Evil People Can Corrupt You!

Focus Verses

1 Corinthians 15:30-33 (NKJV) 30 And why do we stand in jeopardy every hour? 31 I affirm, by the boasting in you which I have in Christ Jesus our Lord, I die daily. 32 If, in the manner of men, I have fought with beasts at Ephesus, what advantage is it to me? If the dead do not rise, “Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!” 33 Do not be deceived: “Evil company corrupts good habits.”
History

This letter was written by the apostle Paul to the church of Corinth. Paul had helped establish this early church on one of his earlier mission trips. The church of Corinth struggled because of the lavish and corrupt area with which it indwelled, but Paul did not give up hope. He continued to pray and write to this struggling church. In this letter, Paul was warning the church of Corinth to stay clear of evil people. Paul knew that some of the “so-called” religious people in the church were far from holy. Many members and teachers in this early church were false Christians who continued to follow the lustful cravings of their physical bodies. These false believers did not believe in the validity of the resurrection of Christ, and they did not believe in eternal life through Jesus. They liked to “brag” about their holiness, yet they did not actually seek to follow in the footsteps of Christ. Paul was warning the true believers in Corinth to be aware and stay clear of the evil people which surrounded them. These corrupt individuals seemed to live in the “light” but instead they embraced the darkness! Paul did not want their evil actions and beliefs to taint the genuine church. Focus Words

Deceived – lead astray, cause to wander, to (properly, cause to) roam (from safety, truth, or virtue)

Good – useful, good of its kind, serviceable, gentle, pleasant, kind.

Habits – habit, manner, custom, morals.

Connection to Us

As I reflected upon our focus verse today, for some reason I thought about pirates.

Our focus verse is about evil company, and pirates were known for their evil company! Pirates thrived outside of the light. They benefited from the darkness. They maintained their heartless lifestyles by attacking and stealing below decks – which meant they worked best in DARKNESS.

Like pirates, evil people in general thrive in darkness. Like pirates these evil people must also be able to live and move about in the light. They depend on the light to see and plan, but they need the darkness to attack and carry out their plans. Since they need to maintain their ability to see in both light and dark, they wear eyepatches!

Evil people today may not wear physical eyepatches, but I can guarantee you that they work hard to maintain their effectiveness in both light and dark. To do this, they work to maintain one of their spiritual eyes always clouded and covered in darkness! Beware of these people – they are PIRATES!

Have you ever wondered WHY pirates wore eye patches???? Well, it was NOT because they were missing an eyeball (as I once thought). The reason for the patch was to help their EYES adapt to the DARKNESS easier. Pirates needed to be able to live and thrive in the light while maintaining their ability to depend and benefit from the DARK!

Many pirates wore eye patches to help them to see in dark areas —specifically, below deck.

This is important because it can take several minutes for a person’s pupils to adjust. It can sometimes take over 20 minutes for a person’s pupils to totally adjust when going from bright light to darkness. Crafty pirates learned that eye patches could speed up this adjustment process.

Pirates lived both above and below decks on their ships. Their eyes moved from light to dark all throughout their day. The ability to quickly see in different types of light was critical to their lifestyle, so many pirates wore eyepatches. These eye patches served a practical, scientific need; correct pupil dilation.

Although the pirates spent most of their day living above deck (in the light), they made sure that one of their eyes remained in the dark! Wearing these patches enabled one of the pirate’s eyes to see in the darkness continuously. So, whenever the pirates went below decks, they would switch their patch to their other “light-adjusted” eye thus maintaining their ability to see in the darkness. This was especially handy when they snuck on to other traveler’s ships looking to rampage their belongings and steal their booty!

When I learned this trivia about pirates – I immediately connected it to PEOPLE! Our life may not consist of individuals sailing the seas looking for BOOTY, BUT we are STILL surrounded by PIRATES!!! Not LITERALLY, of course – but more FIGURATIVELY… Some

people wear an invisible eye patch! They SEEM to live a Christian life, BUT if you watch closely… their ACTIONS scream DARKNESS!!!! These people are VERY tricky!! They have abilities to LURE you BELOW DECK before you can even say, AHOY MATEY!!! These pirates SEEM to care about YOU and appear to share the same VALUES you share – BUT their EYE PATCH tells a DIFFERENT story!!!!

What to LOOK for to IDENTIFY a PIRATE….

1. IF the person DOES not care about THEIR relationship with God – they DEFINITELY DO NOT care about YOURS!……THEY ARE A PIRATE!!!

2. IF you are married seeking advice, BUT the person you are SEEKING it from DOES NOT CARE about their OWN marriage…. THEY ARE A PIRATE!!!

3. IF you are single and you are wanting to find a HEALTHY relationship, BUT you are hanging out with people who DO NOT desire healthy relationships – YOU ARE HANGING OUT WITH PIRATES!!!!

Pirates today may SAY the right words…. they may be EAGER AND WILLING to listen to you, to comfort you, to entertain you……. BUT – WATCH CLOSELY…keep your EYES OPEN – their “PATCH” will BE REVEALED!!!!

PRAY FOR THE PIRATES, BUT BY ALL MEANS….STAY CLEAR of those “eye patch wearing men and women”… or YOU TOO may be WALKING THEIR PLANK!

This devotion is from Adult Coloring Bible Study: Faith Sprinkles.

To order your copy, click here: Order Here

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The Necessity of Prayer

The Necessity of Prayer

(an excerpt from “Faith Sprinkles: Adult Coloring Bible Study- lesson one”)

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Focus Verses

1 Thessalonians 5:17-18 (NKJV) 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.
History

The author of this verse, the apostle Paul, spent much of his life as a “missionary.” To both enable him to convert as many people as possible and temporarily avoid his Jewish enemies, Paul usually did not stay in any one place for very long. Such is the case when he visited Thessalonica. The apostle typically stayed in an area long enough to preach the good news and then he usually moved on. After he left an area, he would typically write letters to keep in touch with the new converts he left behind. I and 2 Thessalonians are such letters.

Our focus verses for today are a reminder to the new Christians at Thessalonica about the importance of prayer. Paul understood how vital it was for Christians to stay in continuous communication with their Heavenly Father. He knew the power of prayer would keep these new converts strong.

Paul had experienced first-hand the power of prayer. It was through continuous prayer that Paul maintained the ability to feel God’s peace and joy even in uncertain times. Paul wanted these new Christians to experience the same.
Our Heavenly Father wants to stay connected to us! He wants each one of us to understand the power of continuous prayer! This devotion is written to inspire us to pray – even when we don’t quite know how.
Focus Words

Pray – to pray to God, i.e. supplicate, worship

Without Ceasing – unceasingly, without remission.

In – in, on, among

Give thanks – to be thankful, return thanks

The will – will, wish, desire, an act of will

Connection to Us

We read in our focus verses about the importance of prayer. Paul understood prayer’s power. He experienced it first-hand. Because of prayer, Paul was filled with peace even during the most turbulent times. There are scriptures documenting Paul singing praises to God even from a prison cell!

Acts 16:23-25 (NKJV) 23 And when they had laid many stripes on them, they threw them into prison, commanding the jailer to keep them securely. 24 Having received such a charge, he put them into the inner prison and fastened their feet in the stocks. 25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them.

Paul had just been beaten and thrown in prison and yet he was still filled with joy! This is powerful! This is evidence of PRAYER!

If prayer fills us with joy and keeps us connected with our Heavenly Father, why is it sometimes so difficult for us to pray? For me, I often feel like I am doing it wrong, so I sometimes simply don’t do it. I sometimes feel like my prayers are not worthy enough for God to hear. I wrongly tell myself that my prayers are not eloquent enough to say to anyone – let alone to the Lord of the Universe. Because of my ill-founded thoughts, oftentimes I simply do not pray – which is just SILLY!

As I reflected upon this silliness, my mind made a funny connection. I began to think of other things in my life that are vital and which I use without second guessing my usage of, and my mind instantly thought of toilet paper. I hope this tongue-in-cheek connection will help you and I both to begin a NEW SEASON of PRAYING without ceasing 

Like my personal issues regarding the “correctness” of my prayers, many people actually have issues regarding the “correctness” of hanging toilet tissue!
Did you know some of the biggest debates in history have occurred over TOILET PAPER??? Countless arguments and heated discussions have been documented about which way the much – needed tissue should HANG on its holder. Marriages have CRUMBLED!!! Cities have COLLAPSED!!!!
Proper tissue use is such a HUGE issue – it even has its own Wikipedia article!!
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toilet_paper_orientation
Advice columns have even been written about the subject. Ann Landers said that the topic of toilet paper hanging was the most heated issue ever in her column’s history.
As I am reading all of this, I had a VERY DEEP AND IMPORTANT OBSERVATION…

Even though people do NOT always agree about the proper METHOD and HANGING of toilet paper – EVERYONE STILL USES IT!!!!
NOBODY I know lets these hanging “details” stop them from using toilet paper!!!!
This realization brings me to a question:
Why isn’t it the same with our PRAYER LIVES?????
TOILET PAPER is NO more IMPORTANT and NO more NEEDED than PRAYER!!!
So, why do we sometimes let the “details” STOP us from praying???
Why do we get so caught up debating (with OURSELVES) the PROPER ways and TIMES to pray – that we end up NOT PRAYING AT ALL!!!!???
We get so worried about doing it wrong, so we just DON’T DO IT!!!!!
Now – Let’s relate this ISSUE to our tissue…
What IF we did THIS with our toilet paper, my friends!!!!????!!!!
What IF we got SO caught up in “doing” it properly that we just STOPPED doing it?
What if we discontinued WIPING altogether!!!!!???!!!!
I am laughing as I am considering this, BUT through This (t)ISSUE, I have learned an important lesson… I get TOO caught up in the details!! The Lord of the Universe has given me FREE access to talk to Him anytime I want to or NEED to!!!
I need to STOP concerning myself with thoughts that my prayers aren’t LONG enough, or ELOQUENT enough, or that my prayers may not have all the REQUIRED parts – I just need to PRAY!!!!
The prayer “roll” is hanging right there in front of me – and sometimes I DON’T “WIPE”. I spend A LOT of time thinking about WIPING – planning my WIPING, feeling guilty about NOT wiping – WHEN I should just GRAB the “ROLL” and WIPE!!!!
What are your thoughts????

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You: A NEW Canvas!

Scripture

Ephesians 4:17-24 (NKJV) The New Man (or for this lesson: The NEW Canvas)

17 This I say, therefore, and testify in the Lord, that you should no longer walk as the rest of the Gentiles walk, in the futility of their mind, 18 having their understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, because of the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart; 19 who, being past feeling, have given themselves over to lewdness, to work all uncleanness with greediness.

20 But you have not so learned Christ, 21 if indeed you have heard Him and have been taught by Him, as the truth is in Jesus: 22 that you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, 23 and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, 24 and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.

Important Words

put off – To lay aside.
be renewed – To renovate; to restore to a former state, or to a good state, after decay or depravation; to rebuild; to repair.

Thoughts from Leslie

Our life is like a canvas. God intended for each of us to be born as a clean, white canvas, but we are all born with a sin nature this is not possible. Each time we act upon our sin nature, our canvas becomes rough and dusty. But, like a painter’s canvas, our lives can be wiped clean and smoothed again! It is not too late for any of us to become something new and beautiful!

Let’s reflect again on the steps required to refurbish a used canvas. Watch the “New Canvas” video to get a great visual of this process:

Let’s take note of the second key step: Sanding

In order to hold a new picture, a canvas must first be sanded. Physically we must do the same. We must remove the callouses and rough edges from our lives before we can hold a new “life picture”.  Smoothing ourselves from the rough edges caused from sin is sometimes difficult, but ALWAYS necessary.

Before we take any other steps, we must first be in total agreement with our Heavenly Father.

This can sometimes be difficult to do.  It requires changing our thinking!  We must intentionally smooth out our jagged thoughts and totally align them with our creator. To accomplish this, we will need wisdom that we do not possess on our own.  We will need to refer to God’s Holy Word, to help us.

The Bible is our sandpaper!

Sanding is necessary because it is the step which will restore our minds back into agreement with our Heavenly Father. The old lies and misconceptions that are roughing up our thoughts must be smoothed out and removed. Big Takeaway
We have seen from our focus video that a used canvas can be transformed into a new masterpiece. But it must first be renewed.

This renewal begins with a dusting process, but it does not end there.

Sanding of the canvas must occur next.  After the initial surface dirt is removed through dusting, the material must be altered on a deeper level.  Sanding forces the rough edges to be removed.  This step leaves the canvas smooth and aligned. The used canvas is then one step closer to holding a beautiful new masterpiece.

For us to become something new and beautiful, we must also experience this necessary second refurbishing step.

After we dust our surface and leave our sins behind, we must then be sanded. This second step will help us not return to our past sins.  To be fully sanded, we must spend quality time reading the Word of God.  God’s Love and Truth is what we need to align us!  In other words, The Bible is to us what sandpaper is to an artist. Action Plan
The Word of God cannot change us UNLESS we spend time reading it.  If we truly desire to become a new and beautiful creation, we must first take action!  We must spend time immersed in the Word of God.  To help accomplish this, we strongly encourage you to create a reading plan.

Because we all learn and study differently, our plans do not have to be identical. There is no one right way to read the Bible.  The most important thing is that we allow our hearts and minds to become totally immersed in the truths we read as we study.

To help us accomplish this, spend time reflecting on a verse or two each time you. By taking time to reflect, we are allowing our brain to fully process and interact with the words on the page.  It is this interaction that changes our thought patterns.  This reflection piece can add a whole new dimension to our daily studies.

One way to reflect is to create pictures as you read.  Another way is to take notes. A third way is to ask questions along the way.  The possibilities are limitless, but this reflection step is very needed.

The entire New Beginnings Workbook is available here: Amazon- Click Here

***  Each devotion includes a meditative coloring page****

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New Beginnings for 2017!

The Perfect Christian Bible Study for 2017!

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God-Focused Thanksgiving: Is There a Difference Between Being Thankful and Giving Thanks?

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Psalm 30:12 (NKJV)

12 To the end that my glory may sing praise to You and not be silent.
O Lord my God, I will give thanks to You forever.

What is the difference between being thankful and giving thanks?

As Thanksgiving Day quickly approaches, this question has been laying heavily on my mind.  I knew that God was wanting to reveal something to me so I spent some time researching and praying over these two phrases, and this is what I discovered.

  1. Being thankful means that we acknowledge and value the gifts that we have been given: meaning that we truly appreciate and acknowledge the tremendous worth of our shelter, food, our family, etc., etc.
  2. Giving thanks means that we acknowledge and value the GIVER- the ONE who supplied us with those gifts: meaning that we truly appreciate and acknowledge God as our one and only true provider!

Why are being thankful and giving thanks so important for us as Christians? It is these two things that can help us move closer to the heart of Christ! It is these two things which can help us GROW as Christians! Being thankful and giving thanks are synonyms for gratitude.  Research shows that gratitude is the key to building and maintaining strong relationships.  Maintaining and building our daily gratitude towards God can DEEPEN and STRENGTHEN our relationship with him.  If we want to grow a more intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father, we need to focus our hearts on gratitude!

Why is gratitude so important in relationships?

Here is an excerpt from a website I found:

*Note, this except is referring to “earthly relationships,” but I think the ideas behind the references fit perfectly with our relationship with God!

http://greatergood.berkeley.edu/article/item/gratitude_is_for_lovers

We’ve found that gratitude is good in large part because it helps us create and hold onto our close relationships. In research by Sara Algoe and colleagues, grateful couples were more satisfied in their relationships and felt closer to each other.

When I examine the role of gratitude in relationships, I’m not just looking at what happens when people say “thanks” after their partners take out the trash. My definition of gratitude includes appreciating not just what your partner does, but who they are as a person. You’re not just thankful that your partner took out the trash—you’re thankful that you have a partner who is thoughtful enough to know you hate taking out the trash. Gratitude means thinking about all your partner’s best traits and remembering why you got into a relationship with them in the first place.

Connecting the ideas from this excerpt to our relationship with God:

  1. Grateful Christians are more satisfied and feel CLOSER to God
  2. Grateful Christians think not only about the “gifts” but more importantly they meditate daily on God’s incredible and loving traits.
  3. Grateful Christians work to remember why they got into a relationship with Christ Jesus in the first place. They strive to never forget their immense NEED for God. Grateful Christians value God’s incredible LOVE for them, his PROVISIONS, and his FORGIVENESS.

 

In conclusion, if we truly desire a deeper and more intimate relationship with our Lord, we must live each-and-every day with a heart of GOD-FOCUSED THANSGIVING!

If you desire a deeper and more intimate relationship with God, then why not begin your new life of God-Focused Thanksgiving TODAY!

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Bible Stories from the Heart- Christian Coloring Bible Studies Are Perfect for Homeschool

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Bible Stories from the Heart: Adult Coloring Workbooks are perfect for both kids and adults!

About the author and the studies:

Two years ago the Lord called Leslie Eaton, a professional educator,  to begin writing Christian curriculum.  The Lord prompted her to take what she had learned from teaching and apply that knowledge to creating a series of coloring Bible studies.

As a professional educator and reading comprehension specialist, Leslie understands the importance of providing “hands-on” comprehension tools to her students. She knows that without these “tools” a reader may miss much of the meaning embedded in a passage. This is why she decided to intentionally add comprehension “tools” to her coloring Bible studies.

The coloring pages are just one example. These pages are not only fun, they are also a valuable “tool” provided to help the reader grasp a deeper understanding of God’s Holy scriptures. SOAP reflection pages are also added as well as thought-provoking discussion questions.

Leslie intentionally moves slowly through God’s Word showing her readers how to uncover God’s passion in each and every verse.  She wants her readers to learn not only how to reflect upon God’s grace but also how to absorb his amazing love!

If you would like to order a Bible Stories from the Heart Adult Coloring Bible Study, visit Amazon now.

Are you ready to show your children how to develop a closer personal relationship with their Savior?

I encourage you to order the complete 6 workbook set of Bible Stories from the Heart today!

Click the Amazon link below:

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Looking for Christian Bloggers to “review” my Adult Coloring Bible Studies 🙂 🙂
 
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Fun Contest: You Could Win a FREE Adult Coloring Bible Study!

 

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