Why the Challenges or Temptations?

God’s Word Says….

Job 1:12 (NCV)

12 The Lord said to Satan, “All right, then. Everything Job has is in your power, but you must not touch Job himself.” Then Satan left the Lord’s presence.

 My Thoughts…..

What a mind-sobering thought as I read this. We are often tempted and perhaps challenged by Satan’s foes here on earth, but I never thought of the cause being that perhaps God might be testing our faith and therefore given Satan permission to try us to see if we would bend. Wow, to test me and see that I am what I say that I am!

Challenge……

Isn’t it really easy to be a ‘good’ Christian and follow the commands of God while we are in church and even in the presence of other Christians, but yet we soften our talk and almost make our witness non-existent when confronted by, or even in the presence of that hardened non-Christian that we know will provoke, tease or even challenge our faith? This might be something that we want to keep foremost in our minds the next time the Spirit prompts us to say something to our family and/or friends! It may encourage us to speak up with boldness, as the Spirit leads. I bet that way too often we never give it a second thought about the sadness in God’s heart when we ‘belly up’ and take the easy way out, instead of responding the way God’s Holy Spirit leads. Friends, He gives us the opportunities, He gives us the wisdom and the faith to respond in a way pleasing to Him and that will bring Him glory, so why should we be afraid or shy? We should be living our lives to bring God glory every day, shouldn’t we?

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, in Your powerful and wonderful name, I ask that You fill me with Your boldness, remind me of the awesome power that is Yours, if only I allow You to have Your will and way in and through me. Thank You for the awesome story and strong faith of Your servant Job. As readers meditate on this devotional today, I humbly ask that You give them and me a strong filling of Your Holy Spirit, so that we may be Your witness in our families, our churches, our workplaces and our friends. Lord, You are awesome in power and in all that You do. As Your sons and daughters we have access to all the gifts at Your disposal, please remind us of that daily. All this is possible, because I ask in the precious name of Your Son, Jesus Christ, AMEN!

Action…..

In response to God leading You through this devotional today, please get with a Bible teaching Pastor you may know and allow him to guide you. Otherwise feel free to reply to my post online, or you may email me directly at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. I will gladly add you to my prayer list, and/or respond to your request(s) ASAP.

Be Ready To Give An Account

God’s Word Says….

Acts 17:19-20 (CSV)
19 They got Paul and took him to a meeting of the Areopagus, where they said, “Please explain to us this new idea you have been teaching. 20 The things you are saying are new to us, and we want to know what this teaching means.”

My Thoughts…..

In another part of Scripture it is taught that we should be ready to testify about our faith in season or out of season, in other words – any time that we have the opportunity. In the focused verses Paul was given just that type of opportunity, and he clearly presented to his audience the gospel. I wonder how many Christians would react to that kind of opened door today?

Challenge……

Now I bet you are probably thinking, but wait a minute Brother Ed, you can’t expect me to explain the Gospel like my pastor would? And friend, you’re exactly right. God only expects us to share what we know, believe, feel and have experienced. Surely if you are asked to tell a crowd about your spouse you wouldn’t have to go get her father, or his mother to tell everyone, for you would quickly tell about your knowledge and first-hand experience with your spouse. Likewise, God will only hold us accountable to tell what we know about Him, whether experientially or learned knowledge from His Word. I truly believe that more folk come to the Lord because of hearing ‘real’ folk talk from experience, instead of someone trying to tell them what the Word of God says. You see, telling them from experience tells them that this religion, this Savior of which you speak, had a personal impact on you and that you are not merely telling them about something that occurred thousands of years ago. Please don’t misunderstand, the Word of God is important, it is powerful and must be proclaimed. But sharing your personal story, and the impact that God has been in your life is where ‘the rubber meets the road’, it’s the personal thing! So, do you have a word for the lost when they ask about your faith? Of course you do, hopefully it’s a live, vibrant story about a daily, interactive experience with Your maker! Christianity is not about a decision you made 20 years ago, it’s about all that goes on in your relationship with God since that day 20 years ago when you accepted Him as Lord of your life. Please develop that kind of relationship with Jesus, if you can’t brag on that to a friend today!

Prayer……

In the name of the Lord Jesus, I want to personally ask that You continue to work in my life so that I may live a vibrant, daily, 24/7 experience with You dear Jesus. I want that experience to be so fresh, that talking about it would be as real and impacting as telling a friend about the wonderful marriage that I am blessed with. Please help me to do my part, and not consider it enough to invite my friend to church. They may never make it to the next church worship service, and given the opportunity I believe that with Your help, I might impact their life for You on the spot. I know that I can’t ‘save’ anyone, so please use my humble input and witness to my friends to impact their hearts for a decision to accept You as Lord. Please make me ready and willing to share the joy of knowing You, and how it fills my soul every day! For my friends meditating on this devotional today, I ask that You please speak to them also and develop within them a relationship that they can easily brag about (witness) to their friends. I love You Lord, and look forward to Your return! For it is in Your precious and Holy name that I ask all this today, AMEN!

Action…..

In response to God leading You through this devotional today, please get with a Bible teaching Pastor you may know and allow him to guide you. Otherwise feel free to reply to my post online, or you may email me directly at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. I will gladly add you to my prayer list, and/or respond to your request(s) ASAP.

What is Repulsive To You?

God’s Word Says….

Acts 17:15-16 (NCV)
15 The people leading Paul went with him to Athens. Then they carried a message from Paul back to Silas and Timothy for them to come to him as soon as they could.
16 While Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens, he was troubled because he saw that the city was full of idols.

My Thoughts…..

Based on your Christian upbringing, your own Christian convictions and your understanding of God’s commands, what is it that really upsets you about what you see happening in your world? Are you seeking God’s direction and showing your opposition to them and showing those affected that there is a better way, a way that leads to eternity with Jesus? It has always been said that silence indicates consent, or agreement with the masses! I encourage you to read the chapter containing today’s focused verses and note how many times Paul was relocated from one place to another by his friends in order to protect his life. Yet, in vs 2 we read that Paul went into the synagogue and taught about Jesus; again in vs 10 and yet again in vs 17 we read where he did the same thing after being relocated for his own safety. Would you agree with me that Paul saw a lot going on in these cities that, based on his understanding of God’s Word, he disagreed with? Would you also agree that it is evident that he was not prepared to ‘pass the buck’, but instead willing to put his neck on the line over and over again for what he knew was wrong and to teach what he knew was right?

Challenge……

Are you/we willing to follow in Paul’s example? There is no question about whether things are bad enough around us, for daily we hear about the evil going on all around us. We may not see idols everywhere, but friends when we see our friends not interested in worshiping with other believers because of other ‘idols’ in their life, should we not be concerned? ‘Idols’ is something that takes the place of God in our lives. Whenever something else takes priority over our time with God, especially on a continual basis, then I dare say that ‘something’ has become an idol in your life. God has not called us to be judge and jury, but friends it is obvious to see where ‘idols’ pop up in our own lives, and in the lives of our family and friends. Where is our, and their priority, friends? Like Paul, we must preach this matter to our own sinful selves and to our friends. We must not let Satan be the victor in our world, when we are so aware of our living Savior and all that He sacrificed for such undeserving sinners such as us. I would dare say that not many of us could be found guilty of openly spreading the gospel today, especially in areas where we know that the state has forbidden it, and unfortunately these type areas are becoming way too numerous today. Jesus is coming soon friends, we must not let our friends die and go to Hell. We must live our lives in light of eternity, and witness/teach/preach with the same intensity.

Prayer……

In the name of Jesus, and for Your glory, I humbly ask that You forgive me of my laxity in being a bold witness of the best thing that has ever happened in my life. I am ashamed dear Jesus, please forgive me, again. Please instill in me the urgency of the hour in which I live, so that I may concentrate my heart, my mind and my witness on the things that really matter – You and Your kingdom. Please touch the hearts of the folk that might meditate on this devotional today, and invoke on them the same urgency of which I have pleaded. May we devote ourselves to winning this world for You, is my humble prayer, all for Your sake and Your glory; for again, I ask all this in Your most precious and worthy name, AMEN!

Action…..

In response to God leading You through this devotional today, please get with a Bible teaching Pastor you may know and allow him to guide you. Otherwise feel free to reply to my post online, or you may email me directly at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. I will gladly add you to my prayer list, and/or respond to your request(s) ASAP.

Chosen For A Time Such As This!

God’s Word Says….

Esther 4:14 (NCV)
14 If you keep quiet at this time, someone else will help and save the Jewish people, but you and your father’s family will all die. And who knows, you may have been chosen queen for just such a time as this.”

My Thoughts…..

I wonder how often we look at others and see the value that they bring to the kingdom of God? Why, look at my pastor, he is such a Bible scholar, loves people and the love for his Maker is so prevalent, I know God can use him in so many ways. And look at my Sunday School teacher, so talented in the Word and able to share it with such grace. Oh, and Brother ??? for I have so much respect for his godliness that shines through in so many ways. Do you relate to any of this Brother? How about you Sister? I believe that so often we see these qualities in people that we look up to, and that is good! However, these precious folk will never stand a chance at influencing our coworkers, or our family members that refuses to darken the doors of our church. Just as Esther was told, I believe that God is saying to us today: you don’t need a seminary degree to be my witness; I never intended for you to take the preacher to your family member to witness, although that may be great, but I expected you to be my witness, my representative, in their presence just as you boldly do in Sunday School and inside the church building. For I have placed you in their presence for such a time as this – perhaps today will be the day of salvation for them!

Challenge……

Friends, I want to encourage you, and remind myself, that we are more than conquerors in Jesus’ name and in His strength! For He can do all things through them that trust Him and live according to His Word! You have value in the kingdom just as you are. God didn’t make any junk, He created you and saved you so that you may go and be His witnesses! Your coincidental meeting with unsaved loved ones may not be as coincidental as we may think, for God has a plan to save our family and friends that we have lifted up before Him in prayer. God wants to use us to plant that seed of kindness, or an encouraging word, or our witness as to what God has brought us through, or just to share love with those that may not feel like anyone loves them like God truly does! Esther stood the chance of being killed for appearing before the king when not called by him, but she did it anyway in order to plead for, and save her people. Are you willing to take that chance of pleading with, and witnessing to, your loved ones today? You may be placed into a situation for such a time as this, please don’t let Satan convince you to do otherwise. Call upon the Lord – He is near, and will answer the call of His own!

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, You know how weak and afraid Your people have gotten, and You have opened our eyes to see the ill effects this has placed on our families, who are in disarray. Please continue to work in my life to be bold in my witness for You, to my family members and to those that I spend time with. Please continue to remind me each day of the reason You have placed me in the scenarios in which I find myself. Please give me more and more boldness to be the witness You desire. Please help me to curb the desire to promote self, but instead promote You above all else, for only You can touch the heart and save the soul. Thank You for the provision You have made for us to freely accept, so that we may one day baste in Your presence and enjoy the wonders of heaven! Thank You for that kind of love! For it is in the precious and loving name of Jesus my Lord, that I ask all this, AMEN!

Action…..

In response to God leading You through this devotional today, please get with a Bible teaching Pastor you may know and allow him to guide you. Otherwise feel free to reply to my post online, or you may email me directly at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. I will gladly add you to my prayer list, and/or respond to your request(s) ASAP.

Rejoice In The Lord ALWAYS

God’s Word Says….

Acts 16:23-26 (NCV)
23 Then Paul and Silas were thrown into jail, and the jailer was ordered to guard them carefully. 24 When he heard this order, he put them far inside the jail and pinned their feet down between large blocks of wood.
25 About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing songs to God as the other prisoners listened. 26 Suddenly, there was a strong earthquake that shook the foundation of the jail. Then all the doors of the jail broke open, and all the prisoners were freed from their chains.

My Thoughts…..

Two important lessons can be found in this short passage of Scripture for the Christian: 1). Rejoice in the Lord ALWAYS – yes even when under persecution, or perhaps in chains, or imprisoned. Easy to do? No, but the Bible also says that we are to give thanks for ALL things (not all good things). When we buckle under pressure, we are re-writing the Scripture to say that God is with us when things are going well for us, but you’re on your own when things get tough. Never thought that way? If not, non-Christians think that way when they see us (Christians) unable to function, or pray, or praise during our less-than-ideal circumstances, and I don’t believe that’s the kind of witness we ever wanted to portray to our non-Christian friends. 2). In order to be reachable by our lost, non-Christian friends, we must not flaunt our freedom in Christ. Prayers were answered and Paul, Silas and the other prisoners were free to go, but in staying, the jailer was converted!

Challenge……

Friends, we must learn to stay strong in our faith through the good times and through the bad, or challenging times. The God we celebrate and give thanks to for our mountain top experiences, is the same God that we call on when we feel like we are at our lowest point. Nowhere in Scripture does it ever indicate that God would hide His face from us under certain circumstances or when we are in certain locations or with certain friends that He may not approve of. Notice that I am not indicating that Christians have certain freedoms to do just as they please and go wherever they choose with whomever they please, then when times get tough just call on God. Instead, I am saying that God is with us when life seems toughest or even impossible, so let’s learn to praise Him and pray to Him in every aspect of our lives. Let’s live like Christians who believe that our Lord is alive, and He is with us every day, everywhere and at all times. When we praise Him in the tough times, we reassure ourselves that God is just as near to us then as any time in our past, and that He is able to hear our prayer and act on it! As we meditate on the second point above, let us be reminded that our friends need someone who they can identify with, and who they feel is real. Without their faith in Christ, it may be impossible for them to grasp the joy and reassurance that we feel. So while we may feel God’s presence in a very real sense, and we have comfort in knowing that He will help us though the unfortunate circumstances we may be facing with our friend, let’s try to be understanding of our friend and the fear they are feeling inside. Let us earn their trust, so that they might sincerely desire a need for our Savior that gives us strength, hope and love. They must feel like we can identify with their need so that they will trust the Savior in who we are placing our trust and faith.

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, these are tough principles in this Scripture passage today, but I am convinced that all Scripture is God-breathed for our good. Many of us are either already facing, or will face situations where our non-Christian friends may feel like we may be unreachable because of differences in character, talk or actions in their lives versus ours. Lord, I believe that for us to be a good witness, we must humble ourselves like you did while here on this earth. Father God, please help us to keep our eyes focused on Your Son. Please help us to be His imitators. Please help us to set pride aside and instead concentrate on the bigger goal of seeing our lost friends come to accept Your Son and develop relationships with Him, and I humbly ask all this in the precious name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Your Son, AMEN!

Action…..

In response to God leading You through this devotional today, please get with a Bible teaching Pastor you may know and allow him to guide you. Otherwise feel free to reply to my post online, or you may email me directly at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. I will gladly add you to my prayer list, and/or respond to your request(s) ASAP.

The Results of Effective Ministry

God’s Word Says….

Acts 16:18-21 (NCV)
18 She kept this up for many days. This bothered Paul, so he turned and said to the spirit, “By the power of Jesus Christ, I command you to come out of her!” Immediately, the spirit came out.
19 When the owners of the servant girl saw this, they knew that now they could not use her to make money. So they grabbed Paul and Silas and dragged them before the city rulers in the marketplace. 20 They brought Paul and Silas to the Roman rulers and said, “These men are Jews and are making trouble in our city. 21 They are teaching things that are not right for us as Romans to do.”

My Thoughts…..

I believe that most of us will immediately respond that effective ministry will always result in a winning outcome for the kingdom, right? Well, I believe that we will see from this passage that this may prove to be a true statement, but often it might come with its side effects invoked, or tainted, by Satan and his demons, as we also see in this passage. Satan is always an unhappy camper when he observes God impacting his followers. I believe that what this means to us today is that as we witness, and as we teach, and as we preach, Satan will be looking at every angle for ways to break up that good work that God may be doing through us. This could easily discourage us, but instead let’s give thanks to God because we then have proof that He is indeed breaking down some walls, and intruding on Satan’s territory in response to our prayers and/or other ministry efforts!

Challenge……

So you may snicker and want to remind me that this does not happen in our country, or our church, or our special little families, right? Well friends, I want to bring you into the real world in which we live, by giving you a few examples. We studied a book by a very popular pastor who, in spite of a blossoming ministry and a church exploding with growth, yet Satan got to his daughter in his attempts to disrupt the effective ministry of this man of God. Praise God, there was a glorious ending to the story, after many months of heartache by this pastor and the agonizing prayers of his church members. But bringing this down to the lay persons’ lives; like me, I believe that many of my readers will also know of families that are hurting, and perhaps pondering if they made the right decision to accept the Lordship of Jesus, because of what they see occurring in their immediate families. Friends, I want to remind us that our God is King over all this world, and He is more powerful than Satan or any of his evil attempts to destroy us. In fact, we can really say like Paul, that whether we become victors here on this earth or not, to die is actually gain, because we would be leaving the wickedness, evil and destruction of this world and entering the presence of our loving and awesome God! So whether we rejoice in seeing results here on this earth or not, we will one day rejoice at the feet of our Master and Lord, Jesus the Christ! So our challenge is to continue doing what God says for as long as we have breath, for we will glory in the cross of Christ here on this earth, and/or when we sit at the feet of Jesus in glory! Praise the wonderful name of Jesus, my Lord! Do you know Him, friend?

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, thank you for the reminder in Your Word this morning, that we may end up like Paul and Silas, being ridiculed, mocked or even beaten for our part in Your ministry here. However, a day is coming when we will look into You loving eyes and receive Your nod of approval for being consistent in our walk and in our talk, even in spite of our enemies, but all for the glory of God! Please help us to keep on ministering whether we see results or not. We can only plant the seeds and wait for You to mature them in the lives of individuals – Your precious children. You indeed have a plan for our lives, and I trust that You can always use me and my friends meditating on this devotional to also be a part of Your plan to reach the hearts and souls of our loved ones that we want so desperately to be with You in glory when the time shall come. Thank You for the provision, and thank You for ministering to my heart and soul to make me a part of Your wonderful family! I thankfully worship You and ask all this in Your wonderful name, Jesus my Lord, AMEN!

Action…..

In response to God leading You through this devotional today, please get with a Bible teaching Pastor you may know and allow him to guide you. Otherwise feel free to reply to my post online, or you may email me directly at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. I will gladly add you to my prayer list, and/or respond to your request(s) ASAP.

Be a Man of Principle

God’s Word Says….
Nehemiah 13:19-22 (NCV)

19 So I ordered that the doors be shut at sunset before the Sabbath and not be opened until the Sabbath was over. I put my servants at the gates so no load could come in on the Sabbath. 20 Once or twice traders and sellers of all kinds of goods spent the night outside Jerusalem. 21 So I warned them, “Why are you spending the night by the wall? If you do it again, I will force you away.” After that, they did not come back on the Sabbath. 22 Then I ordered the Levites to purify themselves and to guard the city gates to make sure the Sabbath remained holy.

My Thoughts…..

Nehemiah ‘took the bull by the horn’ and made sure that the law of the Sabbath was maintained in his town! I smiled as I read through these verses, because this took real courage and boldness! But then I believe that God challenged me with the thought, but what if my men, like you and other men of God, were strong enough in your faith, and bold enough in your witness, to take such bold steps today to make sure that my Word is taught like it is true, obeyed as to avoid the fear of God’s wrath, and honored to enjoy the power of His love through miracle after miracle as He blesses His people? This could very easily create such a pinnacle of blessing and praise in our lives that we might eventually feel like we have already entered into our heavenly home! In other words, I believe that it could soon overwhelm us with a tremendous shower of God’s blessings! I am afraid that our Sabbath, and I use it interchangeably with ‘The Lord’s Day’, has become the one hour, or perhaps 2-3 hours that we spend around church for Sunday School and church. After that we tend to immediately move into our self-taught ‘modern day Sabbath’ where we do what we please, instead of the day of rest and holiness that I believe God intended it to be. Think with me for a moment about the increase in heart attacks; the many, many ill health effects that has crept upon us, and the ineffectiveness of the church today. Could it possibly be caused by the lack of rest that mankind receives – and yes, especially me? Could it be why any and everything is acceptable in our world, yet Christian/Biblical principles are frowned upon? Why should we expect any less? Friend, God loves us so much that He wants to bless us beyond anything we could even imagine, but it must be on His terms, and following His commands. We can’t expect to receive His fullness and His rich blessings, when we disregard His written instructions (His Word – The Bible) and continue to act like we did before we invited Him to take charge of our lives.

Challenge……

How important is God’s blessings to you? How important is it to you that this world be impacted for God’s glory, because of your stance for God and His Word? I am convinced that we need to stop riding the fence, and decide this day who we will serve. If indeed it is God, then let’s do it wholeheartedly, without reservation, and stand up to any opposition, whether it’s in teaching, or practicing otherwise. We are sitting on, and treating way to lightly, the power of our Mighty, but Loving and Awesome God. Choose this day whom you will serve! Then as any good attorney would do in order to be effective in a courtroom, read the Book of instruction and follow its teachings. It leads to Christ. Exactly where you and I should be in all Truth and obedience.

Prayer…

Lord Jesus, I’m afraid that we (Christians) have not given up our worldly roots and truly learned to follow You. Thank You for all that You offer to us, and want to do for us. Please take control of our minds, our most inner beings, and help us to be firm in our faith, obedient in our decisions and actions, and bold in our witness to others, after we have cleared the ‘plank’ from our own eyes and lives. Lord, I must ask You to first of all do this in my life, but Master, I would humbly ask that You then start from the top of our earthly role models with the same impact. Begin with our pastors, then all the way down to our church attendees. Please help us to truly be all that we claim to be, children of Yours – living lives exampled after You and in appreciation for all that You did for us so that we may enjoy the benefits of eternity with You in heaven! You are God alone, please help us to honor You in and through our lives while here on this earth, is my humble and heartfelt prayer. For it is in Your most precious and holy name that I pray, AMEN!

Action…..

In response to God leading You through this devotional today, please get with a Bible teaching Pastor you may know and allow him to guide you. Otherwise feel free to reply to my post online, or you may email me directly at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. I will gladly add you to my prayer list, and/or respond to your request(s) ASAP.