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Sunday

Bullets and Bibles

Brendan Schweigart
Baghdad, 2007: PFC Brendan Schweigart was hit by a sniper. The bullet went into his side and out his chest, where it was stopped by a pocket Bible he kept in his bullet-proof vest. 

If the Bible had not been there, it’s likely that the bullet would have ricocheted off the armor and back into his body, possibly killing him. 

This is not the first time a pocket Bible has been credited for saving the life of a soldier. 

I have my father’s pocket Bible from WWII, and it actually has a metal cover for that specific purpose. 


How Bibles save lives
You can see the cover has rusted
But I have a story about a Bible saving my life too:
I was a disillusioned, nominal Christian, who saw no purpose in life beyond my own happiness. 


Then, I began reading the Bible…and it led me to the Lord, who saved me from eternal death.

My story is every bit as incredible as PFC Schweigart’s. What about you? Do you have a story about the Bible saving your life?

Bible credited with saving soldier's life

This post was first published in 2013. It was the first Bite Size Bible study. Many of you will not have read it previously. For those who have, I hope you will enjoy it again.

Do the short Bible study on this devotion HERE.


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Friday

Flags or People?

Confederate flag, Confederate lies, Confederate Shame, Confederacy stood for slavery and racism
I have a friend, a sister in Christ, a kindred spirit. Her name is Peggie and she's African-American. 

I'm white.

We've talked about deep things together. 

Because I love my friend, I hurt when she hurts and rejoice when she rejoices (Romans 12:15).

So when I hear Christians defending the Confederate flag, I hurt. 

I've read Confederate documents* and they unanimously and unashamedly support the slavery of Peggie's ancestors. 

Even if the Confederate flag means something different to you, the secession papers prove the Confederacy was strongly committed to slavery.

From the 1860's when the Confederate States claimed their right to own Peggie's great grandparents, to the 1960's when SC raised the flag to oppose integration, to 2015 when the Charleston murderer honored the flag, it's been intimately associated with racism.

Even if you aren't racist, the flag's racist symbolism cannot be denied.

I live in the South and regularly hear Christians defend the flag. Even though I avoid political issues in my devotions, I believe this is spiritual issue, and I'm compelled to speak. 

God commands us to consider the feelings of others above our own (Philippians 2:3-4; Romans 15:2-3)He commands us to separate from anything questionable or ungodly (Ephesians 5:8-21) so we don't discredit our witness (2 Corinthians 6:3).

Dear Christians, we must love people more than flags. Please quit defending a symbol that so deeply hurts the hearts of others.


* If you've never studied Confederate documents, here's a sampling. Remember, this is not Union propaganda. These are the documents of the Confederacy, clearly defining their main reason for secession as slavery. And these are not the only Confederate documents that make this point. They are merely a sampling. 
Texas Secession Papers  This document states that the confederacy assures the "servitude of the African to the white race." 
SC Secession Papers  This document states that the states' right SC wishes to protect is their right to own human beings because "slavery is in the course of ultimate extinction" if they stay in the Union.
Cornerstone Speech of Confederate Vice President, Alexander Stephens  This speech from the second highest official in the Confederacy pulls no punches about claiming whites are the "superior race."  
If you'd like more food for thought:
5 Myths About the Confederate Flag
Separating Myth from Facts
Confederate Courage
Slavery is a Black & White Issue

Thursday

Not Now!

We are waiting for a perfect eternity, On earth we will have troubles, Romans 8:18-19
There's a common misunderstanding among Christians. I'm sometimes guilty of it myself. 

It's believing that eternity starts now, believing we shouldn't have problems (financial, health, relationship, etc.) because we're believers. 

It's true that Jesus defeated Satan, sin, death, sickness, evil, pain, suffering and sorrow in the spiritual realm when He died and rose again. But the full revelation of that victory won't come until heaven (Hebrews 2).

Christ assures us that even though He's overcome the world, we'll have troubles during our earthly lives (John 16:33).

We're in the process of receiving eternity, so we still experience testing, trails, struggles and attacks (Ephesians 6:12; Hebrews 12). 

Our world and our bodies are in bondage to decay, but "our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us" (Romans 8:18-25).

Let's live with eternity in mind, but let's remember we aren't there yet!

Wednesday

Before and After

Genuine belief in Christ results in Good works and righteousness
We can't be righteous enough or do enough good works to save us. Salvation is a gift (Ephesians 2:8-9).

But, once we're saved, we're different - good works and righteousness become an integral part of our walk (2 Corinthians 5:17). 

The sign of genuine faith isn't perfection, but it's a longing to change, a longing to do the right thing, a longing to be more like Christ.

Paul expresses that longing:
"I want to know Christ ... I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me ... Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus." Philippians 3:10-14 NIV

Genuine faith involves deliberate steps to grow and change:
"Work hard to show the results of your salvation, obeying God with deep reverence and fear. For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him." Philippians 2:12-13 NLT
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All Scripture references NIV unless otherwise noted.