Bible Devotions

Thoughts, Actions, Feelings – in that Order

 

My pastor taught about a reoccurring pattern he saw in the lives of those he ministered to.  What they thought about influenced what they did and as a result they had certain feelings.  This pattern is the same whether it is about good and healthy things or negative and unhealthy things. 

 

For example, if my thoughts are focused on how my needs are not being met, my actions are influenced to do something to get my needs met and my feelings tell me it’s not working.  Those feelings influence my thoughts and so the unhealthy cycle continues.  If, however, we choose to keep our thoughts on God, our actions are influenced by God and our feelings become healthy as we look at things from God’s perspective.  It’s the same reoccurring pattern or cycle; thoughts lead to action, action leads to feeling and feelings influence the thoughts.

 

That’s why Paul told us to be renewed in our minds.  Romans 12:2 NKJV says “And 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.”  When we forsake that which the world does and focus on God, our thoughts are renewed and we are able to know what is pleasing to God. 

 

Another example of this pattern is given by Jesus in John 3:18-21 NKJV: “He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. 19 And this is the condemnation, that the light has come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil. 20 For everyone practicing evil hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  21 But he who does the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be clearly seen, that they have been done in God.”  Can you see the pattern?

 

Unhealthy

Healthy

He who does not believe (verse 18, thoughts)

Their deeds were evil (verse 19, actions)

Hates the light (verse 20, feelings)

 

He who believes (verse 18, thoughts)

Does the truth (verse 21, actions)

Comes to light (verse 21, feelings)

 

If we find our self on the unhealthy side of this cycle, we can change by allowing God to change our thoughts and by taking godly actions whether we feel like it or not.  Our feelings will catch up as we do what God prefers.  From my own personal experience, God enabled me to love my husband when the feelings weren’t there.  Due to obedience to God’s Word, my thoughts were renewed, my actions were godly and the result was new feelings of love developed between us. 

 

Though we are not ruled by our emotions because Christ alone is our Lord and King, feelings can be used as an alert system.  Feelings can tell us if we’re operating on the unhealthy or healthy side of this cycle.  Check your feelings, dig into God’s Word and let the mind of Christ lead you forward. 

 Lord, thank you for your saving grace and empowerment to do what please you.  Keep us on your godly pathway and help us remember our righteousness comes from you.  In Jesus’ name 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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Spiritual Attacks

When spiritual attacks come, do we recognize them for what they are?

Our enemy prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  But those steadfast in Christ shall not be shaken.  Everything bad that happens to us isn’t necessarily a spiritual attack.  There are consequences we reap due to our own poor choices.

A spiritual attack is different. It’s usually all encompassing rather than focused in one area.  For example, there might be a relational problem growing larger than life, a miscommunication at work that tarnished your reputation in the eyes of some, and an unexpected health problem all happening at the same time.  If you have children, you might experience rebellion around parental authority on top of all the other stuff going on.  These are just a few examples.

When several things occur in rapid succession, there’s a good chance you might be on the verge of doing something of significance in God’s kingdom.  For these attacks never happen when we sit back and do nothing to glorify God.

Sometimes we might forget about this enemy is real.  As a result, we attempt to correct, or adjust our situation by sheer will power and self effort, even if we are committed to the Lord and study His word each day.  These attacks can still catch us off guard.

There is some comfort knowing we are not the first to fail like this.  The children of Israel failed repeatedly.  Even though God had every right to let them be completely taken over by their enemies, He always stepped in to help when they cried out for it.

So it is with us.  When we cry out to the Lord, he hears us.  While some issues may linger, He strengthens us to endure it.  He brings others to support, encourage and pray for you.  God is faithful to sustain, to deliver, and to set free His chosen people.

So what can we do when we’re under attack?  We can remember what Jesus said in Matthew 5:10-12 and John 16:33.  We can praise God during the attack because we know He will make sure we come through it.  We can talk with other believers who will remind us to take it to the Lord.  We can draw closer to Jesus through prayer. For what the enemy meant for evil, God uses for good.

I pray your next spiritual attack results in a stronger faith, a deeper commitment to Jesus and a closer walk with God Almighty.

Recommended resources:

 

© 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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Bring Every Thought Captive

What does this saying, “bring every thought captive” imply?  It seems to imply intention, discipline, and purpose.  What does the word captive mean? Well, there seems to be two very fitting definitions: (1) Kept within bounds; confined (2) Held under control of another but having the appearance of independence.

Our thoughts determine our heart, which determines our words and actions.  To bring our thoughts captive is to hold them within godly bounds.  To confine our thoughts to what is good, noble, pure, just, praiseworthy, honorable, and true (Philippians 4:8-9).

But who we bring our thoughts captive to is also critical.  We could make them captive to our self, but that would lead us down a path that seems right but ends in death. No. The only choice for a Christian is to make our thoughts captive to Jesus Christ.  Only Jesus holds control over us, while giving us the freedom to choose whether we submit to His authority or not.

How do we make our thoughts captive to Christ?

Find out more here.

(c) ThinkOnIt Bible Ministries Inc.

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Thoughts and Intentions

For they do not sleep unless they have done evil; and their sleep is taken away unless they make someone fall. For they eat the bread of wickedness, and drink the wine of violence. Proverbs 4:16-17 NKJV

You have heard the expression, “You are what you eat”. Well, the Bible has a slightly different take, “You are what you think about”.

Those bent on evil have to nurture their wickedness. All they do is evil. Why, they can’t even sleep unless they bring someone else down with them. Think about the school bully. He’s not happy unless he’s picking on someone. He probably lies awake at night plotting and scheming how to make some poor weak kid squirm. The wicked fill their minds with self-centeredness, anti-God and anti-others thoughts. These thoughts fuel their actions.

As this is true for the wicked, it also holds true for the godly. If we become what we think about, we ought to guard our thoughts. Listen to what scripture says:

  • For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders. Mark 17:21 NKJV
  • For the LORD searches all hearts and understands all the intent of the thoughts. 1 Chronicles 28:9 NKJV
  • Keep your heart with all diligence, for out of it spring the issues of life. Proverbs 4:23 NKJV
  • Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 NKJV
  • You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. Isaiah 26:3 NKJV
  • The LORD knows the thoughts of man, that they are futile. Psalms 94:11 NKJV
  • For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Hebrews 4:12 NKJV

Scripture points out clearly our thoughts are not God’s thoughts. Therefore we miss the mark. But God’s infinite grace is available to those who seek Him. If we focus on God, He will align our thoughts. Commit your works to the LORD, and your thoughts will be established. Proverbs 16:3 NKJV

What do you think about? Are you quick to point out other’s mistakes? Or are you quick to praise God for working things out?

Lord, thank you for the thoughts you have for us are thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give us a future and a hope. Renew our minds with your Word, so we will understand your good, perfect and pleasing will. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.


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Avoid the Wicked Way

Do not enter the path of the wicked, and do not walk in the way of evil. Avoid it, do not travel on it; Turn away from it and pass on. Proverbs 4:14-15 NKJV

What is the path of wicked? Proverbs 6:12 says “A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth.” This provides two clues:

A worthless person – Now, we know God doesn’t think a single person is worthless for He died for us to make a way for us to be saved. Therefore, this must be referring to man’s perspective of worthless. Why is being worthless in man’s view a bad thing? God made us to live in relationship with others. Remember the two great commandments love God and love others as yourself? A worthless person doesn’t love others, for if they did they wouldn’t be considered worthless. A loving person is a helpful person. A loving person considers others above them self.

A perverse mouth – Ephesians 4:29 says “Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.” Someone with a perverse mouth isn’t thinking about how their words affect others. Therefore, they aren’t following the commandment to love one another.

So the path of evil and the way of evil are unloving, void of God and His ideals. Proverbs 6:16-19 gives us seven things the Lord hates. You can be sure the person who does these is on the path of evil and walks in the way of evil. We are instructed to avoid that path. We are responsible to choose the path and way we follow.

The Word tells us do not travel on the path of evil. Perhaps because of it’s corrupting power. If we even step on the path of evil we will be drawn in deeper. Therefore, we are exhorted “Turn away from it and pass on!”

How do we avoid the evil way? By keeping our self pure, filling our thoughts with God’s Word and keeping our mind fixed on what is good, lovely, pure, true, honorable and praiseworthy. Romans 12:2 says “And 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.” In other words, we let God change the way we think. When those unpleasant, complaining and grumbling thoughts come, we switch gears and think of positive God honoring things instead.

Our enemy would like us to think we have no control over our thoughts. But the truth is Jesus Christ is Lord, even over our thoughts. We stand firm believing He provides the power to change the way we think. But we must do our part by filling up our mind with God’s Word.

Lord, thank you for considering us worth while enough to die for us! Lord thank you for your power to transform how we think. Draw close and renew our minds with your Word. In Jesus’ name we pray Amen.

© Elizabeth Marks, author of ThinkOnIt Devotions and has a heart for encouraging others with God’s Word. For more devotions, bible studies and a recommended book store, visit http://www.ThinkOnItDevotions.com today.

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