Money – The Root of All Evil!

God’s Word Says….

Acts 19:25-27 (NCV)

25 Demetrius had a meeting with them and some others who did the same kind of work. He told them, “Men, you know that we make a lot of money from our business.

26 But look at what this man Paul is doing. He has convinced and turned away many people in Ephesus and in almost all of Asia! He says the gods made by human hands are not real. 27 There is a danger that our business will lose its good name, but there is also another danger: People will begin to think that the temple of the great goddess Artemis is not important.

My Thoughts…..

When reading and reflecting on this passage of scripture, I was reminded of how little our culture has changed. For even today I believe that the biggest opposition for Christianity would probably come from the business sector that is most affected financially by a growing church. Think about it, when our friends and family come to know Jesus and gain a desire to be obedient to God’s Word, they will quickly recognize that many of their worldly pleasures are unimportant, or just downright wrong. Most of our business people today are just as greedy, aggressive, demanding and threatening as Demetrius and his cohorts were in Paul’s day. Unfortunately, I believe we would quickly see how quickly our ungodly business people will pull in the reigns and react to a decline in their business, if they see their employees and/or customers choosing a better, more honest and godly way to live. In fact, I wonder how this type of expected reaction might be affecting the ministry of our churches already. I truly believe that certain teachings of the Bible are smoothed over by some ministers/teachers to appease certain business owners, so that they would not withdraw their financial support of our churches, or employment of our members. This is a sad statement, but I believe that it might surprise us how accurate this unfortunate statement might be.

 Challenge……

Can you identify with any of the above? Are you praying for your pastor, teachers and leaders that they might stay true to God’s Word and teach/preach the Gospel in and out of season? In other words, that they have the freedom and liberty to teach and preach what God has laid on their hearts? Friends, I feel very strongly that the pulpit or church classrooms must not be used as a place for us to voice our political, or even business views. I believe that God will bless the ministry that is sold out to God and committed to preaching and teaching the Word of God without regard to whose toes might be stepped on. If we can’t receive correction at church, where else will our wicked ways be corrected? The world will only add to, and worsen our evil practices, because that’s all they know. Please pray and support your church leaders. Please encourage them by telling them you are praying for them. Please support your church ministries with your presence, your hard work and your finances. If we the members, would tithe like we are taught Biblically, and give of our time and talents, we wouldn’t have to depend on ungodly businesses. In fact, they might soon find themselves dependent on the churches, and they might therefore correct their ungodly practices in an effort to get our support!! Let’s do our part so that God’s kingdom here on this earth might be realized, and that it might flourish!

 Prayer……

Lord Jesus, it’s in Your most Holy and reverent name that I ask that you forgive us, Your people, yes especially those that have accepted You as Lord, for although we have allowed You to enter our hearts and our lives, yet we still follow way too much of this world’s practices and its evil ways. We support businesses that are unworthy, because of decisions and practices of their ownership and leadership, so they continue to flourish and present even greater challenges to our church ministries. Please create in us a new heart, and a life that is totally dedicated to You. As this develops, may we then change our pattern for life so that You may shine through every aspect of our lives, whether at church or at work or even at play. To truly be ‘Christ-like’ there is much in need of correction in our lives. Please show us these things today Lord, and grant us the strength and fortitude to stay focused on You and less on this old world that only pulls us away from You. Only You can do this Lord Jesus, so it is in Your wonderful and 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.

What Will It Take?

God’s Word Says….

Acts 19:16-20 (GNT)

16 The man who had the evil spirit in him attacked them with such violence that he overpowered them all. They ran away from his house, wounded and with their clothes torn off. 17All the Jews and Gentiles who lived in Ephesus heard about this; they were all filled with fear, and the name of the Lord Jesus was given greater honor. 18Many of the believers came, publicly admitting and revealing what they had done. 19Many of those who had practiced magic brought their books together and burnt them in public. They added up the price of the books, and the total came to 50,000 silver coins. 20In this powerful way the word of the Lord kept spreading and growing stronger.

 My Thoughts…..

It seems miraculous how God got to the masses at Ephesus! I say ‘masses’ because we are told that many practiced witchcraft and sorcery. I’m sure that God was mightily using His servant Paul, but He also used a situation that actually involved a few of their own wicked bunch to get through to the people. In our highlighted verses we read where God brought great fear among the people by intensifying a situation between the wicked and the pretenders who tried to mimic Paul’s ministry. I find it so amazing, that in spite of all that God did at Calvary for us, yet He will still use scenarios that really touch our lives to get our attention and bring us to our senses. Oh, how He loves us! I know of situations where, through death of a loved one, a relative gave his heart to the Lord. Likewise, you may know of situations where others came to the Lord through war, or automobile accidents, etc. Friends, why do we need tragedy to bring us to our knees? God is still God, whether we are on a mountain top scenario, or whether we are at the very bottom because of a tragedy. What will it take to get your attention friend?

 Challenge……

Jesus showed great love for us on the cross. Let us recognize His goodness daily and allow Him preeminence over every aspect of our lives. When we do this, we prepare our hearts for the tough times, in that we know that our Master will be victorious even through those times. To those meditating on this today that have not yet accepted Jesus as Lord, please make this a day of salvation for yourself. Just as building muscle will help you withstand injury in a fall or other serious impact to the body, knowing Jesus will give you the calm assurance in good and bad times, that regardless of the outcome of a situation, you are assured, and have peace about your eternal destination. Just as we are told in verse 20 that the work of the Lord grew stronger, I want to remind you that when you surrender your life to Jesus, He will find ways to use your witness to also grow His work among your unsaved loved ones, for the ultimate glory of the Almighty God. Please don’t wait for God to use an unfortunate disaster in your life or the life of a loved one, for Him to bring you to your knees. He loves you enough that He would do anything to get through to you, but give your heart to Him willingly and not under due rest, please?

 Prayer……

Dear God, in Your precious name I want to ask that You again tender the hearts of my loved ones that don’t yet know You in a personal and intimate way. Please cause their hearts to look up to You in surrender and then plead forgiveness of their sin. Please may it be enough that they be stirred in their spirit to surrender, without having to use drastic measures to get their attention. Lord, may I have that same urgency today in sharing Your love with someone who needs that final word of encouragement before making this vital decision. Please bless in wonderful ways today, is my humble prayer made in Your most holy 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.

The Power in Jesus’ Name

God’s Word Says….
Acts 9:13-15 (NCV)

13 But some people also were traveling around and making evil spirits go out of people. They tried to use the name of the Lord Jesus to force the evil spirits out. They would say, “By the same Jesus that Paul talks about, I order you to come out!” 14 Seven sons of Sceva, a leading priest, were doing this. 15 But one time an evil spirit said to them, “I know Jesus, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

My Thoughts…..

Having just read in the preceding verses how people were healed with the touch of Paul’s handkerchief by his followers, it would almost seem natural for it to flow that these sons of a leading priest, Sceva, would have the same supernatural power to heal, especially if they followed the same method that Paul’s followers used – by using the name of Jesus in their demand for evil spirits to come out of people. However, the evil spirits quickly realized that there was no power in the vain use of Jesus’ name by these individuals. Friends, I believe that there is great power in the name of Jesus, but I also believe that it is Jesus who does the healing, and not individuals. In fact, for those individuals who do not know Jesus personally, and I am of the impression that these sons of Sceva fit this description, they really have no business using Jesus’ name, and they definitely have no authority to act on His behalf. So how does this relate today? While I am not the judge, I believe that way too many folk today lay their hands on people, and make demands in Jesus’ name, claiming a supernatural power because they know Jesus. Friends, I am very comfortable praying and asking Jesus to please heal someone, but I do not believe that Jesus is a puppet that I can demand Him to heal someone. He is the master of all things, so He is fully aware of what will bring Himself glory, and what will serve to meet our selfish needs and desires. I am convinced that I must seek His face and allow His kingdom and His work to be fulfilled, not my selfish desires or the wish of someone who only knows God when there is a need in their life. Does He still give power to folk to heal today, like He did with Paul? Friend, my God is all powerful and He can use a stone to bring forth water, so I know that He is able to use His chosen people to be used as His instrument to lay hands on someone and heal them. My only caution is that God be glorified and that He be the One doing the healing and not for a moment should we get the impression that we can do any of this of our own accord. We can very easily bring condemnation on ourselves if we act like we are messengers of His, but without His divine authority.

Challenge……

We serve an awesome, all powerful God, who has power to heal the sick and give sight to the blind. In fact, He even brought the dead back to life. Wouldn’t it be praise-worthy if we saw healing in our church services, or during our visitation of the sick or shut-ins? Friends, there is only one source for healing – it is through Jesus my Lord! He alone has the power to do all things, for in His Word He declares that ALL things are possible through Him. Does He need help from us? I believe you will quickly agree with me that we have no such power as our Lord, when we attempt anything supernatural of our own accord. So what if we use the powerful name of Jesus to demand the supernatural? Friend, the key here is that Jesus will do the healing, not us. Remember, we must decrease, so that He may increase. He designed us to bring glory to himself and that we represent Him so fully in and through our character, that others will see Jesus. When we do this, we quickly learn from Jesus himself who taught us through His own dependence on His Father (God), that we must also depend on Him and allow Him to do His work, so that His will might be fulfilled in and through us. Never accept praise from someone for any power they may feel that we have, or miracles they may try to give us credit for. This work is completed by God, whether through us or not, so give Him the glory, and teach your friends to do the same.

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that it feels good to be praised by someone for something I may have done to help them. However, please help me to always correct them and point them to You whenever they are tempted to give me credit, for it is in Your name and for Your glory that my efforts are worthy of praise. I acknowledge that there is great power in Your name, and I thank You for even considering us when You use Your awesome power to reverse certain health or life situations, or to relieve stress and/or pain on us. You went to the cross for us, what more can we possibly ask of You. I thank you for Your love displayed in so many ways for me, and for the many that claim You as Lord today. May we be Your humble servants, always willing to step back and allow You to shine through in all things, especially those things that seem impossible to us. Thank You for accepting me as Your son and allowing me to serve You while here on this earth. To God be all glory, honor and praise for all that is accomplished in Your name, is my humble pray that I ask in Your wonderful and all-powerful 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.

Are You Destined for Heaven?

God’s Word Says….

Acts 19:1-4 (NCV)

1 ….. Paul was visiting some places on the way to Ephesus. There he found some followers and asked them, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?” They said, “We have never even heard of a Holy Spirit.” So he asked, “What kind of baptism did you have?” They said, “It was the baptism that John taught.”

Paul said, “John’s baptism was a baptism of changed hearts and lives. He told people to believe in the one who would come after him, and that one is Jesus.”

 My Thoughts…..

I believe that Paul could just as easily entered into your church or mine and ask the same question as he posed in verse 2, and I’m afraid that he might receive a multitude of answers. This poses a very real challenge for us, for we find it easy and very necessary to share the Gospel with our friends that don’t come to church, or that blatantly oppose Christianity, or frequently abuse the name of the Lord, but I am very afraid that there are many we know that fuss and fight with their spouses or parents about being in church, but yet come to please them. Too often though, I believe that because of their presence in church, we tend to automatically assume that they are a believer, especially if they attend on a fairly regular basis. It would be a good challenge for each of us to have a ‘Paul’ visit with us occasionally and ask the same pointed question as he did to the ‘followers’ in verse 2. It might stir our hearts to remember the day and place that we surrendered our hearts to the Lord. It may challenge us to reflect on the ways that our lives were changed when the Holy Spirit took control of our lives. It may serve to remind us of the kind of people we should be – holy and set apart for ministry by God’s Holy Spirit to others. I wonder if our hearts are anywhere clean enough, or holy enough, for the Holy Spirit to take up residence in, or to be able to minister through, or impact others that know us?

 Challenge……

If you were called away from this earth today, and at the Judgment gate you were asked why should you be allowed into Heaven, would you have an answer ready that is based on a personal decision you made that is biblically based? In 1 Peter 3:15 we are encouraged to always be ready to give an account of the hope that is ours. I would also refer you to Romans 12:1-2 where Paul encourages believers to sacrifice ourselves to be loyal and obedient servants so that we may prove to whom we belong. He went on to say in verse 2 that if we are truly God’s child, then conform our lives to His image, His character, His demeanor, so that we may easily see the will of God for our lives. Friends, when God’s Holy Spirit takes up residence in our lives, we will be different than we were before. Whether Paul visits us in a church service, on our jobs, in a restaurant where the waitress/waiter may not be on best behavior or performance, I pray that he, and more so that God will see the same Holy Spirit led life in us. Yes, we will be different than the general population, but be ready to give an account for why you are different. Invite the curiosity seeker to know the same Jesus that we know, so that they too might be filled with God’s Holy Spirit and lead a life patterned after our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! This is our way of doing our part in leading someone to a better life, a life in Jesus our Lord. A life destined for eternity with Jesus in Heaven!

 Prayer……

Lord Jesus, I thank You for Your precious Word. I thank You for the wake-up calls each day in Your Word that help me to keep my life in line with Your plan for me. As a born again child of Yours, I pray for ongoing wisdom, understanding, humbleness, love and dedication to You, so that the unsaved might be touched by the evidence of the Holy Spirit that resides and guides me each day. I believe that it is only through that evidence that lives will be touched and encouraged to change. For in and of myself, I have nothing that would benefit a lost person destined for Hell. But may Your power, Your love, Your grace and Your overwhelming desire to see them change and filled with Your Holy Spirit, be evident in something that I may say or do today. Use me Lord, as Your precious instrument, for Your glory and Your delight. Please consider multiplying my requests many times over as You speak to the hearts of those that might meditate on this devotional today, is my humble request of You today, for it is in Your precious and Holy name 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.

Prove The Word Being Taught and Preached

God’s Word Says….

Acts 18:24-26 (NCV)

24 A Jew named Apollos came to Ephesus. He was born in the city of Alexandria and was a good speaker who knew the Scriptures well. 25 He had been taught about the way of the Lord and was always very excited when he spoke and taught the truth about Jesus. But the only baptism Apollos knew about was the baptism that John taught. 26 Apollos began to speak very boldly in the synagogue, and when Priscilla and Aquila heard him, they took him to their home and helped him better understand the way of God.

 My Thoughts…..

Here’s a message to the preacher who is new in the ministry. He may be well educated and excited about the ministry, but through lack of experience and lack of knowledge in the understanding of the Word, may be challenged to expound certain aspects of the Word correctly. There is also a message in this to those that have years of experience in the Word and a close relationship with the Lord. Priscilla and Aquila must be commended for the way they handled correcting Apollos, for they didn’t correct him while preaching, or in the presence of others, but they invited him to their home and shared their first-hand knowledge with him.

 Challenge……

I believe that there are several challenges in this passage today for us:

  1. We are to be a people of the Bible. Not just listeners of the Gospel being preached, because our new pastors/ministers/teachers may be like Apollos, where they may be well educated, and excited about preaching, but unless we test what they teach or preach, we may never realize an accidental untruth, or addition to, or subtraction from the Word is being proclaimed;
  2. New teachers and preachers must always strive to have a seasoned and experienced Christian soldier of the cross in their realm of influence or as a mentor to them. I believe that we are never too old to learn something, and I believe that we should always seek to receive correction positively and not as an insult or hurt, especially if done correctly;
  3. Instead of talking to each other, or making fun of a new and inexperienced pastor or teacher, we should call that person aside and encourage them and correct them gently and as God leads us to. As we do this in love, we become intimately involved in that person’s ministry and can quickly become a cheerleader for them. Pricilla and Aquila sets an awesome example for us in verse 26.

Unless we open our Bibles and study the Word with the teaching and preaching, we will never know of any untruths being taught. We must do our part, and use our knowledge and experience to help, and not destroy the good work of the Lord.

 Prayer……

In the precious name of Jesus, I ask dear Lord that You fill my mind with the Truth and goodness of Your Word. I pray that I might be quick to follow in the way taught in verse 26 today, where I would not talk to others to belittle a teacher or preacher, but rather that I would invite Him to my home or out to lunch where I might share from a heart of love. Please continue to bless our preachers and teachers with divine guidance from You so that they may proclaim Your Word in truth and clarity, where it may bring forth the desired results that You intended for it to do. Lord You are merciful, and I thank You for showing such love to me, and to those that teach Your Word from a heart of love and with understanding directly from a heart filled with You. I thank You for Your love dear God, for it is in the wonderful name of Your Son 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.

Preach, Teach and Witness for God is With You!

God’s Word Says….

Acts 18:9-10 (NCV)

During the night, the Lord told Paul in a vision: “Don’t be afraid. Continue talking to people and don’t be quiet. 10 I am with you, and no one will hurt you because many of my people are in this city.”

 My Thoughts…..

These are words straight from the Lord that we can use to share with ministers of the gospel. In fact, they are encouraging to laity also, because it says to us that in spite of the occasional opposition to our efforts to spread the gospel, through teaching or witnessing, we have comfort in knowing that God is with us (vs 10), and that other Christians are there to support our efforts also. There is nothing more discouraging than to think that no one is listening, or has any idea of what we are talking about. In other words, we might often become discouraged thinking that our efforts are falling on deaf ears. Even in this ministry of “Nuggets From God’s Word”, it does my heart good when I receive a ‘Like’ on Facebook, or on WordPress, because it shows that someone may have been blessed from my effort to share God’s Word. This scripture tells me even more though, it tells me that even if I receive no indication from my readers, I can receive encouragement in knowing that God is with me and that I should keep on!

 Challenge……

Friends, I believe you can discern from the above that you should not allow Satan to discourage you in your mission to spread the gospel in your own way. I believe also that we should continue our efforts in spite of any opposition that we might receive, after all, our efforts are centered around the Gospel of Jesus Christ, not on what man might want us to say or do. I also believe that the latter part of verse 10 is telling Christians that we are to encourage one another. Thank that Brother who teaches Sunday School, encourage that Pastor who does his best to share the Word and may not see an outward expression of acceptance, support the efforts of your church leaders by taking part in what they try, or plan to do. Friends, it takes all of us to reach all the people who are in our circle of family and friends, so this puts us all on the same team reaching for the same goal. To make the ‘team’ successful, we must encourage, cheer along and support our team members. Our efforts are for the glory of our maker, not ourselves, so let us pass any glory or praise up to Him, so that He might be glorified through the vessels that He created and gave the responsibility to reach the unsaved.

 Prayer……

Dear Lord, in your wonderful and glorious name, I am asking that You please help me to make my relationship with You so cemented and powerful that Your love for everyone (especially for me) will overflow in everything that I say or do. Lord, I want so badly for my family members to know You intimately and with such intensity that they would let Your light shine through them to their lost and dying friends and relatives. I humbly ask that You work closely and effectively in their lives so that they can quickly overcome the evil that is besetting them, and instead let them become open examples of Your grace, and evidence of Your power. Thank You for those that pastor and lead my church. Please shower them with Your love and encouragement today so that they may be reminded of the importance and value of reaching the lost of our community, and especially using the awesome gifts that You have blessed them with. Please love them overwhelmingly today so that they may be encouraged in their efforts. Lord You are so good, but we are so needy. Please forgive our weakness and continue to strengthen us and use us for Your ultimate glory, for it is Your precious name 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.

How Will God Describe You?

God’s Word Says….

Job 2:3 (NCV)

Then the Lord said to Satan, “Have you noticed my servant Job? No one else on earth is like him. He is an honest and innocent man, honoring God and staying away from evil. You caused me to ruin him for no good reason, but he continues to be without blame.”

 My Thoughts…..

This really struck me! When I think about our evil and deceitful ways … wait a minute someone might respond to me, speak for yourself but I do not fit that description. I would quickly respond: then Brother, I apologize, but I forgot to add to that description list ‘lying’! This is the God of the universe, God the Creator of all things, the God who is everywhere and knows everything about what is happening in our lives, and even in our minds, right now. He knows us like no one else.

 Challenge……

So let’s think this through. We have the pastor seeing us for who we want him to see and know us, and that’s having pretty good results for us, because he’s even placing a few new responsibilities on us. Our spouse, they know us real well. Why, my wife will ask what’s wrong if I only take a real deep breath! Yours might ask what’s wrong when you look at her/him in a certain way! But there are some things that we still keep deep inside – perhaps because we are embarrassed, or we see no reason to discuss with our spouse at the time. But guess what, God knows about those little private and personal things as well. Think about it, NASA engineers sit and watch the space vehicles in flight for every little indication of trouble, because they designed the vehicle and knows all the little intricacies of what could happen. Similarly, God designed us and He is way smarter than the space industry, for He never depends on a computer to tell Him when something is not right. My point? You can’t hide anything from Him. Therefore, it is amazing to me that God looked at Satan and could say in spite of all that Satan had already done to Job, that Job stood tall and strong, blameless before a Holy God. Can our God truly say the same things about us at any given moment in our lives? I believe that we can say with the Psalmist as he pleaded in Psalm 51, please God, create in me a new heart. Cleanse me and make me truly Yours, Holy and Righteous – even to our all-knowing, awesome God.

 Prayer……

Lord Jesus, I ask in Your precious and holy name, that You create in me a clean heart, a new heart, one that is holy and pure before You, so that I can be Your humble representative here on this old wicked earth. Lord, it seems like things have gotten even worse than in the days of Job, and I feel like having more of Your ‘blameless’ warriors here to properly represent You and be a witness for You would have a deep impact in our individual realms of influence. I thank You again today for saving my soul, please use me and Your other sons and daughters to influence this world for the main thing it is currently missing, a personal, real, honest relationship with You. Help us to give up self and our selfish desires. Continually remind us of Job’s shared insight, where he basically said “we will leave this world just as we came into it – naked, money-less and property-less, and we will stand bare before You without distraction and under no influence of friends, to try and explain to an all-knowing God why we feel we are worthy to enter Your kingdom.” Oh my, how lacking we are to consider standing before You right now, or at any given time in our lives. Please renew within me a right spirit that might be open to Your leading and Your holiness, so that I might impact my world around me! With love and all humbleness I ask all this dear Jesus in Your precious 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.