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Sunday, August 21, 2016

Twisted Scriptures

Seek God's Kingdom First, Avoid selfish interpretations of Scripture
Be careful because Satan twists Scripture!

For example:
God: Love your neighbor as yourself (Mark 12:31).  
Satan: You can't love others until you first love (i.e. esteem) yourself. 
Error: Loving others doesn't mean admiring them. It means treating them as we want to be treated (Matthew 7:12). In fact, we're commanded to deny ourselves and treat others better than ourselves (Philippians 2:3-4; Matthew 16:24). 

When we focus on God and others, we have a healthier self-esteem.

Another example:
God: Dwell on what's good (Philippians 4:8).
Satan: Dwell on what's good about yourself and you'll be a better person.
Error: The purpose of this verse is peace and gratefulness, not self-esteem (Philippians 4:9). We become better people by humbly admitting our sins, asking God's help, and being honest about our weaknesses (Romans 12:3; James 4:10). 

Satan tempted Eve by telling her she'd be like God, and selfishness has reigned in the human heart ever since (Genesis 3:5). 

Let's seek to honor God first and foremost and beware of selfish interpretations of Scripture (Matthew 6:33). 

Bible Study 

1. It's not only important to know Scripture. It's important to "handle it correctly." Satan twists words very convincingly (v.14). When someone is misled by one of Satan's twisted Scriptures, they are often resistant to discussion. We can try to explain the error and we can pray for the person, but we should avoid quarreling and godless chatter (v.14,16). 

2 Timothy 2:14-16: Keep reminding God’s people of these things. Warn them before God against quarreling about words; it is of no value, and only ruins those who listen. 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 16 Avoid godless chatter, because those who indulge in it will become more and more ungodly. 

2. Satan comes to kill, steal, and destroy (John 10:10) but we must not think he does this in obvious ways. He appeals to our selfish human nature.

2 Corinthians 11: 4,13-15: if someone comes to you and preaches a Jesus other than the Jesus we preached, or if you receive a different spirit from the Spirit you received, or a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it easily enough... For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14 And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15 It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve. 

copyright 2016, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Monday, August 15, 2016

Facing the Enemy

Psalm 143, letting God fight for us
Sometimes we find ourselves in a situation where enemies have the upper hand. At other times, we are our own worst enemy, letting our thoughts spiral into hopelessness. 

Whichever "enemy" we're facing, Psalm 143 gives us advice:
  • The Psalmist cries out to the Lord (1-6).
  • He acknowledges that he won't make it without the Lord (7). 
  • He meets with God in the morning looking for help (8). 
  • He "hides" in the Lord, knowing God will protect him (9).
  • He asks God's Spirit to guide him and give him wisdom (10).
  • He affirms his trust and commitment (8,12).
When we're troubled, discouraged, or under attack, these steps are important. 

While it's good to get godly advice, we need to seek God first and foremost, admitting our need. When we wake up - before fear or bitterness takes possession of our thoughts - we should seek the Lord and "hide" in His wisdom and comfort. We should seek His guidance and confess our trust. 

Bible Study
Wise Christians realize their faith is not dependent on their strength or wisdom but on the Lord's.

1. Paul had a difficulty (most Bible scholars think it was a physical problem). When he asked God to remove it, this is what God told him: 

2 Corinthians 12:7-10: I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. 8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. 9 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. 10 That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 

2. On another occasion, Paul and his companions found that their strength had limits, but God's has no limits. 

2 Corinthians 1:8-9: We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about the troubles we experienced in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired of life itself. 9 Indeed, we felt we had received the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead.  

We should always put our trust, first and foremost, in God, not in man or in ourselves.
copyright, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
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