Bible Devotions

The Lord will Answer His People

The Lord will be a shelter for His people… Joel 3:16 NKJV

The prophet Joel spoke of the “The Day of the Lord” coming. It is the Day of Judgment, when all the wrongs will be compensated.  It is a terrible and yet wonderful thing to behold.

Only those who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. “Now, therefore,” says the Lord, “Turn to Me with all your heart, with fasting, with weeping and with mourning.”

Then the Lord will be zealous for His land and pity His people. The Lord will answer His people.

The Lord will…

  • Remove you from the northern army
  • Cause the harvest to bloom
  • Cause the rain
  • Restore all the locusts have eaten
  • Satisfy you
  • Defend you
  • Pour out His Spirit upon us
  • Save those who call on the name of the Lord
  • Cause victory for His people
  • Strengthen His people
  • Be a shelter for His people
  • Pay back those who brought evil against His people
  • Acquit Judah and Jerusalem of bloodshed
  • Dwell in Zion

No matter what the circumstances look like, God is able to deliver us out of them. Look not at your foes. Look not at all you lack. Look not at the problems facing you.

Look, instead, to Jesus, the One who is able to rescue you.  God Almighty knows your troubles and has the power to save and deliver you. But it requires your trust. You must turn to Him, trust in His ability. Fear not, be glad and rejoice. For the Lord has done marvelous things!

Father, thank you for helping us through the difficult times in our life.  You provide a way out of every temptation.  You provide the strength we need to face all opposition.  We are ready to trust you. Deliver us Lord. 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.

How to grow through discipling in small groups. Read more at http://thinkonitbibledevotions.com/Disciple_in_Small_Groups.aspx

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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.

 

© 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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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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Consider Your Ways

Thus says the Lord, “Consider your ways!” Haggai 1:7 NKJV

Proverbs 14:12 tells us there is a path that seems right to us but it really leads to death.  When we only look at things from our human standpoint we are doing the very thing proverbs warns us about.

Our ways are not the Lord’s way, no matter how good they appear in our eyes (Isaiah 55:8-9).  The Lord’s ways are much higher, more pure, more truthful, and always right. Our ways are but filthy rags when standing before Almighty God.

So what is so wrong about our way anyway? Using Jesus’ teaching from Matthew 5 – 7, here’s a list of some of the ways we go wrong.

  • Angry without cause
  • Unresolved conflict with others
  • Lust after others
  • Divorce
  • Lying
  • Exaggerating
  • Not loving our enemy
  • Doing to be seen
  • Not forgiving
  • Desiring money over God
  • Worrying
  • Judging others without considering own sin first
  • Not asking God
  • Not doing what Jesus taught

 

Jesus said whoever hears these sayings of Mine and does them, he is a wise man.  No matter what comes against him, he will not fall because of his foundation on the Rock.

So looking at the list above, are there any that stand out or resonate with you? Ask God to help you overcome these and align yourself with His ways instead.

Consider our way means to validate our ways against God’s Word.  Let’s examine six things Scripture tells us about living God’s way.

  • Romans 3:23 says all have sinned. No one is immune, no matter how “good” they appear.  Everyone is a sinner. We must recognize this about our self.
  • Romans 6:23 says the wages of sin is death but the gift of God is eternal life in Jesus.  Though sin must be dealt with, God sent Jesus to take on our sin, so we don’t have to die.  God took care of the sin problem for us, without ever asking if we wanted the help!
  • Matthew 7:21-23 tells us that doing religious things won’t save us.  Only a relationship with Jesus can! Just knowing about Him won’t cut it. We must have a relationship with Him to be saved.
  • Proverbs 3:5-6 says lean not on our own understanding but acknowledge Him in all our ways.  Give proper reverence to God who saved us.
  • Galatians 5:16 tells us to walk by the Spirit and we won’t fulfill the lust of our flesh.  God’s Spirit was given the moment we believed. He helps us live right.
  • Matthew 22:37-40 says to pursue love because it fulfills all the law.  God is love.  Pursue God through Jesus all the law and the commandments are complete in Him.

We live, breathe, and have our being in Christ.  If we stray away from Christ we sin.  We must cling to Jesus, the Author and Perfector of our faith.

 

Lord God and Father of Jesus Christ, we thank you for loving us enough to take on the sin problem and dying in our place.  Thank you for your Spirit to guide us in your truth.  May we continue to recognize we are only dust without Jesus.  In your precious name we pray, 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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Pursue Love

Read 1 Corinthians 13. 

What Love Isn’t

Love isn’t the warm, gushy feeling you get when being romanced by your sweetheart.  Love is not a sexual desire or longing for physical interlude with another person.  These are examples of mere feelings.  While feelings may accompany love, they are not love.

 

What Love Is

According to 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NKJV “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.”  In addition, we know from 1 John 4:16 “God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”  These attributes of love are really attributes of God and those who love God. 

 

Steps to Love

We need to realize we have a choice to love.  Love isn’t easy or free of effort.  It takes a decision to love.  It takes determination to continue to love.  Most importantly it requires the Holy Spirit to love.  As God is love, we can not love without God’s presence.  That’s where the Holy Spirit comes into play.  For those who believe Jesus died for our sin and rose again for our eternal salvation, the Holy Spirit is given to us and enables us to love. 

 

Results of Love

There is no doubt when someone loves.  You can see it in their life.  Love exhibits it self in your life and the lives of others around you.  Jesus gave us lots of examples to follow: washing His disciples’ feet, feeding thousands, denying His will and following His Father’s will, and laying down His life for His friends, as well as many other examples.  Love changes things.  Love forgives.  It extends mercy rather than judgment.  Love builds up rather tearing people down.  Love seeks to restore rather than destroy.  Just look the relationship of God and His people.  Although His people repeatedly sinned and rebelled against Him, He still made it possible, through Christ, to be saved. 

 

Above all else we can choose to do in this life; the greatest of these is the choice to love.  Pursue love today. 1 John 4:7 NKJV says “Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.”

 Lord, thank you for loving us and enabling us to love you and others.  Help us choose to love and follow your example.  Thank you for your Holy Spirit in us to lead us in your love.  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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Love is a Result

It is the finished product.  We cannot wake up one day and decide to love everyone.  It may work temporarily.  As soon as the object of that love does something hurtful, we stop loving.  That’s our nature.

Jesus said, “You can do nothing apart from Me.” He means it.  All our efforts to love, our self-will and determination will fail. 

Only God’s love lasts forever, unchanged.  Even when the object of His love turns their back on Him, God still loves them.  For the Bible tells us nothing can ever separate us from the love of God.  Hell can’t, heaven can’t, our fears can’t, and even our mistakes can’t.  God is love, therefore, His love remains forever.

If we crave more love in our life the answer is found in Jesus Christ.  First John 4:15 says, “whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him and he in God.” As long as we abide in God, we can love others.  First John 4:4 says, “He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.” Jesus said in John 15:10, “If you keep My commandments you will abide in My love, just as I have kept My Father’s commandments and abide in His love.”  First John 4:16 says, “And we have known and believed the love that God has for us. God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him.”

As a result of abiding in God, and He in us, we will love one another because it is His Spirit in us doing the loving.  John 3:6 tells us we must be born again to receive this Spirit. When He comes to live in us He is responsible for guiding us in all truth, convicting us of sin, of righteousness and of judgment to come, which helps us stay on track with God’s commandments.

Then the fruit appears.  Galatians 5:22 tells us the first fruit of the Spirit is love.  Everything the Spirit, of God, does is loving.  Once we accept Jesus Christ into our life, God gives us His Spirit which empowers and equips us to desire and do what is pleasing to Him.  That means we have the ability to love others as our self and love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength.

Just because we have received God’s Spirit doesn’t mean we automatically love all the time.  For God designed us each with free-will.  We can choose to walk by the Spirit or by our old worldly ways.  The Bible calls this walking by the flesh.

God gives us every opportunity to love.  He has equipped us to love, but the choice is still ours.  Next time we are tempted to ________________________, (you fill in the blank), S.T.O.P. Before you react, respond or rehearse how you might react, think of this acrostic.

S eek God’s perspective

T urn to God’s Word

O pen your heart to truth

P ray for God’s leading

Hiding God’s word in your heart and mind is a great way to guard against temptation.  You may be tempted to become easily angered, be rude, be selfish or any number of other ungodly things.  Whatever your temptation God always provides a way out.  Seek Him before, during and after the trying time and you will have peace that surpasses all understanding.

Thank you, God, for helping us to love as you have loved us. Thank you for your Holy Spirit to guide us along the pathway of life and righteousness. Thank you for making us right in your sight by the gift of Jesus Christ. In His 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.

How to grow through discipling in small groups. Read more at http://thinkonitbibledevotions.com/Disciple_in_Small_Groups.aspx

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Do You Believe In The Son of Man?

This seems like a simply question, doesn’t it? My guess many “Christians” might answer that question with a resounding YES!

However, before we answer the question we might consider what the phrase “The Son of Man” means.

Matthew 16:13-17 NIV says:

“When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven.”

There are 83 references to “The Son of Man” in NIV translation.  Not all are references to Christ, but the ones with “Son” capitalized are.  Here are some for your consideration:

  • Matthew 20:28 “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
  • Matthew 24:27 “For as lightning that comes from the east is visible even in the west, so will be the coming of the Son of Man.”
  • Matthew 25:31 “”When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory.”
  • Luke 21:36 “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man.”
  • Luke 22:69 “But from now on, the Son of Man will be seated at the right hand of the mighty God.”
  • John 1:51 “He then added, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”
  • John 5:27 “And he has given him authority to judge because he is the Son of Man.”
  • Acts 7:57 “”Look,” he said, “I see heaven open and the Son of Man standing at the right hand of God.””

We can see clearly from these verses, the Son of Man is title displaying authority and Diety.  As we ponder on these verses, we might be inclined to add other fitting titles such as: Son of God, Messiah, King of kings, Lord of lords, Prince of Peace, Wonderful Counselor, and Almighty God.

Now think for a moment of all God has done.  He spoke the world into existence. He created all we see from nothing that was seen.  He created all the plants, the animals, the earth, the sky, the stars, the planets, and the sustaining power of the balance of our solar system.  He created people with a free will.  He gave us creativity, communication, and intellect. He holds the waves of the sea in His hand.  He is without time because a day is as a year to Him.  He healed people through touch, sight, and simply speaking it.  He raised people from the dead.  He spoke dry scattered bones back into place and breathed life into them. He caused the sun to stand still.  The earth quakes at His presence.  All of creation cries out in praise to Him.  Nothing is impossible for Him.

God, in the form of Jesus, reigns over everything.  You and I are included in everything, whether we choose to acknowledge Him or not.

If we do choose to believe Jesus is the Son of God, then we are agreeing to be under His authority.  We willingly yield to His agenda for our life and sacrifice our own.  In order to place our self under His authority we must be willing to accept our position when compared to God.

Let’s think about what position that might be.

He is God.  We are His creation.  He is Author of life. We are alive because He made us.  We can nothing apart from Him.  He holds our very breath in His hand.  God is holy, without sin, without deceit, and without hypocrisy.  In Him is every good gift.  We are not holy, we are stained. We are not pure, we are tainted with sin. We are not honorable, we are manipulative, selfish and hypocritical.  He is merciful. We are critical and judgmental. The list could go on. Just remember what Romans 3:23 says “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.”  This sin we speak of has to be dealt with.  Romans 6:23 says “the wages of sin is death.”

We must see this about our self to fully appreciate how great God is.  He loved us enough to do something we could not do for our self. He made a way to cleanse us from every wrong. He took our sin upon Himself, and died in our place to pay for our sin.  The last part of Romans 6:23 says “but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” The sin is dealt with.  It is finished.  We who believe in Jesus’ atoning work on the cross, are forgiven our sin-dept.  We are dressed in His robe of righteousness, as if we had never sinned to begin with.

If we have fully grasped the meaning of God’s authority and our position under His authority, our life should show some signs that we are different beings.  Jesus said you must be born again to enter the kingdom of God.  Through faith we believe and are saved by His grace.  Our obedience to God’s Word is one outward expression of the inward transformation.  But think you can short cut the process by avoiding looking at our sinful self and just trying to do more good things than bad, for that is evil in God’s sight.  The good works done are done from a heart so radically changed by the grace of God it is done in reverence and love for HIM and nothing from our self.

Now, having looked at the authority of God compared to our sinful state, are you able to answer the question?  Do you believe in the Son of Man?

Lord, Jesus, I believe you are the Son of God. Thank you for coming to earth, dying for my sins, and raising to life again to free me from sin and death. Thank you for loving me that much! Help me to live in a way that’s pleasing to you. In your 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.  Visit us at http://www.ThinkOnIt.org today.

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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. Deuteronomy 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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10 Reasons to be Thankful

  1. God so loved the world He gave his only Begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16
  2. There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit. Romans 8:1
  3. 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. John 16:13
  4. Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Galatians 5:1
  5. For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption but he who sows to the Spirit will reap everlasting life. Galatians 6:8
  6. Being confident of this very thing, He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ. Philippians 1:6
  7. But the Lord is faithful, who will establish you and guard you from the evil one. 2 Thessalonians 3:3
  8. Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Ephesians 6:10-11
  9. Now this is the confidence we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. And if we know He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him. 2 John 2:14-15
  10. 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 thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Timothy 3:16-17

We, who believe Jesus is Lord and Savior, have been given much to be thankful for. God took care of the sin problem by having Jesus die in our place, even when we were his enemies. When we believe this, we are no longer condemned but set free. We are given the Holy Spirit to guide us in truth, help us live godly lives. It is by God’s power in us who transforms our lives. God establishes and protects and gives us armor. He hears our prayers. He gave us His word to be equipped for every good work.

Dear Lord, thank you for giving us so much of yourself.  In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

 

© 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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I have chosen you

…for I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts. Haggai 2:23 NKJV

Imagine God is saying this to you personally.  Elizabeth, I have chosen you.  ______, I have chosen you, says the Lord of hosts.  How would you respond?

Would you respond like Moses? O Lord let someone else go for Ii am slow of speech.

Would you respond like Mary did? Behold the maid servant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.

Would you respond like Philip? We have found Him to whom Moses in the law, and also the prophets wrote – Jesus of Nazareth.

Well Jesus did say this to you in John 15:16 “You did not chose Me but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit…”

What is your response?

Father God, thank you for choosing us for your purposes. Lead us forward with your loving kindness. 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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