Bible Devotions

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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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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Revelation is Worth the Wait

While reading the Bible one morning, nothing happened at first. Typically, I will experience an “Ah ha” moment. The moment where I know there is something I need to learn from the passage. But that moment didn’t come.

Sometimes it is silent. Read a passage and hear no nudging of the Spirit. It was this way on the morning I’ve described. As I sat and thought about the verse, my mind was blank. Literally, nothing came to mind. I could not figure out what I was to do with the verse or whether there was anything specific in it directed for me and my situation.

Some verses are not us. Then again a lot of them are. This silent verse proved to be for me in the end.  But I had to wait for it.

I’m not talking about waiting days, weeks, months, or years for the verse to speak to me. But I did have to wait a few minutes. I had to wait long enough to see if I would give up on the search and become frustrated with the nothingness that resonated from the verse.

I sat there pondering the character, thinking how his situation could related to mine. I tried imagining what my life would be like in his shoes. Still nothing came.

I read the section of Scripture over and over again, pausing after each word to see if other meaning would come. Still nothing was revealed.

I was about to move on, but something held me fast. I could not go on to the next verse. This was an indication there was something that hadn’t surfaced yet. I waited.

I asked the Holy Spirit to show me what was needed from this verse. Then it happened. Like the sun dawning, bright light illuminated the way. The truth of the verse showed itself. I realized what was intended for me. It was stunning.

Never would I have thought this verse would apply to me.  A quick reading and I might have glossed over it. A little frustration could have caused me to move on too quickly. Yet I was obedient to the Holy Spirit and waiting for the insight. And it came!

Be still and know I am God. Let me encourage you to take time with God. Be still. Let the Bible speak to you. Sit through the silence. Wait for further revelation. It will come.

Enjoy your time with God through the study of the Bible. I know I do!

Lord, I thank you for the lesson of waiting for your revelation. Thank you for guiding me in your truth.  Thank you for being patient with me. Help me have patience to wait for your revelation too. 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 Lesson in the Importance of Context

Have you ever started watching a movie that had already began? You missed the first part of the movie but watched the middle and end only. Over time you pieced together scenes to help understand what the movie was about. Sometimes it is frustrating trying to figure out what’s going on. Reading one section of Scripture without seeing how it fits within the chapter it comes from can be equally frustrating.

Let’s work with a real example. Open your Bible to the New Testament book of Mark and turn to chapter six. If you don’t have a Bible handy, I will wait while you get one. If you are reading this online, use BibleGateway.com.

Start by reading verses 33-44. It is a familiar passage about the feeding of 5,000. Why do you suppose Jesus told his disciples “You give them something to eat?”

If this was all you read of Mark chapter six you might be thinking something like what I did. If I were the disciple I would be thinking “Me? You want me to feed all these people? What are you crazy? I’m no one special. I can’t feed them.” Again if all you read was this one section you would miss something tremendously important. Earlier in verses 7-12 Jesus gave his disciples power over unclean spirits, to preach repentance, and to heal the sick. No where between verse 12 and verse 33 does it say the disciples’ powers were revoked.  If the disciples had the power to do all that stuff, do you suppose they might also have the power to feed the people?

Let’s revisit the story in verses 33-44. Knowing the disciples still had the powers Jesus gave them, how does this change your thoughts on why Jesus told the disciples to feed the 5,000? Could Jesus be testing the disciples to see how well they used what He gave them?

Do you see how one part of the chapter builds on the other? Without the first part, we might miss the real point Jesus was trying to make. The disciples had what they needed to feed the masses. Sadly they didn’t recognize it. But don’t be too harsh on the disciples because we are probably a lot like them.  Jesus has given us much. Are we using what He gave us to its fullest potential?

Context is very important. Context usually takes time because more Scripture must be read before a drill down study can begin. Without context we lose meaning or might just to the wrong conclusions. Therefore, when Scripture is offered, take time to check it out in context which is came from.  You don’t want to lose the meaning or wrongly interpret the meaning.  Be like the Bereans who after hearing Paul preach would study Scripture to see if what Paul said was true or not.

Lord, thank you for your Holy Spirit in us who guides us in all truth and reminds us all Jesus taught. Thank you for your revelation as we read your words in the Bible.  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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How to Turn Scripture into Answered Prayer

The Bible tells us when we pray according to God’s will, we know He hears us. If we know He hears us, we can be confident He will answer us.

How do we know if our prayer is aligned with God’s will?

The bible is filled with God’s words. What God says in His word is true, pure, and right. Therefore, if we use God’s words in our prayers we can be assured God hears us. But do we just read God’s words back to God like a prayer? Perhaps we do. Then again I have found it helpful to follow the prompting of the Spirit.

As I read a Scripture sometimes a name comes to my mind.  I take the name as an indication the verse if just read is meant for that person.  For example read “A faithful witness does not lie, but a false witness will utter lies.” (Proverbs 14:15) Let’s say Joan’s name came to mind.  I would then turn this Scripture into a prayer for Joan that sounds like this: “Lord thank you for being a faithful witness that does not lie. May Joan turn away from lies and become a faithful witness that does not lie. In Jesus’ name Amen.”

Try it the next time you read the Bible.  Turn your reading into to prayer.

© 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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Liberty in Christ

And you shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.  John 8:32 NKJV 

Believing in God

Living a life of liberty in Christ is possible by believing God.  The Bible tells us there is no darkness in Him, He can not lie, and His plans are to prosper us rather than to harm us (1 John 1:5, Jeremiah 29:11).  God is good and we can count on that.

 

Understanding the Truth

The Bible is the Word of God written through men as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit.  The Holy Bible tells us it is good for doctrine, teaching, rebuking and correcting a man in righteousness that he might be lacking nothing (2 Timothy 3:16).   God gave each believer the gift of the Holy Spirit to dwell in us for the purpose of guiding us into all truth (Romans 5:5, John 16:7-14). 

 

Agreeing with God

A sinner is anyone who chooses his/her own way over God’s way. The Bible teaches we are all sinners who fall short of His glory (Romans 3:23).  As we read God’s Word it becomes obvious how we miss His glorious standard for us.  When we become aware of our sinfulness, we are expected to confess our sins and seek His forgiveness.  The Bible tells us He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9).

 

Accepting the Gift

The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ (Romans 6:23). While on earth, Jesus Christ was God in human form.  He was the perfect, sinless example of how we are to during our life time.  He came to pay the price of our sin and make it possible for us to live for eternity.  In John 14:6 NKJV Jesus said, “I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through Me.” Anyone who believes in their heart and confesses with their mouth Jesus is Lord will be saved (Romans 10:9).

 

Renewing Your Mind

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).  Only God’s truth can renew your mind.  The Bible teaches us to think on things that are true, noble, just, pure, lovely, are of good report, virtuous, and praiseworthy – meditate on these things (Philippians 4:8).  Reading and meditating on God’s Word is crucial for renewing your mind.

 

Denying the Lies

As God’s Word infiltrates our minds and hearts, the lies we have believed start becoming visible.  We can recognize the lies easier by comparing them to the Word of God.  The Bible teaches us the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ (2 Corinthians 10:4-5).  We are responsible for our thoughts.  If our thoughts are filled with lies, we need to capture them, make them obedient to Christ.  God’s Holy Spirit in us gives us the very power we need to make God’s Word dwell in our minds rather than lies.

 

Practicing the Truth

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).  The old life of sin is gone and the new life of the Spirit has come.  If we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin (1 John 1:7).  Walk in the Spirit and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).  When you do walk in the Spirit the following fruit will be evident in your life: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).

 

Living in Victory

If you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law (Galatians 5:18).  For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.  For what the law could not do in that it was weak through the flesh, God did by sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, on account of sin:  He condemned sin in the flesh, that the righteous requirement of the law might be fulfilled in us who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit (Romans 8:2-4).  Christ has freed us from the power of sin, if we will accept His work, and allow His Spirit to renew our minds with God’s Word, we will live obediently and abundantly in truth. 

 

 Lord, thank you for your Word and Spirit.  Enable us to turn to you for forgiveness of sins. Teach us to walk by the Spirit that we may live in the liberty of Jesus Christ.  In His precious 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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Faith By Itself, If It Does Not Have Works Is Dead

Read James 2

To have faith in Jesus means you will benefit from trusting Him. Others will benefit from your faith as well. How so you might ask. As Christ in us works to conform us into His image we begin to think and act like Him. We become other centered. We serve others.

Our old self absorbed way begins melting away and a new helpful person grows in its place. What used to preoccupy us doesn’t any longer.  Instead ways to help others and meet needs of others fill our minds which keeps our hands and feet busy.

Employers benefit as a Christ-centered employee does their work with excellence, working as unto the Lord rather than mere man.  Our children benefit as we no longer let them drift through life, but come along side them teaching them the path of righteousness. Helping them treat others as they want to be treated can transform relationships in schools.  Our marriages benefit as we learn to submit to one another as unto the Lord. We come to marriage with pure wholesome motives of service and love rather than demanding our own needs be met first. Our communities benefit as Christians come together for good of our neighbors. Helping others where they can, organizing help for others when their need is greater than their capability to meet it.

Even people on the other side of the world benefit from faith of one person here in the United States of America. One person of faith can sponsor a child through World Vision or Compassion to bring hope to a child living in poverty. One person of faith can pray for people in other nations thus causing change and ushering in God’s will.

If faith doesn’t result in some outward change, is it really faith at all?

© 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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Even Demons Worship Jesus

When he saw Jesus from afar, he ran and worshiped Him. Mark 5:6 NKJV 

 

Read Mark 5:1-19.  It’s the story of a demon-possessed man Jesus healed.  After reading this story what seems like for the 100th time I noticed something about the way the demon-possessed man responded to Jesus’ presence, hence the reason for today’s verse.

 

Notice, if you will, the demon-possessed man was not in control of himself.  Mark 5:3-5 gives us a pretty clear picture of what this man’s life was like: “his dwelling among the tombs; and no one could bind him, not even with chains, because he had often been bound with shackles and chains. And the chains had been pulled apart by him, and the shackles broken in pieces; neither could anyone tame him. And always, night and day, he was in the mountains and in the tombs, crying out and cutting himself with stones.” 

When this man saw Jesus coming towards the area, he ran and worshiped Him.  This is amazing to me.  We just saw how the man had no control over his life, but the demons within him controlled him.  So who was it running to met Jesus?  Was it not the demons within him?  Follow me on this.   

Even the demons, in their rebellion of God, recognize the authority of Jesus Christ.  With that recognition comes quick obedience and reverence through worship.  If the demons worship Jesus, how much more should “believers” run to worship Him?   

Thinking about the demon’s response to Jesus, made me think about my response to Jesus.  Do I run quickly to Jesus?  My first response might be to say “Yes, of course I do”, but if I am more honest with myself, I’d be willing to say “I would like to run to Jesus more, but I find myself trying to figure things out on my own first and when my attempts fail, I stagger head down to Jesus.”  Do I worship Him? Oh sure, at church when the music is loud and the whole congregation is singing I worship.  But is that where worship stops?  If I did worship I think part of it would be my willingness to come to Him first. 

Here’s a few thought provoking questions for you.  Are you quick to run to Jesus?  Do you reverence Him through worship?  If not, why?   

Lord Jesus, you have authority over all of us humans, angels and even the demons. You deserve our reverence and worship.  Help us fully recognize your authority and may we be quick to obey you and worship you. In Your 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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God’s House of Prayer

“Even them I will bring to My holy mountain, And make them joyful in My house of prayer. Their burnt offerings and their sacrifices will be accepted on My altar; For My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations.” Isaiah 56:7 NKJV 

God’s house is a house of prayer.  While in the house of prayer we will be filled with a joy that comes from knowing and experiencing God in a real and personal way.   

I remember a time while driving home from work, my mind was troubled by my desire to have a close, intimate, and fulfilling connection with my husband and my frustration over not being able to obtain it.  I was crying out to God in prayer.  I was telling Him how much I wanted that.  God heard my cry and came to me in that moment.  God began pouring His Spirit in me as if I were an empty glass that needed to be refilled.  Then, an amazing joy came bubbling out of me.  

As I sat a red light, I began grinning and laughing because it became so clear.  The very thing I longed for, God had already given me.  The close, intimate and fulfilling connection I desired was within my grasp, but I was looking for it in wrong place.  The connection I yearned for was really for God, not my husband.  With this new perspective, I could finally see my longings were fulfilled in Jesus Christ!  Hallelujah!  What a difference the right perspective makes!  The pressure I placed on my marriage has now been removed.  My husband and I are free to love one another and connect as we were designed to.  Our relationship is intimate and fulfilling, and now it’s in proper balance.  God is so amazing to me!   

Prayer is the key.  Without prayer we don’t come to know God and experience His presence.  Without prayer our perspective remains incomplete.  With prayer, God is able to realign our perspective with His and we are able to see the truth!  With prayer comes a joy unspeakable!   

Have you experienced a joy unspeakable in prayer?  Have you come to God’s house of prayer lately? 

Lord thank you for making it possible for us to come to you in prayer.  Thank you for hearing our cry, coming to our aid, and filling us with joy unspeakable.  Thank you for aligning our perspective with yours and allowing us to see the truth.  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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