Daily Devotions from The Word Of God… From the heart of Ed Algreen

Archive for May, 2014

A Testimony of a Changed Life!

God’s Word Says….

Acts 22:12-16 (NCV)

12 “There a man named Ananias came to me. He was a religious man; he obeyed the law of Moses, and all the Jews who lived there respected him. 13 He stood by me and said, ‘Brother Saul, see again!’ Immediately I was able to see him. 14 He said, ‘The God of our ancestors chose you long ago to know his plan, to see the Righteous One, and to hear words from him. 15 You will be his witness to all people, telling them about what you have seen and heard. 16 Now, why wait any longer? Get up, be baptized, and wash your sins away, trusting in him to save you.’

My Thoughts…..

Paul is relaying the conditions that changed. Basically this is his ‘Testimony of his Changed Life’. Saul (Paul’s birth name), a persecutor of Christians, was stricken by God and challenged about his spiritual condition. He immediately knew it was God and he surrendered his life to God. This act came with Saul being blinded. God’s next step to confirm this act of conversion to Saul, was to place him in the presence of a messenger of His, Ananias, and that’s where these verses pick up. Notice that God gave the power and authority to His messenger through whom He would perform the act of healing Saul’s sight, and to also give Saul further instructions. Notice that God used a human messenger through whom to work these miracles before Saul, for He knows how challenging it is for the unbeliever, or new convert, to handle the miraculous works of God. He particularly did this for Saul’s sake, I believe.

Challenge……

Friend, if you are not careful you may let this story go right over your head, for you might say that you know of no one that is persecuting Christians. However, let me draw to your attention that Saul’s sin was blatant, but anytime you are living your life in opposition to God’s Holy Word and His commands, then you too are sinning, and like Saul, you too are very much in need of my Savior. Should you wait to be stricken with blindness? Definitely not, for God will get the attention of each of us in different ways. To a family member of mine, it was through the death of a young nephew that he realized he was in no condition to meet God should his life have concluded suddenly life that of his nephew. To a friend, it was in the middle of a war that he surrendered to the ministry. To me, it was through an acquaintance who was praying for me, and at the right opportunity prompted me to the altar to accept Christ. Notice that God will get your attention, regardless of your condition. To the sinner, it is not natural for you to even think of God, or stumble across a devotion like this where I am sharing the love of Christ. If this is happening to you, please acknowledge God’s Holy Spirit who is at work already in your life. You may be surprised to know the family and/or friends who are praying for you to join the family of God, through accepting Him as your Lord and Savior. The Bible says that if you hear and/or recognize His work and/or feel His presence, perhaps prompting You, do not turn away, but instead invite Him to take up residence in your heart and your life. Ask for forgiveness of your sin, and His guidance, wisdom and strength to start a new life with Him in control. Friend, take my word, HE IS ABLE, and He will listen to the honest cry of His children. Trust Him today, won’t you? Need to talk about it? Please contact me by email, using the link in the ‘Action’ portion of this devotional, or speak one-on-one with the pastor or lay leader of a local Bible believing church. This life is only temporary. You can secure your future in Christ by accepting Him today friend!

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, how wonderful, marvelous and loving You are. To willingly go to the cross for the sin of those that hated You, yet in Your risen form You sit at the right hand of the Father petitioning for these same folk, and You intervene in the lives of these folk to encourage them to accept Your free gift of eternal life. I cannot fathom that kind of love. Dear Jesus, I’m afraid that many of my family and friends are having difficulty understanding that kind of love and therefore not accepting Your free gift. You got the attention of, and saved, the one who appeared to be the chief of sinners in his day, and You chose Him to lead the church spoken of in most of the New Testament. Praise God, this gives me confidence that You can also melt the hardest heart, and especially the hearts of the ones I love or hold dear to me today. I mention these to You by name frequently, so I am asking today that You would once again tender their hearts and allow them to hear Your voice. I pray the same for anyone who may come across, or meditate on this devotional, please perform similar miracles to the one You did with Saul. Please get their attention. Only the Savior of the universe, Jesus my Lord, has power to do this, so it is in Your all powerful name that I ask 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.

Share Your Story!

God’s Word Says….

Acts 22:7-11 (NCV)

I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The voice said, ‘I am Jesus from Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’ Those who were with me did not understand the voice, but they saw the light. 10 I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord answered, ‘Get up and go to Damascus. There you will be told about all the things I have planned for you to do.’

 My Thoughts…..

There are several miraculous things about this experience shared by Paul:

  • It was Personal – Paul didn’t share a story with the group arresting him about a friend of his, or a story he had read in ancient transcripts, he shared his story;
  • Recognized it was God speaking – Paul’s first response to the voice he heard was “Who are you, Lord?” When God gets our attention, we know that it is divine, holy and very personal;
  • It was transformational – Paul, a persecutor of Christians and a destroyer of churches, immediately recognized it was God, and instead of cursing God, as he had been doing, he asked for further instructions!
  • It was shared without regard to the place or occasion – Paul didn’t wait until he was in the synagogue, or among fellow believers, or until it was church time. In fact, this seemed like a very odd time to share his testimony, but Paul shared his story anyway!

I believe that the whole purpose of Paul sharing his story was that his captors’ eyes would not only be opened to the fact that he was a fellow Roman citizen, but also that they might hear, understand and come to know the God that touched, and ministered through, Paul. He was a true evangelist, both in the pulpit and out of it.

Challenge……

Like Paul, we have a ‘story’ that we should share with folk. Often in conversations we step up to the plate and tell a story about an incident in our lives that we believe is far greater than anything said so far by anyone else. Imagine the quiet that would fill the room if, in the middle of discussions about sports, or hunting or family, we jump in and share our story about our conversion? This is basically what happened here! Among all the confusion and excitement of calming the crowds and making an arrest, Paul asked for a moment to share his story. Wow! Friends, God can use us for His glory in any circumstance that He chooses, if we let Him. But it will only be impactful if we share our story for His ultimate glory and not ours. So why don’t we do that more often friend? We need to do this as often as we can, because we have no promise of a future moment with that individual or group that we are meeting with. Don’t be shy or afraid, God will never lead you into a situation that He will not help you through! Allow Him to do His great work through you!

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, in Your precious and holy name, I come humbly before You to first say thank You for getting my attention back in 1976 and leading me to accept You as Lord of my life. Thankfully, You have since lead me through many situations and given me ample opportunities to share Your saving power with many people. Please forgive me for lost opportunities, and give me wisdom, humility, boldness and power to share my story with many more folk in all walks of life, so that others might see the glow of Your presence in and through me, and subsequently want to also accept You as Lord. Father God, it is only through Your continued grace that the wicked and lost of this earth can come to know a holy and righteous God, so I ask that You touch lives that I interface with today so that in something that I might say or do, You might impact their lives for Your ultimate glory. I ask all this in the name above all name, King of all kings, Your one and only Son, JESUS. 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.

How Do You Handle Correction?

God’s Word Says….

Acts 21:27-30 (GNT)

27 But just when the seven days were about to come to an end, some Jews from the province of Asia saw Paul in the Temple. They stirred up the whole crowd and seized Paul. 28“Men of Israel!” they shouted. “Help! This is the man who goes everywhere teaching everyone against the people of Israel, the Law of Moses, and this Temple. And now he has even brought some Gentiles into the Temple and defiled this holy place!” (They said this because they had seen Trophimus from Ephesus with Paul in the city, and they thought that Paul had taken him into the Temple.)

30 Confusion spread through the whole city, and the people all ran together, seized Paul, and dragged him out of the Temple. At once the Temple doors were closed.

My Thoughts…..

It is sad that the unchurched of today remain unchurched, often because of bad experiences with Christians, or the church. It is even more sad that many Christians ‘pack up their toys’ and leave a church when they can’t have their own way, or when the pastor/preacher/priest preaches God’s Word and it does it’s intended job of highlighting sin in the lives of those listening, but ‘Christians’ leave because someone is identifying certain things that they do as ‘Sin’. Not sure what really set off the Romans when they heard Paul preach, but they had their fill and was not about to let it continue. So instead of ‘packing up their toys’ and leaving, they just thought they would incite trouble and kill the messenger. But you may ask, “How might this relate to us today?” Friends, Satan still does his best to interfere and/or stop the work of the Lord, and he uses the unsaved, and the weak, selfish, children of God to accomplish his work. We may have come far enough in our society that church goers might not grab the messenger of God, drag him outside and try to kill him, but they often allow Satan to use them in more cunning ways to destroy, or severely inhibit the work of the Lord in our churches and/or communities. Churches are closing their doors at a greater rate than most people could ever remember in history; Bible study and prayer has been kicked out of our schools; churches are in such discord that most pastors could only stand an average of 18 months on the job without their health being severely impacted.

Challenge……

I believe that our challenge today is simple, but yet very challenging. For those who have not surrendered their lives to the Master, I would challenge you to listen closely to the Spirit of God that might be encouraging and convincing you of your need of a Savior. Please don’t look at others who are trying to be Christ-like. When you make your decision to accept the call of God on your life, you will have an obligation to be like HIM, not like the ‘Christian’ you have known who appears to be a hypocrite. Each of us will be accountable to God for ourselves, and I’m pretty sure that an answer indicating that you tried real hard to be like Brother ‘Fred’ (who whomever) will not be acceptable to God. Yes, Christians should live their lives in a manner worthy of others following them, but our responsibility is always that we live like Jesus did. Now, to those of us that know that we are Christians, please let’s remind ourselves that Satan is still alive and working harder than ever to destroy the work of God. Furthermore, he is trying to use us to do his dirty work for him. Daily in the Word; Daily in prayer; Take time to worship with other believers; Encourage one another, and do not pull each other down; These are some of the attributes that will help us to stay strong in our faith. I have always heard “idle hands are the devil’s workshop”, and I believe that this is proven way too often. Make this your new, or renewed objective each day – to be more like Jesus in everything you say or do. Then, get into the Word (the Bible) so you can learn the ways of God and the things that Jesus said! You’ll find yourself praying for your pastor, instead of tearing him apart for every little thing!

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, it is amazing how little things have changed from the days of Paul’s persecution, to the wickedness that still destroys churches today. I pray that You will prick the hearts of Christians anytime we are tempted to follow the wishes of Satan rather than doing Your will and being Your imitators. Lord, it sometimes feel like we are losing the battle in winning the lost to You, and that way too often the world, or Satan, is winning Christians over to his army of evildoers and backbiters and destroyers of Your work. I am reminded that You are still very much in control and that these things happen to cull out the evil from Your churches, but Lord, please encourage those of us that look on these events as discouragement in the ministry. Please remind us to keep on task with our individual mission to draw closer to You every day, and to keep on witnessing to the unsaved, or fallen, so that they may catch a glimpse of You and gain a desire to know You in a personal way. Father, this is a mighty task in my eyes, but I am reminded that ALL things are possible with You, so I ask all this in that all powerful name of Your only Son, 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.

Live in Light of Eternity!

God’s Word Says….

Job 19:23-27 (GNT)

23 How I wish that someone would remember my words and record them in a book! 24 Or with a chisel carve my words in stone and write them so that they would last forever. 25 But I know there is someone in heaven who will come at last to my defense. 26 Even after my skin is eaten by disease, while still in this body I will see God. 27 I will see him with my own eyes, and he will not be a stranger. My courage failed because you said ….

 My Thoughts…..

At the beginning of this book God said of Job that he was a true man of God that stood tall among other men and was firm in his commitment to God, in spite of what might come his way. Friends, we have seen for the past 18 chapters where Satan unleashed his power on Job and, yes it became very discouraging for Job, because he even wished he was never born. But praise to the God of heaven and the Savior of all mankind, Job never lost his allegiance to God. He knew that God was right there, and that it was he (Job) that needed to lift his eyes above the troubles and look towards the day when he would see God’s wonderful and loving face. I believe that when he wished that these words were written in stone for others to see and be encouraged by, he not only thought of us, but he also wished that he could be encouraged by his own words when discouraging times came. Job realized and acknowledged where his struggles came from and at the end of the highlighted verses he is basically voicing the cause of his weakness and low times. Satan is very powerful friends, but our God is head and shoulders above him, He created this universe and He is very capable of ruling and reigning over Satan and any of his deceptions, lies or devious acts that could possibly be imposed upon us while living in this old world.

Challenge……

What a lesson this is for us friends! If we would take time to analyze the cause of our sin, our frustration, our weakness and our failing, perhaps it would help us to do like Job and stand firm in our faith in spite of all that goes on in our lives. I believe that our application here is that we must make God so much a part of our lives that not only He will be able to say like He did about Job, but that our friends will also see so much of Jesus in us that they will openly recognize in whom we believe, and in whom we gain our strength and guidance. While we are living each day in the fear of the Lord, others are watching for an example to follow, and they are making mental notes, so that when anything is said about us, whether in life or death, they will be ready to attest to our lives and what our principles and character meant to them. Let us then live in the light of eternity, in our everlasting hope, one that leads us to the love and provisions of our Almighty King and Savior, Jesus Christ!

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, You are my hope for all that I contend with in this old world, and for my joy, as I reflect on heaven where I will spend eternity with You, thank You for loving me enough to make such provisions for me. Thank You for always being there for me! Please continue to give me strength to look above my troubles and look towards the heavens and remember all the joys that are mine! Lord, You know more than we do, the many challenges that my friends and I face here on this earth on a daily basis. Please keep us focused on You, so that our challenging times down here will seem miniscule compared to the overwhelming joy that is ours when we join You in heaven. Thank You for watching over Job, yet allowing his true strength and joy to be revealed to us in the scriptures. May the light of Your Word always be the path that we will follow all the days of our lives! Jesus, I ask all this in Your precious and most holy name, knowing that You are master over everything that could possibly come our way, 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 Should We Do?

God’s Word Says….

Acts 21:20-22 (NCV)

20 Brother, you can see that many thousands of our people have become believers. And they think it is very important to obey the law of Moses. 21 They have heard about your teaching, that you tell our people who live among the nations to leave the law of Moses. They have heard that you tell them not to circumcise their children and not to obey customs. 22 What should we do?

My Thoughts…..

It seems like James and the elders were getting distressed over the fact that the converts under their ministry in Jerusalem were still bent on following the law of Moses, so they were trying to force Paul into clearing this up for them. How often do we try to get the preacher/pastor/evangelist to try and get the people straight, or at least thinking our way today? Of course it still happens! A lesson I’ve heard taught over recent months is that we have a responsibility to teach and preach the Word. It is powerful enough to save the world and more than sufficient to teach us the ways and heart of God. When people accept Jesus as Savior, and when they learn from God’s Word what is expected of them as a child of God, and as an imitator of His Son Jesus, then we will see folk turn away from sin, leave old worldly practices aside and straighten out any misconceptions about the will and way of God. We don’t need our pastor to be a puppet, let him preach the Word. We don’t need our Sunday School teachers to tickle our ears with interpretations of the Word that really pleases us. What we need is that the Word of God be taught and preached in a manner pleasing to God. The best of us can still learn from the living Word of God that is very applicable to our lives today. The worst of us can receive new life and refreshing new hope in knowing from God’s Word, that Jesus loves even them and offers a better way and a joyous hope that we can be with the Lord eternally – yes even after we pass away from this life.

Challenge……

Friends, God’s Word declares that if we humble ourselves and pray, and seek God’s face, THEN He will hear from heaven and heal our land. This means all of us that follow the underlined commands. From evidence in our prayer meetings, there is no wonder our land is still in much need of healing. A great preacher once said that our prayer meetings are the barometer of our churches – indicating it’s strength, ministry, reaching and its effectiveness in the community and for God. So is your church thriving, or in deep trouble? Are you a contributor to the problem, or towards the solution? We don’t need to tell the pastor or preacher what to do, we need to get our lives straight, and stay in the Word – the power source for fighting all evil in this world and in our lives. Please consider making a new commitment to seeing the Word of God taught and preached without restraint, whether you do this personally, or in sincere prayer for those that do this so well in your churches. This will quiet the voices of the devil, the opposition to peace and good will that God desires among His people. Commit to placing yourself on the right team, friend!

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, in Your precious and Holy name, I ask that You continue to work miraculously in my life, so that I may shone evil, gossip, and the desire to do anything but pray for my pastor, elders, deacons, teachers, leaders and believers of my church. Bless them beyond measure today Jesus, and use them and myself in powerful witnessing opportunities for You. May we be so full of You that no unkind word be spoken or evil thoughts of any kind be evident in our lives. As unsaved loved ones and friends look on us today, may they see the face of Jesus, and may our actions be indicative of Your love, Your mercy and Your grace. For it is only possible, and it is only in the precious name of Jesus 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.

When Convinced By God to Minister….

God’s Word Says….

Acts 21:10-13 (NCV)

10 After we had been there for some time, a prophet named Agabus arrived from Judea. 11 He came to us and borrowed Paul’s belt and used it to tie his own hands and feet. He said, “The Holy Spirit says, ‘This is how evil people in Jerusalem will tie up the man who wears this belt. Then they will give him to the older leaders.’ ”

12 When we all heard this, we and the people there begged Paul not to go to Jerusalem. 13 But he said, “Why are you crying and making me so sad? I am not only ready to be tied up in Jerusalem, I am ready to die for the Lord Jesus!”

My Thoughts…..

When convinced by God to go somewhere, or to be involved in a certain ministry, who or what can stop us or change our minds? Satan will make many attempts to distract us and cause us to break promises to our God. Paul shows us that in spite of all the warnings being given to him, yet he is determined to follow through on his charge from God to minister in Jerusalem. I believe that Paul would rather obey and be beaten by man, than to disobey and disappoint God through his weakness and Satan’s influence on him. What a great lesson this teaches us! I have a personal experience where, after much time in prayer and talking with God, I made a decision to make a critical, life-changing, physical move in my life. Although this brought disappointment to my family left behind, yet I, and my family soon saw where this was actually an act of God, as it resulted in the possibility of two family members receiving proper medical help that, we are confident, saved their lives. Warnings to friends making such a move is fine, if directed by God for you to share that warning, however if someone is following God’s call on their lives, we are obligated to pray for the individuals and their actions in obedience to God.

Challenge……

Friends, let’s try to be careful not to compete with God and His call on the lives of our family and friends. It is super important that we support them and pray for them. When God makes a move in a person’s life, it is not to bring glory to us, although we may be led to glorifying God for His great work through our family and friends, but instead it is to bring glory to Himself. And in doing this, perhaps lost persons will be saved, or Christians might be discipled and drawn closer to the Lord. Ours is not to question, but to obey the God of this universe, the Savior of the world! May we always be a part of the work of the Lord, and not on the opposite team trying to disrupt His powerful work in saving lost mankind.

Prayer……

In the powerful name of Jesus, I humbly ask that You kindly continue to show patience with us dear Lord. We are such control freaks, and we are way too confident in our belief that we know what we should be doing and also what our family and friends should be doing. Please forgive us, for I acknowledge that we have no control over this very moment, much less any future minutes that we may be blessed to spend here on planet earth. Please guide us into all Truth, Your precious Word, so that we may become so sensitized to Your will for our lives and know our role in decisions being made in response to Your call on the lives of those we know. I am convinced that our role is to pray for, and support the decisions made by our loved ones operating in obedience to Your commands. I am also convinced that we have the same responsibility for those that are not obedient to You, for only You are capable of changing them and convincing them of their condition and need for a Savior. Please help us to always take our appropriate role and let You be the God that You are. Thank You for loving us even when we try to take control where we have no business interfering, please continue to always gently nudge us back to a life of total surrender and obedience to You. I ask all this in the precious name of 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.

Opportunities For Enrichment

God’s Word Says….

Acts 21:4 (NCV)

We found some followers in Tyre and stayed with them for seven days. Through the Holy Spirit they warned Paul not to go to Jerusalem.

My Thoughts…..

“We’ve come a long way, baby” is the first thought that hit me as God caught my attention on this verse this morning. Imagine with me for a moment that we were on a trip from south Florida to north Georgia, and instead of sitting down and mapping out the best restaurants, or the motels that we prefer staying at, that we actually mapped out family and friends who lived within close proximity to our route! Especially Christian friends that we met at some point in our lives while visiting their church! Imagine the closeness that would reignite in our relationships! Paul and his entourage was forced to stop into the port at Tyre because they were traveling on a ship that had cargo for that port. They didn’t stay on the ship, nor did they look for a local establishment, but instead they searched for and found believers in that city that they could stay with. Now I know, you don’t want to be the local Holiday Inn bothered by folk always stopping in to stay with you, but friends we really need to do a better job of spending time with one another and enriching our family and friend relationships. Based on the verses that follows, I get the distinct impression that the lives of Paul and his team, as well as the families they stayed with, were enriched by this short stay. In fact, God even worked through one of the host members to share concern with Paul about his next visit to Jerusalem. Imagine that in today’s environment. You stop over for the night with a cousin, and the next morning they advise you to go west through Alabama instead of going straight north to north Georgia, as God shared with them there is trouble ahead for you! What on earth would our reaction be to that?

Challenge……

We have become so independent and want to do things on our own without any bother to anyone. Unfortunately, this has crossed the line in two ways:

  1. We have become distanced from our family and friends;
  2. We have distanced ourselves from God, because we refuse to allow Him to speak to us directly, or through other believers.

Friends, we must do a better job of “Leaning on the everlasting arms” of God, and “Trusting Him what‘er betide”, because “Trusting Jesus, that is all” – our only hope. Let’s draw nearer to God and to each other as we struggle along this cruel pathway of life.

Prayer……

Dear God, please continue to work on us and make us humble, obedient servants of Yours. We absolutely cannot do this thing called ‘life’ all by ourselves. We especially need You, Your wisdom and Your direction, but we also need our family and friends, for we are support for each other. Please help us to look for ways to spend time with family, and not the opposite. Please help us to look for ways to show servant-hood to others. Please speak to us on behalf of our loved ones so that our relationships would become more cemented, and ultimately centered on You. Please help us to never think that we can do this ‘life’ thing alone. I don’t believe that You intended it to be that way, instead I believe that You want us to reflect Your love towards others, and that can only come through us getting involved in their lives. Please help us to daily walk and talk more like You, because we want others to see You as they interact with us. Lord, this can only be done with Your power and in Your name, so I ask it in the almighty 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.

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