Who Do You Please?

Scripture: John 5.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

John 5:41-44 (NLT)

41 “Your approval means nothing to me, 42 because I know you don’t have God’s love within you. 43 For I have come to you in my Father’s name, and you have rejected me. Yet if others come in their own name, you gladly welcome them. 44 No wonder you can’t believe! For you gladly honor each other, but you don’t care about the honor that comes from the one who alone is God.

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

The Jewish leaders was watching Jesus very closely to make sure that He followed their laws and their teaching, and that He did everything to please them or that fit within their mold of perfection. From Jesus’ response I believe that He would have followed their beliefs, IF they truly knew God and followed His instructions. In other words, Paul told his people that they should follow him as He follows the Father, however Jesus knew that this was not the case with these Jewish leaders, even though they had so many rules of their own that they felt they were the ultimate direction that all should follow. The unfortunate part about this is that for those of us that don’t stay in the Word of God and constantly follow it’s direction, we can be easily swayed by this evil world and its practices. Think about it, we look at sports figures with all their money that they receive and we think they are a role model for our kids. Do we really want our kids going to jail like many of these ‘role models’ are? We look at professional businessmen and especially to those who give back to their community, and appear rich, we often wish that our kids could be like them. Think about the corruption that we see in our business leaders and all the price gouging that we see and hear about. Do we really see them as a role model for us or for our kids? Then of course, we see those religious leaders who have successful churches and a large following, surely we can follow them, right? Being a church leader myself, I wish I could say to you today that you should follow us, but friends you will not find perfection in man. You will not find a man that has mastered all the teaching of Jesus. There is only one who has the whole thing under control, and that is Jesus himself. While we should do all within our power to obey our leaders (as taught by the Bible), when we look for answers on the right thing to do we must look to God’s Word. When we think about who we should please with our decisions, let us always think about the one who will make final judgment on us, and follow Him, His ways, His leadership. It’s only what is done for Jesus that will matter in the end. You may be wondering what if this leads us to a decision that may displease your employer, or your family or your friends or even your pastor? Does this really matter in the end when you will be judged, as in verse 21 of this same chapter, about where your future will be in eternity? Furthermore, how many bosses, family members, friends or pastors will push us away or fire us for doing good? My greatest advice to those that may read this today is: surrender your life to the lordship of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; Follow His commands/His Word each and every day and practice living in a way that pleases God, not man, and Heaven will be your final destination to enjoy eternity with Jesus! There is no better way friend!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I know that we try way too hard to please those in authority over us and often slack on obeying You and Your Word. You have given us directions to follow. Please help me to be committed and steadfast in following Your commands and Your will for my life each and every day. I am determined to make heaven my eternal home with You. Please help me to follow Your Word to ensure that my actions, word and life is always in line with what You have taught me and expect from me.

 

àWords underlined may be a hyperlink to a song that God laid on my heart while sharing this devotional this morning. Click it and be blessed by the song, like I was when I listened to it! …… I would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to pray with you about a need in your life that may, or may not have been highlighted by this Nugget today. Why not drop me a note and tell me about it? You may email me at:
nuggetsfromgodsword@yahoo.com.
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God’s Protective Hand

Scripture: I Samuel 19-21.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

1 Samuel 19:22-24 (NLT)

22 Finally, Saul himself went to Ramah and arrived at the great well in Secu. “Where are Samuel and David?” he demanded. “They are at Naioth in Ramah,” someone told him.

23 But on the way to Naioth in Ramah the Spirit of God came even upon Saul, and he, too, began to prophesy all the way to Naioth!

24 He tore off his clothes and lay naked on the ground all day and all night, prophesying in the presence of Samuel. The people who were watching exclaimed, “What? Is even Saul a prophet?”

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Saul was so jealous of David and his accomplishments that he sent his troops to capture David, who was then visiting with Samuel. When they arrived and found Samuel leading a group of prophets who were prophesying, they too began to prophesy. Saul heard about this, so he sent additional troops, only to find out that the same thing happened to them. To settle this, Saul decided to go and take care of the job himself, however, as seen in the verses above, Saul also came under the influence of the Spirit of God and he lay naked before Samuel all day and night prophesying. This sounds so impossible that had this not been in the Bible, I would probably have trouble believe the story. However, I believe that God has a purpose in mind for us with everything He had written in His book of instruction. What this showed me this morning is that even though at times we feel like our backs are against the wall and there is no earthly way that we could escape our enemies or opposers, I must remember that as I place my faith and trust in God, I must allow Him to handle situations that may seem impossible to me. He placed these men who opposed His servant David in a very humbling situation, and He chose to use even them to prophesy in His name before the people. How much more can my God do to those that envy me, or oppose me, or may work against me? This also tells me that I should place myself at God’s feet and allow Him to use me as He wills, knowing that He will protect me through every situation, even if it means dealing personally with some that may seem distant to God in their walk or talk. Bottom line is that God loves me so much that He will go to all extent to protect me and watch over me. All I have to do is to not be limited by personal insight, but to let go and let God have His way.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, You are King of all kings and Lord of all lords. There is nothing that transpires around me without You knowing about it and directing it. I know that You have all power and can do all things so that Your perfect will might be accomplished. Thank You for reminding me this morning that it is OK for me to not understand all of Your ways, because You are much bigger/powerful than anything that I can imagine. Thank You for reminding me though that when I place my complete faith and trust in You, that I will be protected by You through all of life’s situations, because ALL things are possible, If I only believe. Thank You Father for being such an awesome God to me!

 

àWords underlined may be a hyperlink to a song that God laid on my heart while sharing this devotional this morning. Click it and be blessed by the song, like I was when I listened to it! …… I would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to pray with you about a need in your life that may, or may not have been highlighted by this Nugget today. Why not drop me a note and tell me about it? You may email me at:
nuggetsfromgodsword@yahoo.com.
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Got Any Mountains you need help crossing?

Scripture: 1 Samuel 17-18.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

1 Samuel 17:41-47 (NLT)

41 Goliath walked out toward David with his shield bearer ahead of him, 42 sneering in contempt at this ruddy-faced boy.

43 “Am I a dog,” he roared at David, “that you come at me with a stick?” And he cursed David by the names of his gods.

44 “Come over here, and I’ll give your flesh to the birds and wild animals!” Goliath yelled.

45 David replied to the Philistine, “You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. 46 Today the Lord will conquer you, and I will kill you and cut off your head. And then I will give the dead bodies of your men to the birds and wild animals, and the whole world will know that there is a God in Israel! 47 And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!”

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

This is such a familiar passage of scripture, but yet it is filled with encouragement for the believe, so it is always beneficial to be reminded of the story. For over 40 days this Philistine giant appeared before and intimidated the Israelite army, parading his physical strengths and abilities. Without thinking about the power of the God that they knew, and supposedly served, they trembled in their boots and retreated. Suddenly David comes on the scene, and seeing only the strength of God in and through His people, David just couldn’t understand what the problem was. Wow, this is a reminder to us friend, that those ‘giants’ that we meet every day in our workplace, in our health, in our church, in our family, in the lives of our closest earthly friends, these are nothing for our God. Furthermore, as we stand bold in our faith, strong in the strength of the God of this universe, others who stand and watch will want to know our Savior. So victory will come in two ways: 1). Those mountains/challenges/impossible tasks in our eyes will suddenly become dim as we will only see God and His victorious hand at work, and 2). Others who stand by and question if there is a God, will suddenly know for sure that the God we serve is the God they want to know and also serve. God is waiting and available for us to do just like David did – turn the battle over to Him. I guarantee you that God will not see our challenges as ‘mountains’ He can’t cross, for our God is greater than any mountain we face today. This means that when we place God before our mountain in life, we will only see the wonderful face our Jesus, and no longer be bothered by the mountains that may tend to overwhelm us, or frighten us or even seem to block our view from the glorious sights of heaven. Got any mountains you think are uncrossable today? God specializes in things we think are uncrossable or impossible. He can handle it brother! He can overcome any obstacle that may stand in our way today! Why not let go and let God? Do you know Him? This is the first step in communicating with Him. Why not make that choice today friend? Respond to this post today and allow me to pray with you or introduce you to my friend, the Savior of this world!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

I don’t know about anyone else that may read this devotional today, but being reminded of this today is perfect timing for me. Not that I have large ‘mountains’ that are overwhelming me, but just life itself can be overwhelming, with all the decisions, problems and challenges that we often bring on ourselves. Father, I believe today that You are in charge of all this and that You have the power to overcome these ‘mountains’ in my life. Please take control today. Please be my guide, my deliverer, my overcomer, my decision maker, my comforter and reassure me of Your presence always. I adore You Father and welcome You to handle my ‘mountains’ for me. Thank You for being such an awesome God!

 

àWords underlined may be a hyperlink to a song that God laid on my heart while sharing this devotional this morning. Click it and be blessed by the song, like I was when I listened to it! …… I would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to pray with you about a need in your life that may, or may not have been highlighted by this Nugget today. Why not drop me a note and tell me about it? You may email me at:
nuggetsfromgodsword@yahoo.com.
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Obedience better than Sacrifice

Scripture: 1 Samuel 15-16.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

1 Samuel 16:6-7 (NLT)

6 When they arrived, Samuel took one look at Eliab and thought, “Surely this is the Lord’s anointed!”

7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Don’t judge by his appearance or height, for I have rejected him. The Lord doesn’t see things the way you see them. People judge by outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I believe that we are very much like Samuel, in that we tend to judge people by their appearance. If they are well dressed and polished in their appearance, we tend to favor them more as they may be rich, or come from an honorable family who taught some good values in the home. If they are muscular and present themselves as a strong team player, then we want them on our team. Similarly, Samuel looked at the first of Jesse’s sons, Eliab and was immediately impressed and thought that this must surely be the one that God has chosen to be the future king. God’s words of correction back to Samuel are just eye opening and mind provoking, as we sometimes hear those words even today when we receive advice. However, I am humbled by this reminder this morning, because I realize that it’s not my opinion that matters when judging a man. I need to sincerely seek God’s face and ask for His direction and His leadership, because He knows man’s heart and only He knows man’s real abilities. We are told so often today how we need to promote self and sell ourselves in order to get ahead. Imagine if we had a Christian boss who would lean on God’s understanding and knowledge and lean on His direction towards the qualities that lie within his employees or prospective employees. Imagine the thriving business that man would have! Also, stop and think with me about the thriving church we would have if our leadership would depend more on God to choose the man anointed by God for their pastor, and the best men and ladies that God would have serve under that pastor. I believe that if we did more of this, we would find more thriving churches that are effective in winning the lost to Christ, and a church that would truly minister to the needs of the saints, not just merely competing with the world in providing entertainment for them. Samuel knew the importance in being obedient to God, and it is with that spirit that we must lead. Saul showed evidence of how he allowed selfish desires and self promotion and self recognition to control his actions, but in turn we see where that brought Saul. We too will become like Saul if we follow his footsteps and his character – he was a great warrior and leader by the world’s standards, but he failed in obedience to God. In 15:22 Samuel shared with Saul that obedience is better than sacrifice. In today’s church that means that obedience means more than serving on a committee, regular church attendance or any work we may do around the church.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Lord, please help me to be more than a listener to Your Word. Please help me to strongly and faithfully look to You for direction and leadership, for You know the hearts of men and therefore You know of what service they will be to You, Your church and Your people. I acknowledge that I often look at the outward appearance and/or how good they can make themselves look. I have learned from this lesson this morning that this is not enough. Please help me to always seek Your face and gain Your approval and leadership in the choices that I make or recommend for earthly approval. Lead me Lord!

 

àWords underlined may be a hyperlink to a song that God laid on my heart while sharing this devotional this morning. Click it and be blessed by the song, like I was when I listened to it! …… I would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to pray with you about a need in your life that may, or may not have been highlighted by this Nugget today. Why not drop me a note and tell me about it? You may email me at:
nuggetsfromgodsword@yahoo.com.
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Do You Have it, or Not?

Scripture: John 3.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

John 3:36 (NLT)

36 And anyone who believes in God’s Son has eternal life. Anyone who doesn’t obey the Son will never experience eternal life but remains under God’s angry judgment.”

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

This chapter of John is perhaps the greatest chapter in the whole Bible, and as I read it I meditated on the popular verse 16 thinking that surely this is the best news that can ever come to mankind, that an almighty God could possibly love mankind enough that He would sacrifice His one and only Son to die on a cruel cross so that I, and you, may have eternal life with the Father. However, as I completed the chapter I realized that I must share what John reminded us about in the last verse, that on this 25th day of July 2011, we must soberly realize that for those who have accepted the free gift of eternal life, as offered in verse 16 that I explained above, then we are assured of eternal life with the Father. That means that today, I am assured of this. That means that for those who have not accepted this free gift and today makes that important decision to ask God’s forgiveness of your sin, and you invite Him to be your Lord and Savior, King of your life, then you too can have that assurance today. For those of you reading this devotional, and you have chosen to live life on your own without accepting and knowing my Savior, and really have no desire to accept Him today while you still have that option, John also reminds you of your fate: you will never experience eternal life in a place called heaven, in communion with the God of this universe, and that you will remain under the angry judgment of God. On this earth we face many challenges every day; I find it very comforting knowing that I have someone in my corner of the ring with me. That in spite of the opposition and angry, unhappy people that I come in contact with, it is comforting to know that there is One who will stay with me through thick and thin, good times and bad, yes even times when I feel like throwing in the towel because of the opposition and worldly hate. Praise God that I have a Savior who loves me and reminds me that He will be with me always, even to the end of time. I would consider it a privilege to chat with anyone who may be interested in knowing my Friend. Just respond to this devotional and share with me your interest to sure up your future, and not continue to face each challenging day on this earth alone. I will gladly respond to you and pray with you and for you. This is the most important decision you could make today friend!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I have loved ones that, to my knowledge, have not accepted You as Lord of their life. I believe that there are ones who will read this today who also do not have that assurance of eternity with You. May this be an awesome day of decision Father. Please tender the hearts of those that You know should, and will respond. These folk are important to me, and I’m sure even more important to You. Please love on them and open their spiritual eyes today.

 

àWords underlined may be a hyperlink to a song that God laid on my heart while sharing this devotional this morning. Click it and be blessed by the song, like I was when I listened to it! …… I would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to pray with you about a need in your life that may, or may not have been highlighted by this Nugget today. Why not drop me a note and tell me about it? You may email me at:
nuggetsfromgodsword@yahoo.com.
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Leadership Succession Tips

Scripture: 1 Samuel 11-12.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

1 Samuel 12:23-25 (NLT)

23 “As for me, I will certainly not sin against the Lord by ending my prayers for you. And I will continue to teach you what is good and right. 24 But be sure to fear the Lord and faithfully serve him. Think of all the wonderful things he has done for you. 25 But if you continue to sin, you and your king will be swept away.”

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I feel like too often we tend to write people off our books, personally, if they chose someone else over us for a position, or if they chose someone else’s idea over ours. Examples I can think of: a). When a pastor leaves a church under pressure from the congregation; b). When the church decides to try another leader in a position that we have held for a while, or c). When we see a new leader doing well in a position that we previously struggled in. I believe that we can see that each of these scenarios point to the thought that ‘it’s all about me/us’, when we act in this fashion. In this passage of scripture Samuel explains to the people that they have gone about getting a new leader in a very selfish way, instead of praying to God and totally depending on Him to give them the right leader at the right time. What is commendable here, and what taught me a lesson here, is the way in with Samuel handled his exit. Although he proved to the people that God was displeased with the way they handled getting a new king, yet because of his total commitment to God, he knew that he couldn’t just slip totally out of the lives of the people. He promised that he would continue to pray for them, and that he would continue to teach them what is right and wrong. Another admiral thing that he reminded them was that as they become excited about their future with their new king, never to forget their past blessings. He also took one last opportunity to warn them that their continued sin will lead to their destruction and that of their new king. My church is planning our annual homecoming celebration, never forget our past! We are also praying towards God’s leadership in finding a new pastor to lead us, and if we find the best that God could offer us at this time, we must never forget our past blessings and lessons learned. Samuel showed us how to exit gracefully from leadership in a particular role and allow our successor to lead as God directs, because it is HIS work that must continue, not a particular outgoing leader, after all it’s not about me or you, it is all about God and our future destination with Him.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I pray for the boldness of Samuel, and the sincerity he had in his work for you and for seeing Your work continue unhindered, even under a new leader. He reminded me that it’s not all about me. It’s not all about a certain leader, but it’s all about You and Your kingdom. Please help me to never place myself in a position where I might tend to feel like Your work might fall apart if I leave a certain position, or if You show us that another brother is better equipped to serve in a position that I may hold, for all of this is unimportant in the final analysis. What is important is that I stay so closely in tuned with You and Your will for my life and the life of the church in which I serve, that You will have the freedom to work, whether through me or any other leader You may choose to bless us with in any manmade positions of the church today. The end result is that You be lifted up in all that we do, that Your presence and power never be hindered by anyone, and that we, Your people, clean up our act, stop sinning, and serve You faithfully in whatever we do as we proclaim Your Word.

 

àWords underlined may be a hyperlink to a song that God laid on my heart while sharing this devotional this morning. Click it and be blessed by the song, like I was when I listened to it! …… I would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to pray with you about a need in your life that may, or may not have been highlighted by this Nugget today. Why not drop me a note and tell me about it? You may email me at:
nuggetsfromgodsword@yahoo.com.
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Evidence of Change

Scripture: 1 Samuel 10.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

1 Samuel 10:26-27 (NLT)

26 When Saul returned to his home at Gibeah, a group of men whose hearts God had touched went with him. 27 But there were some scoundrels who complained, “How can this man save us?” And they scorned him and refused to bring him gifts. But Saul ignored them.

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

It is nothing short of miraculous what God can do in a person’s life when they surrender their all to Him. Saul had been a trouble maker and was known among his people as one not to be trusted. God spoke through Samuel and spoke to Saul, causing a heart changing event in his life. As people witnessed this change, there were various reactions. In these verses we note that some were so touched by God through Saul that they went with him as co-laborers in the mission field. However, there were some who knew about Saul’s past and couldn’t see beyond that, so they refused to listen to or follow Saul. This reminds me of our world today. I know that God can use even me to speak through, and minister to, His people today. However, there are some who will be discerning of the power of God and His righteousness, realizing that I am only a messenger being used of God, while others will look down their pious noses and look at the human side of me and the limitations that might be contained in and through man, and because of that they will refuse to listen and even obey what I may have to say. A good lesson is taught in this scripture by Saul. We have the option of letting the ungodly have their way and distract us from our mission (work for the Lord), or we have a Godly obligation to carry on the work of the Lord even in these circumstances so that everyone will bear witness to the work of the Lord and be equally blessed by it. Let’s remember that what we do should be done for the glory of God and not for our popularity or promoting ourselves, and especially not to please others. People didn’t like Jesus when He ministered here on earth, so can we expect anything different? If we give in to the evil and negativity of those that complain (scoundrels – as labeled in verse 27), we are attributing more power to the work of Satan than to the mighty hand of God. I can’t think of anywhere in scripture where God said that everything we do will be easily and quickly accepted by the world. Instead, there are lots of times that God warns us that as we stand for Him and for what is right in His sight, we will receive opposition. So let’s learn from Saul about how we should proceed under such circumstances. He didn’t run like a dog with his tail tucked in behind him, instead he ignored the opposition and went on about the work of God. We must love those that persecute us and speak evil about us, but we must always remember that it is God that we serve and Him alone that we look to for His approval and encouragement to go on. I am reminded of that song ‘On Christ the Solid Rock I stand, all other ground is sinking sand’. Christ will lift us up and keep us safe on solid ground, others could very easily lead us into sinking sand!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

On Christ alone I take my stand, for I am reminded that any other ground could very easily lead to disaster or discouragement or failure. I must not let the vile of this world get to me, as I know in whom I trust and who I depend on daily for my strength, guidance and power. Please continue to grant me grace to carry on about Your work oh Lord. Let me be so focused on Your will and Your way that the side effects of this wicked world, or even those who claim to be Your followers, will have no effect on my commitment to follow You, and serve You all the days of my life. You are my Rock and my Sustainer. It’s You I depend on daily to see me through. Thank You Jesus for such an awesome privilege to know You as Lord and King and to be led by You in all walks of life.

 

àWords underlined may be a hyperlink to a song that God laid on my heart while sharing this devotional this morning. Click it and be blessed by the song, like I was when I listened to it! …… I would be overjoyed to have the opportunity to pray with you about a need in your life that may, or may not have been highlighted by this Nugget today. Why not drop me a note and tell me about it? You may email me at:
nuggetsfromgodsword@yahoo.com.
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