Bible Devotions

Honoring God with Sabbath

And shall honor Him, not doing your own ways, nor finding your own works, then you shall delight yourself in the Lord; Isaiah 58:13-14 NKJV 

 

Have you ever wondered how we can honor God?  I have.  Today’s verse clearly indicates by choosing not to follow our own ways or relying on our own works we can honor Him.

 

Speaking as a former perfectionist, I used to be terribly disappointed when things did not occur the way I thought they should.  This disappointment caused a division between me and the people around me, because I was, unknowingly, judging them based on some impossible and very unrealistic standard, in my mind.   I was measuring them up according to what I thought was my “right” way.   Well, God’s Word is true when He tells us in Matthew 7:1-2 “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged;”.

 

So what you might be thinking.  What does your old perfectionist ways have to do with today’s verse?  Perfectionism is all about control and doing things according to your own way.  Isaiah tells us that going our own way is NOT honoring to God.

 

It is when we choose to follow His ways and are obedient to His commandments that we honor God.  One commandment was created for our rest, the Sabbath.  Isaiah 58 is talking about how the people had made the Sabbath into something it wasn’t supposed to be.  God intended us to use the Sabbath for rest, giving ourselves to Him, and to focus more on Him as a way of renewal, strengthening and filling us up each week. 

 

Do you have a set day where you honor God by not doing your own thing?  Do you offer Him yourself and allow Him to renew your mind, body, and soul?  If not, maybe it’s time you stop and be refreshed.  Isaiah tells us when we do rest on Sabbath by not doing our own thing we shall delight our self in the Lord.

 

Lord, thank you for knowing exactly what we need.  Thank you for making the Sabbath for rest and renewal that honors you in the process.  Help us to be quick to obey your commandments, for in doing so we demonstrate our love for 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.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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10 Ways to Worship God

  1. Don’t worship anyone or anything other than God.  Exodus 34:4 For you shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.
  2. Think about God’s characteristics, like strength, faithfulness, mercy, etc.  Psalm 29:4 The voice of the Lord is powerful; the voice of the Lord is full of majesty.
  3. Gather with other believers to celebrate God. John 12:20 Now there were certain Greeks among those who came up to worship at the feast.
  4. Consider the benefits we receive from God. Psalm 29:11 The Lord will give strength to His people. The Lord will bless His people with peace.
  5. Walk in the spirit.  John 4:24 God is spirit and those who worship Him must worship in spirit in truth.
  6. Study God’s Word to learn the truth.  2 Timothy 3:16 All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
  7. Sing praise to God.  Psalm 30:4 Sing praise to the Lord, you saints of His, and give thanks at the remembrance of His Holy name.
  8. Dance before the Lord. 2 Samuel 6:14 Then David danced before the Lord with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.
  9. Be merciful as our Lord is merciful.  Hosea 6:6 For I desire mercy and not sacrifice and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings.
  10. Obey God’s Will.  John 6:40 And this is the will of Him who sent Me, that everyone who sees the Son and believes in Him may have everlasting life; and I will raise him up at the last day.

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Sharpen Your Faith with New Habits

As a believer, you’ve started a new life in Christ.  For every bad habit that distances you from God, Jesus wants to give you a new habit to draw you near to Him.   The goal is to stay connected with God and strengthen your relationship with Him.  In keeping with our goal, here are some practical do-able suggestions to help foster new habits that keep you turning to God.

Pray always. Prayer changes things.  If you can’t find the right words to pray, try reading some of Stormie OMartian’s “Power of Praying ________” books.  She’s written several. Fill in the blank with wife, woman, parent or husband, depending on the perspective and focus you need some help with.  These books are quite handy for expanding your personal prayer horizon and for learning to pray with God’s Word.

Read the Bible every day. I’m sure you’ve heard this one before, but it’s true.  Even reading just a verse or two every day can make a huge difference in your life.  God’s Word is powerful.  The more you read, the more you’ll want to read.  The Bible is like no other book.  It’s alive.  It will give your faith new life, if you’ll read it.

Memorize scripture. When you come across a verse that resonates with you, God’s probably trying to tell you something.  Try to commit it to memory.  Write it down on a post-it note or note card, put it somewhere you’ll see it frequently.  Read it often.  By spending time with a particular verse, God may be preparing you to receive further revelation about Himself or the situation you may be in.

Make God’s Word accessible. Everywhere you go, have God’s Word with you.  Keep a Bible in various places like the office, in your car, and in every room of your house.  They even make very slim or pocket size Bibles you can easily fit in your purse or back pack.  If God’s Word is everywhere, you make it easier for you to pick it up and read it.

Change the radio station. Instead of listening to depressing talk radio or downer worldly music, consider switching to a Bible teaching or Christian music station.  Hearing God’s Word while in the car turns a boring car ride into productive time with God.

Join a small group. Gathering together with other believers for Bible study, fellowship and accountability encourages one another in our faith.  It helps build you up in His love.  Hearing how God’s working in another’s life can cause hope to rise that He’ll come through for you too.  Sharing your story with others can provide encouragement to someone and strengthen their faith as well.  God made us better together.

Have you noticed the theme running through all these suggestions?  That’s right, God’s Word is the main thing.  Our goal is to keep the main thing, the MAIN THING. Deuteronomy 11:19-21 NKJV teaches us to tie God’s commands to our hands, bind them to our doorposts, discuss with our children when we sit down, lie down and when we stand up.  How better to do that than to have God’s Word with us everywhere we go?

If you find your relationship with God growing dull or cold – STOP, check your focus.  How frequently are you talking with Him?  How often are you reading, hearing, thinking and speaking God’s Word?  Try the suggestions for a week and see if it helps get your perspective back and re-ignite your love for God again.  Remember these things are not to replace God, but to help you draw close to God.  His Word by the power of His spirit draws you near, but your job is to remain in Him through obedience to His Word.

Lord, we thank You for giving us everything we need to maintain a healthy intimate relationship with You. Forgive us for straying away from You.  Draw us closer by the power of Your Spirit.   Thank You for Your life sustaining Word and Your Spirit within us to teach us Your truth. Help us develop godly habits that strengthen our faith in 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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Eager for the Savior’s Reward

For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body that it may be conformed to His glorious body, according to the working by which He is able even to subdue all things to Himself.  Philippians 3:20-21 NKJV

Although we live here on earth, our real home is heaven. Jesus taught us we are not of this world, just as He is not in John 7:14-16 “I have given them Your word; and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not pray that You should take them out of the world, but that You should keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world.”

So we wait, not passively wait, but we eagerly wait, keeping our eyes on the things which are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18 “while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

Remember in Philippians 3:14, Paul said “I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us up to heaven.”, well Jesus promises to transform us so we may become conformed to His glorious body. Our current body wasn’t made to live forever, but we have a new one waiting for us once we cross the finish line, when our work here is done.

Jesus, who has all power and authority, will do this because he said he would. Titus 1:2 “in hope of eternal life which God, who cannot lie, promised before time began,” Hebrews 6:18 “that by two immutable things, in which it is impossible for God to lie, we might have strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold of the hope set before us.” So know excellent things are waiting for us in heaven, be encouraged to keep the faith no matter what happens and remain in Him.

Lord, you are so generous! You save us from destruction by paying the price for our sin.  You give us everything we need to live a godly life here and now.  And you make a place for us in heaven, with rewards we can’t even imagine!  How awesome you are!  In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

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Your Sins Are Forgiven

When Jesus saw their faith, He said to the paralytic, “Son, be of good cheer; your sins are forgiven you.”  Matthew 9:2 NKJV

Reading Matthew 9:1-7 reveals hardness of heart and unbelief in some of the scribes who witnessed a wonderful, merciful healing of a paralyzed man. Their reaction wasn’t one of joy or amazement, but of accusation.  They said “within” themselves, “This Man blasphemes!”

Even this shows Jesus all knowing abilities.  Jesus knew their thoughts. He always read people’s inward thoughts.  In verse 4, Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why do you think evil in your hearts?”   The evil the scribes thought was unbelief and accusation.  The scribe had no mercy or compassion for the one Jesus healed.  They’re thoughts were against Jesus, who was setting the poor man free from bondage.  You have to be pretty hard hearted not to be happy for someone who was paralyzed and now could walk.

Are we harboring evil in our own hearts?  Is there unbelief?  How about your compassion level?  Are you concerned for other’s well being?

Lord Jesus, You know our thoughts.  Have mercy on us, forgive us for the evil in our hearts.  Heal us and give us right desires and compassion for the lost.  In  Jesus’ name Amen.

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Do You Believe All Things are Possible?

Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.” Mark 9:23 NKJV

I believe most peoples have heard “all things are possible to him who believes” quoted in various ways.  But have you ever stopped to check out the context in which it was said?

Mark 9:14:-29 NKJV is the account where the disciples couldn’t heal a certain boy and Jesus rebukes them as a faithless generation.  The boy’s father  desperate to help his son, comes to Jesus asking, “But if You can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”

How does Jesus respond?  Jesus said to him, “If you can believe, all things are possible to him who believes.”  I love this about Jesus.  He got right to the point, the reason the boy wasn’t healed was because of unbelief.  Yet, Jesus is gentle to the man because He knows how hard it must have been to watch the son being tormented.  The rest of the passage is about Jesus healing the boy and the disciples asking why they couldn’t heal the boy.

Getting back to the opening verse, Jesus teaches us “all things are possible” if we believe.  Does it say some things are possible?  No. Does it say only one thing is possible?  No.  He said “all things are possible to him who believes”.  All in its adjective form is an inclusive word, it literally means any and everything you can think of and even the stuff you haven’t thought of yet.

If Jesus said all things are possible, then it means ALL things are possible to him who believes, doesn’t it?  Yes did does.  It means you can be freed from the power of sin, you can overcome an addiction, your heart can be made new, your marriage can be restored, your faith can increase and many more things are possible to him who believes.

What are you choosing not to believe today?   If you find yourself holding on to unbelief, do what the father did in our story today.  Mark 9:24 NKJV says the father cried out, “Lord, I believe; help my unbelief!”  You can be assured that’s a prayer Jesus will answer.

In Matthew’s (17:19-21) account of the same story, Jesus said to them, “…I say to you, if you have faith as a mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you.”  As God’s word teaches, I encourage you to believe nothing will be impossible for you.

Lord Jesus, thank you for your clear teaching all things are possible to those who believe.  As the father cried out, help our unbelief. In Your name, Jesus, we pray Amen.

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Speak God’s Word Openly to the World

Jesus answered him, “I spoke openly to the world. I always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where the Jews always meet, and in secret I have said nothing. John 18:20 NKJV

As we consider what it means to share the gospel with others, we need to keep our eyes on how Jesus it. He is our example to follow.

His message is for everyone who will hear it.

  • Matthew 13:43 “Then the righteous will shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears to hear, let him hear!”
  • Mark 4:24 “Then He said to them, “Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.”

First Timothy 4:16 “Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.”

He proclaimed it everywhere openly.

  • Mark 1:38 “But He said to them, “Let us go into the next towns, that I may preach there also, because for this purpose I have come forth.””
  • Mark 3:1 “And He entered the synagogue”
  • Mark 4:1 “And again He began to teach by the sea.”
  • Mark 6:1 “Then He went out from there and came to His own country, and His disciples followed Him.”

He did not teach anyone privately, but always in the company of others.

  • Matthew 15:30 “Then great multitudes came to Him, having with them the lame, blind, mute, maimed, and many others; and they laid them down at Jesus’ feet, and He healed them.”
  • Matthew 19:2 “And great multitudes followed Him, and He healed them there.”
  • Matthew 20:29 “Now as they went out of Jericho, a great multitude followed Him.”

He plays no favorites, but gives all the same opportunity to come.

  • Matthew 11:28 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”
  • Luke 9:23 “Then He said to them all, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me.”
  • Matthew 19:14 “But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.””

How are you doing? Are you sharing the message with everyone? Are you proclaiming it openly everywhere you go? Are you avoiding favorites and sharing with all people?

Lord Jesus, thank you for your example to us this day. Empower us with your Spirit to proclaim your message to all, in all places, and without playing  favorites. Draw us to you. In your blessed name we pray. Amen.
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Walk Worthy of God Who Calls You

For you remember, brethren, our labor and toil; for laboring night and day,that we might not be a burden to any of you, we preached to you the gospel of God.  You are witnesses, and God also, how devoutly and justly and blamelessly we  behaved ourselves among you who believe; as you know how we exhorted, and  comforted, and charged every one of you, as a father does his own children, that you would walk worthy of God who calls you into His own kingdom and glory. 1  Thessalonians 2:9-12 NKJV

If anyone is considering quitting their job to go into “ministry” full time, stop.  The first verse above tells us that Paul worked.  He had a job, so he was able to  provide for himself.  Yet, he still preached the gospel.

I had a co-worker and friend of mine tell me she was considering leaving her job,where we both worked, and finding a Christian job or perhaps work at the church.She felt like she needed to move in the direction of ministry.  I thought this was kind of funny.  From my perspective, I’ve always thought ministry  happens wherever you are.  In fact, where I work, I am ministering by being  who I am in Christ.

Don’t misunderstand, there’s nothing wrong with working for the church or a Christian employer.  Just be certain that God is really calling you to make a change.  Pray, ask for wisdom.  Don’t overlook the opportunities right before you.  Remember, everyone needs to know Christ and be saved. Chances are there are plenty of folks around you that could use the saving grace of Christ to give them hope for eternity.

After much prayer and self examination, in the end, my friend decided, she was in a way trying to run away from the ugliness of the secular world. Now, she is ministering right where she is.  It’s beautiful to watch her discover how to use her gifts in her current role to minister to those around her.

Be who God called you to be.  Keep alert and pray for everyone around you. Even if you never say a single word about Christ, you still can make a difference through prayer and the decisions you make at work.  Be faithful to God, right where He has you.  One day, you’ll heard Him say what Matthew 25:21 says: “The master was full of praise. ‘Well done, mygood and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together! ‘”

Look around, who needs an encouraging word?  Who needs some uplifting prayers?  Is anyone really exempt from those questions?  The answer: Everyone needs it.  Start today,pray for someone you work with and you’ll be starting your own ministry, right where you are!

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Decisions


My son, pay attention to my wisdom; Lend your ear to my understanding, that you may preserve discretion, and your lips may keep knowledge. Proverbs 5:1-2 NKJV

As a parent we know what’s best for our children because we’ve lived longer. We’ve learned things over time and want to share these lessons with our kids so they might learn from us rather than make the same mistakes we did. But our wisdom and understanding is based on our experience. Therefore, if we haven’t experienced it we may not know how to respond because we have no past example to draw from.

God’s wisdom and knowledge are far greater than ours. He created everything. He sees past, present and future all at the same time. He knows how one decision affects other things later on. Plus He didn’t have to learn any of it because He made it all! Unlike our best, God’s best might include a little pain because of its usefulness in developing character in us. While we shy away from and try to avoid pain, God allows it to move or shape us into the godly people He desires us to become.

God’s wisdom and understanding help us make better decisions. This in turns helps us avoid unnecessary self-inflicted pain. If we followed everything God told us, we would be free from guilt, shame and fear. Why? Because we would know the difficulties we faced are there for the purpose of bettering us rather than from our own poor choices. That knowledge might sustain us during any difficulty as we realize we didn’t bring the situation on our self.

Which is better? A decision based on partial information or one based on all the information? That’s easy, the decision based on all the information. The more information we have the better decision we make. That’s why we need God’s Word in our hearts and mind to influence our decisions for good.

Whose wisdom and understanding are you paying attention to? Yours or God’s?

Lord Jesus, you are wisdom and truth. Help us to seek you in our decisions that we may make wise decisions based on your knowledge and your leading. In your name we pray. 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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God’s Part

The LORD by wisdom founded the earth; by understanding He established the heavens; by His knowledge the depths were broken up, and clouds drop down the dew. Proverbs 3:19-20 NKJV

This is God’s story of what He has done for us. Key words to consider are wisdom, understanding and knowledge. Notice how each of these words are used by God. To further understand let’s examine the elements of the picture He’s describing.

The Lord by wisdom founded the earth. This is the foundation on which we all live. Earth represents something solid, a foundation, being grounded, stability and security. It grounds us by gravity to hold us here. It keeps us stable and secure as opposed to drifting off out into space somewhere.

The Lord also established the heavens by His understanding. The heavens symbolize God’s Way, the High way, the Holy way, the Upper path, the pathway to life, the Better way.

The Lord by His knowledge broke up the depths. To me this symbolizes how God breaks the power of false thinking, wrong assumptions, sin, bondage to sin, evil and anything opposed to God.

The clouds may symbolize God’s love, mercy, grace, forgiveness. The clouds are a picture of love pouring out what we need to sustain us.

The Bible is filled with analogies of how far God goes for us. God is extravagant in His love for us. John 3:16 says “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” God is incredibly generous with His beauty. God is wonderfully creative in communicating with us. John 16:13 says “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; for He will not speak on His own authority, but whatever He hears He will speak; and He will tell you things to come.” If only His beloved children would take time to dwell in His presence and in His word to discover God’s truth.

My prayer for you, the reader, is for you desire God, dig into His Word each day and ask Him to reveal its meaning to you in a very real way.

Lord, thank you for loving us so deeply. Draw us near you. Give us a desire for you. Help us experience your beauty, strength, forgiveness and love. May we read your word each day and be enlightened by your truth. Lead us in the path of righteousness. In Jesus’ name we pray, 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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