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, August 18, 2019

6 Truths that Restore Relationships

If you genuinely want healthy relationships, you will need to follow these scriptural principles. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #Biblestudy #Devotions #Reconciliation

Before working through this Bible study, read Disastrous Attitudes for background.

Immature people can only see things from their perspective. They're inconsiderate, self-defensive, and easily offended. They set all the rules in the relationship. 

If these people are in our workplace, neighborhood, or circle of friends, we should do our best to get along, but there's nothing wrong with avoiding them and choosing other friends.

It's different, however, when they're family members. God placed us in our family for a purpose. Working through our problems might be one of the most important aspects in our Christian maturity.

1. We can't have a good relationship with the Lord if we refuse to deal with human relationship problems:

1 John 4:7: Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  

1 John 4:20: Whoever claims to love God yet hates a brother or sister is a liar. For whoever does not love their brother and sister, whom they have seen, cannot love God, whom they have not seen. 

Matthew 5:23-24: Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you, leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.  

Have you written off a family relationship when the other person is still interested in a relationship? Have you refused to work through problems when the other person is willing? If so, you've built a wall between yourself and God. I encourage you to read You Can't Serve God if you Refuse.

2. We also need to take a serious look at our own sins before judging others.

Matthew 7:3-5: “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? 4 How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.  
The mature Christian listens thoughtfully to criticism and tries to see things from the other person's perspective. The immature Christian gets angry and defensive. I encourage you to read Speck-Finders.

3. We need to be willing to deny ourselves (i.e inconvenience ourselves) in order to improve the relationship.
Matthew 16:24: Then Jesus said to his disciples, "Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.  

If we refuse reasonable requests in a relationship, we're not only being selfish. We're being manipulative.

Some family relationships could be vastly improved by as little as an hour of considerate behavior each week -  a phone call, a lunch date, two or three phone texts, or a short email. Often relationships flounder because one party neglects the other. 

4. We need to choose our words carefully.

Ephesians 4:29-32: Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen. And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.  

Our words are important. When was the last time you complimented your parent, adult child, or sibling on something they did well? When was the last time you praised one of their good qualities?  

We need to speak thoughtfully and kindly, even when we have a disagreement. When things break down and angry words are spoken, we need to ask forgiveness, forgive the other person, and speak words that promote reconciliation.
5. Selfishness kills relationships.

Philippians 2:1-4: Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

All good relationships involve deliberate effort and lots of unselfish grace. If you are an adult child, you may have little interest in keeping lines of communication open with your aging parents, but one day, when they're gone, you'll very likely feel regret. As I mentioned above, it can take as little as a few minutes a day or an hour a week to let them know you care. This is a small thing to ask for someone who cared for you 24/7 when you were young. When parents know they are valued, they are less likely to complain.

And parents of adults, step back a bit if you've been complaining. Ask God if you've been expecting too much or sharing your complaints in ways that encourage brokenness in the relationship. Have you asked your child if there's something you've done to cause strain in the relationship? Are you willing to ask forgiveness if they share legitimate concerns? 

6. We can't fix everything, but we need to be willing to give it our best.

If you genuinely want healthy relationships, you will need to follow these Scriptural principles. #BibleLoveNotes #Bible #Biblestudy #Devotions #Reconciliation
Romans 12:16-18: Live in harmony with one another. Do not be proud, but be willing to associate with people of low position. Do not be conceited. Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everyone. If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.   

Romans 14:19: Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification.  

Sometimes a family member shuts off contact or refuses to discuss problems. If we've done our best to work through things, asked forgiveness for our faults in the relationship, and remained willing to keep lines of communication open, that's all we can do.

copyright 2019, Gail Burton Purath, Bite Size Bible Study

Bite Size Bible Study

Sunday, July 14, 2019

Can You Watch it With a Clear Conscience?

If you can watch Game of Thrones and answer these questions with a clear conscience, you need to have your head examined. #Bible #Biblestudy #GameofThrones #Pornography

As an introduction to this study, read Popular Pornography.

Game of Thrones, an HBO series filled with graphic sex and evil violence, recently ended after a successful eight-year run.

It left its filth on everything it touched, even an ancient city in Croatia. 

Having lived in Budapest for five years, we sometimes vacation in Croatia and especially love visiting the ancient walled city of Dubrovnik. 

Since some scenes from Game of Thrones were filmed in and near the medieval walls of beautiful Dubrovnik, Game of Thrones tours, gift shops, costumes, and signs now pollute the city. 

It should be no surprise that shows like Game of Thrones are incredibly popular with our fallen world. 

But I am surprised the way Game of Thrones and other immoral entertainment is defiling my fellow Christian brothers and sisters. 

Dear Christians, we need to ask ourselves these questions in regard to our entertainment:

1. Do I violate biblical principles by watching this show/movie?

"I will not look with approval on anything that is vile. I hate what faithless people do; I will have no part in it."  Psalm 101:3

“But I say, anyone who even looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery with her in his heart. So if your eye—even your good eye—causes you to lust, gouge it out and throw it away. It is better for you to lose one part of your body than for your whole body to be thrown into hell.” Matthew 5:28-29

Matthew 5 says we should want to cut out our eye rather than use it to sin!

2. Am I guarding my heart from things that produce ungodly thoughts and attitudes?

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it." Proverbs 4:23  

Can you watch explicit sex scenes and have pure thoughts? When we watch shows that glorify immorality, we definitely lose our vision for right and wrong. Despite denials by the entertainment industry, research shows that the things we watch affect both attitudes and behavior: Does Media Violence Lead to the Real Thing?  

We shouldn’t need to have this truth confirmed from secular sources when God’s Word already stresses it. 

See also Romans 12:2, 2 Corinthians 10:5, and Philippians 4:8.   

3. Sexually explicit entertainment is an idol in our modern world. Can we watch shows that glorify immorality and then read 1 Corinthians 6:17-18 with a clear conscience?

“Therefore, come out from among unbelievers, and separate yourselves from them, says the LORD. Don’t touch their filthy things, and I will welcome you. And I will be your Father, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the LORD Almighty.” 

4. Can we watch shows like Game of Thrones and read Ephesians 5 with a clear conscience?  

If you can watch Game of Thrones and answer these questions with a clear conscience, you need to have your head examined. #Bible #Biblestudy #GameofThrones #Pornography
"Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children… Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people. Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God. You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world. Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him. Don’t participate in the things these people do. For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light! For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true. Carefully determine what pleases the Lord. Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them. It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret… So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days. Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do." 

If it's shameful even to talk about evil things, how can we justify evil entertainment?
Image: Creative Commons
copyright, 2019, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Bible Love Notes

Sunday, June 16, 2019

10 Things Scripture Teaches about False Teachers

Scripture teaches these 10 Things about false teachers in the Church. Let's heed these warnings. #Bible #Falseteachers

As an introduction to this study, please read the 1-minute Bible Love Note called 10 Facts about False Teachers.

False teachers have always been around, and they always will be. Scripture gives us information so we can spot them.

1. False teachers wear a “mask” of goodness

Matthew 7:15: "Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves."

False teachers are skilled at presenting themselves in a positive light.

2. They have a “form of godliness”:

2 Timothy 3:1-5: But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people. 

Without exception, false teachers who appeal to Christians always include some Scriptural truths. They take their cues from Satan who also misuses Scripture to deceive. See Satan's Twists and Turns, 5 Ways Satan Speaks, and 3 of Satan's Half-Truth Tactics.

3. They may have Satan’s power:

Matthew 24:24: For false messiahs and false prophets will appear and perform great signs and wonders to deceive, if possible, even the elect.  (also Mark 13:22

Satan is the most evil being who ever existed, but his evil does not match God's goodness. We can avoid Satan's deception by carefully checking all teaching against Scripture. See The Difference Between God and Satan and  Understanding Why Satan Has Power.

4. They cause divisions

Scripture teaches these 10 Things about false teachers in the Church. Let's heed these warnings. #Bible #Falseteachers
Romans 16:17: I urge you, brothers and sisters, to watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned. Keep away from them.

See also: Galatians 1:6-10

Christians who know and understand Scripture will always be at odds with false teachers. Studying Scripture is the best protection against false teachings. See Don't Believe Anything that Contradicts Scripture.

5. They have followers

1 Timothy 4:11: The Spirit clearly says that in later times some will abandon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.  

See also: 2 Corinthians 11:3-4

Some people assume that a teacher's popularity is a sign of his anointing from God. But Jesus explained that the most popular path is the broad highway to destruction (Matthew 7:13-15).

6. They “secretly introduce” some of their false beliefs

2 Peter 2:1: But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them--bringing swift destruction on themselves. 

These false teachers not only wrap their messages in Scripture, cleverly pulling passages out of context, they also devise convincing arguments for their errors. 

They typically discredit those who don't have enough "faith" to believe what they teach.

They say things that appeal to our selfish, fallen human nature. They often take God's promises for spiritual blessings and claim they are promises for material blessings. See Future Promises, Not Earthy Promises and Misunderstandings about the Stripes of Jesus.

Their followers have trouble "unlearning" these false doctrines even when presented with Scriptures that refute their beliefs.

7. Some will even claim to be the Messiah:

Matthew 24:5: For many will come in my name, claiming, 'I am the Messiah,' and will deceive many. 

The Church of Almighty God is a modern example of a cult that uses the Bible but claims a Chinese woman is God incarnate. They have millions of members. I assume this type of heresy will increase as we get closer to Christ's return.

8. False prophets come in the spirit of the final enemy of God’s people, the Antichrist:

1 John 2:18: Dear children, this is the last hour; and as you have heard that the antichrist is coming, even now many antichrists have come. This is how we know it is the last hour.  

The Spirit of the Antichrist is present in all teachings that pervert the gospel and lead people astray.

9. They don't present Christ accurately

2 John 1:6-11: And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love. 7 I say this because many deceivers, who do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh, have gone out into the world. Any such person is the deceiver and the antichrist. 8 Watch out that you do not lose what we have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully. 9 Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son. 10 If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. 11 Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.  

This passage does not merely apply to those who "do not acknowledge Jesus Christ as coming in the flesh." It applies to all teachings that do not "continue in the teaching of Christ" as presented in Scripture. For example, the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Mormons (LDS), and Christian Science all present a different Jesus than the one presented in Scripture.

See also 2 Corinthians 11:4.

10. They usually preach Christ for financial gain:

2 Peter 2:3: In their greed these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. 

1 Timothy 6:5 speaks of false teachers "who think that godliness is a means to financial gain." Titus 1:11 talks of those who teach "for the sake of dishonest gain."

It is not a sin to be wealthy, but it is certainly sinful to become selfishly rich from teaching God's truths. If God gives a biblical teacher great wealth, he has a responsibility to use his wealth wisely, being extravagant with God, not himself. This is true for all Christians, and we should expect preachers and teachers to be excellent examples. See Extravagant Love and The Lifestyle of a False Teacher.

Archive of 1-minute devotions about false teachers and false teachings: 
Right is Right
3 Requirements for Discernment
3 Characteristics of False Teachers
How False Teachers Help Us
Are You Defending False Teaching?
The Right Way to Check out Christian Teachers
7 Claims of False Teachers
Jesus Calling: Are Sarah Young's Claims Biblical
The Power and Limit of Words
Know-it-all Followers
Checking the Source
Examining "The Shack"
The Popular Teachings of Joel Osteen: Beware
Bad Guys are Good Warnings
3 Reasons False Teachers are so Popular
Modern Deceptions

copyright 2019, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Bite Size Bible Study