s plan no matter what.  In this section of scripture, Jesus is revealing what it takes to be one of His disciples.  God is calling us to a higher way of living.  A life marked by selflessness and a relentless focus on the things of God rather than the things of men. 

 

So what are you mindful of; things of this world, your own well-being or things of God?

 

The choice is yours.  Who do you want to follow?   The One who came to give you life or the one who wants to steal, kill and destroy all that is from God?

 Lord, thank you for who you are.  Thank you for your word of truth. Increase our understanding of you by rightly interpreting your word.  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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Sowing and Reaping – Where’s the Harvest?

You have sown much, and bring in little; Haggai 1:6 NKJV

The farming phrase of sowing and reaping is used many times throughout the Bible.  One reason might be because it is a phrase the people of that day would understand.  It was relevant to them.  Everyone grew their own food.  The concept of working the ground, planting seeds, and waiting for harvest was like a second nature to them.

Here in Haggai 1:6 we see the phrase “sown much.”  Typically when sowing seeds the more you sow or plant, the higher the yield of crop that grows.  But in this case the Lord points out “you have sown much and bring in very little.”

What could cause this to occur?

Let’s find out by looking at Mark 4 in the parable of the sower.  The sower went out to sow.  Some seed fell by the wayside and the birds ate it.  Some fell on the stony ground that didn’t have much earth.  When the sun came up it was scorched because it had no root it withered away.  Some seed fell aong thorns which choked it and yielded no crop.  But other seed fell among good ground and yielded a crop that increased thirty, sixty, and hundred-fold.

The seed is the Word of God. Satan comes to take away the Word sown in their hearts. The stony ground represents those who hear the Word gladly but only endure a short time when trouble comes they have no root to support them.  The ones sown among thorns are the ones burdened with the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches and desire for other things choke out the Word of God and become unfruitful.  The seed in good soil represent those who hear the Word, accept it and bear fruit.

Based on Mark 4 parable of the sower, what kind of ground do the people in Haggai represent?

The stony ground might be a good fit for them.  They were far too busy building their own house than to build the temple of God.  They didn’t bear fruit because of the cares of this world, deceitfulness of riches and the desire for other things.

The seed is always of the Word of God.  The Word will always be there.  The soil or ground is the condition of one’s heart to receive the Word.  If the soil is not prepared it won’t be ready for the seed. Neglecting the soil can cause loss of fruit, as God may allow circumstances in one’s life to get their attention.

What kind of soil are you?

Lord, thank you for the promise of what we sow we also reap. Thank you it is always the same.  Teach us to sow what is helpful, right, and true.  Lead us back to you. In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

 

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Better Together

Lately, it seems the Lord’s impressing upon me the need to work together as the body of Christ.  I took to a training class at my local church. One of the teaching aids was a puzzle piece. Everyone who attended received a puzzle piece. Alone one puzzle piece one cannot make out what the completed picture would look like. Even with many pieces, it still may be hard to see the completed picture.  It is not until all the pieces are engaged that the end vision is revealed.

Each of us believers is like a puzzle piece. Alone we can’t tell where we fit or what the end vision looks like.  As we come together, we begin to see a glimmer of the vision, but it is still not complete.  It won’t be fulfilled until the last believer is engaged.

My friend’s daughter performed in an abstract dance. One scene really got me thinking about this desire of coming together.  As I watched six performers weave, bob, bend, and flex, I was struck with how silly it would have looked if only one performer had been on the floor.  Together, all six of them, the pattern, the rhythm and the design made sense. It was only in the context of togetherness did it become clear what they were doing. Each dancer had a part but only when all dancers performed together did it make something beautiful.

And so it is with us. Each believer has a part to play in God’s wonderfully plan. Although we can’t see the final vision yet, as more of us come together the picture starts to take shape.  Until that time, we can look to Scriptures for guidance on what we should be doing to come together. Some indicators are looking at what Jesus taught and how the early church behaved.

There is one thing in common among all the teaching and the early church.  Do you know what it is? It is people helping people.  It’s all about loving others. When we do, we demonstrate Jesus to a lost world. Our love shines bright and draws people to Jesus.

How are you working with other believers to show Jesus’ love to others?

 Lord, thank you for designing us to need each other. Thank you for calling us together in one body in the Lord Jesus Christ. Guide us by your Holy Spirit to fulfill all you prepared for us. In His name we pray Amen.

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To Know Him – Part II

How can we describe the invisible God?  The Bible tells us Jesus is the visible expression of God.  If you’ve seen Jesus, then you’ve seen God.  That may have worked in biblical times, but what about now?  We can’t see Jesus physically anymore than we can see God.  Or can we? 

 

 

The more we allow His Spirit to reign in our lives the more, Jesus is seen to the visible world.  Look at Acts 4:1 NKJVNow when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained men, they marveled. And they realized that they had been with Jesus.”   

 

As we study God’s Word looking at the life of Jesus, we get to know him and his identifiable character traits.  Humility, love, gentleness, compassion, mercy, friendliness, patience, justice and forgiveness are all found in Jesus.  As we give ourselves wholeheartedly to the Lord, our lives will display the fruits of the spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control ( Galatians 5:22-23 NKJV ).  

 

Can others see you’ve been with Jesus?   

© 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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Jesus Calling – Do You Hear Me Now?

Jesus Calling by Sarah Young is a most delightful devotional read.  It is written as though Jesus, Himself, is speaking these words directly to you.  There were many occasions when the message for the day was exactly what I was facing on that particular day.  Sarah Young is a gifted writer and anointed devotionalist.

If you are looking for a fresh start or jump start in your quiet times, this book is it.  This quick read will get your mind focused on God, His presence, His power, His plans, His peace and many other facets of His being.

Start your day out right. Seek God first by reading Jesus Calling each day.

Order your copy today. Or buy one as a gift for a friend.  You won’t be sorry.

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What makes people believe Jesus is the Son of God?

Read John 1

After reading John Chapter One several times I noticed something I hadn’t before.  Right there in verses 35 – 51 I saw four examples of people coming to believe Jesus is the Messiah.

What was it in these encounters that caused each person to believe?  No doubt it was Jesus and being with Him that caused belief.  But was there something else that contributed to their belief?

Let’s look together at these four conversions.

(1) John. he knew God called him to prepare the way of the Lord (John 1:15).  he was called to preach baptisme of repentance for the remission of sins (Luke 3:3) and to reveal Jesus to Israel (John 1:31).  In Matthew 3:13-17 we read what happened when John baptized Jesus. Which was fulfillment of what God said would happen. So John saw first hand how the Spirit of God rested on Jesus. John also heard the words spoken from heaven saying “this is My Beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased.” God told him these things would happen.  John saw and heard them happen. John had a relationship with God first.  John was obedient to God and through his obedience John witnessed greater glory – the revealing of the Messiah.

(2) Andrew.  He had been a disciple of John. This tells us his heart was tender toward God.  When John said, “Behold the Lamb of God” while looking at Jesus (John 1:31) Andrew was one of the two who left John to follow Jesus. They asked where Jesus was staying. Jesus replied, “Come and see.” They remained with Jesus the rest of that day.  Andrew believed a friend enough to check it out more fully. The result of this up close encounter with Jesus, Andrew finds his brother Simon Peter. He says “We have found the Messiah.” Andrew brings Simon Peter to Jesus.  Andrew has no doubts now. He is convinced Jesus is the Messiah. He is willing to confess his belief to others.

(3) Philip. He was from the same area s Andrew and Peter.  Jesus is on his way to Galilee, sees Philip, says to him, “Follow Me.” (John 1:43) Philip does.  Next we see Philip find Nathanael. He tells Nathanael, “We have found Him of whom Moses in the Law and Prophets wrote – Jesus of nazareth, the son of Joseph.” (John 1:45) We do not know everthing that happened during this encounter with Jesus.  All we know is Jesus found Philip and spoke two words to him.  Based on what Philip shares with Nathanael it is obvious Philip read God’s Word and knew what to look for.  Philip must have watched Jesus or heard what others were saying about Jesus. Somehow Philip’s brief encounter with Jesus was enough to convience him. Like Andrew, the first thing Philip does once convienced is find someone to tell. He was also willing to confess Jesus is Lord.

(4) Nathanael. As Nathanael comes towards Jesus, Jesus says to him, “Behold an Israelite in deed, in whom is no deceit.” Nathanael wants to know how Jesus knows him.  Jesus says, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip came.” Nathanael’s response, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” Jesus says, “Because I said I saw you under the fig tree, do you believe?” We know Nathanael had no deceit in him. Therefore, he must have been an honest man.  Not out to cheat anyone.  Perhaps his honesty made it easier to believe.  We know Nathanael listened to Philip because he came to see for himself.  When Jesus says “I saw you under the fig tree” that was enough proof for Nathanael. Only the omnipresence of God would have seen Nathanael without being near him.

There are some common elements in all four of these converstions. Did you spot them?

First, they all hand encounters with Jesus. That’s pretty much a given, wouldn’t you say?

Second, we notice each person knew about Jesus from external source, meaning they didn’t wake up believing one day.  Two of them know of Jesus by God or God’s Word. The other two were told about Jesus from someone. Someone shared with them, from there belief was formed. John was told about Jesus by God. Philip knew of Jesus through study of Moses’ Law and Prophets. Andrew heard from John. Nathanael heard from Philip.

Although each encoutner was unique. This points to how God works with each of us on an individual basis. He knows exactly what we need to produce belief. He aligns everything in our life and guides us on the path to believing in Jesus as Lord.

We looked at four examples of coming to believe. Can you find more examples in the Bible? See if you can find similarities or differences in the way people came to believe.  Here are a few verses to ge to you started exploring on your own:

  • Matthew 4:18-25
  • Matthew 8:5-13
  • Mark 1:16-17
  • Mark 1:40-45
  • Luke 8:43-48
  • Luke 17:11-19
  • John 4:7-30
  • John 9
  • John 11:1-45
  • John 20-24-31

 

Jesus, you are Lord. You are the Messiah. In you we believe.  That you for saving us by faith in you. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Allow God to be the Just Judge

Read Matthew 7

Judge not – if you judge others, you will be judged by same standard.

Don’t “help” others until you have “helped” yourself first. You must find meaning and truth before you can help someone else find it.

Don’t give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet and turn to tear you to pieces.  Be wise. Share with those who are ready to hear. Don’t force Jesus on anyone who isn’t receptive. Let the Holy Spirit lead you.

Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find; knock and it will be opened to you.  In all we do, we should seek Him.  Continue to seek Him in all ways, in all thoughts, in all decisions, in all our being and existing.  Ask Him if a person is ready to hear the message. Ask Him to open or close your mouth.  Seek His wisdom in all situations. Let the Spirit lead.

I don’t like to be judged. My guess is you don’t either.  So let us not judge others but allow God to be the just judge He is.

Jesus, you are our role model.  You didn’t come to judge, but to save what was lost.  Thank you for not judging me, but saving me from sin and death. In Your name we pray. Amen.

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Busybodies

For even when we were with you, we commanded you this: If anyone will not work, neither shall he eat. For we hear that there are some who walk among you in a disorderly manner, not working at all, but are busybodies. Now those who are such we command and exhort through our Lord Jesus Christ that they work in quietness and eat their own bread. 2 Thessalonians 3:10-12 NKJV

Have you ever watched the t.v. program called “Survivor”?  They take 16 people and put them on a deserted island for 39 days to see who will endure all 39 days without being voted off or going crazy in the process.

 

When I read today’s scripture verse, it reminded me of an episode where one young man and two young women were not pulling their own weight around camp.  They had no problem eating the food other’s had gathered or caught.  They did not help with any of the real work, like searching for wood, carrying water to camp, fishing, or gathering coconuts. All they did was sit in the little hut, snuggle together and gossip about the rest of the players on the island.

Have you ever known someone who was like that?  They are always eager to criticize, never willing to help anyone and always thinking about themselves.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t especially like being around people like that.

Do you ever feel like that?

However, Matthew 22:39 NKJV tells us to “Love your neighbor as yourself” so my attitude toward people like those described above is anything but loving. Colossians 3:23 NKJV tells us to do everything as if we’re doing to or for the Lord.  That’s great advice.  When we apply this advice, we are more willing to do anything for the Lord, even scrubbing floors, doing laundry, paying bills, going to work, or being loving towards others you don’t feel like loving.

 

Are you a busybody, unwilling to work?  Are you criticizing others for their lack of work?  Ask Jesus to help change your attitude toward others and focus on your own walk with the Lord.

 

Father, forgive us for having the wrong attitude towards people.  Help us love them as you love us.  Teach us to “work in quietness and eat our own bread”. Enable us to being willing to do all things as if they are for You. In Jesus’name Amen.

 

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God’s Word Brings Hope to the World


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Cling to What is Good

And we urge you, brethren, to recognize those who labor among you, and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love for their work’s sake. Be at peace among yourselves. Now we exhort you, brethren, warn those who are unruly, comfort the fainthearted, uphold the weak, be patient with all. See that no one renders evil for evil to anyone, but always pursue what is good both for yourselves and for all. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not despise prophecies. Test all things; hold fast what is good. Abstain from every form of evil. 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22 NKJV

There’s a lot to cover in today’s verse.  However, we’re going to focus on just a few related items.

Pursue what is good

We are told in 2 Timothy 2:22 NKJV “Flee also youthful lusts; but pursue righteousness, faith, love, peace with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.” Also in Romans 12:9  NKJV Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil. Cling to what is good.”  In everything, we are to be wise considering whether a thing is good or not.

Test all things

The Bereans, after hearing Paul’s teaching, searched scriptures to verify what they hear against the Word of God.  Acts 17:11 NKJV “These were more fair-minded than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so.”  We’re called to do the same thing.  Don’t believe everything you read or hear, but check it out against God’s Word.   I heard a quote the other day that explains this:  “The best way to determine if the stick is crooked or not is to lay a straight stick next to it.”   God’s Word is our straight stick.

Hold fast to what is good

In order to hold fast to what is good, one must know what is good.  Jesus teaches us only God is good in Mark 10:18 NKJV “So Jesus said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God.”  In the Old Testament, the Lord tells us to hold fast to Him alone. Deuteronomy 10:20 NKJV “You shall fear the LORD your God; you shall serve Him, and to Him you shall hold fast, and take oaths in His name.”

Lord God above, You are all we need.  Help us be wise in all things, testing them out through Your Word.  Help us cling to what is good and run from anything that would draw us away from You.  In Jesus name Amen.

To wrap this up, we are to pursue God, test all things and hold fast to God alone.  How’s it going for you?  Are you pursuing God?  Are you checking out what you hear to see if it aligns with God’s Word?  Are you clinging to the Lord?

 

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Samuel Obeyed God

Read 1 Samuel 10

Samuel explained to Saul all that would happend.  God gave Saul another heart. All the signs happened.  Saul only shared part of the story with his uncle.  Saul was hiding when it was time to be king.

 
Samuel propehesed what would happen to Saul.  Everything he said happened. Three men going up to God, three goats, three loaves of bread, a skin of wine. They gave two loaves to Saul. He accepted. They meet a group of prophets. The Spirit of the Lord will come on Saul.  Saul will prophesy with them.  Saul will be turned into another man.

 
All who knew Saul formerly saw that he indeed prophesied among the prophets. His uncle asked what happened. Saul only told him half the story.  We can see from Saul’s example, we should avoid sharing only part of the truth.  What good can come from a partial truth. The Devil often times tries to convince people with lies based on partial truth.  We hear the piece of truth and are likely to believe the lie.  God doesn’t work that way.  He shares the entire truth, not just part of it.  We need to share the entire story for it to be the truth.

 
Another thing we see from Saul, is how his hiding when its time to shine did not give not glory to God.  When God calls,we need to step up to His calling.  Let our light shine before men, so all can see it and come to know God as their Savior.
We learn God is faithful to equip those He calls.  He doesn’t call us to do something and leave us to figure out how.  He is a trustworthy God.  He has a plan for us and part of the plan is to ensure we have everything we need to carry out the plan.  From all that was said and all that transpired just as it was said, we again see God is a God of His word.  What He says He does, without fail.

 
Here is a truth to consider: An encounter with God, changes us.  God gives us a new heart, one that worships Him.  This new heart will be evident to all who know you.

 
Lord, thank you for your faithfulness and trustworthiness.You are an honorable God. Everything you say happens.  In you we trust.  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Bible Devotions on Humility

http://thinkonitbibledevotions.com/Bible_Verses_by_Topic_Humility.aspx

 

 


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