Bible Devotions

God Hears

 

When God says something will happen we can rest assured it will come to pass.  King David wanted to build a house for God, but God said it would not be David, but his son Solomon who would do it (1 Chronicles 28:3). 

 

Fast forward to 2 Chronicles 7:11 NKJV “Thus Solomon finished the house of the Lord and the king’s house:  and Solomon successfully accomplished all that came into his heart to make in the house of the Lord and in his own house.”  See.  God said Solomon would build the house of the Lord and Solomon really did finish it.

 

When the Lord calls someone to do something for His kingdom, He equips.  One of Solomon’s purposes from God was to complete the Lord’s house.  With God’s help, he not only did it, but he “successfully accomplished all that came into his heart”.  Everything God plants in our heart to do, He makes happen. 

 

It is so encouraging to know God can be trusted to follow through on whatever He promises.  So when we read 2 Chronicles 7:14 we should have great joy: “if My people who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land.”

 

God will hear, forgive and heal, if we choose to humble our self before Him.  As we agree with God about our sins, seek Him and turn from our old ways, He will hear and respond.  That was the case for me.  Once I humbled myself, confessed my sins, He answered me, forgave me and healed me.  All that’s left is for me to continue carrying out God’s purpose in my life, as He reveals it to me.  This I know: He is the One working it out through me.  My part is willing obedience to Him.

 

How about you?  Have you humbled yourself before the Lord?  Have you agreed with God about your sin?  Are you seeking His forgiveness?  Why wait?  He’s waiting.  He will answer when you turn to Him.

 Lord, thank you for hearing us when we humble our self before you.  Thank you for your forgiveness.  Thank you for being faithful to answer us.  Draw us near.  May we always hear you.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  
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The Path before Us

Read Isaiah 55:1-3.

 

Who is God’s salvation for?

It is for everyone.  Does it say it is for the Jews only? No.  Does it say it is for the rule-keepers?  No.  Does it say it is for a certain people group?  No.  God’s salvation is for EVERYONE.

 

How do you know you need salvation?

Everyone thirsts.  God gave you a desire or longing to know Him because He made you after His own image.  Father, Son and Holy Spirit are together as One in community with each other.  There is something inside us that longs for the same community and compels us to satisfy the thirst.

 

Why doesn’t God just save us?

He extends His offer of salvation to us, but we must choose to come.  He is a loving Father who desires us to love Him in return.  Real love is not forced.  If He made us to love Him, we’d be nothing more than robots doing what we were programmed to do.  By allowing us to choose Him, it is a richer, lovelier response.  We have to decide to believe Him.  We have to decide to follow Him.   Without our willingness to love Him, it would be meaningless to Him.

 

How come God gives us more than we need?

He is a generous, loving Father who wants to pour out His love on us.  He doesn’t want to simply satisfy our thirst with water only.  No, He wants to satisfy and fulfill to over-flowing our soul with wine and milk. 

 

Is the offer of salvation really free?

Yes.  It costs us nothing.  We pay no money to enter.  We can’t earn it by being good or following a set of rules.  There is nothing we can do to get salvation through any kind of effort on our part.

 

Why do we work so hard to buy bread that doesn’t satisfy?

We are deceived.  We have chosen to believe working for something makes it better.  When we try to work or earn our salvation, we make our self to be a god saying “this is how to be saved”.  Do you think this is pleasing to God?  How prideful of us!  God made us. He is the One True God, not us.  How dare we think we know better than Him!  He has already given us the gift of salvation.  He told us where to look and who holds the key.  It’s up to us to listen.

 

Listen carefully to Me, and eat what is good, and let your soul delight itself in abundance.
Incline your ear, and come to Me.  Hear, and your soul shall live; and I will make an everlasting covenant with you (Isaiah 55:2-3 NKJV).

 Lord, thank you for your gift of salvation.  May we come and buy with no money the bread that satisfies.  May we reject our desires to earn our way and simply come as you have called. 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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Imitators of God

Read Ephesians 4 through Ephesians 5:1-2

 

Paul writes in Ephesians 5:1 “Be imitators of God”.  Let’s explore what that means by reading Ephesians 4 together.

 

Forgive as We are Forgiven

Walk worthy of our calling by being tenderhearted and forgiving towards one another.  Always remembering God forgave us, therefore, we forgive others.  We treat others better than they deserve because again that’s what God does to us.  We don’t deserve His abundant supply of mercy and grace, do we?  And yet, He generously pours it out on us.  He calls us to do the same to others around us.  We do our part to live at peace with others, getting along with all people to the best of our abilities.  When we are wronged we don’t hold it against them, we don’t seek revenge but rather give space and time for God to work it out.  God says vengeance is mine (Deuteronomy 32:35).

 

Sacrifice My Will

We consciously turn from our former conduct and put off the old man which grows corrupt according to deceitful lusts.  We lay aside all things that hinder our walk, such as sin that easily ensnares us (Hebrews 12:1).  We repent of our sins when we are made aware of them.  We cast down every thought that exalts it self over God (2 Corinthians 10:5).  We concentrate on being renewed in the Spirit of our mind, letting God’s word have its way (Romans 12:2), equipping us to put on the new man created after God in true righteousness and holiness.

 

Walk in Love

God is love, we walk in Him (1 John 4:8).  If we abide in Him, He abides in us (1 John 4:16).  First Corinthians 13:4-7 defines love as “Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”  So we speak the truth in love and are encouraged to do good without growing weary.  Our God does not grow weary of doing good for us, therefore, we don’t grow weary either.  Doing good also means knowing our purpose, using our gifts, talents and abilities to edify, encourage and build up others.  Therefore, we redeem the time and make the most of every opportunity by walking in love.

 

Follow Me

So if we look to Jesus as our example we will seek the Father and his will in all things.  We pray for strength to carry out His plan and purposes.  We lay aside our will and ask to have the Father’s will be done.  We will sacrifice our self for others as many times as is required until Christ returns to take us home.  Jesus did not leave us without the power to accomplish all this.  No, He left us His Spirit to guide us and empower us to do all God desires us to do. 

 

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.  And walk in love, as Christ also has loved us and given Himself for us, an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet-smelling aroma (Ephesians 5:1-2).

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your example to us.  Thank you for your spirit to lead us and equip us for all God wants us to do.  May be seek the Father and carry out His will in our generation.  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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What Would You Die For?

Have you ever stopped to consider what you would be willing to die for?

After reading in Mark chapter 16 about the torture and death of Jesus on the cross, it got me thinking about His willingness to go through all that.

Sure, Jesus struggled, as any man would, with the idea at the garden of Gethsemane when He prayed, “Abba, Father all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.” Mark 14:36

But Jesus went through it anyway. Though it was agonizingly painful and people didn’t understand, He still did it. He did nothing to prevent God’s will. He did not try to get out of His responsibility. He held fast to His purpose – to save mankind from sin.

Why did He do this? He is God, all powerful. He could have changed time, erased the sin, or changed us so we wouldn’t sin again. Why go through this messy, painful ordeal? Hebrews 12:2 says Jesus endured the cross “for the joy set before Him.” What was the joy that kept Jesus on track? To accomplish God’s will to save mankind!

He did it for love. To satisfy God’s wrath over the sin you and I committed. The Just God of the Universe had to punish sin or else He wouldn’t be Just. To prove His love and great mercy towards His most priced creation, He took our place and suffered on our behalf! God did this for you and me!

Now what about you? What are you willing to die for? Would you die for any of these things?

  • Money
  • Sex
  • Possession
  • Power
  • Fame
  • A lie

I’m guessing you would answer no to these items. After all if you died you would be able to enjoy any of those things you died for, right? Seems silly doesn’t it?

People and truth are worth dying for. Jesus proved it. He died to save people. He died to reveal truth of His word. What He said would happen (and was foretold in Scripture) actually did happen.

The best part of this story is Jesus lives! He came back to life after the cross! He lives. He wants a relationship with us. He offers to live in us. He gives His Holy Spirit to anyone who believes. They become part of His family, granted the right to become children of God.

Do you want to be part of His family?

Believe in your heart and confess with your mouth Jesus is Lord and you will be saved (Romans 10:9-10).

 

Lord Jesus, thank you for dying for me. Lord I believe you are the Son of God. I believe the Bible is your word. Save me this moment and make me part of your family. This I pray in your name Jesus. 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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Do You Trust Me?

What if someone dear to your heart asked you to place your most prized possession in a clean trash can? Would you do it? Your response reveals how much you trust this person.

Read Genesis 22:1-13

God ask Abraham to do something similar with his beloved son, Isaac.  Because Abraham willing did what God asked, he was considered righteous.  You see God never intended to have Abraham kill his son. It was a test to see if Abraham trusted God.

Why must trust be tested?

If you were quick to obey, it means you value and trust that person more than the object you placed in the trash can. This is a sign of an authentic relationship. But if you did not place the object in the trash can, it means you don’t trust the person who asked you to do this.

God is asking each of us “do you trust me?” Our response determines how much we trust Him.

At the end of Abraham’s test, Isaac remained.  He was not taken from Abraham at all.  Notice Abraham’s test was to offer Isaac as a burnt offering.  This was all God told Abraham. Now think about this for a minute.  God gave Abraham only one step of His plan.  God did not reveal the whole picture upfront.  If the whole thing was revealed up front there would be no reason for trust. Abraham would have known how it worked out and he would have just gone through the motions without any internal struggle.

God wants us to trust Him.  He will ask us to do something we don’t want to do.  When He does it is like Him asking, “do you trust me?” We won’t know how it works out, but we are asked to believe it will.  God loves us and wants what’s best for us.

Without the internal struggle to decide to trust, we would not be drawn closer to God afterward.  You see, when we obey, we are testing God to see if He is real.  When we obey, the end result proves God’s intentions towards us are pure, right, and true.  But if we never obey, we miss the opportunity to find out how pure, honorable, right, and true God is.

So what has God asked you to do lately? What is your response? Are you willing to trust Him?

Take courage! Though the watery trials may get you wet, He is with you and won’t allow those trials to overflow you.

Lord, thank you for the trials and tests. Thank you for your love and patience.  Help us to trust in you more with each trial.  In Jesus’ name we pray. 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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Return to Me

Yet you have not returned to Me says the Lord. Amos 4 NKJV

Do God’s people really need reminding to return to Him? Yes. Apparently they do as we see in Amos chapter 4.

The opening verse is used five times in this chapter and every instance He is talking to the children of God, Israel, God’s chosen people.

If we are not careful to watch and pray to stay close to God, we will stray or drift away just as Israel did.

Let’s take a look at the offenses God’s children committed that are recorded for our benefit.

  • They oppressed the poor
  • They crush the needy
  • They got drunk
  • They bring sacrifices every morning and tithes every three years
  • They offer thanksgiving sacrifices with leaven
  • They proclaim and announce their freewill offerings

The Hebrew word for “oppress” is “asaq” meaning to press upon, for example to defraud, violate or overflow. Further definition includes get deceitfully, deceive, defraud, drink up, oppress, use oppression, oppressor, do violence, an do wrong.

The Hebrew word for “crush” is “rasas” meaning to crack in pieces, literally or figuratively, break, bruise, crush, discourage, oppress, and struggle together.

God cares for the poor and needy. In what ways do we find ourselves oppressing or crushing the poor? Remember, to not think about the poor is just as bad.  God wants us to care for the poor and needy. Dueteronomy 15:11 says “For the poor will never cease from the land; therefore I command you, saying, ‘You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor and your needy, in your land.’”

How often do we drink our problems away? Proverbs 31:5 tells us drinking makes us forget the law and pervert justice for all the afflicted.

What about sacrifices? How often do we ask forgiveness from God? God would rather we obey Him from the beginning than continue asking forgiveness. 1 Samuel 15:21-23 says “Has the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to heed than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the LORD, He also has rejected you from being king.”

What about the good we do?  Are we quick to brag about it? Proverbs 20:6 says most men will proclaim each his own goodness, but who can find a faithful man?  Psalm 5:5 says the boastful shall not stand in Your sight, you hate all workers of iniquity.

As we read God’s Word and study how the people responded, we can learn much about our self.  With God’s Holy Spirit to guide us in all truth, we can know how to take an accurate assessment of our self.  Once we recognize sin in our life, we confess it to God and knowing Jesus’ work on the cross has already forgiven our sin, we can ask for His power to avoid the same sin in the future. God is faithful an just to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. But we have to be willing to turn to Him. Are you?

Father, thank you for your Word, your Spirit, your desire to do what is pleasing to you. Thank you for so many second chances.  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.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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The Nice Game

Did you ever notice how God uses children to point the way?  One day while sitting around the dinner table, my seven year old son, James, says “Let me teach you how to play the nice game.” My teenage son, Scott, was less than enthusiastic; we followed our younger son’s instructions anyway.

James told us the basic rules of the game. One person says something nice about another person at the table who is sitting to their right of them. That person then shares something nice about the person on their right and so on until everyone has had something nice said about them.

The next rule surprised me but was worth doing. Then you switch directions.  If you started on the right side, now you switch directions and go around the table to the left. This allows another person’s nice comments to be said.

The last rule is similar to the previous one. On the next round, you select the persons in front of you to compliment and continue until everyone has said something nice to all persons at your table.

This was so much fun. You see am I the only woman in my family.  I am usually starved for conversation. My youngest shared a simple game to start up the conversation! It was like a dream come true. It was refreshing and energizing.

This idea isn’t new to me, though. It has been used in small groups but with a different angle. Instead of saying something nice, each person thanks God for something or praises Him for one of His character traits. In fact I have used this very game principle in my own small group.  But it’s funny that when it is suggested by a young person how more acceptable it was to play the game.

Children are a gift from God. I pray you have children in your life, even if the children are not your own.  Being around children can positively influence you to grow in your faith and relationships!

Thank you, Lord, for your mysterious ways. Thank you for children who are a blessing in our lives. Thank you for allowing us to see your grace in everyday interactions with children.  In Jesus’ name Amen.

 

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Don’t Be Fooled

Read Amos 5:14

Seek good and not evil, that you may live; so the Lord God of hosts will be with you, as you have spoken.

God’s people in Amos’ day were confident God was with them.  But God thought differently.

Throughout Amos 5 the Lord recounts all the ways His people have gone astray and done evil.

  • You who turn justice to wormwood
  • Lay righteousness to rest in the earth
  • They hate the one who rebukes in the gate
  • They abhor the one who speaks uprightly
  • They tread down the poor and take grain taxes from them
  • They afflict the just
  • They take bribes
  • They divert the poor from justice at the gate
  • They carried idols they made for themselves with them

The people of God no longer followed Him. Their actions spoke clearly. They hated justice, truth, and righteousness. Instead they were greedy for gain, taking bribes, and worshipping man-made idols rather than God, who saved them.

Sad as this sounds, it may apply to us as well. So let’s ask some tough questions of ourselves.

  1. Do we really care about justice for everyone?
  2. Do we cringe when someone speaks the truth?
  3. Are we all about what we can get for ourselves?
  4. Do we make it difficult for those who do follow God?
  5. Is there anything taking God’s place in our hearts?

 

The answers to the above questions can identify sin in our life.  Allow the Holy Spirit to convict your heart of sin, of righteousness, and of coming judgment. Remember, even not doing these things can be sin. For example, turning a blind eye to an obvious injustice, pretending someone else will care for the poor, and avoiding listening to the truth.

As ungodly behaviors and attitudes are revealed, take them to God in prayer. Pray something like this:

Father God thank you for your faithfulness to forgive and cleanse me from all unrighteousness. I confess I have _____________________________________. Please forgive me. Turn my heart to you and align my will to yours. In Jesus’ name I pray. 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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A Matter of Choice

 

Have you ever noticed how the routine hurts of life can lead us to think we don’t have any choice?  That couldn’t be further from the truth.  Life is all about choice.  We have more power to choose than we give our self credit for. 

 

We make choices all the time.  We choose to make a friend, get married, or have children.  We also choose to give love or give respect.  We choose to commit to a relationship and to put forth effort to maintain that relationship.  We even choose to believe God or not.

 Choice in Attitude

The easiest and most cost effective method of make-over is by adjusting your attitude.  Believe it or not you have a choice about how your attitude affects your life.  You can choose to let the circumstances of life cause negative thoughts to rule your mind.  Or you can choose to think on all you have to be thankful for.  Who is easier to be around someone who is always negative and complaining or someone who always thinks positively and gives people the benefit of doubt?  Philippians 2:5 says “You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.” He was humble and servant-hearted.  Are you?

 

Choice in Speech

Our words have a major impact on everyone around us.  We can use our words as weapons tearing down people with harsh, uncaring sayings.  We can use our words to build people up, encourage them with God’s Word.  A pleasant word at the right time is like honey for the soul (Proverbs 16:24). 

 

Choice in Marriage

You may have decided to get married.  Part of this commitment was to love and respect your spouse for the rest of your natural life.  This commitment requires work to maintain.  When wives choose to respect their husbands the man is more likely to respond by loving his wife.  Likewise when husbands choose to love their wives, the woman is more likely to respond by respecting her husband.  When both choose to give the other what they need, both are satisfied and God is honored by their obedience. Refer to Ephesians 5:22-33 for biblical instructions for husbands and wives.  Dr. Emerson Eggerichs’ Cracking the Communication Code, the Secret to Speaking Your Mate’s Language is a great resource for helping us understand each other better.

 

Choice in Parenting

Whether you decided to have children or are around children a lot, you have a choice to make.  Will you commit to being a godly influence? Will you raise your child in love and admonition of the Lord? Or will you continue to worry about yourself and leave your child to figure things out on their own?  If God’s given you children, you have a choice to be a good steward. You can either build them up and encourage them or neglect them.  Which is honoring to God?  Proverbs 22:6 NKJV says “Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.”

 

Choice in Relationships

Regardless of type of relationship you’re in, you may choose to display God’s character or not.  You can choose to love others as God has loved you.  Or you can try manipulating others to get your needs met.  Where two people come together without expecting anything in return are good relationships.  These people extend grace, forgiveness and mercy.  They seek to understand before being understood.  They seek the other’s best interest over their own (Philippians 2:4).  As they put others first, they fulfill God’s command.  Blessings come when we are obedient.

 Choice in Salvation

God honors our decisions.  If our decision takes us down the path of eternal destruction, God will be crushed by your decision but He will allow you to continue in your own way.   Just like in every other area of life, you have a choice for salvation.  God’s plans and purpose are not to harm us but to give us a future and a hope (Jeremiah 29:11).  We can choose to accept God’s way, Jesus’ death on the cross to pay for our sins and His resurrection which brings us life eternal or not.  He won’t force you to accept His truth but He surely hopes you will recognize the extent of His love for you and come to Him (Matthew 18:14).

 

In every aspect of life, we have a choice to follow God’s way or our own way.  Have you noticed when ever you choose your own way, things don’t turn out exactly how you planned?  That’s because you don’t know everything, like God does.  He knows what’s best for us and He longs to lead us down the path of righteousness. 

 Lord, you alone know what’s best for us.  Help us to turn to you with all our choices.  Equip us to make the choice to follow you in all areas of our life.  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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How to Walk in the Spirit

Humble Self before God

It’s not about us.  This world does not exist to gratify our selfish desires, though many live as like it does.  The world and its entire people were created for God’s pleasure.  Psalm 149:4 NKJV “For the LORD takes pleasure in His people; He will beautify the humble with salvation.” The Bible teaches us in Mark 8:34 to deny self and think of others first, in doing so, we honor God and operate in a humble manner. We become humble rather than prideful.  Pride is something God hates (Proverbs 8:13).

 

Transform through God’s Love

In humility we are able to understand the love God has for us.  It is a love so deep, willing to sacrifice His own Son to die for our sins (John 3:16).  It is a love so pure and good it can not leave us to our own devices. It pursues us.  It changes us, draws us deeper into a more meaningful life.  It perfects us, if we’ll let it (1 John 4:18).

 

Sense God’s Hand Everywhere

Keeping our mind focused on God enables us to look for and expect to see God working behind every circumstance.  The more we see God’s hand, the deep our faith grows, further equipping us to walk in the Spirit.  Again, we must be willing to see (1 Samuel 12:16).  When we do see, praise God for what He’s doing.  An attitude of praise is helpful for remaining in the Spirit.

 

Conform My Will to His

Having the proper perspective on self and God enables us to submit to the will of God.  Upon realizing we are not the center of all existence, rather God is, and it becomes easier to submit to His authority (Romans 10:13).  All human authority was put there by God and we are obligated to submit to that authority as well (Romans 13:1).  As we do submit is it honoring to God.  It may also put in right relations with others (Ephesians 5:21).

 

While this short article does not explain everything about the Spirit, it should be a good guide to get you started.  Walking by the Spirit is about staying humble, considering others first, being transformed by God’s love, sensing His hand everything, and allowing our will to be molded to God’s will.

 Lord, thank you for your love, your Son, you Word and your Spirit.  Lead us in your truth.  Shape us in your image.  Equip us to walk in the Spirit.  In Jesus’ name Amen.  

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