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Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pride Comes Before A Fall


THE HOLY BIBLE (The Contemporary English Version – Jeremiah 38:17-18, 28): I told him that the Lord had said: "Zedekiah, I am the Lord God All-Powerful, the God of Israel. I promise that if you surrender to King Nebuchadnezzar's officers, you and your family won't be killed, and Jerusalem won't be burned down. 18 But if you don't surrender, I will let the Babylonian army capture Jerusalem and burn it down, and you will be taken prisoner."……. 28 I was held in the courtyard of the palace guards until the day Jerusalem was captured.

THOUGHTS: I am amazed that we can look into God's Word and not just see the amazing things that He did such as bringing people back to life, or miraculously healing them, but to also see some of the same characteristics in the folk of that day that compares to much like we see and experience today. In spite of knowing that he could possibly be killed for sharing with the king exactly what God said, yet Jeremiah was faithful and told King Zedekiah just that. In verses 19 thru 27 we are told how the king asked Jeremiah to handle the questions when asked by the palace authorities about the meeting between Jeremiah and the king, because the king found it impossible to concede to what God wanted him to do, as it would burst the pride of his kingdom. I found vs 28 interesting, because it gives the idea that Jeremiah waited in full expectation of what God said He would do, and in later verses we will read the rest of the story! I believe that way too often we go off in our own direction and, in spite of asking God for His advice, we are so filled with personal pride that we do our own thing, although His warnings and/or directions have been made plain to us. Friends, God is all-knowing and all-powerful. If we are truly His child, and we want to be truly obedient, then we will allow His will to override our wants and our pride. This requires a close walk with God and demands our knowing His very thoughts and plans, and allowing that sense of direction to lead us into all truth, even if it looks like it will probably lead to folk laughing at us, or thinking that we have lost sense with reality. God's true messengers tell the story as they understand it from God, not as they have manipulated it to best suit their purpose. We are chosen to be God's messengers of His truth, not to dilute it with our wants and/or benefits. I believe that God is watching as we decide today whom we will serve. What shall it be friend?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for trusting Your servants to deliver Your Word to those that need it even today. You are well aware of how manipulative we are in still sharing that Word with our own personal prejudices and twists that help us to feel important and without including ourselves in the mix of all who need correction. Please tender our hearts, and please cause us to allow Your words to penetrate us first personally, before we ever think about sharing them with someone else. You are the Creator and ongoing Master of this universe. All things were made by You and are still under Your control. Please help us to understand that this will not change, even if we try to soften the reality of that, or not tell the whole truth of what it will take to draw mankind unto a saving knowledge of You. There is no need for us to be intimidated by others, for Your message is designed for us all. There is no gain for self, for Your Word is intended to draw mankind unto You, not unto us. Please forgive us for our littleness in trying to use Your message for our benefit. Please help us to wipe away self-pride and instead practice true servant-hood and be Your humble messenger simply delivering Your Word to lost mankind. Only the blood of Jesus can wash away the sin of mankind, nothing else. May Your will be done today in our lives, I pray, in the all-powerful and matchless 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!

Help For The Tempted


THE HOLY BIBLE (The Contemporary English Version – Hebrews 2:14-18): 14 We are people of flesh and blood. That is why Jesus became one of us. He died to destroy the devil, who had power over death. 15 But he also died to rescue all of us who live each day in fear of dying. 16 Jesus clearly did not come to help angels, but he did come to help Abraham's descendants. 17 He had to be one of us, so that he could serve God as our merciful and faithful high priest and sacrifice himself for the forgiveness of our sins. 18 And now that Jesus has suffered and was tempted, he can help anyone else who is tempted.

 

THOUGHTS: Jesus became man and can therefore identify with mankind - our issues and our temptations. In this scripture today in verse 18, we are reassured that Jesus can help us when tempted. I believe this is an excellent reminder for us, for when we are tempted we must quickly be reminded that we have a choice. A choice to seek help to prevent us from sinning, or we do nothing and allow that temptation to lead us into a sinful situation. Much is shown in scripture about how Jesus was faced with temptation and what He did to overcome it. He called on His Father and depended on the Word of God. Jesus set the example for us, so I believe that not only does He have power to help us overcome, but He also wants us to follow His example. Friends, temptations will come. It is up to us to seek the power and strength of our Father, or to ignore the example set for us by His Son and allow it to control our destiny. I would urge you to join me in seeking the strength and wisdom of our Master and allow Him full control of our lives, and not simply allow the wishes of Satan to see us fail through giving in to temptation and the sin that results from caving in to that, for Jesus can help anyone who is tempted!

 

PRAYER: Father, You know what our day will hold long before we place our feet on the floor each day. You are well aware of the temptations that Satan will send our way to test our faith and our walk with You. In Your wisdom You have given us choices, even though You know that we are so incapable and inadequate within the confines of our own abilities. Thankfully You have given us a Savior who is all-knowing and all-powerful, who can guide us to all truth and towards a life that is pure and without sin. We know that this is only possible with Your strength Lord, so today I want to plead with You for extra power and strength to always surrender tempting situations to You, and bathe them in the blood of Jesus so that we will fight against these with the almighty power of God the Father. You are able Lord, and I am not. Please help me to not even attempt to deal with the Evil one, but instead seek Your power to deal with him and overcome the temptations that he will send my way. For I ask this in the all-powerful name of Jesus, my Lord, with thanksgiving, 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, March 28, 2015

Lest We Drift Away

THE HOLY BIBLE (The Contemporary English Version – Hebrews 2:1): We must give our full attention to what we were told, so that we won’t drift away

THOUGHTS: Lest we miss the meaning of the words “drift away”, I want to take the liberty of reflecting on what it means when a boat ‘drifts away’. Normally after a day at work in a boat, it is properly secured to a mooring and extra anchors, so that it would stay secure until the next day when its owner is again ready to take it out fishing. Here’s what it means to secure a boat, and these terms will also apply to our spiritual lives:
  A boat must be properly secured to avoid it drifting away, so a mooring is put in place for that purpose. Our ‘mooring’ is the security of our faith in Jesus Christ. Both the boat, and Christians will drift away without their anchor/lives being fully secure. Only boats tied to their mooring have the security of that heavy, but secure hold. Only those who have placed their faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ have the security of His strong grip on us and His protective hand upon us to keep us from drifting away. Unfortunately there has to be a mooring in place for a boat to use it. For us, we must have a commitment to Jesus in place and a relationship with Him, so that our anchor is secure in Him.
  In the case of a boat, a secondary anchor is always used to support the effort of the mooring. For the Christian, it is vital that we surround ourselves with fellow Christians for support, uplifting, encouragement and correction. We need each other while still here on this earth;
  Drifting away often results in a boat being lost forever, as it might sink, or perhaps is stolen while drifting in a vast ocean. However it sometimes drifts into the rocks and is either battered so badly that if it is found by the owner, they may decide to just leave it. For the person who is not secure in Jesus Christ, you will tend to drift away from the Truth, from the love of a Savior who gave His very life for your eternal salvation, and from Christian Brothers and Sisters who keep you accountable. A boat can often be restored if found by its owner. People who find or return to Jesus can always be repaired of sin and quickly made whole by our loving Lord!
So where are you at in life today friend? Are you secure, or are you drifting and want to be secure? Jesus loves you a whole lot friend, and He wants to see you secure in His keeping. Please read the tips in my Footnote on what you might do to know this Savior of mine, or how you might return to His watchful and protective care. He’s our anchor/mooring that keeps us secure until the day that our Father calls us home to be with Him! 

PRAYER: Father, we read in Your Word where there were times that You really had to deal seriously with folk who refused to accept Your help. Lord, I don’t want to see that happen in my life, nor in the lives of those that I love and care about. Please use Your Word today as a reminder to help folk deal with the sin in their life, as I believe that this is one of the biggest things that destroys their relationship with You and causes them to drift away from the safety and security of the one true Rock, Jesus. Please touch the lives of Christians who should be striving to stay secure in that ‘Rock’. May this be a daily commitment for us as we strive to love and keep You foremost in our lives. Thank You for hearing my prayer and giving me hope and security in the Savior of this world, Jesus my Lord, for I’m asking all this in His 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, March 27, 2015

Obedience Leads To ‘Life’


THE HOLY BIBLE (The Contemporary English Version – Jeremiah 35:12-15): ….. I, the Lord All-Powerful, the God of Israel, want you to learn a lesson 14 from the Rechabite clan. Their ancestor Jonadab told his descendants never to drink wine, and to this very day they have obeyed him. But I have spoken to you over and over, and you haven't obeyed me! 15 You refused to listen to my prophets, who kept telling you, "Stop doing evil and worshiping other gods! Start obeying the Lord, and he will let you live in this land he gave your ancestors."

THOUGHTS: Who are you listening to? A more critical question is: In whom does your life reflect that you are listening to? Whoa… that's a loaded question isn't it? God saw what was happening to His people, the Israelites, where they were listening to every other leader, except the God who rescued them from slavery, the God who fed them in the wilderness where they would have died had it not been for the Provider who kept them each day by providing manna for them to eat. I know by now you are probably saying, OK Brother Ed, we know the story and these people were awful, but how does that apply to us, for we go to church every time the doors are opened and we live like the preacher tells us to. STOP friends. Please realize and acknowledge that starting at home – you have your spouse that you try to please, so in reality you are following their rules for your life. Failure to do this could result in an unhappy marriage/home. At work, most of us have a boss that we must please in order to keep our jobs and make our company profitable. Failure to do this could result in lack of salary increases and/or promotions and/or keeping our job. At school we have a teacher that we must please if we expect to receive a passing grade and graduate. Failure could result in none passing grades and/or not graduating. But what about our spiritual lives, do we not realize that failure to accept Jesus as Lord will result in a life apart from Christ and lead to eternal death? Friends, the most important part of life is to know the Creator of this world and of you and I. The One who loved us so much that He sacrificed His one and only Son to die a cruel death at the hands of evil people. Are we one of those – the ones who will continue to crucify Him? Or are we willing to surrender self to the free gift offered in Jesus Christ, accept Him as Lord and Master of our lives, then live a life pleasing to Him and in obedience to His Word? This brings with it everlasting life (see John 3:16) and a life filled with hope, rewards and blessings, both now and after we depart from this earth. Knowing Jesus is not just a thing of convenience during those times that we need Him, but it is surrendering to Him and accepting His leadership, then being obedient to what He tells you, as already written for you in the Bible. So what's important to you friend? Where do you pledge your obedience and allegiance? The kind of life I am recommending leads to life everlasting with our Savior and Lord. No other allegiance mentioned above comes with that kind of promise to look forward to! Do you know my Savior? Please read my 'Footnote' for guidance.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, Lord God, You are awesome beyond any words to describe it. Thank You, thank You, thank You for creating this beautiful world for us to enjoy, and for sending Your Son so that through us accepting Him as Lord, we might enjoy an even more beautiful and wonderful place – heaven! Sinfully we have allowed so much to come before our ultimate allegiance to You, and I want to say that I am sorry for having done this. You deserve my undivided attention, love and commitment. Too often I and my friends have been much like the Israelites and allowed the things of this world to distract us from Your love, care and promise. Please forgive me, and please hear the cry of forgiveness from my friends. May this be such a reminder to us today that our lives might be eternally changed and therefore reflect evidence of the One in whom we believe. Your loving kindness is better than life! May we learn to lean on You and not only accept that gift of eternal life, but live our lives as evidence that Your Son is in control of every choice and decision we make. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Lord, with thanksgiving, 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, March 26, 2015

All For The Glory of God!


THE HOLY BIBLE (New Century Version – Romans 11:33-36): 33 Yes, God's riches are very great, and his wisdom and knowledge have no end! No one can explain the things God decides or understand his ways. 34 As the Scripture says, "Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been able to give him advice?" (Isaiah 40:13) 35 "No one has ever given God anything that he must pay back." (Job 41:11) 36 Yes, God made all things, and everything continues through him and for him. To him be the glory forever! Amen.

THOUGHTS: When tempted to complain, think about who created the thing you are about to complain about. When tempted to question why certain things happen the way they do, think about who's in control of that very thing. When uplifted to a point of praise and glory – perhaps a gorgeous sunrise, or a beautiful sunset, or a fish skipping across the water – yes, praise God for His handiwork, but remember what the above scripture says, these things of beauty were made by God, and for His glory also! So as you reflect on the beauty around you, stop and imagine for a moment that God is sitting beside you enjoying His handiwork also! Isn't that awesome, friend? God made the beauty that we enjoy, for His glory first, but thought to also share it with us to enjoy! Wow! Revelation 4:11 is another verse that expresses how God made the beauty we enjoy, but primarily because He wanted it. I believe that for those of us who have made something with our own hands, and then sit back and admire the work with a sense of satisfaction, we would appreciate how God might feel about His creation! Be blessed today friend as you ponder in admiration of all that God has made for Himself, and be filled with thanksgiving and praise as He allows us to enjoy this beauty with Him every day. No matter your situation or struggle today, find something to first praise God for. He understands your hurt, but He really deserves our praise for all that He has done, and for all that He provides for us each day!

PRAYER: Dear Father in Heaven, I am once again reminded of how awesome my God is! For You made the magnificent sunrises that I enjoy, and also the sunsets that concludes my day! You not only enjoy these things, but there is a much greater purpose for this whole process – for plant life (our food source), and for our sanity and enjoyment to get outdoors and see the beauty around us! Thank You for providing everything so that we too might be blessed and enjoy such a wonderful life! You are truly awesome and deserving of all our praise at every opportunity. Please encourage those who are struggling today and therefore finding it difficult to look beyond those struggles at the beauty and life contained in everything You created. Please continue to bless us each day, is my humble plea before You Oh Lord, and I ask this in the 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, March 25, 2015

We MUST Worship Only God


THE HOLY BIBLE (Contemporary English Version – Jeremiah 32:37-41): 37 I am angry at the people of Jerusalem, and I will scatter them in foreign countries. But someday I will bring them back here and let them live in safety. 38 They will be my people, and I will be their God. I will make their thoughts and desires pure. Then they will realize that, for their own good and the good of their children, they must worship only me. They will even be afraid to turn away from me. I will make an agreement with them that will never end, and I won't ever stop doing good things for them.

 

THOUGHTS: There's a few important things that I believe God would have us discern from these verses today:
  • God can become angry – Notice in verse 37 how He became so angry at the disobedience of His people that He scattered them around the world? It made me stop and think how angry God must get at us today when He looks at the disobedience and disregard of not only sinners, but also many who claim Him as Lord. It seems like we take the attitude of leaving our leftovers for God. When we talk about time to worship, or Bible study, we often hear that folk will consider that, if they have time (left over time). When we look at giving, it's a matter of giving the leftovers after we have spent all that we want to. When we talk about our men being spiritual leaders in their homes and workplaces, we hear how inadequate and untrained they are, but yet they have spent so much time in their favorite sport that they not only know every move, but they know the players so well that they call them by name and even know about their off-field likes and dislikes. Out on our jobs, coworkers find it difficult to discern Christians vs non-Christians in attitudes, work ethics or conversation. Should God be angry about what He sees and hears?
  • What will it take for people to turn to God, or back to Him? - God knew that He would one-day return the Jews back to their homeland, and that they would then be ready and prepared to worship Him with pure hearts and minds. What do you suppose it would take to see our people turn to God? Every day seems to be getting worse here on earth, I can't imagine what it would take to truly get the attention of sinful people today, but I do know that Jesus is the answer, and that God CAN get our attention. We may not like it, but our God is a jealous God. He made us for the intended purpose of worshipping Him, yet we do everything else but that.

 

PRAYER: Father, please forgive us for our sin, our shortcomings, and our lack of desire to worship and serve You. You have done amazing things for us, yet we approach You, worship You and acknowledge You with such insignificant value. Although undeserving of Your precious love and the sacrifice You made for us, I want to especially say thank You today and offer my sacrifice of praise and adoration to You. Please draw us to Yourself and overshadow the evil things of this world that we tend to permit into our lives. May we instead by driven to You and recognize Your holy presence so that we may live according to Your will and in obedience to Your design outlined in Your Holy Word. We were created to worship You dear Lord, please help us to everyday strive to do just that. Please also touch the lives of my readers today so that they too might receive power from You to overcome the distractions of this world, and together we will worship You with thankful hearts. All this I ask 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!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Nothing Is Too Difficult For You, Lord


THE HOLY BIBLE (Good News Translation – Jeremiah 32:16-18): 16 ….. I prayed, 17"Sovereign Lord, you made the earth and the sky by your great power and might; nothing is too difficult for you. 18You have shown constant love to thousands, but you also punish people for the sins of their parents. You are a great and powerful God; you are the Lord Almighty.

THOUGHTS: Jeremiah had been faithful to God and followed every command and word given to him by God. In fact he was imprisoned because of obediently delivering a word from God to the king. However, Jeremiah was still human, and as such had to depend on God and His providence, even though His actions perplexed Jeremiah. I believe that can, and does, happen to us quite frequently, for we glory in the power and majesty of God, and for all that He delivers us from, yet we see where good faithful followers are shot in their homes, crash in car accidents on the roads, lose very young loved ones, and agonize over fatal illnesses of family members. How do we possibly explain that God loves them? How can we possibly understand the love of God in such horrific situations? I love what Matthew Henry says in his commentary about this prayer of Jeremiah, and I will quote it for you: "Jeremiah adores the Lord and his infinite perfections. When at any time we are perplexed about the methods of Providence, it is good for us to look to first principles. Let us consider that God is the fountain of all being, power, and life; that with him no difficulty is such as cannot be overcome; that he is a God of boundless mercy; that he is a God of strict justice; and that he directs every thing for the best. Jeremiah owns that God was righteous in causing evil to come upon them. Whatever trouble we are in, personal or public, we may comfort ourselves that the Lord sees it, and knows how to remedy it. We must not dispute God's will, but we may seek to know what it means." This spoke volumes to me, because I believe that we must often return to the cross when we don't have all of the answers. God showed His love boldly at the cross – yes, through the suffering, crucifixion and death of His very own Son. So let us return to the Word when in question about why God is doing something that we don't understand. Let's go back to the basics and first Biblical principles. We KNOW that He loves us, so we KNOW He would do nothing to harm us, therefore let us give thanks for His mysterious work and depend on the outcome bringing glory to Him. This is difficult friends, but just remember to trust in God, no matter what we see, feel or witness occurring around us. This may often be a point at which an unrelated Brother or Sister might step alongside and encouraging you to keep the faith, so be prepared to also do that when you see difficult situations arise in the life of someone else.

PRAYER: Dear God, I am reminded that You are sovereign and that You created this earth and all that is in it. You were pleased with all that You created, so I can't imagine why one of your small pieces of clay could find room to complain or find fault in what You did, or what You might currently do in managing all that You have made. Your servant Jeremiah has reminded me that nothing is too difficult for you, so once again I am reminded that even in those times when I don't see the reasoning for something happening, to know and understand that You are still in control. Please touch the lives of Your people once again today with the sobering reminder that You are God, and we are not, therefore we must trust You to do what You know to be the best for us, and that will bring glory to You. I know that we would really screw things up in a hurry if You left it all up to us, so please have Your perfect will and way in my life today. Please be especially near and dear to those who are hurting today and wondering if You are still there. Draw them close to You and comfort them with Your love and reassurance. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, my King, in all humility, 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, March 23, 2015

Concentrate on the Essentials


THE HOLY BIBLE (The Message – Titus 3:8-10): I want you to put your foot down. Take a firm stand on these matters so that those who have put their trust in God will concentrate on the essentials that are good for everyone. Stay away from mindless, pointless quarreling over genealogies and fine print in the law code. That gets you nowhere. Warn a quarrelsome person once or twice, but then be done with him.

THOUGHTS: Paul knew that Titus would face the same challenge that we see in many of our church meetings today, because he (Paul) had been there and experienced it personally. I believe that there is so much in the Bible for God's people to learn, and so much there to help us grow and mature our faith in, that old Satan becomes very upset and throws a wrench in the wheel of pastors' efforts through 'chasing rabbits' and sidelining Godly growth for often meaningless chatter about various world events or even unrelated theological myths and questions. Paul referred to these disruptions as 'mindless and pointless', and that really describes the value often achieved from such discussions. I sincerely believe that there is no substitute for the Christian hearing the unadulterated Word of God taught and/or preached. This may become repetitive to the teacher and/or preacher, but for the Christian, or for those interested in learning the truth about God, real 'meat' is served and growth in Christ is achieved through such means. I believe it also teaches us that our answers to life's issues are contained in the Word of God, and He is our source of strength, direction and wisdom. Last evening I participated in a Marriage Enrichment class, and the Bible was interspersed throughout the teaching. That reminded me that I invited God into my marriage on my wedding day, and God is still as necessary in the success of my marriage even today. So it is with life, friend, for I believe that as we allow our God to direct our path and motivate us with His love and His direction, then others will experience His love shining through us in word and deed. It is then that our witness might be relevant to that unsaved friend that we come across during our day. It is then that family members might learn to respect our stand on life's issues and might actually create a trust between them and us about the sincerity of the relationship we have with God. Paul assured us that being blown away by the distractions will get us nowhere. I believe that we are way too smart to spend our days going 'nowhere', so may I encourage you to stand firm in your faith and speak up when you feel like a class is being distracted with useless, mindless discussions and/or quarreling. A day that starts seriously in God's Word, grows through interaction with other believers, and reinforced by teaching and/or preaching from God's Word, is a successful day for the believer! Are you there yet, friend? If not, you now have tips on how to correct those things that may distract you in your walk with the Lord!

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your Word that drew me to the foot of the cross where I begged for forgiveness of my sin and acceptance through the shed blood of Your Son, Jesus Christ. My life since that day of conversion has been enriched by the teaching and preaching of Your Word, not by mindless and/or pointless distractions. Please help me to stay on track in my teaching others about Your love and Your grace in all aspects of our lives. Please give my pastors and/or teachers a very similar goal dear God, so that our time here on earth will be well spent and used to glorify You and/or encouraging others towards the cross where we first found You and accepted You. Thank You for the seriousness of Your life and Your sacrifice so that I might have eternal life. May we be found faithful in sharing that same love, and in directing others to You, so that Your kingdom might be fulfilled. 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, March 21, 2015

Proper Attitude Towards Leaders


THE HOLY BIBLE (Good News Translation – Titus 3:1-7): 1Remind your people to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey them, and to be ready to do good in every way. 2Tell them not to speak evil of anyone, but to be peaceful and friendly, and always to show a gentle attitude towards everyone. 3For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, and wrong. We were slaves to passions and pleasures of all kinds. We spent our lives in malice and envy; others hated us and we hated them. 4But when the kindness and love of God our Saviour was revealed, 5he saved us. It was not because of any good deeds that we ourselves had done, but because of his own mercy that he saved us, through the Holy Spirit, who gives us new birth and new life by washing us. 6God poured out the Holy Spirit abundantly on us through Jesus Christ our Saviour, 7so that by his grace we might be put right with God and come into possession of the eternal life we hope for.

THOUGHTS: I find it extremely interesting that Paul had to draw Titus' attention to the attitudes of his flock that he would shepherd, especially towards their leaders. This is because we still have the same issue today. I believe the best way for me to explain my position on this is to first draw your attention to verse 3. Paul is reminding us that we were once sinners, undeserving of anything that God, through His mercy might do for us through the sacrifice of His precious Son. However, in spite of our sinfulness, wrong doings, ugly attitudes and disobedience to God's laws, yet God still saw fit to reveal to us a Savior who could cleanse us from our sin and give us new life. So if we were unlovable, sinful and undeserving, yet God loved us and gave His all for us, who are we to look at others as being any worse than us? Why would we judge them, and assume that God doesn't love them at least as much as He loves us? Also, bear in mind that other scripture tells us that our leaders are placed in position because of God's special design and will – see Romans 13, and if we believe God's Word, then who are we to rebel against those whom God has ordained? He loved us and cared enough about us to encourage us and help us to turn away from sin, yet we are OK to stand in the face of God and ridicule or disobey a leader ordained by Him? How dare us! Throughout the Bible we are taught how we are to pray for others and love them with the love of God. Nothing is said about one classification of folk being any different to another. An unsaved leader is just as much in need of our prayers and support as any other person that God places in our path or who has authority over us. I believe that when we start to feel disregard or disrespect for a leader, we must quickly examine our own lives and our relationship with the Father, to see why we are feeling and possibly acting differently than what He expects of us. I believe that Christ's children will live and act like He did, if not we need to examine our hearts and realign them with God's Word. Are you living in honor of, and full regard for, the Word of God friend? Please endeavor to be God's humble servant and not an activist for some political or personal stand you feel might be important.

PRAYER: Father God, please forgive us for so easily judging others. You loved us while we were sinful and unlovable. You continue to love and care for us, even though we are careless/uncaring and often disobeying Your commands. I realize that when we live such careless lives, we are more prone to judge others and treat them differently to what You expect of us. Our responsibility is to seek first the kingdom of God and Your righteousness. Lord, may we be so filled with You that our lives will reflect Your power, Your love and Your will for our lives. Please help us to not be obstacles of Your mighty work, but rather instruments worthy of being used to accomplish Your work. No doubt this will involve dealing with folk who are different, sinful and far from God. Please strengthen us with Your abiding love that will look beyond their faults and concentrate on their heart that needs You. Please use us as Your children so that others might see You and not align us as an activist or associated with a particular political party, for People Need The Lord, not our particular political preference. Thank You for caring and loving us enough to help us through these selfish and controlling attitudes, but rather giving us a heart like You. "I love You Lord, and I lift My Voice….". I ask these things 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!

Friday, March 20, 2015

Filled With Hope!


THE HOLY BIBLE (The Contemporary English Version – Titus 2:11-14): 11 God has shown us how kind he is by coming to save all people. 12 He taught us to give up our wicked ways and our worldly desires and to live decent and honest lives in this world. 13 We are filled with hope, as we wait for the glorious return of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ. 14 He gave himself to rescue us from everything that is evil and to make our hearts pure. He wanted us to be his own people and to be eager to do right.

THOUGHTS: There are things in this life that excite us and causes us to be anxious about their effects upon our life. I have a friend who, together with his wife, they are expecting their first child. Lots of excitement and anticipation as they work through the remaining days of pregnancy, and they are anxious to finally hold that precious child. I have a friend who will be married soon – he has similar anxiety as he awaits the 'big' day, hoping for a very positive change in his life, with even increased happiness as he brings a life partner alongside him. For those of us that have accepted Jesus as Lord of our lives, we are truly blessed each and every day as we live in anticipation of what He might accomplish in and through us, for the ultimate salvation of our family and friends and for His glory. Because of the sweetness in our relationship with Jesus, and because we see God at work each day in such marvelous ways, we anticipate each day with a hope that Jesus might return today to take us home with Him, or anxious about what God might have in store for His servant today. Friends – Brothers and Sisters in the Lord, it just doesn't get any better than that! But what about those who have chosen to go their own way and continue to live in the ways of this world, without Christ? We see and hear about the results of their careless living and we pray all the more for their eyes to be opened by God to see the need for a Savior. We also know that Jesus died on a cruel cross so that they too might accept Him as Lord and Savior. Therefore let us not grow weary in well doing, in praying for their hearts to be softened to the reality and results of their sinful life. Let us freely share the gospel with them in very meaningful ways – through our Godly actions and our kind, Godly words. Let them see Jesus in us, and pray that God will place an urgent desire in their hearts to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior. To the unsaved person that God may have directed to this devotional in search of 'hope' in your life - please allow me to introduce you to the Creator of this earth, and each of us, the only One that ever loved us enough and was capable of providing redemptive means for our sin, and has the power to redirect us towards God the Father. I have details in the 'Footnote' that might help you overcome everything that you might be going through. God especially loves you, and sincerely wants you to commit your life to Him. Allowing Jesus into your heart and life is the answer to the turmoil, heartache and unnecessary anxiety you are encountering each day, for God is in control and can easily handle your situation, giving you extreme peace and tranquility. Please consider surrendering your life to Him today. Accept this Jesus of mine and allow Him to be Lord of your life. You too can have 'HOPE' today friend!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for the hope you have given me as Your precious child. Thank you for a day back in 1976 when You convicted me of my sin and my need for a Savior. I appreciate every day that You have blessed me with and I am excited about the prospects of each day, because I know that You can use even me to encourage my family and friends to meet You, and to listen to Your voice as You tug on their heart's door. I believe that You have a plan for them dear God, and I thank You for looking beyond our faults and our sin, to see our heart and be concerned about our spiritual well-being. Thank You for being such an awesome Savior, loving Jesus and all-knowing, all-powerful God who can change even the vilest sinner. You rescued me from a life of sin and disregard, and I am convinced that You can do the same for my friends. Please speak to the hearts of those we will encounter today, so that our words and our actions might be acceptable to You and serve the purpose of drawing them closer to You. I ask all this in faith, and believing in the only true and loving God, in the name of my precious Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, 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, March 19, 2015

God Has Plans For Us!


THE HOLY BIBLE (New Living Translation – Jeremiah 29:11-13): 11 For I know the plans I have for you," says the Lord. "They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope. 12 In those days when you pray, I will listen. 13 If you look for me wholeheartedly, you will find me.

THOUGHTS: I believe that there is so much hope and encouragement for us when we realize that our employer has great plans for us while in his/her employment. It tends to bring us great hope about our future, and therefore a peace and a calmness about our present time with the company. In this story in Jeremiah, I found it interesting how God saw that His people were losing hope because of one calamity after another, so He decided to give them the 'big' picture! Friends, this is a picture of our loving God! Just imagine how awful things are in our world today, with crime and war taking such a toll on nations, on states and on cities, and how it all takes such prominence in our daily news. In fact, it often discourages many to just not listen to the news at all. For Christians who are struggling to see the difference God is making in our own neighborhoods, homes and churches, I believe that God might respond in very similar words to us. For I believe that He expects us to keep on believing, trusting and leaning on Him. Keep our eyes fixed on Him, knowing that all things work together for good, for those who trust in Him and call on His name. We are to never give up, or even become discouraged, for taking our eyes off God will cause us to fail and lose hope. I truly believe that God is the same today as He was yesterday, and for those who keep the faith, those who trust in Him through the good times and through the bad times of life, will receive the same assurance from God as He gave to the exiles in Babylon:
I have great plans for you, son. You are truly loved by me, daughter. Plans to lift you up, love on you, provide a glorious home for you, and bring you into my presence. So don't give up. Be encouraged. Continue to pray to me, and I will continue to listen. But I don't want you to be half-hearted in anything you do for me, think about me, or believe in me for. You will find me, and you will receive my attention to your needs. Remember, you have been bought with a price, and no one will snatch you out of my hand. I long to have you near Me and enjoy My presence.
Can you rejoice with me over the thought of all this friend? Can you sing that song with me "Oh That Will Be, Glory For Me", or perhaps "What A Day That Will Be, when my Jesus I shall see"? I am thrilled and encouraged to know that my God has way bigger and better plans for me than what mere eyes can see or imagine today! To my readers, I have just one warning to this great news: the Bible is clear that this is reserved for those who have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Please read my 'Footnote' and ensure that you are included in the number that will rejoice around the feet of Jesus. You can have that assurance today!

PRAYER: Father in heaven I thank You for the encouragement I gain from Your Word, and the opportunity to share that encouragement with my friends through this channel. I believe that there are many, like me, who needed reminding of this promise today, because we easily become discouraged when we hear so much about Satan's work around us, and insufficient about the plans that are in store for us who believe on You and have committed our lives to You. Thank You for the BIG plans You have for us! No matter our status in life today, we will be humbled at Your feet when You call us home to be with You. No matter what struggles beset us today – health, family issues, job woes, crime or misfortune, these will all be non-existent in Your BIG plan, for I believe there will only be time and space for our endless worship of You and to enjoy Your blessed presence. Please help us to stay focused on that, and therefore not allow the temporary ills of this world to get us down. The good times ahead cannot compare to the small challenges we face today here on earth, so as we center on that and minimized our attention to the earthly life, please help us to learn to glorify You today in all things, as we practice for the endless praise and adoration in a day to follow. That will be glory for me! Thank You Jesus for Your sacrifice and Your pure evidence of love for me! I humbly life up these petitions in Your precious and holy name, Lord 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, March 18, 2015

Knowing the Heart of Man


THE HOLY BIBLE (New Living Translation – Titus 1:15-16): 15 Everything is pure to those whose hearts are pure. But nothing is pure to those who are corrupt and unbelieving, because their minds and consciences are corrupted. 16 Such people claim they know God, but they deny him by the way they live. They are detestable and disobedient, worthless for doing anything good.

THOUGHTS: Paul warned Titus about what to expect when he went to minister to the people of Crete. Ever stop to ponder what the Elders or Deacons might warn a new pastor or evangelist coming to minister at your church, about you? Chew on that for a few moments! There is an old saying: 'you can fool some of the people some of the time, but never all of the people all of the time'!! I'm afraid that we may convince ourselves that our outward appearance and actions at church might have everyone convinced how good we truly are, but friends may I remind you that it is God who truly knows us, and since it is He that we supposedly go to worship at church, then it is He that we must convince of our goodness and worth. This presents a challenge, because He knows our heart, our intentions, and our fa├žade. We just can't fool Him. We might try to put on a smile to avoid depressing friends at church, but God truly knows the hurt deep inside of us. Please don't get me wrong friends, I'm not suggesting that we go before God's people with long drawn out faces when it seems like life is unfair. But as I share the Word of God with you, I believe you will reflect on His goodness; the assurance of His presence; the comfort of His touch on your life; and the worthiness of His honor - for which you will burst forth in praise and adoration, in spite of life's circumstances! We must remember that when it appears like we have been dealt a 'lemon' in life that we are to make lemonade, or lemon meringue pie, and not to complain about the sour lemon we seem to have inherited. I believe that Paul is warning us that for those with impure hearts (non-believers in Jesus Christ), they are detestable to God and therefore cannot do anything truly 'good' in His sight. How is it with you today friend? Will God see your actions and your attitude from a heart filled with His grace and mercy today? Or is He still seeing you from an impure state and merely doing good from a worldly standard and for personal praise and attention? Knowing my Savior not only assures us of honesty in our demeanor today, but provides a bright future for us in knowing that we will be with Him eternally in heaven! Invest in your day and in your future by searching out my Lord today. He loves you and wants His very best for you, but you must surrender self and accept Him as your Master – your Lord and Savior. Please refer to the 'Footnote' for any help needed in making this vital decision friend!

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, God Almighty, thank You for providing a sacrifice for us, because You knew that we could never handle this thing called 'life' on our own. Thank You for doing that in spite of the sin of mankind. Thank You for loving me in spite of the worldly things I do and think at times. Humbly I ask that You might fill me with so much of Your Son that my mouth will constantly overflow from the abundance of grace, love and adoration that fills my heart. Lord, I want others to see Jesus in everything that I do and in everything I say, so that You might be magnified and that others might be drawn to You. This scripture reminds me again of Your dislike of hypocrisy, especially in Your church, and in the lives of those who claim You as Savior and Lord. Please warm the hearts of Your saints to once again be pure in spirit and in the grace of Your amazing love. Fill us Lord, and use us for Your glory. We want to know You better and we want to be an influence in the lives of relatives and friends that have not accepted You as Lord. Please endow us with so much of You that our lives might overflow with the love of our Savior! I ask all this in the powerful name of Your Son, 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, March 17, 2015

A Glorious Life – Promised By God!


THE HOLY BIBLE (The New Living TranslationTitus 1:1-2): 1 ….I have been sent to proclaim faith to those God has chosen and to teach them to know the truth that shows them how to live godly lives. This truth gives them confidence that they have eternal life, which God—who does not lie—promised them before the world began.

THOUGHTS: In this Bible translation, it appears like these verses place emphasis on the importance of us (I) proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ to an unsaved world. However, while that may be a real expectation of each of us, the first person used in verse 1 is actually Paul sharing with Titus about what he felt God had impressed upon his heart. But friends, in support of other similar scriptural references, I really want us to read this verse in the first person, for it is our responsibility to share the extremely Good News that is ours, with all those that we care about. In fact, what kind of a dad would not share such great news with his children? What kind of a friend would hold back telling his friends about the joy that is his in belonging to the King of all kings, Jesus Christ? Imagine, a truth that not only leads a person to Jesus Christ, but also gives the hearer confidence of everlasting life with Him in heaven! This is glorious news friend! However, it is only valuable to our loved ones, if we take our roles seriously and tell them how it's available to even them, and that through acceptance of God's love (Jesus) they would not just become a Christian, but they have the promise of eternal life with our Heavenly Father! To the friend who feels like this was just happen-chance that you found this devotional, may I disagree with you please? You see, John 3:16 tells us that God loves us so much that He sent a Son into the world so that ALL who believe on Him might be saved, and have eternal life! This includes you Brother! This verse was intended just for you Sister! God sent His precious Son to die at Calvary to forgive sinners, and would have done that even if it was just for you alone! Scripture tells us that God would prefer that none of His creation is excluded, so He sent His Son as a sacrifice, to facilitate the forgiveness of our sin. Our responsibility is to accept that gift! Are you willing to accept that Gift today? Simply Accept Jesus as Lord and Believe on Him for all things, including everlasting life; and Confess your sin to Him and ask His forgiveness. You will baste in His glory, live a glorious life rejoicing and worshipping Him, and enjoy sharing His love with all you know! Friends, Our God is an Awesome God, and I love and adore Him! I trust that you will do the same! I have included guidance for you in the 'Footnote', should you want additional help in understanding more about God, or just prefer chatting with someone about the decision you just made. Friend, God loves you, and so do I!

PRAYER: Lord God, there is so much going on in this old world today, that folk are desperately looking for the hope You promised to them from the very beginning of time. I sincerely pray for any that You might direct to this devotional, that they might recognize that truth and accept it personally, so that You may begin a great work within them! Thank You again for the tremendous sacrifice You made so that we might ultimately live forever with You in Heaven! While I look towards that day in great expectation, I also pray that You will be my guide, my strength, my encouragement and my Lord, each and every day, so that I might not only be encouraged to serve You wholeheartedly here below, but that I might be filled with Your grace and a bold faith that will enable me to share Jesus with all that I come into contact with. Please touch Your people today dear Lord, for this world needs You so badly. I ask all these things in the precious, and all powerful name of Jesus, the One sacrificed for the redemption of my sin, 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, March 16, 2015

Refocus May Be Necessary


THE HOLY BIBLE (New Living Translation – 2 Timothy 4:16-18): 16 The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them. 17 But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. 18 Yes, and the Lord will deliver me from every evil attack and will bring me safely into his heavenly Kingdom. All glory to God forever and ever! Amen.

THOUGHTS: Ever stood your ground on something, then turned around and felt like you were the only one standing? That's similar to what Paul must have felt when he stood before the judge mentioned in this passage. However, for those who trust in God and make a stand in obedience to His calling, I am comforted in knowing that the same God that stood with Paul, will also stand with us! This is something that we can stand confident in the Lord about! However, may I also draw our attention to the remainder of verse 17, for Paul tells us that the matter of God standing by him was not for the purpose of Paul being lifted up in the eyes of his oppressors, but instead to give him protection, deliverance and strength to return to the ministry for which God had called him in the first place. Wouldn't it seem natural that following such a rescue, we would assume that God might be telling us to escape the area to prevent a recurrence of getting caught by the Romans again? But look at what Paul shares with us: God rescued him and gave him strength so that he might go on to preach the Good News in its entirety for all Gentiles to hear. In other words, that he might go on to finish the job for which he was called! Distractions in ministry often tend to beset the ministry, however when we see God at work even in the distractions, we must stay on track and allow Him to carry on without regard to the circumstances being slightly different to what we originally thought. I believe that there are also times where God might cause distractions to cause us to return to Him, or refocus on Him, or draw even more strength from Him, so that we might be reminded of the true Commander in charge of our mission. Therefore, when commissioned by God, we must never lose hope, but instead surrender our all to the Commander and be prepared to accept instructions from Him, in His time, as we are on mission for His purposes! Like Paul, we will quickly celebrate our victories as we stand in amazement to the mighty works of God!

PRAYER: Father I believe that there may be times that we change ministry direction or focus, when instead You are merely trying to strengthen us and help us refocus on You as our leader. Please help us to examine ourselves and regain our focus on the Leader of our mission and the purpose for which You have called us. Please show us Your power so that we will not succumb to the distractions that Satan will send our way, especially while dedicated to Your work and Your will for our lives. Please continue to show us Your will and open our eyes to Your power, that's absolutely necessary to help us fulfill Your will, so that everyone that we might come into contact with might see Your mighty works evident in our lives, and they may be convinced of their need for a Savior. 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!

Saturday, March 14, 2015

What Can Your Life be Likened To?


THE HOLY BIBLE (The Contemporary English Version – 2 Timothy 5:6-7): 6 …. My life is like a drink offering being poured out on the altar. 7 I have fought well. I have finished the race, and I have been faithful.

THOUGHTS: I believe that we might want to stop and think about an earthly example to help us apply this heavenly application. Let's imagine for a moment we are being interviewed for a job, not as in a first job scenario, but later in life. The interviewer asks you to summarize your life so far so they could better understand the heart of the man/woman they are considering to bring into their employment. While this will challenge us to think about all of the good things that we've done in our lifetime, in order to promote ourselves for the job being applied for, I believe that we will still give a different response than if we were standing before the Lord and answering the same question. Think carefully about this as you consider your answer before God, Paul declared that his life was like a 'drink offering', a sacrifice, a life surrendered totally to what pleased God and responding in every way to His will and direction. It would truly be a challenge for any of us to come close to saying anything similar to Paul, especially before an all-knowing God, wouldn't it? So then, how do we strive towards that? Well, I believe that this comes from a daily commitment to truly seek God, both in prayer and in the study of His Word; and through a totally committed life to the Master, so that we don't let the ups and downs of this world get to us, weaken us, or cause us to wander off the course charted towards eternity with our Master. Friends, we must live today as for the Master, then when we stand before Him on Judgment Day, we'll have nothing to be ashamed of. Paul proved that this CAN be done. We just need to be as committed as he was!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the clear-cut path You have developed for us. Not only have You provided the rule book for us, but You have given us clear instructions in Your Word to help us succeed in our walk here on earth. Please empower us with the will and commitment to honor Your Word, to obey it and allow it to guide us daily in every aspect of life. Lord, I believe that each of Your children would declare allegiance to You, however, please help us to have the will of Paul, so that we may live as a sacrifice to You, allowing Your will to override ours, and Your Word to direct our path each day. With the temptations of this world, I believe that we can only achieve all this under Your complete guidance and with Your all-powerful hand. Please continue to bless and endow us with Your strength each and every day. I ask this believing wholeheartedly in You and depending on You, in the name of Your Son, Jesus, my Lord and Savior, 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, March 13, 2015

The Complete Picture


THE HOLY BIBLE (Contemporary English Version – 2 Timothy 4:1-4): When Christ Jesus comes as king, he will be the judge of everyone, whether they are living or dead. So with God and Christ as witnesses, I command you 2 to preach God's message. Do it willingly, even if it isn't the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient. 3 The time is coming when people won't listen to good teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear. 4 They will turn from the truth and eagerly listen to senseless stories.

THOUGHTS: Paul offered a warning and a strong word of advice to Timothy about the urgency of preaching the Word of God, and to do it in spite of opposition or disinterest of the people to whom he would preach. He not only indicated the disinterest of the people, but also went on to say why they would appear to be like that. Friends, I believe that God got my attention to this and caused me to apply this to my life today. So I want to share my thoughts with you. I believe that we have some excellent pastors/shepherds today and I am convinced that we have some excellent teachers of the Word. I believe that some of these preach and teach from the depths of their heart as touched by God while in His Word. However, these men are mere humans and they will be tempted to please the crowds, and this may even extend to the pulpit where they might try to be politically correct in order to soften the impact of the Word of God to those who are living in opposition to Its teaching. There are some who preach only the good, the positive, the uplifting parts of the Bible, and this pleases the people, but it is NOT the whole teaching of the Word of God. From personal experience I can tell you that there was a time in my life where I just couldn't see the importance of the Old Testament because of all the gory war and slaughter that is told in many of Its pages. However, today my study time involves time in both Testaments, and while I am still amazed at how fortunate we are compared to the strong actions by God in the Old Testament, yet I realize that lessons are taught throughout, and often meld with teachings by Jesus in the New Testament. I believe that the very portions that pastors refuse to teach on, could often be the portions needed by the church, but could perhaps 'sting' a lot because of the present spiritual condition of many in the church. Pastors are blessed with an awesome responsibility ordained by God to shepherd His flock. Being disobedient to any part of His commands are as bad as disobeying the whole. I pray that none will be guilty of this when they stand before Christ. Now for the flip side of this, vs 3 indicates that people will naturally resort to listening to a pastor or teacher who tells them what they want to hear. The good stuff, the encouraging words, the positive things, and one who never 'beats up on them' by pointing out their disobedience to God's Word. I believe you might agree that these types of pastors are filling stadiums with people who could 'put up' with that type of teaching, right? Friends, please be aware of this when trying to decide on a church home. Please be sure that the 'whole' Word of God is taught. God speaks to us through the teaching/preaching /words of His Book of Instructions. When we don't hear all of it, we are incomplete in our full understanding of the Word. Pray for your pastors and teachers that they would not feel pressured in any way to not disclose the full Word of God.

PRAYER: Thank You for Your inspired Word dear God. Thank You for all the reasons You wanted us to learn about the ups and downs of our ancestors, as well as the wonderful message of Your resurrection from the dead and the beauty of our future home, Heaven! I realize that our lives are much like this, where there are pieces that we would just rather not talk about, but things that are so uplifting and glorious, especially after we allowed You into our lives. However, to know us today without getting an appreciation for our past is not portraying the full picture of who we really are. Please help us to never be ashamed of any piece of Your message in the Bible, for I believe that it was placed there for our edification and understanding of the good things that followed. Our pastors and teachers are really pressured by us to 'dance around' certain teachings, but Father, we want to be complete in our understanding of Your Word and the intentions of Your heart for us. Please vitalize our pastors and teachers with an encouraging word today so that they may be reenergized and encouraged to teach and preach the whole, unadulterated Word of God for truth and good works. Because Your Word is a light unto my path, I must know the right path and the wrong path, so please continue to point out my wrongs and my incorrect path when I stray. Please bless us with good church leaders who serve You and teach Your principles. We continue to need You each and every day Lord, so I am asking again today for Your ongoing love and direction, for I ask all this in the 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!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

The Power of the Word of God!


THE HOLY BIBLE (New Century Version – 2 Timothy 3:15-17): 15 Since you were a child you have known the Holy Scriptures which are able to make you wise. And that wisdom leads to salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for showing people what is wrong in their lives, for correcting faults, and for teaching how to live right. 17 Using the Scriptures, the person who serves God will be capable, having all that is needed to do every good work.

THOUGHTS: I am always amazed to see how God puts together a plan for us. In my Old Testament reading this morning I learned from Jeremiah how prophets will be destroyed because of declaring their own personal message to the people, as they would be deceiving the people while teaching them a lie. In the highlighted verses we see where God used Paul to tell Timothy, and us, that the only power we have in our teaching or preaching or witnessing, comes from the God-inspired Word (the Bible). For the Word of God has the power to show people what is wrong in their lives, show them corrective measures and teach them how to live right. In fact, just as the prophets in Jeremiah's ministry was told - it is the Word of God that makes His messengers capable and powerful enough to share with those that come under their preaching, life-changing qualities that not only draw them to Jesus Christ, but gives direction for ongoing fruitful lives for the Master. So I believe our take from this is to look deep inside and to stay so close to the Word of God that our actions will reveal to whom we belong, and our Words might be mere reflections of what God has laid on our hearts to share with those that we come into contact with. I'm sure that much like you, I become personally concerned about my unsaved loved ones and friends, but I believe that way too often we try to help remedy that through our own personal worth, or ideas. This Scripture has taught me/reminded me that it is only God that can change lives or redirect people trapped in a life of sin, and while we all should know that God is very capable of changing lives on His own, I believe that we must always ask for direction from Him for what we should say or do to encourage the lost towards belief in Jesus Christ. Vs 15 reminds us that it is the Holy Scriptures that can fill us with this kind of wisdom. Are you personally in the Word seeking this kind of wisdom? If we are to share real TRUTH friend, we must be saturated in IT (the Word of God) ourselves. Are you concerned enough about your loved ones to personally do something about it? Get in the Word friend, and allow it to enrich you and fill you with the wisdom of God, so that you may share the gift of salvation with others. Vs 17 tells us that we will be endowed with everything we need to do this!

PRAYER: What a happy day, when Jesus came into my heart! Father, it is that kind of happiness that we so desire for our loved ones also. Thank You for Your precious Word, and the whole truth that it reveals to us every time we read it. Often our eyes are opened, as they were today, to things needed in our personal lives, not just in the lives of our lost family and friends. This is true from what you told us in 2 Chronicles 7:14 where you told us to take responsibility and humble ourselves, seek Your face and pray, then You would hear from heaven and bless our land. In today's verses You are instructing us to saturate ourselves with Your Word, the power-source for our witnessing, teaching and preaching, then we could share from the overflow of that which we have been filled with. Lord, I pray that we can stop looking for someone to pawn off our blame to, and take full responsibility for our actions, weaknesses and shortcomings. Please give us strength, boldness, and the ultimate will to change self, so that You may have usable instruments to impact the lives of others so that You may change them also. Thank You for loving us enough to care about us, even when we fall short. We need You every hour of our lives dear Lord, for it's You we live for and look forward to uniting with when this life is over! Praising You, and asking all this in Your most wonderful name dear Jesus, I remain Your humble and willing servant, 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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