Bible Studies & Devotionals
From Olive Branch Ministries
By Mark and Tinsley Baker
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2 Timothy 3:14,19-17: But as for you, continue in the things which you have learned and been assured of, knowing from whom you have learned them,Ö All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Loose weight, exercise more, spend less, save more, keep the house cleaner, eat better, do these sound familiar? They are examples of New Yearís resolutions. How many of us have decided to do one of these in the next year, loose weight, eat better, exercise more or one of the others? I know I have so many times in the past. Somehow, each year many of us start out on the right track, but loose our resolve and end up not keeping a single resolution we made. Am I the only one this applies to?
I would suggest to you that this year, that you let God be your guide. Let Him show you how to improve your life in the upcoming year.
As Paul instructed Timothy in the verses above, "continue in the things which you have learned."
2 Timothy 2:15: Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
Review the things you have learned and use them as a starting place and get into the Word of God for yourself and apply it to your life. Verse 17 of our opening Scripture plainly tells us that by doing this God will equip us for what He has called us to do.
2Timothy 3:17: that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.
God will not ask you to do something that He will not help you or prepare you to do, including studying His Word and drawing closer to God.
Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
Ephesians 1:16-21: 16: (I) do not cease to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers: 17. that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him, 18. the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, 19. and what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power 20. which He worked in Christ when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, 21. far above all principality and power and might and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in that which is to come.
Paul prayed this prayer for the Ephesians and it is something that applies to us today. It can also be a prayer that we pray for ourselves, so that we can grow in understanding of the things of God and show ourselves approved, "a worker who does not need to be ashamed."
Letís look at several of the specific things Paul prayed.
1. That God, would give you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. The Living Bible translates this verse as:
Verses 16-17: I have never stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you wisdom to see clearly and really understand who Christ is and all that he has done for you.
Father God wants you to truly understand everything, all we have to do is ask and He
will give us wisdom and revelation.
2. The eyes of our understanding be enlightened or opened to know what He has planned
for you as a believer. Another translation says verse 18 in this way.
Verse 18: the eyes of your heart will receive light. Then you will know the meaning of the hope of God's invitation. You will know the riches of His glorious inheritance among the holy people.
3. Paul goes on to say he prays that they will understand the true power God has to help us
any time we need it.
The Living Bible puts it this way: Verses 19-21: I pray that you will begin to understand how incredibly great his power is to help those who believe him. It is that same mighty power that raised Christ from the dead and seated him in the place of honor at God's right hand in heaven, far, far above any other king or ruler or dictator or leader. Yes, his honor is far more glorious than that of anyone else either in this world or in the world to come.
So you see, when we learn what God has already prepared for us, by studying His Word and pray according to His Word, we will grow daily in the things of God. Donít be afraid
to ask God to help you in this way. God loves you and His main desire for you as a born again believer is for you to grow stronger in Him daily.
-- Living Bible
James 4:7-8: So give yourselves humbly to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. And when you draw close to God, God will draw close to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and let your hearts be filled with God alone to make them pure and true to him.
Donít waste time making New Yearís resolutions you canít keep. Resolve to grow deeper in God and the things of God this year.
It is really very simple, we resist the devil and what ever he is trying to do in our lives and we draw near to God and He will in turn draw near to us. We take the first step by seeking Him with all our heart and He will answer by becoming so real to us. Isnít that wonderful? Godís love for us is never ending and His mercy is everlasting, take advantage of those gifts, spend time with God and He will spend time with you. Develop a constant one on one relationship with the most important person in the universe and see the changes that will happen in your life over the next year. Then you will be able to say to people "Look what God has done"!!! Amen!
Have a blessed and Happy New Year Holiday in Christ,
Mark and Tinsley Baker.
The following is a copy of the Prayer in Ephesians, changed to the first person, in a more personal way. Pray it for yourself every day and see the changes in your life from the first moment you resolve to put God first in your life. Amen
I ask that you, the God of our Lord Jesus Christ and the all glorious Father, give to me spiritual wisdom and the insight to know more of You. That I will receive that inner illumination of the spirit which will make me realize how great is the hope to which
You have called me. That I will realize the magnificence and splendor of the inheritance promised to me as a Christian and how tremendous is the power available to me a believer in Christ Jesus. Help me to realize this is the same power that You, Heavenly Father, used to raise Jesus from the dead and seat Him at your right hand above all other powers, authority and rulers. And that gives Jesus the name above every name in Heaven and Earth. Help me to realize the position that I now have through Jesus. That I am seated in the heavenly places with Him. Give me the wisdom and knowledge to know that the enemy has no power over me and that now I have the mind of Christ and the wisdom of God to lead me.
Thank you Father.
Do you know Jesus as your Lord and Savior? Do you want to be a joint heir with Christ?
If so, I urge you to earnestly pray the following prayer.
Dear Heavenly Father, I come to you in the name of Jesus. Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),
So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in, And I thank you for it. You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).
I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now, You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation." (Ro.10:9,10).
I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God. I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification. And I confess Him now as my Lord, Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart, I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),
And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!
I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!
Glory to God!!!! Amen.