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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

Sunday, November 26, 2017

How to Handle Offenses

Dear Bite Size Bible Study subscribers: My responsibilities with Bible Love Notes have been increasing the last few years, and I've felt the Lord telling me to cut back. 

Because of that, the study below will be my last "regular" Bite Size study. I may still publish from time to time, but without a set schedule. 

If any of you are not subscribers on Bible Love Notes, I encourage you to sign up for a subscription and receive a 1-minute devotion each weekday. (Sign up HERE).

If that sounds like more than you want, just remember that you can read only those you want to read and they only take a minute! 

Also, I will be using extensive footnotes on some Bible Love Notes devotions that can serve as a short Bible study, if you like.  

You can also access 300 past studies on Bite Size through these archives: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017. Thanks and God bless you. ~ Gail

How to Handle Offenses Biblically

A relative recently told me I'd offended her. I sincerely asked forgiveness. Afterward, I thought of the many ways that situation could have gone wrong if Biblical principles weren’t followed. 

It’s appropriate to tell someone they’ve offended us (Matthew 18:15) with these cautions:

1. Are we being petty? Some things should be overlooked. Proverbs 19:11 

2. Have we first tried to see things from their perspective? Matthew 7:1-4; Philippians 2:3-4 

3. Are we interested in helping them or just criticizing them? Romans 12:9

4. Are we prepared to forgive them as Jesus forgives us (Ephesians 4:32)? It's ungodly to ignore an apology or delay our response (Proverbs 3:27).

When we're the one apologizing, we should ask ourselves:

1. Are we apologizing or un-apologizing? 
See Self-Defense, How to Say “I’m Sorry.” 

2. Are we demanding or asking for forgiveness? 
See He Apologized for an Affair.

 Bible Study 

How to Handle Offenses Biblically
1. What type of offenses should be overlooked?

Proverbs 19:11: A person's wisdom yields patience; it is to one's glory to overlook an offense. 

Is the offense part of an ongoing problem or simply a one-time mistake? Does the person need some extra grace because they're going through a difficult time in their life? 

2. What does it mean to forgive others as God forgives us?
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. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with whom you were sealed for the day of redemption. 31 Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. 32 Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.

Colossians 3:13: Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 

Mark 11:25: And when you stand praying, if you hold anything against anyone, forgive them, so that your Father in heaven may forgive you your sins.

copyright 2017, Gail Burton Purath, BiteSizeBibleStudy.com