Opportunities With Thorns

An interesting way to look at problems from a Biblical perspective

After we'd been working together for several months, my Hungarian friend said she appreciated how Americans looked at problems.

Today's one-minute devotion shares an interesting name for problems and encouragement from Romans 5. 

Opportunities With Thorns

4 More Half-Truths Many Christians Believe

4 More Half-Truths Many Christians Believe - part 2 in a series

This is second in the series "Half-Truths Christians Believe." 

Mark Twain said, "A half-truth is the most cowardly of lies." 

Half-truths are more dangerous than outright lies, and Satan, the father of lies, has been using them from the time he tempted Eve. 

He told Eve that she would be like God, knowing good from evil. That was half true. (For more on Satan's tactics when tempting Eve and tempting Jesus, see: Half-Truths Are More Deceptive.)

Yes, half-truths have always troubled the Christian community and only as we carefully study God's Word can we avoid them. 

So take a look at the four half-truths below. At first glance, you might agree with them, but I encourage you to study each with an open mind and an open Bible.

Please read the linked devotions and the Scriptures they reference. Thanks!  To read part 1: Half Truths 1-4.

Half-truth #5: God loves me just the way I am.

God accepts us just the way we are, but He is not content to leave us there. These links explain why:
Have Christians Forgotten How Much God Hates Sin?
We're No Longer Dead Men

Half-truth #6: Good works have no place in the Christian life because we’re saved by grace.

Christians have a major mental block when it comes to separating the elements of salvation and the elements of life in Christ. These links explain why:
Faith + Nothing = Salvation + Works
The Place of Good Works
Salvation Through Grace, Works Through Love
Works is Not a Dirty Word

Half-truth #7: God sees all sins the same.

If you say something often enough, people begin to think it's true. That's why this is such a popular half-truth. Any sin will send a man to Hell if he doesn't accept Christ, and any sin (except one) can be forgiven. But that is where the equality of sins ends. Scripture differentiates between sins for good reasons. These links explain more:
All Sins Are Not the Same
Lies Some Christians Believe - All Sins are the Same
3 Earthly Consequences of Sin

Half-truth #8: God sees all Christians the same.

Our culture has decided that a "fair" God sees the least devoted Christian the same as the most devoted. Scripture doesn't agree. These links explain why:
A Trophy for Everyone?
Those Who Earnestly Seek Him
Dusty Mirrors 

4 More Half-Truths Many Christians Believe - part 2 in a series

Responsibility for Our God-Given Purposes

Taking Responsibility for Our God-Given Purposes

To whom much is given, much is required.

God takes into account our knowledge, opportunities, and skills whenever judging our actions.

Scripture states this as a warning:

Luke 12:48: When someone has been given much, much will be required in return; and when someone has been entrusted with much, even more will be required.

But Scripture also states it as a privilege:

Ephesians 2:10: we are God's handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.

God gives us knowledge so we will walk in wisdom.

He gives us skills and opportunities so our service to His kingdom can be enjoyable, meaningful, and effective.

We can choose to be the faithful servants or the unfaithful servant described in the parable of the talents.

Whether street cleaner or executive, store owner or homemaker, every resource, skill, and opportunity is a gift from our Lord.

Let’s use them for His glory!

I encourage you to check out this 1-minute devotion: 4 Ways to Develop Your God-Given Gifts

To do a short Bible study on this devotion see today's Bite Size Bible study.

Taking Responsibility for Our God-Given Purposes

St. Patrick - Better than the Legends

St. Patrick - Better than the Legends

Legends about St. Patrick driving snakes out of Ireland aren’t true.

But St. Patrick’s true story is better than the legends.

In the year 405, a 16-year-old Scottish boy named Patrick was captured and enslaved in pagan Ireland. 

Although Patrick’s family was Christian, he had never chosen faith in Christ. But that quickly changed. 

He spent the next six years of his enslavement daily seeking God in prayer.

Then, in a dream, the Lord showed him a way of escape.

Safely back in Scotland, you’d think Patrick would never want to visit Ireland again. However, in his 40’s, Patrick returned to evangelize the Irish people.

It's believed that one of his first converts was the clan leader who had previously enslaved him.

Before this time, missionaries hadn't been very successful, but Patrick’s firsthand knowledge of Irish clans greatly helped to spread the Gospel.

Patrick’s life illustrates these spiritual truths:
1. God used his enslavement for good – Romans 8:28.

2. God gave him grace to love his enemies – Matthew 5:44.

3. God’s mission was extended on earth – Matthew 28:18-20.
Some believe that the shamrock is the symbol of St. Patrick's Day because St. Patrick used it to illustrate the Trinity. I encourage you to read "3 Reasons There Can Only Be One True God."

Source for St. Patrick's History

St. Patrick - Better than the Legends

Saved - Past, Present, Future

Why "We’re saved, we’re being saved, we will be saved"

Have you heard the saying: "We’re saved, we’re being saved, we will be saved"?

It's true!

1. We’re saved:
Our salvation was accomplished on the cross and given to us the moment we believed.

Ephesians 1:13: "When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit."

2. We’re being saved: 
(1 Corinthians 1:18; 2 Corinthians 2:15.)

Philippians 2:12-13: "Continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act in order to fulfill his good purpose." 
"Working out our salvation" involves:
1. Finding out what pleases the Lord (Ephesians 5:10).
2. Learning to recognize His Will (Romans 12:2).
3. Living in gratitude, rejoicing in our salvation (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18).

3. We will be saved:
Our salvation will be complete and fully realized when Christ returns.

Hebrews 9:28: Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.

Yes, we're saved, we're being saved, and we will be saved.

You might also enjoy "Baby Muscles," a 1-minute devotion about faith.

Why "We’re saved, we’re being saved, we will be saved"

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