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.


Advertisements
1 Comment »

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.

 

Learn how to engage your mind as you read the Bible with Beginner’s Inductive Study Puzzle. It’s easy and fun to use. Get yours
at http://thinkonitbibleministries.org/studies/study-puzzle/


Leave a comment »

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.


7 Comments »

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.

 

Leave a comment »

Identifying Your Spiritual Gifts

The best place to start in understanding spiritual gifts is the Bible.  Find out what it says about spiritual gifts.  Here are few verses to read and consider:

Romans 12:3 – 8

1 Corinthians 12:1 -11, 27 – 31

Ephesians 4:11 – 12

1 Peter 4:9 – 11

Read the above verses, prayerfully.  Ask the Lord which of these gifts He has given you.

To help you document your gifts, most churches have an assessment sheet.  Saddleback Church as a one called S.H.A.P.E.  It stands for Spiritual Gifts, Heart, Abilities, Personality and Experience.  Assessing each area prayerfully, while writing down what you know about each area can help you understand what gifts you have. 

 Spiritual Gifts

Think about what other people have said you are good at.  Write those things down.

 Heart

What motivates you or really gets your passions flowing?  What do you love doing? Write it down.

 Abilities

List your current abilities.  Are you creative?  Are you organized?  Can you balance a checkbook?  Name everything you can think of.

 Personality

What kind of personality do you have?  Are you introverted or extroverted? Do you like routine or variety? Are you self-controlled or self-expressive? Are you cooperative or competitive?

 

Experience

What have you lived though?  What trials or obstacles have you overcome?  Don’t forget your work and educational experience too. 

 

With all these items written before you, prayerfully consider how God might want you to use these gifts to build His kingdom and equip the believers for ministry.  God will bless you as you live your life exercising your spiritual gifts for God’s glory.  Life will be exciting.  You will be energized.  As you refresher others, you in turn will be refreshed.  It’s God’s way. 

 

How about it?  Have you discovered your spiritual gifts?  Are you using them for God?  If not, why? 

 Lord, thank you for your variety of spiritual gifts and the knowledge you provide exactly the right gifts for each believer to prepare them for your call in their life.  Thank you for your equipping.  Enable each of us to be a doer of the word, seeking first your kingdom that you may have all the 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.

4 Comments »

God’s Plan

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before hand that we should walk in them.”  Ephesians 2:10 NKJV

 

For We are His Workmanship

The “we” is collective, meaning more than one of us individually.  Remember, all believers are one body, the church.  Together we are His workmanship.  Isn’t it encouraging knowing we are part of something bigger and grander than just our self?  Knowing that each part within a body has a certain function and only when each part carries out their function, does the body work as intended by design.

 

Created in Christ Jesus

We started to become His workmanship the moment we trusted in Jesus Christ and received His gift of salvation.  We are a new creation in Christ.  Jesus alone does the building of the body.  He calls them to Himself and fits them in the proper place within the body.  His Spirit distributes gifts, talents, and abilities appropriate for their purpose within the body.  We can not say “I am the eye” or “I am the hand”, for it is Jesus who decides what our function is to be. 

 

For Good Works

There is a reason and purpose behind being His workmanship.  It is not to simply show off how awesome God is, although that’s part of it.  God always has a purpose.  We are hand-crafted by the God of the universe to do good works.  How do we know what’s good to do?  Here are a few questions to consider:

  • Does what you say encourage and build up someone’s faith?
  • Is your service done as though it is done for the Lord?
  • Is your act of giving helping expand the kingdom of God?
  • Are you caring for widows, orphans, oppressed, discouraged, and diseased or the poor?
  • Are you using your spiritual gifts?

If we answer yes to any of these, chances are we are doing good works.  Certainly, this is not an exhaustive list of all the ways to tell if we are doing good works, but it should help us stay on track with God’s plan. 

 

Which God Prepared Before Hand

God who created us and knows all things past, present and future has prepared the specific good works He wants us to carry out.  He has everything planned and worked out.  He even has His back up plans in place.  He is in complete control.  He has given us certain spiritual gifts such as pastering, teaching, speaking in tongues, encouraging, hospitability and generosity with an expectation these will be used for His glory. 

 

That We Should Walk in Them

Every spiritual gift given to us is for the purpose of operating in those gifts.   We are called to use the gifts.  Think about when you have given a gift to someone.  Did you expect them to open the gift and use it?  Of course you did.  No one would give a gift that just sat there without ever being opened.  We give gifts to be used and appreciated.  The same holds true for spiritual gifts.  It is in our using our God-given gifts God’s workmanship is demonstrated and His kingdom is expanded. 

 Lord thank you for your clarifying word.  Thank you for the spiritual gifts you’ve given us.  Enable us to recognize those gifts and to use them for your glory.  May we be empowered by the knowledge of your complete control and carry out the good works you prepare for us.  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.

1 Comment »

Does Knowledge of God Prevents Sin?

 

For I desire mercy and not sacrifice, and the knowledge of God more than burnt offerings. Hosea 6:6 NKJV

 

Have you ever noticed how a small child will act appropriately when there are adults around?  As soon the parental units are no longer in sight, that same child will do what they are not allowed to do otherwise.  Why is that? 

 

Well it’s the same with all of us adults.  If we know God is watching, we’ll be on our best behavior.  However, if there’s no knowledge of God we’re likely to do things not pleasing to God.   Knowledge of God helps us remember He is always watching.  It’s not the creepy big brother kind of watching.  He’s watching His creation with the loving eyes of a parent watching his own child.   Because He’s God, maker of all we see, there is nothing hidden from Him.  All things are bare before Him.  Knowing this leads to fear of the Lord.  In other words, fear of the Lord is a healthy and proper respect for the supreme authority over us.

 

He knows everything and sees all things.  Keeping this firmly planted in our minds will help us choose wisely the activities we partake in.  A friend of mine who has five children has a wonderful rule in her house: If you wouldn’t want mom to know about it then you probably should not do it.  It’s the same principle God lays out.  We need to remember we are all under a higher authority – God Almighty.

 

While God makes allowances for sinful behavior by accepting sacrifice in the Old Testament, He would rather the people keep knowledge of Him top of mind to prevent the sin in the first place.  He expects the same from us.  Hosea 4:6 NKJV says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge.” 

 

The Lord doesn’t want a single person to perish but all to come to eternal life in Him through faith and trust in Jesus Christ.  He has given us everything we need to know He exists.  Look at creation around us, it all points to our Heavenly Father.  We have His word to help us better understand His character and unrelenting love towards us.  Understanding His marvelous love for us and His willingness to take matters into His own hands to save us, should compel us to live rightly before Him.  If it doesn’t it’s an indication of our lack of knowledge of God.

 

How do we gain knowledge? 

 

Matthew 7:7-8 NKJV says “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.” James 1:5 NKJV says “If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  Knowledge comes from God, Himself.  He will give it freely to those who earnestly seek Him.  So dig in, study His Word, and let His Spirit lead you into His glorious truth so your mind may be renewed.  It’s never too late to gather knowledge of God.  So jump into His Word today.

 Lord, thank you for your guidance through your word.  Thank you for your leading through the Holy Spirit.  Thank you for your love compelling us to know you more.  Draw us closer to 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.

Leave a comment »

Are You Troubled?

Restless

Does your situation have you in a choke hold?  Are anxious thoughts plaguing you?  Do unmet needs have you down?  Are you paralyzed by fear?

 

When our thoughts are centered on our self, our situation and our own needs, we can be sure we are playing into our enemy’s trap.  For these are the opposite of what God would have us focus on.  Think about Jesus’ ministry on earth.  Was He ever troubled over how He would pay His bills?  Did He fret over what He would wear?  Was He ever concerned about get His own needs met?  No He wasn’t.  Instead He was focused on God and God’s will. So when we find our self stuck by our problems, our thoughts and our fears, we need to remember God has a plan and we’re part of it. 

 

Remember God

Mediate on God and His glory to help bring back the proper perspective.  Psalm 104 is a great example of thinking on God’s handiwork.  Thinking about all He has created will help you remember how powerful, mighty and awesome He is.  Thinking about His strength your problems seem smaller by comparison.  God knows all things from the beginning to the end and everything in between.  He will keep you in perfect peace when your mind is steadfast on Him because you trust Him (Isaiah 26:3).  Remember God’s perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18).

 

Do Your Part

Put on God’s armor so you may stand firm.  Ephesians 6:10-18 NKJV says “Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in 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. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.  Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God; praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” 

 

Think on helpful things.  Philippians 4:7-8 NKJV says “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.”  Do good and don’t grow weary for at the right time you will reap a harvest of right living (Galatians 6:9).  Do not doubt the Lord will accomplish all He says He will.  Seek first His kingdom and all things will be added to you. 

 

When you find yourself restless check your thoughts.  Remember God and focus your thoughts on Him.  With God’s power within you do your part to abide in His love and the peace of God will guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). 

 Lord, thank you for being able to calm our restless souls.  Thank you for your word to guide us in our knowledge of you.  Thank you for your spirit to lead us in your 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.


Leave a comment »

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.

2 Comments »

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.

Leave a comment »