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

pirate

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Romans 8:28 Reflecting on “His Purpose”

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NIV:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

This week in our online group we learned that in order to truly live according God’s purpose, a person must SEEK to have a Heart Like Christ  🙂

 

Today, let’s dive even deeper into this verse by using the SOAP strategy.  This can be done by writing in a plain notebook or on a printable SOAP sheet found here:

 

https://www.etsy.com/listing/243729623/download-of-bible-stories-from-the-heart?ref=shop_home_active_2

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What SOAP stands for:

  • Scripture:  Select a verse or verses that stuck out to you in your reading.
  • Observation:  What did you observe about the scripture that struck you. This can be one sentence or a whole book.
  • Application:  How can you apply the observation so that it affects your life today.
  • Prayer:  Write out a prayer to God based on what you just learned and ask him to help you apply this truth in your life.

 

 

 

____________________________________________

 

Here is a poem to help you reflect:

 

The Heart of Christ ~

https://poetrybydeborahann.wordpress.com/2014/03/11/the-heart-of-christ/

let-this-mind-be-in-you CHRISTian poetry by deborah ann

Oh, to have the heart of Christ,
to love one and all . . .
to forgive the one who stumbles
to lift up the ones who fall.

Then I’d have the mind of Jesus,
I’d see others deepest need
I’d minister to the lost
their souls to heaven I’d lead.

Oh, to have the life of Christ,
to see all in His saving light
to heal the ailing hearts
to give all eternal sight.

Then I’d have the mind of Jesus,
I’d take His Word across the land
I’d lead others to His Kingdom
deliver the unsaved into His hand.

Oh, to have the heart of Christ,
beating deep inside me . . .
to have the mind just like Jesus
oh, how wonderful that would be!

~~~~~~~~~~

Philippians 2:5
King James Version

“Let this mind be in you,
which was also in Christ Jesus:”

Copyright 2014
Deborah Ann Belk

According to HIS Purpose

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For more Christian devotions, ART ACTIVITIES, and free coloring pages, join us on Facebook:

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_______________________________________

I normally choose to use the NKJV of the Bible for our weekly devotions, but this week I am choosing to use the NIV. The reasons behind this are stated later in this devotion.

NIV:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

_________________________________________________________________________

History Behind This Verse

Romans 8:28 was written by Paul to the church of Rome.  Paul was an apostle who spent the second half of his life traveling and spreading the good news of Jesus. He also wrote several letters to many of the early churches during this time.  The letters he wrote are called epistles.  There are 13 of Paul’s epistles found in the New Testament. Paul’s letters were written for multiple reasons.  Some were written for encouragement.  At this time Christians were often tortured and killed for their faith.  Paul understood the fear and difficulties that came to many believers during these early years.  And some of these epistles were written for redirection. Now days  many religious denominations have “boards” of people or “governing manuscripts” available to direct and guide their churches.  In the early days these “boards” did not exist. The early churches did not have manuals to follow or church heads to guide them in their daily decision making, so God called certain apostles to act as church governors. Paul was one of these appointed apostles.

When this verse was written, the church of Rome was just being established.  Members of this early church were being tortured and killed for their faith, Paul wanted to reassure these believers of God’s LOVE for them! Verse 28 is part of this reassurance. This verse is still very much relevant to us today.  It is easy to question and doubt God’s love when trouble befalls us, but we must remain strong in our faith.  Just as God only caused GOOD in the lives of these Christians of Rome, He ONLY causes GOOD in our “current day”  lives as well.  

We know that in all things that God works are for the good of those who love him.

_____________________________________________________________________

Why I chose the NIV translation for this week’s devotion

Great thoughts to ponder on this verse by :

http://lhim.org/blog/2011/10/09/a-complex-verse-romans-828/

Let’s look at this verse using two different translations:

Romans 8:28New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

NIV:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

According to Brian Keeting:

Translation 1: God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.

Translation 2: In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.

“Translation 1″ appears to state the following about Romans 8:28:

“If a person loves God, and is called by God, then every single thing that happens to that person is for his own good.”

In other words, no matter what events happen to that person, all of those events are actually good things for him. This is because God, Himself, is explicitly controlling every single event that happens to that person.

“Translation 2″, on the other hand, has this to say about Romans 8:28:

“If a person loves God, and is called by God, then everything that God does to that person is for his own good.”

In other words, all of the events that God causes to happen to that person are for his own good. However, this does not mean that every single event that happens to that person is necessarily good – because many of those events are not caused by God at all.

___________________________________________________________________

My Thoughts:

We live in a fallen world.  Bad things happen on a daily basis, but God does not cause these things to happen. God is not a dictator.  He rules out of love not out of ego-seeking power. God LOVES us. When God does step in to help, He only causes GOOD!!!!

Our Heavenly Father has given each person free will to make their own choices.  Sometimes our own poor choices cause bad things to happen to us and sometimes other people’s poor choices cause us to suffer, but these events are caused by us (humans), not by God.  Our God is not going to cause evil to come upon anyone.  He will sometimes allow it, but He will not cause it!

Our LOVING Lord will often step in to help us if we ask, but we are not His puppets.  Our Heavenly Father is ready and willing to surround and fill us with His extreme LOVE, but He is not power hungry. He is not sitting on His Heavenly throne and controlling every event here on earth.

I know that sometimes even when we ask, it seems that God chooses to not step in at all. Sometimes a tragedy may lie ahead in our future and when we ask our Heavenly Father to use His power and wisdom to stop the tragedy, He does not. This is extremely difficult for our limited minds to understand, but one day we will understand all.  For now we must simply keep turning to HIM!

On a happy note:

 Even when terrible things take place, God CAN make something GOOD come out of those tragedies!

__________________________________________________________________________

Key Words

According

to

HIS 

Purpose

According: agreeing

to: used for expressing motion or direction toward a point, person, place,or thing

His:  God

Purpose:  an intended or desired result; end; aim; goal

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Connection to Us

In order to clearly understand this verse we need to have a clear understanding as to what “God’s Purpose” clearly means.   God’s purpose for us as His son’s and daughters is that we be conformed to the image of Jesus.  This is often very difficult for us to do, because it means that we’re going to have to literally “die to self”. God desires for us to become “Christ-like”.  To do this each one of us will have to stop thinking and asking for things according to “my way.” We will need to begin accepting God’s way as the rule in our lives.

For most of us, this is easier said than done.  As humans, we all have a tendency to be self centered. Putting our needs and wants in front of others comes much too easily for us.  The moment that we decide to answer God’s call and accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are expected to turn from our old lives.  At that point we truly are making Jesus our LORD.

For many of us it is easy to accept Jesus as our Savior because most agree that they need to be saved from both our sin and this corrupt world.  It is much harder to accept Jesus as our LORD. Many individuals attempt to only answer the first half of the call.  This will not work.  The invitation is an “all or nothing” one. When we answer the call we are saying that we indeed will allow Jesus to be BOTH our LORD and our SAVIOR!

I challenge you over the next few days to pray, read, and reflect upon what it truly means to be like Christ.  Since THIS is our purpose, it is our job to always be working towards this goal.

Here is a short list of some key qualities of Jesus:

I found these here:  http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/10-character-traits-of-jesus-to-emulate/

1)  Compassionate

Jesus never looked away from people; He always looked upon them and had compassion (Matthew 9:36). Whenever people were around him, Jesus understood what their real needs were and sought to address them. For some, physical healing was necessary, for others the root issue was spiritual. In all cases though, Jesus took the time to actually notice that people were hurting—and His compassion drove Him to help them.

2)  Servant

Without a doubt, Jesus was the ultimate servant. Although He was praised as a great teacher and even had a decent following, He made sure to teach them to be servants by actually doing it himself. In Mark 10:45, Jesus even tells everyone: “the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve” Despite having the authority to get anything He wanted, have people praise and pamper him, He did the exact opposite by lowering himself and serving others.

3)  Loving

Obviously, Jesus had a love for others. If He didn’t, He wouldn’t be compassionate nor a servant. Jesus claimed that there is no greater love than to die for one of your friends—and He did just that. If anyone doubts His love, all they have to do is look upon the cross and see the agony that He bore for their sakes. He experienced that horrible death so that all can be saved. That, very clearly, is true love at its finest.

4)  Forgiving

One of the most startling things said in Scripture is found in Luke 23:34, when Jesus is on the cross and proclaims: “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” Even while bleeding and experiencing pain, Jesus had His heart set on forgiveness—even forgiving those who put Him there in the first place! This is definitely contrary to the everyday mantra of looking out for number one and obtaining personal justice. Jesus was by no means concerned for His own life; all He wanted was to provide a way for forgiveness.

5)  Committed

Jesus had no lack of commitment whatsoever. Wherever He was, or whoever He was with, He was fully in the moment and fully committed to His goals. Despite praying fervently in the garden of Gethsemane to avoid having to bear the cross and all that physical torture, He knew it was the only way to pay for everyone’s sins, so He stayed completely committed to His goal. There were certainly many obstacles during His ministry, but He stayed on track and finished strong.

6)  Prayerful

No matter how busy His ministry got, He found time to be alone and pray. Whether it is in the garden of Gethsemane, across a river, or on a mountaintop, Jesus disappeared for a while in order to pray to the Lord. People always tried to find Him, and He never turned them away, but He also made sure to make time spent with His heavenly Father a priority.

7)  Gentleness

There were certainly times where Jesus used stern words, but He knew when gentleness was appropriate. Children seemed to love coming to him, and He made sure the disciples knew not to hinder them when they did so. When speaking with His disciples, mother, or other ladies, He could be very kindhearted and gentle. But, when He was giving someone a rebuke or making a point in an argument, He knew when turning up the heat was necessary and only did so strategically.

8)  Patience

Throughout the gospels, Jesus clearly gets portrayed as a very patient man. After all, He was surrounded by disciples who constantly doubted him, Pharisees and Sadducees who continually attacked Him, and large crowds who wouldn’t leave Him alone. Despite all of that, He kept His composure and responded appropriately to every individual.

9)  Self-Control

Before His ministry was launched, Jesus spent time being tempted by the Devil in the wilderness. Although He was offered food, power, and many other things, Jesus controlled His desires and submitted them all to the will of the Father. Yes, He had desires for food and such, but He had a greater desire to obey the Lord and accomplish what He set out to do.

 10)  Humble

Jesus had every opportunity and right to demand praise and accolades for His miracles and teachings, but He never did! Even when the crowds sought to make Him king, He rushed away from their grasp. He did not want to become a sideshow performance that people could enjoy. Rather, He wanted to seek and save the lost and offer forgiveness for sinful people. Yes, He could have traveled around in order to show off His powers in other towns, but He chose not to.

Read more: http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/10-character-traits-of-jesus-to-emulate/#ixzz3nJ19E8P0

10 Character Traits of Jesus To Emulate

For Those Who LOVE God

Scan-003              Scan

for more Christian devotions and free coloring pages, join us on Facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/1447039392265675/

_______________________________________

I normally choose to use the NKJV of the Bible for our weekly devotions, but this week I am choosing to use the NIV. The reasons behind this are stated later in this devotion.

NIV:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

_________________________________________________________________________

History Behind This Verse

Romans 8:28 was written by Paul to the church of Rome.  Paul was an apostle who spent the second half of his life traveling and spreading the good news of Jesus. He also wrote several letters to many of the early churches during this time.  The letters he wrote are called epistles.  There are 13 of Paul’s epistles found in the New Testament. Paul’s letters were written for multiple reasons.  Some were written for encouragement.  At this time Christians were often tortured and killed for their faith.  Paul understood the fear and difficulties that came to many believers during these early years.  And some of these epistles were written for redirection. Now days  many religious denominations have “boards” of people or “governing manuscripts” available to direct and guide their churches.  In the early days these “boards” did not exist. The early churches did not have manuals to follow or church heads to guide them in their daily decision making, so God called certain apostles to act as church governors. Paul was one of these appointed apostles.

When this verse was written, the church of Rome was just being established.  Members of this early church were being tortured and killed for their faith, Paul wanted to reassure these believers of God’s LOVE for them! Verse 28 is part of this reassurance. This verse is still very much relevant to us today.  It is easy to question and doubt God’s love when trouble befalls us, but we must remain strong in our faith.  Just as God only caused GOOD in the lives of these Christians of Rome, He ONLY causes GOOD in our “current day”  lives as well.  

We know that in all things that God works are for the good of those who love him.

_____________________________________________________________________

Why I chose the NIV translation for this week’s devotion

Great thoughts to ponder on this verse by :

http://lhim.org/blog/2011/10/09/a-complex-verse-romans-828/

Let’s look at this verse using two different translations:

Romans 8:28New King James Version (NKJV)

28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.

NIV:

28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

According to Brian Keeting:

Translation 1: God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God.

Translation 2: In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.

“Translation 1″ appears to state the following about Romans 8:28:

“If a person loves God, and is called by God, then every single thing that happens to that person is for his own good.”

In other words, no matter what events happen to that person, all of those events are actually good things for him. This is because God, Himself, is explicitly controlling every single event that happens to that person.

“Translation 2″, on the other hand, has this to say about Romans 8:28:

“If a person loves God, and is called by God, then everything that God does to that person is for his own good.”

In other words, all of the events that God causes to happen to that person are for his own good. However, this does not mean that every single event that happens to that person is necessarily good – because many of those events are not caused by God at all.

___________________________________________________________________

My Thoughts:

We live in a fallen world.  Bad things happen on a daily basis, but God does not cause these things to happen. God is not a dictator.  He rules out of love not out of ego-seeking power. God LOVES us. When God does step in to help, He only causes GOOD!!!!

Our Heavenly Father has given each person free will to make their own choices.  Sometimes our own poor choices cause bad things to happen to us and sometimes other people’s poor choices cause us to suffer, but these events are caused by us (humans), not by God.  Our God is not going to cause evil to come upon anyone.  He will sometimes allow it, but He will not cause it!

Our LOVING Lord will often step in to help us if we ask, but we are not His puppets.  Our Heavenly Father is ready and willing to surround and fill us with His extreme LOVE, but He is not power hungry. He is not sitting on His Heavenly throne and controlling every event here on earth.

I know that sometimes even when we ask, it seems that God chooses to not step in at all. Sometimes a tragedy may lie ahead in our future and when we ask our Heavenly Father to use His power and wisdom to stop the tragedy, He does not. This is extremely difficult for our limited minds to understand, but one day we will understand all.  For now we must simply keep turning to HIM!

On a happy note:

 Even when terrible things take place, God CAN make something GOOD come out of those tragedies!

__________________________________________________________________________

Key Words

Those

Who

Love

Him

Those–  used to indicate a specific group of people or things

Love

1 Corinthians 13:4-8 New King James Version (NKJV)

4 Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5 does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6 does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;7 bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

8 Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away.

Him-  God

____________________________________________________________________________

Connection To Us

Notice that the “good” that God causes to happen is directed to those individuals who LOVE HIM:

God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.

________________________________

What does it mean to love God?  How do you know if you love God?

These are questions that I think many of us wonder, but we sometimes feel silly to ask.

Let’s work on answering these questions right now………………………….

First of all, God created us to LOVE.

We came into this world READY TO LOVE.

The problem comes when we confuse what real love is.

Love is MORE than a feeling.

 Love is selfless action

Love is commitment

Love involves GIVING your TIME

___________________________________

  1. Think about that amazing moment when you first fell in love with your spouse:
  •  All of a sudden, your needs took second place to theirs.
  • You wanted to speak and behave in a way that would bring them happiness.
  • Your thoughts drifted towards them all throughout the day and night.
  • You longed to spend as much time as possible with them.

When you LOVE God you will experience seasons like this!

     2. Next, think about a time when you were angry or upset with your spouse.

  • Maybe they did not behave the way you wanted them to.
  • It could have been that you thought that they are neglecting some of your needs.
  • This may have caused you to not FEEL loving towards them.
  • You knew that LOVE is a decision based on promises that were made in your wedding vows, so you stayed committed to the relationship.
  • You did not abandon your spouse or turn from them.
  • Instead, you stayed steadfast and worked to rebuild the feelings of LOVE.
  • Over time those feelings did return- sometimes EVEN stronger than before!

When you LOVE God you will also have seasons like this!!!!

The COMMON thread found in both examples involves our “intention.”  REAL love, whether explored during a good season or bad season, always involves commitment. Time spent with the person you love should not be dependent on your feelings at the moment.  We must always focus our thoughts and energy on growing the relationship stronger.  The other person’s needs should ALWAYS come  before ours!

Our LOVE for God should be the same…………..

Our prayer for today:

Dear Heavenly Father, please help me learn to love you in a deeper, more steadfast way.  Your love for me is so perfect and mature, whereas my love for you is so selfish and childlike. Please help me GROW! Sometimes I base my relationship with you on the wrong things.  Many times I only spend time with you when I FEEL like it.  Please forgive me for this! Please help me learn how to become more unfailing and faithful in our relationship.  Thank you for loving me even during my selfishness!

Matthew 19:26

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_______________________________________________________________________________

Matthew 19:26 New King James Version (NKJV)

26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

____________________________________________________________________________

History Behind This Verse:

Jesus was speaking to His disciples in this verse.  They had been asking Him questions about right and wrong and trying to figure out how to be GOOD enough to enter Heaven.  After telling His disciples many things about right and wrong, divorce, celibacy, and the likes, a rich young ruler came to Jesus and tried to prove his ability to earn Heaven through his own “goodness”….

Let’s read a few verses which precede verse 29.

16 Now behold, one came and said to Him, “Good Teacher, what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”

17 So He said to him, “Why do you call Me good? No one is good but One, that is, God. But if you want to enter into life, keep the commandments.”

18 He said to Him, “Which ones?”

Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19 ‘Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’

20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth.What do I still lack?”

21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

22 But when the young man heard that saying, he went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions.

 

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NOW back to our verse:

 

23 Then Jesus said to His disciples, “Assuredly, I say to you that it is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of heaven. 24 And again I say to you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God.”

25 When His disciples heard it, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?”

26 But Jesus looked at them and said to them, “With men this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.”

The first half of this verse is referring to our salvation, which is the ULTIMATE GOAL for all of us!!! It is impossible for any human being to live a life blameless enough to enter Heaven on their own merit.  We are all sinners!  No matter how hard we try, we all sin on a daily basis! It is impossible for us to obtain eternal life on our own terms, but with God THIS possible!!! The only way that we can enter Heaven is by acknowledging and accepting our savior, Jesus! It is only when we are covered by the blood of Jesus that we are worthy.  We must understand and accept the fact that the gates of Heaven will only be open to us through God’s GOODNESS!!!

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Key Words

With

Men

This

With

in some particular relation to (especially implying interaction,company, association, conjunction, or connection)

Men

a human being; person

This

referring to a specific thing or situation just mentioned.

 (the previous “thing” or “situation” mentioned in this verse is our Salvation)

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Connection To Us

The first half of this verse is referring to our salvation, which is the ULTIMATE GOAL for all of us!!! It is impossible for any human being to live a life blameless enough to enter Heaven on their own merit.  We are all sinners!  No matter how hard we try, we all sin on a daily basis! It is impossible for us to obtain eternal life on our own terms, but with God THIS possible!!!

Three Words

Let’s reflect deeper on the three key words for today:  With , Men, and This

Looking at the definitions of these three words shows us just how limited both ourselves and our fellow “man” really are.

Facts to remember:

  1. No human has the power to erase even one of their sins.
  2. No one has the power to open the gates of Heaven by their own strength.

But- THIS is possible with God!!!

**********Big Takeaway************

Today, and from this day forward you must learn to REST in the fact that God’s greatest desire is to have a relationship WITH you.  He is not interested in you trying to prove your goodness to Him or to anyone else.  Salvation isn’t about your perfection- it is about your CONNECTION with your Heavenly Father!!!

Thank you Lord for YOUR EXTREME LOVE for us!!!

Do you Have Peace?

Overcome

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John 16:33 (NKJV)

These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.

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History Behind The Verse

It is important to note whom Jesus is speaking to in this verse.  In this chapter of John, Jesus is having a loving conversation with His disciples. He deeply cares for them and their welfare.  Jesus knows that when His disciples see Him tortured and killed they will feel very confused.  Jesus is aware of what is about to occur.  Because His disciples are so dependent on Him leading them,  they will scatter like frightened sheep when they witness His capture. To prepare them, Jesus is taking some time to reassure them.  He is stressing to His disciples of God’s (and our) ultimate victory in the end. Jesus knows that He is within hours of being tortured and killed, but He is more concerned about His friends’ reaction to His leaving than to His own pain. This is so amazing! Jesus loves His disciples so very much!! He knows that within a few short hours these men will witness a horrible act of violence against their leader and companion. Jesus is speaking these words to them so that when this event does take place they can reflect back on His words and feel comfort.

Just as these men in the book of John were disciples, we are also Jesus’ disciples today.  The words that were spoken in this verse are just as relevant to us as they were the original group of 12.  We are Jesus’ disciples!  We will sometimes be tempted to run!  We mustn’t! We are His apostles!!!! We will sometimes feel like we are defeated, but we are NOT!!

What exactly is a disciple?

http://biblehub.com/greek/3101.htm

Disciple:

The original word in the New Testament wasn’t the word disciple, it was the word mathetes.

mathétés: a disciple

Part of Speech: Noun, Masculine
Short Definition: a learner, disciple, pupil
Definition: a learner, disciple, pupil.

mathētḗs (from math-, the “mental effort needed to think something through”) – properly, a learner; a disciple, a follower of Christ who learns the doctrines of Scripture and the lifestyle they require; someone catechized with proper instruction from the Bible with its necessary follow-through (life-applications).

What is an apostle? 

After Jesus was crucified, the disciples became known as apostles.

http://www.gotquestions.org/twelve-apostles-disciples-12.html

The word “disciple” refers to a learner or follower. The word “apostle” means “one who is sent out.” While Jesus was on earth, His twelve followers were called disciples. The twelve disciples followed Jesus Christ, learned from Him, and were trained by Him. After His resurrection and ascension, Jesus sent the disciples out to be His witnesses. They were then referred to as the twelve apostles.

What was the relationship like between Jesus and His disciples?

One thing we have learned from Jesus (the GREATEST teacher of all time) is this:

There can be no discipleship without relationship.

Jesus spent much of His time building a relationship with His disciples.

He truly desired a close, loving relationship with these men.

He desires the same with each of us today!!!

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Key Word:

Peace

Peace:  a stress-free state of security and calmness that comes when there’s no fighting or war, everything coexisting in perfect harmony and freedom.

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Connection to Us

There is a peace that comes with knowing how something is going to end, especially if it is going to end happily.  For Christians, we already KNOW how our life will end!  Our life on the earth ends at the same moment that our NEW life in Heaven begins!! THIS IS DEFINITELY A HAPPY ENDING!!!  Knowing the ending ahead of time should bring us deep and lasting peace.

As I was writing this devotion, I was reminded of my loving mother.  She hates to feel worry.  She also hates for anyone around her to feel worry.  Because of this she will often read the ending of a book before she begins the first chapter, or she will ask someone about the final scene of a movie before she begins watching it. Knowing the outcome helps her to relax and enjoy the beauty of the story line without feeling the concern to figure out the end.

It is a family joke to not ask my mom a question about a movie unless you want to know the ending!  Since she finds so much peace by knowing the end, she thinks that everyone in the family feels the same.  There have been many family movie nights suddenly lose their intensity as mom shares the outcome with anyone within ear shot.  She does this out of her deep love for us!  As annoying as it sometimes can be, my mom is truly wanting us to feel PEACE!

Jesus in John 16:33  is doing the same as my mom!  He is telling His disciples how His story will ultimately end. He wants to His disciples to have PEACE and not to feel WORRIED!!!!  We will go through hard times. We will feel pain and suffering, but we already know how our story will end!  There is PEACE in that!!!!

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SOAP Reflection

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Welcome to everyone that has decided to join along in our bible study!  For those that don’t know, I’ll be posting a SOAP entry once a month during this devotional (although sometimes, I may decide to do more than one post).  I know Leslie has covered what SOAP journaling is but for those who would like a reminder, this is what SOAP stands for:

Scripture:  Select a verse or verses that stuck out to YOU in your reading

Observation:  What did you observe about the scripture that struck you.  This can be one sentence or a whole book.

Application:  How can you apply the observation so that it affects your life today.

Prayer:  Write out a prayer to God based on what you just learned and ask him to help you apply this truth in your life.

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Please keep in mind that the SOAP entries I post apply to ME personally.  There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to this part of the study.  It’s completely up to YOU to decide which scripture speaks to you and how you interpret and apply it to YOUR life. 

With this being week two of the devotional, I had to think about which lesson I wanted to focus my study on.  For me, personally, week one really resonated with me because I place a VERY high value on friendships (which I will get into during the Observation and Application steps).

Scripture:  Ecclesiastes 4:10 “For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.  But woe to him who is alone when he falls, For he has no one to help him up.”

Observation: Like I mentioned earlier, I place a VERY high value on friendships.  To me, friends are family and I would do anything for them.  I also firmly believe that everyone comes into our lives for a reason.  They are either there to teach us something or to guide us in a new direction. 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had people come in and out of my life but always with a purpose.  For example, the supervisor that hired me for my first banking job, Margie.  I had no experience whatsoever but she believed that everyone should be given a chance to demonstrate their capabilities.  She gave me a shot when she clearly could have gone with someone who actually had experience.  That job lead to me doing every possible position within the banking industry but most importantly I met a person who would today be one of my best friends and a key player in my grieving process (I’ll come back to that).

Of course, there is my late husband, Mike.  We were together 10 years when he died.  One thing many people don’t know is that I met him in a chatroom before they were so popular lol He lived in Kansas City and I lived in Washington state.  We fell in love and made it work.  We got married the day of my high school graduation and then the next day, I left my family in Washington to be with him in Kansas.  We bought our first how together at the age of 22 and we had two beautiful daughters.  He taught me that I am stronger than I think I am and that if I want something, I need to be the one to go for it.  Take risks for you never know where they will lead.

My sister, Nancy dropped her life in Washington to move in with me after Mike died.  Mike’s family had completely abandoned us and she stepped up.  My nephew was only 3 months old when she moved in and I will forever be grateful to her for that choice.  She helped me raise the girls and our kids are as close as siblings which is something we were dreading when she found out she was pregnant.  She was there for the girls when I couldn’t be emotionally or mentally.  I don’t think I could have done that without her.

Then there’s my supervisor, Lindsey, at my last job.  She was amazing!  She was willing to give me the chance to work in accounting within the banking industry without having any experience and she ended up showing me SO much more.  She was the type of supervisor that wanted to see me succeed, wherever my career took me.  She was the one that introduced me to the world of auditing and thanks to her, I am now an auditor, which is something I LOVE doing day in and day out.

I’ve had family be there for me but like I said, I place a high value on friendships because these are people that we CHOOSE to have in our lives.  We select them to be a part of OUR story.  Which brings me to one of my best friends, Jon.  I met him when I started working at the bank back in 2003 and we hit it off right away.  He’s the kind of friend that if I need something, anything, he would do what he could to help.  We could go months, heck! I think we even went a year without talking but when we talked again, it was like NO time had passed.  He was there for me after Mike died.  He came by and fixed anything in the house that needed fixing that I couldn’t do. 

For that summer and for my first holiday season without Mike, he called or texted almost every night just to check up on me.  He was the ONLY one that didn’t talk to me like I would break at any moment or that I would completely lose my mind.  He would make me laugh and would listen if I needed to vent.  For a long time and even still to this day, I get angry about Mike’s death.  Suicide is not something you get over so easily but Jon listened.  He didn’t need to say a word like others or give an opinion about how suicide is selfish (which I heard A LOT while grieving and it’s something you NEVER say to a grieving widow).  He’s the definition of a great friend and had I not taken that leap of moving to Kansas and applying for that banking job, I would have never met him and who knows if I would have gone through the grieving process differently.  To this day, I am glad to call him one of my best friends.

And finally, there’s Leslie  She reached out to me at a time when I first started my blog and was trying to figure out what I wanted to say.  I was trying to get back into my faith and believe in God.  I wanted a good study that would help with that and God heard me because she came out of nowhere! Lol I’ve loved the journey we’ve been on with this study and I’ve met some amazing people with amazing talent (Nicole especially!)  This study has truly been a blessing ❤

I think back to so many people that have come in and out of my life but if I listed them all, I’d never end this post! Lol  The ones I spoke about have played important roles in my life and that is why I agree with the scripture.  Sure you can do things alone but why would you?  Friendships and any other relationships that you build help you in one way or another.  Sometimes is for career advancement and sometimes it’s an emotional growth you need to go through.  The point is that without relationships, you just don’t learn the lessons life is meant to teach you.

Application:  I don’t regret fully investing in my friendships because I know that it’s not always about getting something out of it.  Sometimes you’re the lesson to that person.  Be willing to meet new people and help others out.  I will continue to build friendships and meet new people because after all, isn’t that what life is about?

Prayer:  Lord, please continue to place the right people in my path that you choose for me.  Allow me to learn from them and teach them at the same time for that is how we grow.  Amen.

After reading this, did any relationships or friendships stand out to you?  If so, I’d love to hear about it!

Their Labor

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.
10 For if they fall, one will lift up his companion.
But woe to him who is alone when he falls,
For he has no one to help him up.
11 Again, if two lie down together, they will keep warm;
But how can one be warm alone?
12 Though one may be overpowered by another, two can withstand him.
And a threefold cord is not quickly broken.

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Devotional Study in 3 parts:

History Behind These verses

Key Words

Relevance to Us Today

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History Behind These Verses

The book of Ecclesiastes was written by King Solomon toward the end of his life.  Early on in his life, King Solomon earnestly sought after God. Because of this, God blessed him with both wisdom and riches. Solomon was happy and fulfilled until he started putting his wealth and success above his relationships.  From the outside it looked as if
Solomon had everything a person could ever want.  The book of Ecclesiastes proves otherwise.  This book is full of Solomon’s realizations of how his earthly pursuits were meaningless. Solomon had turned from God and his other healthy relationships and began seeking “things” instead of seeking God. He then began to realize that all of his wealth was pointless without relationships! The book of Ecclesiastes is Solomon’s warning to us.  He wants us to learn from
his mistakes.  Solomon wants us to know that the only way to have true happiness in life is to seek a life FULL of loving relationships both with GOD and with others.

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I think it is vital as we read the Bible to slow down and mediate on some of the key words.

Let’s look at one of the key words from our scripture today.

Key Word:  Labor

Ecclesiastes 4:9-12New King James Version (NKJV)

The Value of a Friend

9 Two are better than one,
Because they have a good reward for their labor.

Labor:  work, especially hard physical work. Our daily lives are FULL of work.  No matter how fast and furiously we toil, our WORK is NEVER complete.  God sometimes “calls” us into a certain field of work.  It is important for us to remember that the WORK is never as important as the RELATIONSHIPS.  God places us in our field of work so that He can use us to build RELATIONSHIPS there.  The labor will never end, so our chances to build relationships will NEVER end either!

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Connection to Us Today

I hear so many people today searching for the perfect career that they feel passionate about.  This isn’t necessarily wrong, I am all for feeling passionate about your labor,

BUT I think we should reconsider the TRUE purpose of our labor.

 According to Solomon, the  true purpose of labor is relationship building.

A person can build relationships WHEREVER they are and in whatever career they choose!

Let’s be careful to not focus so much on the JOB that we miss out on the LOVE  that we could be building!!