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Sunday, March 18, 2018

To Whom Much Is Given

To whom much is given, much is required.

God takes into account our knowledge, opportunities, and skills whenever judging our actions.

Scripture states this as a warning:

Luke 12:48: When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

But Scripture also states it as a privilege:

Ephesians 2:10: we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God gives us knowledge so we will walk in wisdom.

He gives us skills and opportunities so our service to His kingdom can be enjoyable, meaningful, and effective.

We can choose to be the faithful servants or the unfaithful servant described in the parable of the talents.

Whether street cleaner or executive, store owner or homemaker, every resource, skill, and opportunity is a gift from our Lord.

Let’s use them for His glory!
You might also enjoy this 1-minute devotion: 4 Ways to Develop Your God-Given Gifts.

Bible Study

1. When we know the Lord and understand His Kingdom purposes, we have a responsibility. Much is required of us.

Luke 12:47-48: The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked. 

2. What a wonderful privilege to have God design good purposes for each of us according to our gifts and personalities!

Ephesians 2:10:
New International Version: For we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

New Living Translation: For we are God's masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

But it's a privilege with responsibilities attached.

Colossians 3:23-24: Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, 24 since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.

3. Are you serious about using your skills, knowledge, and experiences for God's purposes? 
This doesn't mean you must have a ministry career. It means that no matter what you do, you do it for the glory of God. You intentionally think about how your words and actions impact those around you. You do your best to be a faithful representative of Christ.

1 Corinthians 10:31: So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.

1 Peter 4:10-11: Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms. 11 If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God. If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
copyright 2018, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

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