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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Spirit-Guided Relationships - Children


The Holy Bible

Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. "Honor your father and mother" is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, "so you will live well and have a long life."
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 6:1-3)

Thoughts:

Over the past two days I have shared with you some thoughts about the preceding verses that spoke to wives and then to husbands. One of the primary blessings that result from happily married couples is the gift of a child, therefore Paul also addressed the responsibility of children. In the case of wives and husbands, God gave us responsibility to one another and to Him. In the case of children, God attached a bonus to the command He gave to them. The command is that children, (several Bible translations actually delineate that this is addressed to Christian children) are to honor their parents by obeying them. Friends, I am convinced that there are benefits to Christian men/husbands/fathers that honor God by obeying Him, that there are benefits to women/wives/mothers that honor God through His command to honor and obey their husbands, and I believe that children who honor and obey these type parents are bound to benefit in many ways, as promised in God's Word. So why is this, you might ask? Well, if God has already led and disciplined the parents, I would say it only makes sense for parents to pass that teaching and experience on to their children. Will children be tempted to 'do their own thing'? I believe that we all have a free will that God has blessed us with. However, when our minds, and our lives have been built around certain disciplines, and when parents have led by example of what God has taught them, then variances to our 'normal' lifestyle and upbringing will be very limited. Another reinforcement to children is that as they mature into adults, they will also become responsible to God under the guidance given earlier to wives and husbands. Friends, I believe that you might understand by now that family relationships are interwoven with God and with each other. We have responsibility to each other and to God. As we exit this year of 2014, examine your relationship with your family and with God. Use the fresh start of a New Year to recommit to a fresh start in your family relationships and your relationship with God. With God's help, this can be the best year of your life, friend! It's up to you!


Prayer:

Father, we see on the news and hear from our friends where there are so many deficiencies in families today. This is very evident from our crime rates, and from our family stresses that often result in heart attacks and premature deaths. Please use this last day of 2014 to speak to the hearts of Your children – mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. The family structure was built by You and around all that You stand for and teach through Your Word. Please guide us unto all Truth so that we may set self aside and quit trying to do things 'our way'. Instead, Father I plead with You that You might speak loudly and clearly to us, Your children, to be better representatives of Yours. I believe that this will not only bring honor to Yourself, but also open the doors of heaven and its many blessings upon our families. I would love for us to see the need for fewer law enforcement officials in 2015, because of the serious responsibility taken by me, and Your other dear children here on earth. I know that we can only accomplish this awesome task with Your help dear Lord, so as we lay ourselves at Your feet, may You pick us up, strengthen us and guide us in the way we should go, that ultimately brings praise and worship to You oh King. I love You Lord, and I thank You for Your blessings in 2014, while still stressing the sincere need for You in 2015. Into Your hands I commit my life to You for all that You will accomplish through me. Please be a blessing to my readers as they acknowledge Your Word today and make their own commitments to be more committed servants in the coming year. I ask this in the name of Jesus, and believing that He alone can direct our path today and in 2015, AMEN!


 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Spirit-Guided Relationships - Wives and Husbands Part 2


The Holy Bible

Husbands, go all out in your love for your wives, exactly as Christ did for the church—a love marked by giving, not getting. Christ's love makes the church whole. His words evoke her beauty. Everything he does and says is designed to bring the best out of her, dressing her in dazzling white silk, radiant with holiness. And that is how husbands ought to love their wives. They're really doing themselves a favor—since they're already "one" in marriage.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 5:25-28)

 

Thoughts:

For those who are following these daily devotionals, I'm sure you are aware that I am intentionally and strategically reading through the entire Bible, a certain reference in the Old Testament and from the New Testament each day, therefore no scripture is left unread. This section of Ephesians is part of my strategic reading for today, so if you feel like I must have an issue with God-ordained relationships, please instead look inward, as God may be saying something to you about your particular relationship, or some other person to whom this was intended, because He is strategic in bringing scripture to us at very necessary times in our walk with Him! Also, this is not targeted at men, because the theme/subject obviously reads both wives and husbands. So with that disclosure behind me, let me share what I believe God is saying to us in this scripture. Marriages are encouraged and designed around the Bible and were always intended to be between a man and a woman. Husbands have a humongous responsibility in the family and particularly in marriage, as we will see clearly in this study today, but wives also have a great responsibility, and I shared more on that yesterday. I believe that when each are properly aligned with God's Word in their respective area of responsibility, the result is a happily married couple that represents God before all others who might be considering such a union, and before those who have gone sideways in their relationship. While wives have the responsibility of being submissive to her husband, husbands are ordered to be submissive to God, and to follow the same example of love, devotion and sacrifice shown by Him to the church. Friends, fellow husbands, I question how could we do this if we know not the One that we are supposed to imitate? Although this particular passage referenced above is pretty direct, we must know the mind of Christ in order to do those things that we believe that He would do, and the ways that He would react to circumstances that arise. When we bring two distinctly different genders together with all the various thoughts and beliefs about everything in life, I would dare say that it is God that keeps us on the same page and continuing to love one another in spite of our differences. The infatuation, bliss and lust that comes from young 'puppy' love will often last until the first disagreement or upset. The Corinthian 13 type love, and the love spoken of in this chapter of Ephesians, comes from two lives dedicated to God and desiring to serve Him and honor His Word, even in our marriages. Christ loved the church enough that He willingly and lovingly laid down His life for its survival and ongoing dedication to God. Husbands, are you willing to lay down the hunting, the bowling, the fishing, the play buddies, the extraordinary church responsibilities or the 80-hour week job, for the survival of your marriage and in order to show the ongoing love and devotion to your wife, like God showed, and continues to show to His church? Are you able to look deep within your marriage and find ways to make your wife shine in her holiness, in her happiness in being married to you, and stand tall among her friends in being your wife? These things don't automatically happen because you are the 'male' in the marriage. It is through your dedication to God and your ongoing dependence on Him, that you are able to overcome the pride of selfishness and instead look to raise up your wife, as Christ does for the church. I believe that a happy marriage is one built around the principles of God and His leadership. We need Him in our individual lives, and in our marriages. Do you know Him friend? Have you strayed away from Him and see the effects of it in your marriage? Please follow the tips in the 'Footnote' for help in resolving these issues. Jesus will return soon, and I want you to hear Him say 'Well done good and faithful servant' because of all that you have done to draw closer to Him and in building a happy and godly marriage!


 

Prayer:

Lord, You created us to worship You; to honor You and to follow in the example You set before us. Please touch Your children today, particularly our marriages, and help us to take our commitments seriously, one to another. Paul obviously saw issues in his day and addressed them in this scripture. Divorce rates are at an all-time high, so we know that there are deficiencies in our marriages today as well. Please help us to re-examine our personal relationships with You and better align our individual responsibilities with Your Word so that we may see happier marriages, loving families, growing churches and the lost won to You because of what they see in Your children. Fortunately the world sees hypocrisy in us much like You see, and they have therefore chosen to stay in their world of sin instead of following You or us. I am ashamed that this happens, because I know that the time is drawing close for Your return and only those who have accepted You will leave this earth with You. Please touch Your children once again today, and this year, so that we may not be a stumbling block to anyone seeking You. May they instead see Jesus in all that we are, so that they may welcome every opportunity to accept You and follow You. Please use even us to help grow Your kingdom, especially through our humble, obedient and respectful relationship with You and with each other. For all things are possible through Him who died that we might live eternally, and I ask these things in His name, Jesus my Lord, AMEN!

 


 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Monday, December 29, 2014

Spirit-Guided Relationships - Wives and Husbands

The Holy Bible

21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

22 For wives, this means submit to your husbands as to the Lord. 23 For a husband is the head of his wife as Christ is the head of the church. He is the Savior of his body, the church. 24 As the church submits to Christ, so you wives should submit to your husbands in everything.

(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Ephesians 5:21-24)


 

Thoughts:

For those who are following these daily devotionals, I'm sure you are aware that I am intentionally and strategically reading through the entire Bible, a certain reference in the Old Testament and from the New Testament each day, therefore no scripture is left unread. This section of Ephesians is part of my strategic reading for today, so if you feel like I must have an issue with God-ordained relationships, please instead look inward, as God may be saying something to you about your particular relationship, or some other person to whom this was intended, because He is strategic in bringing scripture to us at very necessary times in our walk with Him! Also, this is not targeted at women, because the theme/subject obviously reads both wives and husbands. I plan to share additional biblical direction for husbands tomorrow, God willing! So with that disclosure behind me, let me share what I believe God is saying to us in this scripture. Marriages are encouraged and designed around the Bible and were always intended to be between a man and a woman. Wives have a responsibility in the marriage, as we will see clearly in this study today, but husbands have an even great responsibility. I believe that when each are properly aligned with God's Word in their respective area of responsibility, the result is a happily married couple that represents God before all others who might be considering such a union, and before those who have gone sideways in their relationship. For wives to submit to their husbands, the scriptures do not depict any man, and especially any man who has not taken his biblical role seriously and obediently. Instead there is an awesome responsibility on a man of God, in order to receive the respect spoken of in the scriptures. In fact, in vs 23 we are reminded that the husband is to play the same role as the true church that submits itself to the honor and authority of Christ. Unfortunately we see churches dying in every city today because of this missing link/headship. Unfortunately we see marriages failing in every city today due to either husband or wife not taking their respective responsibilities to God seriously. So in short, I might add that for us men, yes the scripture says that our wives are to submit to us, but if you feel she is not meeting your expectations in this area, please don't complain to your wife or to God unless you are doing all that is expected of you. I believe that God will work on our wives, after He has gotten us men properly guided in doing our part as husbands!


 

Prayer:

Lord, You created us to worship You; to honor You and to follow in the example You set before us. Please touch Your children today, particularly our marriages, and help us to take our commitments seriously, one to another. Paul obviously saw issues in his day and addressed them in this scripture. Divorce rates are at an all-time high, so we know that there are deficiencies in our marriages today as well. Please help us to re-examine our personal relationships with You and better align our individual responsibilities with Your Word so that we may see happier marriages, loving families, growing churches and the lost won to You because of what they see in Your children. Fortunately the world sees hypocrisy in us much like You see, and they have therefore chosen to stay in their world of sin instead of following us or You. I am ashamed that this happens, because I know that the time is drawing close for Your return and only those who have accepted You will leave this earth with You. Please touch Your children once again today, and this year, so that we may not be a stumbling block to anyone seeking You. May they instead see Jesus in all that we are, so that they may welcome every opportunity to accept You and follow You. Please use even us to help grow Your kingdom, especially through our humble, obedient and respectful relationship with You and with each other. For all things are possible through Him who died that we might live eternally, and I ask these things in His name, Jesus my Lord, AMEN!


 


 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Saturday, December 27, 2014

A More Fulfilled Life!


The Holy Bible

15 So be very careful how you live. Do not live like those who are not wise, but live wisely. 16 Use every chance you have for doing good, because these are evil times. 17 So do not be foolish but learn what the Lord wants you to do. 18 Do not be drunk with wine, which will ruin you, but be filled with the Spirit. 19 Speak to each other with psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, singing and making music in your hearts to the Lord. 20 Always give thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
(Bible Translation and Location: New Century Version – Ephesians 5:15-20)

Thoughts:

I believe that most of us would agree that our lives are more fulfilled when we feel good about something we have done, or when we receive compliments about something we have done. I don't believe this is selfish pride, but rather, it helps us to know that our time here on earth has not been in vain. To achieve this fulfillment in the way God ordained, we are given some tips by Paul in these verses, for we are taught to:
  1. Be careful how we live – I believe this can also be interpreted to live your life intentionally. Don't just let it happen. Think about it, we would never intentionally plan for failure. However, if we don't plan for success, guess what will probably result? Based on all of the verses, I believe we are being taught to carefully plan our lives based on God's will for our lives. So let's constantly be in the Word so that we might carefully seek His perfect will;
  2. Do good at every opportunity – yes even amidst the darkness and evil around us. We are called to be children of Light, and to be that 'light' we must be totally opposite from the evil and darkness. With God's help, we can be just that.
  3. Learn what God wants you to do – another Bible verse says that we are to 'seek ye first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you'. When we just let life happen, we live by the influences of the world (Satan), so it is impossible for us to live any differently to the rest of the world. Let's seek God daily and learn to wait on Him for what we should do, for His will is perfect!
  4. Be filled with the Spirit – When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He gives us the Comforter, His Holy Spirit, to live inside us. Each day we become stained with the effects of sin that is so prevalent everywhere we go, so let's plead with God to refill us each day so that we might be ready to protect ourselves from the evil one. With God's Holy Spirit active inside of us, and us being personally ready to listen to, and obey Him, we can face this world and overcome its evil desires;
  5. Replace gossip with praise and worship – This not only gives the world insight into who's inside of us, but it also centers our lives on Jesus, instead of the ill that comes from gossiping about each other. This is a very positive change for us that will bless our heart!
  6. Always give thanks – not just at Thanksgiving, but daily look for things to give God praise and thanksgiving for. You may not be able to ignore the painful left arm, but you can praise Him with your right arm! Get the drift? Find things to praise God for, because things could always be worse, just look at those around you!
There was an old saying: 'If it's to be, it's up to me'! With God's help, we can make this old saying a reality friend! Commit to living a life filled with the Holy Spirit!

Prayer:

Lord, there is so much that we can whine and complain about, but there is so much more for the Christian who committed their life to You and who requests a 'top-off' of Your Holy Spirit each day, for greater is He that is in us than he who is in this world! You are my King, and I humbly ask that You fill, and refill me each day with Your awesome Holy Spirit so that I may have strength, boldness and confidence to be a child of Light to those around me who are so steeped in the darkness of sin and its master, Satan. I also plead that You might influence each reader today to commit in a similar way. We cannot live the life You intended for us to live, without You being in charge. May we be open to Your leading today, is my humble plea oh Lord, that I ask in Your precious and holy name, AMEN!


 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Friday, December 26, 2014

Love Like This.....


The Holy Bible

 Watch what God does, and then you do it, like children who learn proper behavior from their parents. Mostly what God does is love you. Keep company with him and learn a life of love. Observe how Christ loved us. His love was not cautious but extravagant. He didn't love in order to get something from us but to give everything of himself to us. Love like that.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 5:1-2)

Thoughts:

I am constantly amazed about how easily we model ourselves after others who have an influence over our lives. Now for those of you that disagree with me, let me be quick to say that I agree with you, that some are worse than others! So when I read this passage this morning, I was reminded that there is an ideal for us to follow, for in the last words of the 2nd verse, we told that we are to "love like that". So let's probe into the ideals by which we are to love, according to Your Word:
  1. Imitate God's love – watch what He did in the Bible and what He does in the lives of His children today, then love in that manner. As a reminder, we are to love in such a way that:
    1. We don't mind sacrificing our very best for the benefit of others;
    2. We are compassionate about others, for Jesus wept over a friend who had died; He healed the sick; fed the hungry and loved the lowliest of folk;
  2. Let love fill our lives – for 'mostly what God does is love'. Wouldn't it be awesome to be known as a person who 'loved' unconditionally?
  3. Love extravagantly, not cautiously – In being careful not to get hurt by someone, we may tend to be overly cautious about extending our love for them. This is not a godly example friend, for God loved us and sacrificed for us, even while we were yet sinners;
  4. Love unselfishly – never expect anything in return for the love that you show towards others. Jesus freely gave His life for us because of what the Father wanted, and because He first loved us, not because of anything that He could benefit from, in return for showing His love.
So friends, we are being instructed to love in this manner, if we are to be known as children of God. Caution! Don't try this on your own, seek God's help and surrender to His will. Open your life and allow Him to love through you. Strive towards being a person filled with, and expressing the love of God in and through your life at all times!

Prayer:

Ultimate love was shown for us at Calvary when You sacrificed Your one and only Son dear God. Thank You for that gift of salvation offered for us, and thank You for showing us the extreme that You were prepared to go to in order to show Your love for us. Today we want to be your example. We want to be Christ-like. We want to imitate You in our love for others. However, Lord I believe You are well aware of the challenge that we face in our desire to love like You did, for at times we ourselves are miserable and unlovable; at times we are selfish in the reasons that we love and often Satan is in the forefront of causing havoc between family and friends, instead of the harmony and love that You offer through us. Please forgive us for the times that we lose sight of our strength and guidance offered by You. Please touch Your children once again with the miracle of love, one for another, so that we may live in unity and look more like Your children than ever before. We need You, oh Lord, and we depend on You. For it is in the wonderful and blessed name of Jesus that I pray, AMEN!


 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Most Intimate part of our Life!


The Holy Bible

29 Watch the way you talk. Let nothing foul or dirty come out of your mouth. Say only what helps, each word a gift.
30 Don't grieve God. Don't break his heart. His Holy Spirit, moving and breathing in you, is the most intimate part of your life, making you fit for himself. Don't take such a gift for granted. 31–32Make a clean break with all cutting, backbiting, profane talk. Be gentle with one another, sensitive. Forgive one another as quickly and thoroughly as God in Christ forgave you.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 4:29-32)

Thoughts:

No doubt Paul was facing challenges at the churches he was ministering at much like we experience today. However, what was made abundantly clear to me this morning as I read these verses is that we not only hurt our Brothers and Sisters by the things we say and do, but the Holy Spirit is very hurt by our harsh words and our unloving actions. The reason I believe that the Holy Spirit is grieved and disappointed in us, is that God the Father sacrificed His one and only Son in order that we might have a new life in Him, one that is free from the filth and dirt of a world stained by Satan. It just crushes the heart of my Savior when, from all appearances, we have disregarded this precious gift of God, and still continue to live like the devil. Worse still, God expects this type behavior out of those who know no better, because they don't know Him nor His expectation for their life. However, the real disappointment comes when a person says 'yes' to Jesus and then continue on with their old lifestyle. It's like saying to God, this is my life and I will live it as I please. Friends, as children of God, we not only have His assurance of being always present in us and with us through every circumstance in life, but we are also endowed with:
  • His love – to love others in the same way that He first loved us;
  • His power - to overcome the Evil one and all the distractions and attractions of this world;
  • His humility - to love even the person that may have hurt us or tried to humiliate us; and
  • His understanding – that opens our eyes to right vs wrong; love vs hatred; peace vs war/envy/strife.
Friends, I believe it is suffice to say that with God's Holy Spirit residing inside of us, there is nothing that we can't overcome and nothing that prevents us from showing the love of Christ to all that we come into contact with. We celebrate Christmas because of the precious gift given to us through the Lord Jesus, so that we might be overcomers; children of God and one with Him. Let's choose to die to our old selves and allow the Holy Spirit to fill us with His qualities, so that we may represent Him before a lost and dying world, won't you?


Prayer:

Lord, You gave us the greatest gift possible when You sent Your Son as a child in Bethlehem. For at that time You purposed in Your heart that Jesus would be our SAVIOR. You did this in spite of our sin, our unworthiness and our nature. It was mere love for a race that You created to love, honor and worship You, however a race but still chose to do otherwise. With this type love as a backdrop in our lives, please help us to always strive towards imitating that type love. Your ultimate love was shown on the cross, where You allowed the ugliness of sin and darkness to win, so that Your life might be sacrificed for mankind. Please help us to sacrifice all that we feel is important to us, and instead allow Your love to envelope us and express itself through us, so that others will see Jesus in us and want to know Him personally! Jesus, thank You for coming to earth, so that we may one day come to heaven to live with You forever! I love You Lord, and I ask all these things believing in You, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Know Jesus, Know Peace Forevermore


The Holy Bible

6 A child is born to us! A son is given to us! And he will be our ruler. He will be called, "Wonderful Counsellor", "Mighty God", "Eternal Father", "Prince of Peace". His royal power will continue to grow; his kingdom will always be at peace. He will rule as King David's successor, basing his power on right and justice, from now until the end of time. The Lord Almighty is determined to do all this.
(Bible Translation and Location: Good News Translation – Isaiah 9:6-7)

Thoughts:

There is no coincidence in my reading plan taking me precisely to this passage on Christmas Eve! For I believe that although the story is told over and over each year, we should never tire of hearing the Good News of our Savior's birth, for it reminds us that there was a long term reason for His birth and that it would not just impact the lives of the Jews and Gentiles spoken to in the days that the Bible was written, but this news is still very applicable to us today. You see, much like the Jews and Gentiles, where they were not sure how much more they could handle from the society in which they lived, so it is with us today when we stop and ponder over the atrocities of our day. Isaiah, through his prophesies, told his people that there was light at the end of the tunnel, for a Son would be born who would free them from their bondage. God, through His written Word is also reminding us, friends, that there is Light for us also, there is eternal peace, love and hope for those who would accept this same Jesus, of whom Isaiah spoke, as our Lord and Savior. Allow me to share a few words from Matthew Henry's Commentary on this passage: This Child was born for the benefit of us men, of us sinners, of all believers, from the beginning to the end of the world. Justly is he called Wonderful, for he is both God and man. His love is the wonder of angels and glorified saints. He is the Counsellor, for he knew the counsels of God from eternity; and he gives counsel to men, in which he consults our welfare. He is the Wonderful Counsellor; none teaches like him. He is God, the mighty One. Such is the work of the Mediator, that no less power than that of the mighty God could bring it to pass. He is God, one with the Father. As the Prince of Peace, he reconciles us to God; he is the Giver of peace in the heart and conscience; and when his kingdom is fully established, men shall learn war no more. The government shall be upon him; he shall bear the burden of it. Glorious things are spoken of Christ's government. There is no end to the increase of its peace, for the happiness of its subjects shall last for ever.
I pray that our celebration of 'Christmas' this year will bring a fresh new meaning to the Peace, Love and Hope that is ours who belong to Jesus. He has offered this to all who would believe in Him, per John 3:16. For those who are in for the gifts this Christmas, I pray that you would accept the true gift of Christmas and surrender your life to His control from this Christmas forward! Know Jesus, and Know Peace for evermore friend!


Prayer:

Happy Birthday Jesus! Thank You for opening Your kingdom to humble, undeserving man! As we celebrate Your birth this Christmas, please make us keenly aware of Your life, death and resurrection so that we may truly be made aware of Your purpose for coming to this earth. Probably worse than the Jews and Gentiles ever imagined back in the day of Isaiah, we need You even more today. Satan is rampant in our world and there are very evil things occurring all around us. You have promised in your Word that You will come back and collect Your own. Come Lord Jesus, even today come Lord Jesus! May we truly concentrate on the 'Christ' in CHRISTmas tomorrow and not the 'Material things that Always Spoil' as in christMAS! I love You Lord and pledge to worship only You this Christmas! My requests are presented in the only name worthy of praise, Jesus my King, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Standard of Christ


The Holy Bible

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God's people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God's Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won't be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.
(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Ephesians 4:11-16)

 

Thoughts:

I have included more verses than I usually do, because God impacted me with Truth and I wanted to be sure that you had the whole picture as you read this devotional today. Friends, I believe that our churches are probably hurting more today than most other businesses, and it may have absolutely nothing to do with the declined economy that we have been challenged by. I believe that Paul has addressed a subject that we all should pay close attention to, even though in the very first verse you may get the distinct impression that he is outlining the responsibilities of church leaders. However, I took the liberty of bolding two sentences that really spoke to me. In the first, we are told that our church leaders are in place to equip us, and to build us up as a church, so that we can do the work of the Lord. Friends, this is a whole new concept for many today. Think about it, we invite our friends to church so they could hear the Word of the Lord. If we are equipped to do the work of the Lord, shouldn't we be sharing the Word with our friends? Suppose they never attend church and you missed out on your responsibility to share the love of God with them, would you feel any less guilty about their dying without Christ? The second bolded sentence tells us the expected result when we have been properly taught and counseled by our church leaders. For we will: (1) become 'mature' in the Lord – I think of maturity as being a point of reference for new Christians; An example for new Christians to follow; Unwavering in our faith; and (2) Measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ – I thinks of us being true examples of Christ. After all, we have fought the good race and kept the faith through the good times and the challenging times. I left verses 14-16 in so we could be reminded of what Paul saw as the 'perfect' church – one that meets the criteria taught in verses 11-13. Are family and friends seeing the 'real thing' in us as they monitor our lives and look for a genuine example to follow? Are we fulfilling the Great Commission by going out and sharing the Word with the whole world – our world?


 

Prayer:

Thank You Lord for setting the bar for us to follow, and such a perfect and unselfish one at that. You have reminded us that we are all ministers of the gospel for You in our own way. You have placed many of us in churches that are God led, and equipped with leaders as detailed in these verses that we studied today. There is therefore no excuse for us not to be vigilant in our work for the Lord in and through our personal lives. Please expand Your church today as You teach us these truths from your Word, and prompt us into the service You have placed before us. Each of us were, no doubt, impacted by the maturity of other family members or friends that touched us with the gospel, long before we actually surrendered our lives to You in a church setting. May each one reading this devotional today be made keenly aware of the ones looking to us for godly advice or leadership. May we be bold and unswerving in declaring our loyalty to You and in sharing Your love and mercy with all that we come into contact with. For I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, the only One with the power to overcome sin and darkness in the lives of those that we minister to, AMEN!

 


 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Monday, December 22, 2014

Qualities for a Perfect Christmas!


The Holy Bible

1 Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other's faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace.
(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Ephesians 4:1-3)
  
Thoughts:

At this time of the church year I was very tempted to share a few verses with you from Isaiah 7 where the birth of Jesus was prophesied, and which was my Old Testament reading for today. However, when I came to my New Testament reading and meditated on the chosen verses, I believe God revealed to me that there would really be no Christmas celebration this year without the peace and love that this new born King brings to our lives. Friends, in my upbringing I was taught to represent my ancestry well, and to not bring shame on the family. In my work life I was taught to represent my profession well, whether inside the four walls of my institution or out, for I am always representing my profession. Our challenge in today's scripture is that many of you reading this devotional, like me, probably know the same Savior that I do, and we are being challenged to represent Him well. In fact, to be considered worthy of the calling He has made on our lives, we are reminded in these verses to always be humble, gentle, patient with each other and to make allowances for the faults of each other, because of God's perfect love in us. Because of the pressures brought upon us through the commercialization of Christmas, this time of the year often tends to bring out the worst in us, instead of the godly qualities mentioned. How might we overcome and be the people that God ordained for His work? Let's remember that Christmas is all about Jesus, not the gifts we put under the tree or the stresses of insufficient money to buy all that we might want to buy. Succeeding in being a child of the King in every way is far more important than anything our TV advertising might tell us. Humility, gentleness, patience and our love for Jesus is not something we can purchase at the store, yet with Jesus as King of our lives, we can offer lots of these qualities to all that we might wish a Merry Christmas to this year! Let's pray for each other because of Jesus, instead of getting under each others skin because of the world's idea of Christmas!


Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I am reminded that there was no money needed for Your birth – not for a hospital, nor a hotel, nor a crib, nor a car to take you home in. Please help us to return the simplicity shown at Your birth to the celebration of Your birth this Christmas. Let us concentrate more on the Christ child that makes up Christmas and the qualities that You brought to our lives when we claimed You as our King. As we enjoy the richness of fellowship one with another and the warmth of remembering the Christ child born to not only rescue Israel (as in Isaiah 7), but to also save mankind for a future and everlasting life with You in glory, may we then truly celebrate 'CHRISTMAS' and be filled with Your presence so that we may go on impacting lives for You in our everyday walk and talk. It's all about You Jesus, may we keep it that way this Christmas! Happy Birthday Jesus! I ask all this in the precious name of Jesus, my Lord, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Our God Can Do Anything!


The Holy Bible

God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 3:20-21)

Thoughts:

This is generally a time of the year that we reflect back at all of the challenges we have faced. Obviously we have conquered the circumstances because we are here to tell the story, however in spite of the awesome pressure and anxiety in dealing with the challenges, we can now use this time to glorify God for His awesome hand upon us! In reading this passage from Ephesians, we are reminded that our God is capable of doing far more than we could ever imagine! In fact, in order to make sure that we have all His power available to us, He sent His Holy Spirit to live and reign within us. So friend, I hope that we will be careful how we whine, for when we do, we are really questioning the ability of the Holy Spirit to see us through our circumstances. Let's learn to place our faith and trust in Him, lean on Him, depend on Him and allow Him free reign in our lives, knowing that all things work together for good, to those who place their faith and trust in Jesus. We have seen evidence that He can do all things and that He will work in our favor, after all, we are His beloved children. Let's stop stressing friend, and ask God to give His Holy Spirit free reign in our lives this Christmas season and throughout 2015! There's no better resolution we can make than this!
 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You are so good to us, yet we have only touched the tip of the iceberg. Please teach us to release this stressful life to You so that Your Holy Spirit might have free reign in our lives. Please help us to consult with You, take instructions from You and obediently carryout Your will for our lives. We need You in our lives and we need to depend on You daily. Lord, may we be Your humble servants and do exactly this as we continue on in this tough, rugged and stressful life. Thine be the Glory Lord, for You are so good to me! I'm praising You and asking all this in Your precious name, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Friday, December 19, 2014

God Calls The Available


The Holy Bible

By God's grace and mighty power, I have been given the privilege of serving him by spreading this Good News. Though I am the least deserving of all God's people, he graciously gave me the privilege of telling the Gentiles about the endless treasures available to them in Christ.
(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Ephesians 3:7-8)

 

Thoughts:

Paul is reminding us that as long as we make ourselves available to God and are willing to be used of God, then much like He did through Paul, He can also do through us. Friends, Paul is one of the largest contributors to the New Testament and he probably started more churches in his day than anyone else that we have record of in the Bible. So you might ask, why would God have used an unqualified person amidst so many others that were probably smarter and better prepared to handle the ministries that Paul faced. I believe the answer melds with sound doctrine, and is very applicable for the excuses that many of us lay persons come up with today. In using Paul, the power of God was very evident! Not only in the sermons he preached, or the miracles wrought through his ministry, but in his determination to minister successfully even in the jails, as he did to the Philippian Jailer. So what might God be saying to us through this passage? I feel like God is encouraging us to stand tall for Him, and be willing to step up to the plate when God lays a ministry on our mind. He is probably laying it on your mind so that you might become involved and, through total dependence on Him, see the lost receive hope and a new life in Jesus Christ. Please don't refer a person to your church when God has placed them in your path. Become personally involved. Help them, even if the help ultimately comes from the church. You may have opportunity to minister to their personal and godly needs. Imagine for a moment if Paul would have said 'No' to God, the number of people who may not have been saved in that day! Imagine if Mary would have said 'No' to God when told that she would be impregnated by the Holy Spirit? Imagine the folk that might die and go to Hell, unless you are obedient to the Holy Spirit and do His perfect will with His awesome power and support?


 

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, please forgive us for 'passing the buck' so often instead of being obedient to Your commands! How dare us be disobedient in that way. How dare us pass 'the baton' to someone else who You never intended to do the job given to us. How dare us pass the joy intended for us on to someone else. Lord, we are weak, but thank God You are strong! Thank You for working with us and prodding us along to be the children You intended us to be. Please don't give up on us! Please continue to work on us so that we may learn to follow Your will and Your instructions as intended. Please help us to have hearts of mercy, that desire to see those that come into our realm of influence, come to know You in a very personal and committed way. Lord, You are good and Your mercies endureth forever! Thank You for choosing me to be Your child, and for using me in any way You see fit to grow Your kingdom here on earth. Please endow readers of this devotional with this same power and a strong desire to serve You in any way You desire through them. I ask all this in the worthy and precious name of Jesus, my Lord, AMEN!

 


 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

A Fresh Start


The Holy Bible

He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 2:14-15)

Thoughts:

I believe that God spoke to me through this passage this morning, like I hope He would to thousands of others that might read these verses today. Friends, it is very evident throughout the Bible that there were lots of enmity between the Jews and Gentiles. Paul explained to the Ephesian church that there is no such division after the birth of Jesus, because He came to break down the barriers that separated the two groups and make them one with Him. I am a firm believer that when we stand before God He will see believers and non-believers. Christians or non-Christians. I am saddened that although this was dealt with by God Himself by sacrificing His only Son so that these barriers might be broken down and sin dealt with once and for all, yet it seems like today we have grown further and further apart as 'Christians', because of denominational-ism and our strongholds on what our church believes. Is it any surprise that we seem to be losing the battle in winning the lost to Christ? They feel better off staying clear of the confusion and fighting that 'Christians' practice against each other. Let me give you a couple of examples that hurts my heart here on this earth regarding this issue: (1) There was once an effort to present a Christian alternative to a known evil celebration that the community was taking hold of, so churches got together to hold this alternative event. Some churches (group of Christian believers) refused to participate if certain other churches (group of Christian believers) were involved. (2) An elderly lady with dementia tried everything to prevent a relative spending time with certain other family members, why? Because she was certain they were not of her denomination. Friends this is really sad, because as Paul indicated in these verses and the verses around these, that God tore down these kinds of walls of which I referenced, so that we who know Him personally, might be ONE. Why are we practicing separation among ourselves? When we are made aware of our sin and accept Jesus as Savior, He is the same Savior for all the world who accept Him as Lord. Therefore if a person in one side of the world accepts Jesus as Lord, and someone else here in the US accepts Him as Lord, we automatically gain 'son-ship' with Him, making us Brothers and Sisters of the same Father. Who on earth should therefore divide us by wondering which church or denomination we belong to? At the point of salvation, we have a fresh new start – why not let us learn to worship OUR Father who art in heaven, and hallow His name, for it is His kingdom that we long for, forever and ever, amen! There is one Father and one book of instruction for life (the Bible), let us practice this oneness by being one with God!


Prayer:

Father in heaven, thank You for Your patience in dealing with us - our pettiness, our greed for having our own little group (church) with our own little twists to what we believe that Your Word teaches. This faith that we have is not about us, please teach us to be so focused on You that we will find Christian family anywhere in the world that we go, and in any church that we may choose to worship or associate with. Please help us to not place walls between us that prevent ONENESS in You. May You be central in our worship, and in our daily lives, so that we may learn from You how we should live so that we may replicate the life that You have taught us and exampled for us. Please help us to celebrate the One in whom we each believe, and pray for each other to better understand Your Word and therefore work out areas that we see things differently on, for we are a new creation in You. Blessed be the name of the Lord! I ask all this in the precious name of Jesus, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

God’s Gift!


The Holy Bible

    Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It's God's gift from start to finish! We don't play the major role. If we did, we'd probably go around bragging that we'd done the whole thing! No, we neither make nor save ourselves. God does both the making and saving. He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 2:7-10)

Thoughts:

I believe that most folk reading this devotional today would probably welcome the thought of a gift during this season of giving and receiving - 'Christmas'! This may be a result of us relating to God's perfect 'gift' to us through His Son, Jesus. A celebration called 'Christmas' that we have continued for years. However, did you ever stop and think about why this all happened? It becomes a whole lot more meaningful when we reflect on the reason, as explained by Paul in these highlighted verses. For we are reminded that the gift (Jesus) given to us was not at our request. It was God's idea from start to finish. In fact, He made/created us with a purpose in mind - to worship Him and to join Him in His work of loving His creation and ultimately saving the lost in this world. In other words, after creating us with a purpose, He saw that through giving us free will, we chose to ignore His goodness and His mercy, and instead follow the evil path of sin and destruction. Therefore, He then gave us the gift of His Son miraculously, so that we might find power and strength to overcome our evil desires and be redirected to the original plan of joining Jesus in the work already explained. So is this gift given to us meaningful to us? You better believe it, for it is God's very precious gift, given to benefit our return to Him. In the latter part of these verses you will note that I bolded the specific purpose for which we were created and saved. Will you join me in recommitting ourselves to join Christ Jesus in the work that He does – the work that He got ready for us to do? This would not only be a gift to God through seeing obedient children, but also a gift to others as we serve for their benefit and ultimate cause of Christ. This type commitment can create a very special Christmas for all of us and, based on this passage, can be done without breaking our budget! If you are reading this and finding this all very strange, please follow the contact information in the footnote to get in touch with me and allow me to introduce you to my heavenly Father. There is no better gift you can receive this Christmas!


Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I come humbly before You acknowledging You as my Savior, my Lord and my King. While I often search for a unique gift for my loved ones at Christmas time, I can truly say that I am a very blessed man today, because Your gift given in that manger in Bethlehem was given deliberately and with such purpose and love for me. Thank You dear God for loving me so much and for caring about what happens to me here on earth and even in the life to come, where I will be with You eternally in heaven. Thankfully, You have placed family, friends, coworkers and others in my path so that Your work might be fulfilled through me. Please given me strength, wisdom and an unrecognized boldness to openly share Your love and Your goodness with others that I come into contact with. Please help me to freely become involved in Your work, the work that You have prepared just for me, so that Your perfect will might be done, even through me! Lord, I believe that some will read Your Word presented herein and they will have lots of questions. Please tender their hearts and help them to accept You, the author and finisher of our lives. May they truly recognize the greatest gift ever given during this Christmas season, and may their lives be eternally impacted by You. I ask this believing, for I ask it in the name of Jesus, my Lord, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Life Improvement Key


The Holy Bible

It wasn't so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn't know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It's a wonder God didn't lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 2:1-6)

Thoughts:

Isn't it interesting to watch the commercials this time of the year and learn how easy it is to improve happiness in your home, if only you would get off your wallet and buy the right gifts for your loved ones, or buy the right foods on which to splurge during the many parties and family gatherings? In a few weeks, that will change to finding happiness while improving your self-image, by losing all the pounds you gained during the holidays. Do you see the temporary results in each of these things? Paul had the same challenge with the folk he ministered to in the Ephesian church, and in these verses highlighted today you will note that he brought to their attention an important key to improve life over an entire year, not just during a particular season. Friends, this is the same choice that we can make today. Banks love it when you overspend to find those special gifts that you feel will bring happiness to your family and friends, but your budget suffers for months to come. Paul is reminding us that God, in His infinite wisdom knew what it would take to improve life on a permanent basis. He knew that it should be done out of love, and not at a financial cost to those that need it, otherwise it would be out of reach for some. In fact, this 'improvement key' would have to be something available to His children even though the rest of the world might look on in disbelief, because all they would see is the unworthiness of the individual. Additionally, Paul must have known that we would have gotten used to the various rewards programs here on earth, because in verse 6 he went on to encourage us with the rewards of heaven in company with the Savior of this world, Jesus, the Messiah of whom we sing in many of the Christmas carols. In other words, the rewards of this life improvement decision of which I have shared, is simply 'out of the world'!! Friend, won't you this Christmas season accept the best gift ever given, Jesus my Lord? He truly is the reason that we celebrate Christmas, and He is ready and willing to accept your 'life improvement' request today!


Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank You for going to the extreme to provide the best gift ever. One that would improve our lives forever. One that brings the rewards of heaven, and eternity with the Master of this universe. Lord You are good, and your mercies endureth forever! I love You Lord, and I life my voice, to worship You, oh my soul, rejoice; take joy my King in what You hear, may it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear! Lord, may this Christmas time be a time that our lives are made complete in You, and may our family and friends also recognize the need for the gift of all gifts, the hope of glory, the key to true and everlasting happiness. For I humbly ask this in the name of Jesus, the newborn King, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Monday, December 15, 2014

A Prayer For Christians


The Holy Bible

16 I have not stopped thanking God for you. I pray for you constantly, 17 asking God, the glorious Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to give you spiritual wisdom and insight so that you might grow in your knowledge of God. 18 I pray that your hearts will be flooded with light so that you can understand the confident hope he has given to those he called—his holy people who are his rich and glorious inheritance.
(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Ephesians 1:16-18)

Thoughts:

Unfortunately you will not find a model prayer for Christians to recite in this devotional today, but what God got my attention on, is the importance of continuing to pray for fellow Christians. Let me give you a worldly comparison/preview of what I saw as I meditated on this. Can you imagine a citizen walking down a main street of a town under siege? They would look like any other citizen of that country and would probably be allowed to travel on. Now, imagine a visitor, or stranger, doing the same walk. Don't you think they would be questioned more thoroughly about their choice of places to be, or dangerous streets to travel? Now imagine a soldier trying that march in uniform. He may be shot on sight, or imprisoned just for poking around an area where he shouldn't be. This is much like Christians when we exit the safety and security of the church building, we become easy targets for Satan and his cohorts as we mingle in their areas of business. Therefore Paul is teaching us, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, to pray for spiritual wisdom and insight so that we may become strong in the knowledge of God, and that our faith might be strengthened to withstand the temptations of Satan that are ready to weaken our stand and distract our walk. In doing this Paul is reminding us that we will each become confident in the hope that is ours – our rich and glorious inheritance (our eternal home in heaven, where we will join with the angels and sing endlessly at the feet of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ)! Oh what singing! Oh what shouting! On that happy day when my Savior I will see! So friend, I share your sentiments in seeking the lost and praying earnestly for that one that needs the Lord, but please don't forget to pray just as earnestly for your Christian brothers and sisters for help, guidance and strength to stay strong in their faith and continue to be a light in their world of darkness where friends, family, coworkers and others are without Christ and desperately needs to see faith in action through a true representative of Christ's. We may be the only Bible that teaches them or that may reach them. In our sermon yesterday a particular clause spoke personally to me – the person that God has designed for us to speak with today may never be touched or spoken to, if we refuse to take our responsibility seriously. Wow! Let's do our part today friend, so that God may not be disappointed in us!


Prayer:

Heavenly Father, thank You for reminding me of the importance of praying for my Christian brothers and sisters in the Lord. We have such a long list of friends that we pray for salvation, and often neglect praying for those who already know You, and who are prime targets for Satan each day. Please may I ask that You protect Your children today, build a hedge of protection around us so that Satan's darts and arrows may be kept at bay, yet our witness and representation of You will be very evident and inviting to those that need You. I need Your strength today Lord, please help me, and those that join me in this prayer, to be great warriors for the kingdom, and awesome representation of You among the saved and unsaved so that Your kingdom might be fulfilled this Christmas season. All glory to the new born King! For it is in this holy name that I pray, Jesus, Emanuel, God with us, AMEN!

 

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day's devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

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