I'd love to have you share on Facebook and Pinterest. You can use the small gray icon below each Bible study for this purpose.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

The Wonderful Love of God

Sometimes Christians don’t feel loved by God.

That’s because feelings are unreliable.

Feelings often have no basis in fact.

Any Christian who feels unloved by God is wrong.

The facts prove otherwise.

If you ever start to wonder about God’s love, read through the passages in the Bible study below and get your facts straight.

Bible Study

1. Note the elements of God's love present in these passages:

Psalm 86:5: You, Lord, are forgiving and good, abounding in love to all who call to you.

Psalm 117:2: For great is his love toward us, and the faithfulness of the LORD endures forever. Praise the LORD.

Psalm 118:4: Let those who fear the LORD say: "His love endures forever."

Psalm 136:11: His faithful love endures forever.

2. Is it hard for you to imagine that God delights in you? 

Zephaniah 3:17: The LORD your God is with you, the Mighty Warrior who saves. He will take great delight in you; in his love he will no longer rebuke you, but will rejoice over you with singing.

Psalm 147:11the LORD delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love. 

These 1-minute devotions explain more about this wonderful aspect of God's love:
He Enjoys Us!
He Enjoys the Process

3. The plan of salvation is God's love in action!

John 3:16: For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

1 John 4:9-11: This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 11 Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. 

Romans 5:8: But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

Ephesians 2:4-5: But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5 made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved.

4. God's wonderful love fills us with His Spirit and changes our hearts and minds.

Galatians 2:20: I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

John 15:9: As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love.
1-minute devotion about this verse: God's Commands Empower Us!

1 John 4:8: Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

Romans 5:5: hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

5. God will never leave us because we have become His children through our faith in Christ.

Romans 8:39: neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
1-minute devotion about this passage: We're Overcomers!

1 John 3:1: See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

copyright 2018, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, January 7, 2018

Filling Our Minds With Life - Suggested Passages

Filling Our Minds With Life -  Resources for Scripture Memory

Our minds are filled with memorized words, most of which we’ve learned simply by repetition – nursery rhymes, song lyrics, advertising jingles, etc.   

And many of those words are useless wastes of brain space. But they illustrate something good: whatever we hear repeatedly becomes part of us.   

That means we can retain wonderful, life-giving words through repetition.  

Even if you aren’t good at memory work, you can memorize naturally.  

Some suggestions:  

1. Write a verse on a 3x5 card and put it on your nightstand or bathroom mirror to read each morning and evening.  

2. Slip a Scripture card into your pocket or purse to read when waiting for a bus, meeting, or appointment.

3. Recite a Scripture together as a family whenever you get in the car or sit down for a meal.  

4. Memorize with a friend so you have some accountability.  

5. Listen to Scripture on headsets while exercising or doing house or lawn work.  

If you have other ideas for "painless" memorization, please share them in a comment. Thanks!  
Other 1-minute devotions with ideas and encouragement for memorizing Scripture:
Viral Video  
6 Tips to Make Scripture Memorization Easier
5 Practical Ways to Hide God’s Word in Your Heart

Resources: Examples of Good Scriptures to Memorize

Filling Our Minds With Life -  Resources for Scripture Memory
1. Why not recite these verses before you go to bed or recite them with your children before tucking them in bed:

Psalm 4:8: In peace I will lie down and sleep, for you alone, LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Isaiah 26:3: You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in you.

Psalm 91:1-2: Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.”

2. When feeling anxious, worried, or fearful recite these passages. Once you've memorized them, they will come to mind whenever you need them, even in the middle of the night when you wake up worried or fearful.

Philippians 4:6-7: Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Philippians 4:8: And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise. 

A good 1-minute devotion on this subject:
Singing in the Shadow - 5 Ways to Overcome Nighttime Fears

3. Before you deal with a difficult situation at work, school, or home recite these verses:

Ephesians 4:32: Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.
James 4:7: Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. 

1 Peter 5:8: Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.

 4. Use one of these passages to bless your meal before eating:

Psalm 107:9: Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, 9 for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. 

1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. 

5. Before getting into your car or starting a trip, recite these passages. You could write them on 3x5 cards and leave them in the car.

Proverbs 2:8: [God] guards the course of the just and protects the way of his faithful ones. 

Proverbs 3:6: In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. 

Psalm 23:3: He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness for His name's sake. 

6. Before making decisions, big or small, recite these verses: 

James 1:5: If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you. 

Psalm 5:8: Lead me in the right path, O LORD, or my enemies will conquer me. Make your way plain for me to follow. 

You might also find other pertinent passages to recite in these 1-minute devotions about making decisions:
Rock, Paper, Scissors
5 Cautions When Making Decisions

7. Think of fun ways to use Scripture with your children. Here are some interesting "food Scriptures" to recite at mealtime: 

Job 6:6: Can something tasteless be eaten without salt, or is there any taste in the white of an egg?  
This verse could lead to a discussion about the life of Job and what it teaches us.
These 1-minute devotions about Job can help:
The Unshakable Bottom Line
What Did They Do to Deserve This?
Worse than Suffering

Proverbs 27:7: A person who is full refuses honey, but even bitter food tastes sweet to the hungry. 
You could encourage your children to do a "Scripture hunt" for verses about honey. This is a good way to teach older children how to use a concordance. 
Here's a 1-minute devotion about honey:
Eat the Comb

Matthew 15:11: “It's not what goes into your mouth that defiles you; you are defiled by the words that come out of your mouth." 
This verse could start a discussion about things that matter to God.
These 1-minute devotions speak about this passage:
Eating Your Words
Laws, Commands, and Errors

Here's a 1-minute devotion about several "food Scriptures":
What's On Your Menu? 

copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Should Christians Have Unbelieving Friends?

Biblical Friendships - Christians and Non-Christians Friendships

When I published the devotion “4 Types of People Scripture Tells Us to Avoid,” some folks disagreed, reminding me that Jesus hung out with tax collectors and prostitutes. 

But we can’t refute one Scripture by quoting another. 

Scripture doesn’t contradict itself. 

So what does Scripture say about relationships?

It commands us to avoid certain types of people (See Scriptures Here). 

But that doesn't mean we avoid all unbelievers (1 Corinthians 5:9-11). 

Friendship evangelism is an appropriate way to show our love for others with these precautions:

1. We should genuinely care for them, not just see them as evangelism “projects” (Romans 12:9).

2. We should be proactive in sharing Christ with them (Ephesians 5:16). 

3. We should never compromise our beliefs to be with them (Ephesians 5:3-4). 

4. Our closest friends should be believers because they'll strongly influence our values and beliefs (2 Corinthians 6:14; 1 Corinthians 15:33).  

Christ associated with ungodly people in appropriate settings, and He always shared the Gospel with them. But His close friends were His disciples. 

Bible Study 

Biblical Friendships - Christians and Non-Christians FriendshipsHow can we know if a relationship with a non-believer is healthy?

These are some good questions to ask: 

1. Am I influencing this person or is he/she influencing me? 

Ephesians 5:8-11: For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them.

Over 30 years ago, my husband and I started a relationship with two other couples in the city where we then lived. They were non-believers and we felt God might use us to share Christ. But after several months of doing things with them, we realized they were not interested in hearing about our faith and were regularly involved in drunkenness, off-color joking, and general disregard for godly values. We realized we were not influencing these couples, but they were influencing us. It wasn't a relationship God would want for us.

You won't find any situation in Scripture where Christ associated with unbelievers simply to “hang out” with them. The Gospel was always on His agenda. 

2. Are we damaging our witness? 

We have a "reputation" to uphold as Christians:

1 Peter 2:12: Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.

While the Scripture below refers to the handling of money, the principle applies in all situations: 

2 Corinthians 8:21: For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.

When we interact with unbelievers, we should do so in appropriate settings so we are not tempted by evil and are not participants in evil. In fact, we should avoid situations that might give others the wrong impression of our values and lifestyle. 

3. Should we cut off the relationship if they don’t respond? 

Matthew 10:14 is part of the instructions God gave the twelve disciples when He sent them out to share the Gospel. These instructions don’t directly apply to every situation with unbelievers, but there is a principle in this verse that tells us there is a time to move on when someone rejects our beliefs and values.

Matthew 10:14: If anyone will not welcome you or listen to your words, leave that home or town and shake the dust off your feet. 

We need not move away from a relationship simply because a person doesn’t respond to the things we share about our faith. But if they get angry whenever we mention Christ or have no interest or respect for our views, it’s probably better to pray for them instead of developing the friendship further. 

We must seek God's guidance when family members are hostile to the Gospel. This is especially true when our parents are hostile because we have responsibilities to our parents whether they are godly or ungodly (See this archive of 1-minute devotions about Honoring Parents.)

4. Christians have no business dating or marrying non-Christians. 

Marriage is the closest human union. It will heavily influence our walk with the Lord.

2 Corinthians 6:14: Do not be yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness? 

1 Corinthians 7:39: A woman is bound to her husband as long as he lives. But if her husband dies, she is free to marry anyone she wishes, but he must belong to the Lord. 

I pray that God will give you wisdom to form the kind of relationships that honor Him and build your faith.

copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com