Bible Devotions

Can you praise God when things aren’t going your Way?

Read Psalm 56.

What clues did the psalmist leave us that might help us learn to praise God in the midst of a trial?

Recognize God is still in control.Twenty-three times the psalmist points to God or references Him, in only thirteen verses.  This proves he knew God was in control.  He continued to call out to God through this psalm.

Recognize you are powerless. Humility is critical to getting help.  If you are not humble, you will never ask for help.  Look at verses one and two.  The Psalmist recognizes his weakness.  He knew he was unable to save him self and his enemies were too strong for him.  We should be so wise to see our own limitations.

 Trust God to work it out. Several times the psalmist uses affirming statements of trusting God.  Verses like “I will trust in You”, “In God I have put my trust”, and “This I know because God is for me” demonstrate he knew God’s Word and helped solidify his own faith and trust in God.

Remember the end of the rebellious. “Shall they escape by iniquity?”  God’s Word is clear the rebellious will not see the Kingdom of God.  There’s a place reserved for the wicked, unless they turn from their evil ways.  The psalmist reminds himself though they may say and do many evil things their reward is eternal separation from God.  They will not escape.

 Remember God’s delivered our soul from death. If the wicked are judged how much more sweet is the deliverance of the righteous?  Remembering the Lord has saved you, kept you from falling, and enabled you to live is cause for praise, even in the middle of a trial.

Next time you’re in facing a trial, remember how the psalmist dealt with it.  Know God is in control, you are powerless, trust Him to work it out and remember both the end of your enemy and your eternal salvation.  Then don’t forget to praise God in the middle of it.

Lord, thank you for your word of encouragement.  Help us to turn to you.  Teach us to trust you even in the middle of chaos.  Empower us with your Spirit.  Remind of us our end that we may be confident in your salvation.  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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Suffering is Important

First Corinthians 1:4 says “Love suffers long” since God is love He suffered for us.  But in His sufferings many good things came into being.  Reading the book of Hebrews offers a glimpse of the manifold benefits of suffering.

Hebrews 2:10 “For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings.”  By His sufferings we are granted salvation of our souls.  Our bondage to sin is broken.  We are captives set free by His sacrifice.

Hebrews 2:18 For in that He Himself has suffered, being tempted, He is able to aid those who are tempted.”  Through the suffering Jesus endured, He is able to comfort us in our suffering.  He knows what it’s like, for He suffered terribly.  When we suffer, our minds go to His suffering, knowing we have not suffered nearly as dearly as He has.

Hebrews 5:8 though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered.”  Through His suffering He learned obedience.  This was the example for us to follow.  In our sufferings we, too, learn obedience to Him and we begin understand the God who saved us.

Hebrews 9:26 He then would have had to suffer often since the foundation of the world; but now, once at the end of the ages, He has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself.”  Our sin is dealt with once and for all.  No more sacrificial offerings are required.  Jesus’ sacrifice is enough.  Our debt is paid. 

So you see, good really can come from suffering.  Next time you are suffering, think about what Jesus suffered and ask God to show you what you are to learn through it. 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for your suffering.  You know what it is like to suffer.  Help us to see our suffering through your eyes of love.  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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Equipped for Mercy

 

God so loved the world He sent His Son to die for it (John 3:16).  Can you imagine giving your son to die for a world who doesn’t recognize what you’ve done for it?  Most military families know what this is like.  They chose to go into the service perhaps to do something great or become someone focused on something bigger than self. 

 

We believers are called to make a similar sacrifice each day, to live out our life focused on God’s bigger plan.  Christ didn’t wait for the world to accept Him before He died for it.  We can’t wait either.  We are called to die to self and forgive others just as Christ forgave us (Ephesians 4:32). 

 

Along with Christ’s forgiveness comes liberty, only we use this liberty as an opportunity to server one another in love (Galatians 5:13).  We don’t grow weary in doing what is right, for Christ didn’t grow weary before He completed His task of savings us all.  For it is by His great power in us that enables us to finish the work we’ve been called to do. 

 

Therefore, we keep on extending God’s mercy to everyone we come in contact with.  The mercy we extend could very well be the turning point for someone causing them to give their life to Christ. 

 Lord, thank you for your mercy.  Help us keep our mind focused on you and your purposes.  Let us not grow weary in doing all that you called us to.  Equip us with your mercy and allow us to forgive as you have forgiven us.  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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God Uses Ordinary People

Reading Isaiah 53 this morning, verse two stuck in my mind:  “He had no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.”  The more that verse played in my mind, the more Hebrews 11 came to mind.  God has a history of taking regular, ordinary people and doing some extraordinary things through them. 

 

Read Hebrews 11.

 

Able was an ordinary young man who gave an excellent offering to the Lord.  Enoch pleased God.  Noah built an ark when God asked him to.  Abraham lived with his wife along with his dad, when God called him out of his country.  Sarah was barren but gave birth to Isaac in her old age.  Jacob was an ordinary father who played favorites with his sons.  Joseph was a regular teenager who’s brothers were jealous and sold him into slavery, but God used all that was wrongly done to him for good when he became second in charge in Egypt. Moses was a normal Hebrew boy God used to deliver the people from crushing hand of Pharaoh.  Joshua was an ordinary man with faith in God, so he led the people of God to defeat Jericho.  Rahab was a common prostitute, yet she believed God and saved the Joshua’s spies.  There are many more examples through out the Bible.  The point is God used all these ordinary people, who through faith subdued kingdoms, worked righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, became valiant in battle, turned to fight the armies of the aliens (Hebrews 11:33-34).

 

If Christ Himself was ordinary being a lowly carpenter’s son, why would we expect God to use only special people for His purposes?  The fact is He doesn’t.  “But God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things which are mighty;” 1 Corinthians 1:27 declares.   Why just look at who Jesus chose for His disciples?  A tax collector named Levi (Matthew) and simple fishermen (Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John).  These uneducated men went on to turn the world upside down because they had been found to have been with Jesus (Acts 4:13). 

 

What did all these ordinary people have in common? They believed God in faith.  Hebrews 11:6 says “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him”.  From the Old Testament examples to the New Testament examples, the people believed God against all odds.  They willingly submitted to His will in their life, even when it meant giving up their livelihood to follow Him.  Some left family and friends, some left their countries to live in a foreign land and still others gave up their jobs to follow God’s leading.  Their faith was real and it was demonstrated with action.  They were obedient to God’s commands.  When God said go, they went.

 

Think God can’t or won’t use you?  Think again.  His glory shines the greatest through the weakest of vessels.   When it seems impossible that good can come from a highly dysfunctional life, that’s just when God shows up to make everyone gasp at the wonderful of His mercy and love.   If you believe God, submit to His will and are obedient to His Word, stand back and watch the work of the Lord.  “For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?” says the Lord in Isaiah 43:19 NLT.

 Lord thank you for using ordinary people for your purposes.  It gives us hope that our lives can make a difference for your kingdom.  May we believe you, submit to your will and be quick to obey your commands.  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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Peace

We all want peace, don’t we?

What exactly is peace? 

From a worldly standpoint peace means absence of war or conflict.  However, spiritual peace, right standing with God, brings a peace not dependant on earthly circumstances.  Have you found yourself in a chaotic situation, yet you were calm and undisturbed?  It was not because you didn’t care about what was happening but on the contrary you were passionate about it and yet this peace exuded from you.     If you haven’t experienced that kind of peace yet, don’t worry your turn is coming.  I remember having a very “blessed” feeling amidst the baby crying, dog barking, phone ringing while trying to have a conversation over dinner one time.  It was such a wonderful moment it still moves me to worship God every time I think about it.  That’s the serenity of the peace we’re talking about today.

 

Where do we find it?

 

Jesus said “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace.  In the world you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world” (John 16:33).   After explaining to His disciples the Holy Spirit would come to bring to remembrance everything He taught them, Jesus said “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your heart be troubled neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27).  Peace and the Holy Spirit are inseparable.

 

How do we get it?

 

Unity with the Holy Spirit and obedience to God’s Word is a good place to start.  Listening to the Spirit’s prompting and quickly following through with whatever direction He gives will definitely be rewarded.  Paul taught our thoughts play a huge role in whether we obtain God’s peace or not in Philippians 4:8-9: “Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you.”

 

Did you see the connection?  Meditate on these things and do them.  There it is – obedience to God brings God’s peace.  However, we also need to be careful to obey for the right reasons.  We obey out of love for Christ.  He is the vine, we are the branches.  In Him we bear much fruit but apart from Him we can do nothing (John 15:5).

 

How’s your peace today?  If it’s running low, check back in with the Holy Spirit, ask God to help you back on the path, read God’s Word and then be quick to obey.

Lord Jesus, we are so amazed by your wonderful peace.  Thank you for all you do in us. May your Spirit continue to lead us on the path of righteousness as we seek you in obedience to 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.

 

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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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Proclaim the Good News

Sing to the LORD, bless His name; proclaim the good news of His salvation from day to day. Psalm 96:2 NKJV 

What is the Good News?

God loves you and wants you to be with Him forever in heaven.  But because we have a sinful nature our relationship with God has been broken.  God loved us so much, He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to mend our relationship with God.  Jesus’ death on the cross paid the penalty for our sin (John 3:16).  We are no longer under judgment for our sins.  We are pardoned.  We are forgiven.  We are set free from bondage of sin.  We call this Salvation (Romans 6:23).  That’s only part of the good news.  There’s more! Jesus’ resurrection from the dead gives those who believe in Him a new life.  It’s a second chance to do life right.  He came to give us life and that more abundantly (John 10:10). 

 

How do we proclaim it?

We start by reading God’s Word to obtain a firm understanding of what God’s done for us.  The more God’s Word is allowed in our heart, the more we become like Him.  Our life, the choices we make, and the things we think about and the words we say become godly.  Morphing into the person God created us to be, we become lights to other around us.  Obeying God’s Word and living it out means we’ll use our gifts, talents, and abilities for God’s glory.  We’ll begin serving God by what we do and the attitudes behind why we do it.  The result is serving others as we learn to walk by the spirit rather than satisfying our own selfish desires (Romans 8:4).   We do these things moment by moment and day by day.

 

Who do we proclaim it to?

We proclaim the good news to anyone who asks about the hope we have (1 Peter 3:15).  As we go about our business we have an eye on the look out for anyone downtrodden, hopeless and hurting.  We take special care for the widows and orphans and poor among us (James 1:27).  We come along side them, serving and helping where we can, waiting for an opportunity to share God’s love and salvation story. 

 

 Where do we proclaim it?

Anywhere we are we proclaim the good news.  We share at work as we conduct business, or at home while having dinner with our family.  It could be at school in between classes or on the soccer field while we’re playing.  We can proclaim the good news any time and any where.  Remember we live in a free country.  We are not persecuted for our faith, as in some countries.  So what’s holding us back?  People are dying for good news.  We have it, so let’s start sharing it.

 

Why do we proclaim it?

God does not want a single one to perish but all to come to Him for salvation (2 Peter 3:9).  He wants people to come to faith and trust in Jesus Christ so they will be saved.  We share the good news out of love for God and love of others.  We share out of respect for God and obedience to His commands.  Jesus said in Matthew 28:19 “Go make disciples of all the nations”.   We proclaim the good news to praise God for all He’s done.  In doing so we strengthen our own convictions and help other’s faith and trust grow in God’s plan. 

 

In summary the good news is forgiveness of sin, eternal life in Christ, and a new life now.  We share the good news through obedience to God’s Word and coming along side the hurting, serving and helping them.  We proclaim the good news where ever we may be all for the glory of God. 

 Lord Jesus, thank you for saving us.  Thank you for your Word to us.  Give us the wisdom, discernment and courage to share your good news with the world around us.  May we be obedient to your Word shining your love on those around us all for your glory.  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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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.

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If it’s God’s Will, He Makes it Possible

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

© ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc is a 501(c) (3) Public Charity helping you grow in knowledge and understanding of God’s Word.

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