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Sunday, February 26, 2017

Keep Contending for the Faith No Matther How Strong the Resistance - Jude 1:3

stand firm for Jesus
Are you facing increased opposition when you share Christ accurately in your workplace, neighborhood, or church?  

I'm seeing increased name-calling, anger, and resistance when people share Biblical truths (especially when they talk about morality, accurate views of God, discernment, or Christian responsibility). 

And a good portion of the resistance comes from professing Christians misusing the “Judge not” argument.  

God expects us to warn people of error even if they don’t listen (Ezekiel 33:1-20). He’s “nit-picky” about His Word (Matthew 5:18).  

But just like the Old Testament prophet Jeremiah we can be hurt by the insults from the people we’re trying to help (Jeremiah 20:8-9). 

So today, I want to give a shout out to those of you who are contending for the faith, teaching Christian responsibility, standing for God’s morals against a growing wave of compromise (Jude 1:3).

 Never forget: “Great is your reward in heaven” (Matthew 5:10-12).

Note: there are links to other pertinent devotions in this devotion. Click on any highlighted word to read more.

Bible Study
Read through the following passages and write down what they tell us about God's desire for us to transmit the Gospel, His character, His truth, and His ways accurately:

Titus 1:9: [A Church elder] must hold firmly to the trustworthy message as it has been taught, so that he can encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. 

The Greek word translated "sound" (hugiain√≥) means healthy, functioning holistically - all parts working together. Sound doctrine is based on the whole counsel of God's Scripture, not one or two words, phrases, or verses taken out of context. The "Judge not!" heresy, based on two words taken out of context, is so prominent among Christians that I've written a series of articles on it HERE. 

Titus 1:16-2:1:They claim to know God, but by their actions they deny him. They are detestable, disobedient and unfit for doing anything good. 2:1You, however, must teach what is appropriate to sound doctrine.

1 Thessalonians 5:21:but test everything that is said. Hold on to what is good.

2 Thessalonians 2:15:So then, brothers and sisters, stand firm and hold fast to the teachings we passed on to you, whether by word of mouth or by letter.  

2 Corinthians 10:5:We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 

1 John 4:1: Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

Jude 1:3-5: Dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt compelled to write and urge you to contend for the faith that was once for all entrusted to God’s holy people. 4 For certain individuals whose condemnation was written about long ago have secretly slipped in among you. They are ungodly people, who pervert the grace of our God into a license for immorality and deny Jesus Christ our only Sovereign and Lord. 5 Though you already know all this, I want to remind you that the Lord at one time delivered his people out of Egypt, but later destroyed those who did not believe.
copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Our Part in Christian Maturity and God's Part - 2 Thessalonians 1, Philippians 2:12-13

Human effort, God changes us
Paul commends persecuted Thessalonian believers for their faith in the midst of trials (2 Thessalonians 1). 

He then prays a wonderful prayer for them. It’s what I like to call an “Our Part, His Part” passage, of Scripture. 

Paul prays: 
1. That the Thessalonians will live worthy lives – our part
2. That God will give them power to accomplish everything prompted by their faith – God’s part

The “Our Part” of the Bible is often ignored in modern Christianity.

This is partly due to a popular description of God’s love not found in Scripture: “unconditional love.” If God's love were unconditional in every aspect, He'd have no expectations of us. But He does.

God's love is better than unconditional – it’s a love that refuses to leave us in our sin. 

"Therefore, my dear friends ...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling [seriously and deliberately], for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:12-13
To read more about the incorrect use of "unconditional love": Better Than Unconditional 

Bible Study

Below are a few of the “Our Part, His Part” passages. Read through them and list "our part" and "God's part" in each passage: 

1 Corinthians 15:56-58: The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57 But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. 58 Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Philippians 2:12-13: Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed—not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence—continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose. 

1 Peter 2:1-3,9-12: Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind. 2 Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, 3 now that you have tasted that the Lord is good… 9 But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. 10 Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 11 Dear friends, I urge you, as foreigners and exiles, to abstain from sinful desires, which wage war against your soul. 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. 

copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com

Sunday, February 12, 2017

Let God's Word Transform You from the Inside Out - Psalm 119:11

Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:10-11

Do you have difficulty overcoming anger, negativity, procrastination, irresponsibility, bitterness, worry, jealousy ...

Years ago I discovered a way that helps me deal with specific sins in my life. I think it will work for most people if they do it sincerely, from the heart.   

Here's what I do: I look for Scriptures dealing with the sin I'm struggling with, write them on 3x5 cards, and go over them daily or 2-3 times a day, meditating on them.

This might sound simplistic, but it works because the Bible is living and active, penetrating our hearts (Hebrews 4:12)

God's Word accomplishes its purposes in our lives (Isaiah 55:10-11) when we let it dwell in us richly. (Colossians 3:16). 

No, we can't change ourselves. But God's Spirit and His Word can change us. Like the Psalmist, we can say, "I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11


This is a free online resource for finding specific verses: Topical Bible.

And don't miss this special post with Scriptures and resources for dealing with Anger, Worry, and Lack of Self-Control.

Bible Study

Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:10-11
1. In the verses below, list (or underline) the different ways the Psalmist connects with God's Word?

Psalm 119:9-16: "How can a young person stay pure? By obeying your word. 10 I have tried hard to find you— don’t let me wander from your commands. 11 I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. 12 I praise you, O Lord; teach me your decrees. 13 I have recited aloud all the regulations you have given us. 14 I have rejoiced in your laws as much as in riches. 15 I will study your commandments and reflect on your ways. 16 I will delight in your decrees and not forget your word."

2. Where does transformation start?

Romans 12:1-2:  Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 10:5: We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

3. How does verse 8 (below) apply to changing our bad habits or does it?

Philippians 4:8-9:  Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. 9 Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Optional homework:
  • Using the Topical Bible, find several verses dealing with specific sins you're struggling to overcome.
  • Write the verses on 3x5 cards and meditate on them daily. 
Colossians 3:16; Hebrews 4:12; Isaiah 55:10-11
These Bible Love Notes also have some insights into this subject:
Dirty Thoughts
Be Your Own Thought Police

BONUS: This study offers insights on the 3 questions above HERE. But you will get more out of the study if you work through it yourself before checking the insights. Thanks! Gail

© copyright, Gail Burton Purath, 2013, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com
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