Tuesday

You Don't Miss it Until It's Gone - So Start Being Thankful Now - Philippians 4:4

gratefulness, Rejoicing in the small stuff
You don’t know what you have until it’s gone.

This is true for most of us. 

We typically complain about the bad things and take the good things for granted. 

The Bible tells us to rejoice in all circumstances, even bad ones because we know God will work them for good if we love Him (1 Thess. 5:18; Romans 8:28).

But we often don’t even rejoice in the good things.

Do you have a faithful spouse? 
Good friends? 
Loving children?
Freedom of worship?
Health? 
Eyesight? 
Hearing?
Enough to eat? 
A place to sleep? 
Electricity, heat, air conditioning? 
Hot and cold running water?

You may not have all of these, but think how much you'd miss the ones you have if they were gone.

When was the last time you thanked God for any of them? 

Let’s rejoice in our daily tasks, praying with thanksgiving (Philippians 4:4; Philippians 4:6;  Colossians 3:17).

We Make Time for Things and People We Consider Important

neglected mom, neglected Lord
When we're hurt by the neglect of others, we can focus on our relationship with God...

Many a mom has made significant sacrifices to raise her children only to have her children forget about her when they leave home.

We can understand that human situation, but we often forget about our attitude as God's children.

Our Heavenly Father made the greatest of all sacrifices for us.

We can never repay Him, but we can show our appreciation in significant ways.

So why are we sometimes stingy with our prayers, praise and time in God's Word? Why do we sometimes take Him for granted when He loves us more than any mother could love her children.

“Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you!” [says the Lord]
Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)

Today let's ask God to help us become grateful children who daily show Him how much He means to us.
copyright Gail Burton Purath, 2012 

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Monday

We Can't Ignore Our Role in Christian Maturity - 2 Thessalonians 1, Philippians 2:12-13

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

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

Paul prays: 

1. That the Thessalonians will live worthy lives – our part

2. That God will give them power to accomplish everything prompted by their faith – God’s part

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

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

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

"Therefore,my dear friends ...continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling [seriously and deliberately], for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose.Philippians 2:12-13

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To read more about the incorrect use of "unconditional love": Better Than Unconditional 

To do a short Bible study on this devotion examining several other "our part, His part" passages, check out today's Bite Size Bible Study.

Friday

Good Things Can Sometimes Be Unpleasant - Hebrews 12:5-11 and James 1:17

God gives good things, God's disciplines
God only gives good gifts, but that doesn't mean we'll find them pleasant at the time... 

"Whatever is good and perfect comes down to us from God our Father.." James 1:17

People sometimes quote this and say it's proof that nothing unpleasant ever comes from the hand of God.

However, some things we consider unpleasant are actually good for us.

We grow through hardship in ways we cannot grow through pleasant circumstances.

We "suffer grief in all kinds of trials" so that our faith can prove genuine (1 Peter 1:6-7).

I have grown more through unpleasant circumstances than easy ones, and I know this is true for my Christian friends.

Sometimes God only allows bad things and uses them for our good (Romans 8:28).

But He also brings unpleasant things into our lives to produce great good in us (Hebrews 12:5-11).

"No discipline* seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it." Hebrews 12:11

* God punishes us to turn us from our sins, but sometimes discipline is "training," not brought on by disobedience but by our Loving Father's desire to produce stronger faith in His children. 
See God Punishes and Punishment, Consequences, and Condemnation

Thursday

7 Claims of False Teachers and "Christian" Cults

False teachers, Mormonism, Christian cults
Beware of any group that approaches the Bible in any or all of these ways.

1. They claim Scripture is incomplete or corrupted, and they possess the only pure knowledge of God.

2. They claim to have "extra revelations" which contradict Scripture.

3. Knowing that certain Scripture passages refute their beliefs, they create explanations that are historically, academically, or linguistically inaccurate. 

4. They ignore New Testament passages that put an end to certain Old Testament laws (e.g. dietary).*

5. They believe that until their “prophet” or founder came along, God allowed the Gospel to be corrupted and misunderstood for hundreds of years. Included in their list of those who were unable to discern God's truth would be martyrs, missionaries, and great theologians.

6. They claim that Jesus is not God.
(John 1:1-14; 1 John 4:1-3

7. They claim God’s purpose is to give us wealth and/or ease on earth. (Matthew 10:32-39)

*See this collection of 4 articles explaining which Old Testament laws apply to us today.

Related 1-Minute Devotions:
Deceptive Evangelism
Upside-down Truth
Is Mormonism a Cult?
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