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

Archive for September, 2014

Love Is….

The Holy Bible

4 Love is patient, love is kind.
Love does not envy,
is not boastful, is not conceited,
5 does not act improperly,
is not selfish, is not provoked,
and does not keep a record of wrongs.
6 Love finds no joy in unrighteousness
but rejoices in the truth.
7 It bears all things, believes all things,
hopes all things, endures all things.

Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB) 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Thoughts:

If we paid attention to the television, then we will know that ‘love’ is one night stands, beauty, riches, sex or even products, because we are fed all the advertisements that is prevalent way more than the actual movie that we are watching. So grows our children who stay fixed on television each day. But what about the adults, anything different for us? Of course not, unless we concentrate on the Word of God, embed it into our lives and be obedient to its teachings. I want you to think about a typical evening in the life of married couples, so that we can compare that to our understanding of God’s Word, and I believe it will be evident why our country is so filled with cohabitating adults and/or divorcees, from which more broken homes are developed by their kids. First of all, both parents are out working all day – sometimes late into the evening, they arrive home tired, stressed and ready for bed, but their habitual ‘meal clock’ tells them that it is time to eat. So a fast food item is placed in the microwave, or soup is warmed, to satisfy any hunger pangs. In the meantime, the television is on, text and/or Facebook messages are dinging in and demanding the attention of the modern day adults, while we sit down to gobble our food and prepare for bed. Did I forget to include the time needed to sit and truly give our undivided attention to each other to hear about their day, or whether they still have a job. Oh, and what about time to celebrate what God may have done in our lives that day? When this routine repeats itself day after day friends, can you see how verse 7 above can possibly be developed, or matured? Unfortunately, many homes are facing this challenge. Unfortunately many couples are finding little time to express love towards each other, because they have absolutely worked true ‘love’ out of the picture. There’s no time for it and even if there is a minute, our minds are so wound up that we just want to be left alone in a corner with some peace and quiet. Has Satan sneaked his way into our marriages and into our homes to destroy something that God has designed? I believe that Satan would like nothing better friend. Please re-read the above verses, reflect on God’s design for true ‘love’ one for another, and don’t look at what needs to change in the life of your spouse or children, but what do you/I need to do personally so that we may be true followers of Christ and His commands. Our spouse, our families and our world deserves better. Can we do it? What does ‘love’ mean to you? What must be realigned in your life to help you align you life with the true plumb-line – the Word of God?

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You have inspired great writers like Paul to share Your Word with us so that we may be better aligned with Your expectations for Your children. I can only imagine how You must shake Your head in disgust sometimes at the mess we have made of life in today’s society. I know for sure that we need You more today than we have ever needed You before. I know for sure that we have really failed to do this thing called ‘love’, in its truest form, and that we need Your powerful hand upon us for the strength, guidance and overwhelming power to overcome the evil one. We need the encouragement of Your loving arms around us to cheer us along and to give us the confidence that we need to lay the things of this world aside and truly give our undivided attention to our spouses, our children, our family and all those that take time to listen and/or share with us. I’m afraid that if we are to truly be Your example, we must overcome these weaknesses and depend on You for strength to be the man/woman that You intended and the ones that You can use to minister to unbelievers today. Please be my strength and my guide today dear Lord. Please forgive me where I have failed to express my love to You and to others. Please touch the hearts and lives of Your children who will meditate on this devotional today Oh Lord. We all need You! I place my desires at Your feet and ask all these favors in the precious and loving name of Jesus, my soon coming King, AMEN!     

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the .devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

What Is Your Role In The Local Church?

The Holy Bible

     The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

The Message:1 Corinthians 12:25–26

Thoughts:

I am constantly amazed by folk who attend church and would normally answer the question posed in my title by saying “O I’m just a visitor” or “I’m just a regular attendee”! Friends, in light of this passage, Paul likens the church to our human bodies. So for a moment, imagine with me if the hand said to the brain “hey, I’m just here for show, as I wanted Mr. XYZ to see that you had a hand also, but you go right ahead and pick that food up by yourself”, how would that work for you? I know the example sounds silly, but in the context of these verses, and in light of the reasons given by some for church attendance or involvement, I believe you might get a better understanding of my illustration. I will give another very real illustration to you. My dad had injury to a kidney after having a heart stint installed. The doctors decided not to operate, as they relayed to my dad that the non-functioning kidney would just dry up like a prune and remain in his body. Unfortunately, I believe this is what happens to those who ‘just attend’ church and never become, or feel like, a functioning part of the church. However, based on our study in this chapter, I feel like there are two aspects worthy of attention here. First, is the visiting, or regular attendee who just shows up, sits in a very inconspicuous place hoping that no one will see them or come to trouble them. Perhaps, although God prompted them to attend church, Satan may still be working powerfully in their lives to stop them from getting anything out of attending, so I would strongly encourage this person to please do your part as a vital part of the body. I recently had a tooth implant and it was amazing how the body quickly accepted that foreign piece of metal and starting knitting to it! Likewise, I believe that an individual such as described, will be quickly received if they do their part in being loveable and showing interest in wanting to be a part. Secondly, I believe that the existing church members have a responsible to fight hard in making all attendees feel welcomed, loved and encouraged. Remember, this is like a foreign body to the human body, so they need extra care and attention. If God sends someone to a church, then those Christian members who are already a vital part of that ministry must do their part in response to God. Friends, you are in one of the roles mentioned, are you doing your part to further the kingdom of God? Will you commit to being more conscious of your role in growing the spiritual lives of all that worship with you?

Prayer:

Dear God, thank You for creating us and forming us into a body of believers for corporate worship. May I be more conscious in my daily life about the needs of others and respond in a manner that will be pleasing to You. For those that attend my church, I pray that although I may have no official role in church terms, I will respond to the key role you have made evident to me through the study of Your Word today. Sharing the love of Jesus through the spoken word, or just in a friendly smile or encouragement of some sort, is something that any of us can do. Please give me the boldness to do my part dear Lord. Friends meditating on this devotional today might also need help in this regard, please give us Your strength and Your vision to be the hands, feet and words of Jesus in all that we do and say. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, my Savior, AMEN!    

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the .devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

What Adds To Your Worth?

The Holy Bible

      As it is, we see that God has carefully placed each part of the body right where he wanted it.
      But I also want you to think about how this keeps your significance from getting blown up into self-importance. For no matter how significant you are, it is only because of what you are a part of.

The Message: 1 Corinthians 12:18–19

Thoughts:

I love the words of Paul as he taught the church at Corinth, who were obviously challenged with working together with each other to accomplish the work of the church. We may sometimes say that they were off doing their ‘own thing’! Paul cautioned that no matter how significant they thought they were, it is only because of the added strength and combined qualities of the body (the church) with whom they were associated with, and worked together with, for the common cause of Christ. So I reflected on the success, or lack thereof, of the local church today. I realize that the primary source of strength for the  local church comes from God. But I also know that we, the people, are the church, and if we are to be collectively effective in ministry for our Lord, then we must make every effort to work as one. Paul likens the church to the human body, in that the hand can’t get across town to do anything for a person in need without the feet to carry it, the heart to provide the blood and every part of the body to do it’s part. Likewise, we must remember that the church will not be productive if we can’t get ourselves together and work towards the same goal of ministry. Think about it friends, if we don’t display love one for another, or if we are always gossiping about other members, how effective will our words – our ministry, be when we go before the unsaved person? Don’t we realize that successful ministry is only possible when the unsaved see us come before them with a clear expression of Christ’s characteristics, and a working part of the local church? Unfortunately, our inability to work together with the local church is a clear deficiency of Christ’s qualities in our lives. I can confidently assure you that it’s not our Brother or our Sister in deep trouble and causing havoc in our lives, but it’s me oh Lord standing in the need of prayer? How is it with you friend? Anything you need to reconcile with God to help you be a useful part of the local church body?

Prayer:

Lord Jesus I plead with you today to touch my heart, and the hearts of Your people who are struggling so much to get over self and truly recognize that they are only who they are because of what they are a part of, as declared by Paul. Father I believe that it is probably more important now than ever before that Christians fully exemplify You, so that the unsaved may catch a glimpse of the Father. Lord, I pray that we might truly unite as a true church, a true representation of You. Please touch Your people once again Lord, so that we may truly set self aside and allow You to reign in and through us to accomplish Your work set aside for the church. I ask this humbly in the name of Jesus, my savior, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the .devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

Let The Church Be The Church

The Holy Bible – The Good News Translation

1 Corinthians 12:12-13

12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ. 13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.

My Thoughts:

Yesterday I finished my remarks with a sentence “Let the church be the church”, and after allowing God’s Holy Spirit to speak to me this morning, I was pointed to these two verses with a similar theme to what I ended with yesterday. I’m sure that Paul was, in a lot of ways, very similar to pastors and church leaders today, where they are probably sick of the ‘hand’ telling him (the pastor, or Paul) what the ‘feet’ should be doing and how they should be doing it, or least telling him every time they have stumbled. I believe the message from the Holy Spirit to churches today is that you are enormously blessed of God, you have members who have been gifted to help you achieve the ministry needed in your community that is desperately in need of the Savior. Have them respectively do their part to ensure that the combined body will be effective. To the members, I believe that the Holy Spirit would compel us to ask the Master for the wisdom, strength, boldness and power to do your part well, and pleasing to the Master, and oh, please pray for the other parts (members) to also be diligent about their part of the work, so that you can come back to your weekend service and fill your church building with worship, praise and thanksgiving to me (God). I believe that we must each discern our gift, with the help of the Holy Spirit and get to work, for the time that we have to accomplish this all is very short. Friends, fellow Christians, there is no indication that we are to gossip about our brother who may not be as strong as us; no indication that we are to get our fellow Christians together and gloat over the work that our remaining brothers are doing and how they are filling the gap for what we should be doing. Otherwise, what will you celebrate at your next church service? Yes, we can praise God for all that others have achieved, but won’t we be embarrassed and disappointed to apologize for us doing nothing for the glory of God? There’s a song that I started to hum as I paused, and the words included in that song are: “There’s a Work for all to do”, and friends, this is exactly what I discerned from this passage in 1 Corinthians 12. If you are not doing something to compliment the work of the Lord, your stagnancy can almost be considered a deterrent. Will you commit to do your part today towards building up the kingdom? You may not be the preacher or the teacher, but as a child of God your work is assigned to you! I encourage you to do it with every fibre of your being and with the help of the Almighty!

My Prayer:

Lord Jesus, Master and Almighty God, please forgive me for not always doing my part in the work of Your church here on this earth. Please give me guidance, wisdom and direction on all that I might do to edify, encourage and challenge all those that I come into contact with, so that they may feel a touch from You. I’m a part of Your enormous work here on this earth and in all walks of life I am reminded how badly ‘People need the Lord’. I can’t sit back and wait for my Brother to speak with, or impact the lives of my friends, I must use the gifts that You have blessed me with so that together with my Brother, we may impact a life for You and direct them towards the cross, where You might also give them the gift of eternal life. Please speak to Your church once again and open our eyes to the gifts that You have given to us and clearly enlighten us of the ways that we can use those gifts to bring You glory. Lord, may the church once again be the church! I ask this in the precious name of Jesus my Savior, AMEN!
**If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

Using The Spiritual Gift(s) Given to Us

The Holy Bible – New Living Translation

1 Corinthians 12:4-7

4 There are different kinds of spiritual gifts, but the same Spirit is the source of them all. 5 There are different kinds of service, but we serve the same Lord. 6 God works in different ways, but it is the same God who does the work in all of us. 7 A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other.

My Thoughts:

Believers in the Corinthian church had challenged Paul with their doubts, questions and misunderstandings about the gifts that Christians are blessed with by the Holy Spirit after accepting Jesus as Lord. I believe that God influenced Paul to write about this and that his writing and explanation would be included in the Bible to serve a purpose in our churches by Christians even today. Friends, it is so easy to sit back and soak in the preaching of God’s Word, pat the preacher on the back and go on back home feeling satisfied that we have done our Christian duty for the week. After all, many churches see most members for a weekend morning service, and provided that all the expectations are adhered to, such as no more than 1 hour service, then they may return the next week. I hate to burst your bubble Brothers and Sisters, but that’s not Christianity, that’s church attendance – much like you might do when you take your spouse to the movies. Paul is explaining here that as a child of God, we receive God’s Holy Spirit, who resides within us to guide us, protect us, give us God’s wisdom and be our personal comforter. We are also given a spiritual gift that is customized just for us. Some of us may have the gift of preaching, or of teaching, or encouraging each other, or praying for each other, or witnessing to unbelievers, etc. However, because these gifts are given by the one and only God, they are to be used for His glory while helping others out. Because our gifts are used for the glory of the same God, we can conclude that we are on the same team, making every effort to please the same team leader, God. To sit and sour and say that you have no gift, is to call God a liar, because He declared through His servant Paul that a gift is given to every believer. For us to say that we are incapable of fulfilling or using the gift given to us is an insult to God, because we are actually doubting His Word and His ability to fulfill His promise. Friends, let us seek God’s face and ask Him to make very evident to us the special gift(s) He has blessed us with, then lets commit to using it/them for His glory, through the power of His blessed Holy Spirit. Others will be blessed and God will be glorified. Imagine the joy this will bring to your heart!

My Prayer:

Holy Father, thank You for the precious gift of Your Son, Jesus who, through His sacrifice we can become a child of the King. Thank You for going a step further and providing Your Holy Spirit to indwell us with power from above to handle everyday situations and to overcome challenges that are often beyond our control. Thank You for the gifts given to us to bless others with, so that You may be glorified. Please highlight the gift within each one meditating on this devotional today so that we may be refreshed on our purpose here on earth, and so that Your church may indeed be Your church. I can only imagine the overwhelming offerings of praise at our weekend services if Your children would be obedient to You and actually use the gifts empowered by Your Holy Spirit to bless others this week. Please glorify Yourself through us dear Jesus, for I ask all this in Your precious and wonderful name, AMEN!
**If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

Understanding and Obedience Of God’s Word

The Holy Bible – Good News Translation

Psalm 119:18

Open my eyes, so that I may see
the wonderful truths in your law

My Thoughts:

Although only a very short verse today, I would highly recommend that you read Psalm 119:18-40 to really see the importance emphasized by David in understanding God’s Word. Friends, I realize that I may be a bit slower than you in understanding something that I have just read, but please be reminded that meditating on God’s Word has a much deeper dimension than just reading words from the Book’s pages. First of all, I would recommend, like David, that we always ask God to reveal to us the deepest understanding of the words we are about to read, secondly, that you have at least one other translation handy so that when you come across a word or sentence that doesn’t quite sound the same as our current day vernacular, then you can check the other translation to see if that clears it up for you. Bottom line is that we are not just reading The Word to say that we have completed a certain duty or heart-felt responsibility, we are trying to understand the mind and heart of Christ, and we are wanting Him to embed deep within our hearts and minds the desires of His heart for us. As a parent, we have a heart for our kids and their ultimate success in life. I believe that God also wants His very best for His kids – us. He gave us His Book of instructions, but it is up to us get our minds wrapped around the understanding, application and obedience of His teachings. I was always so proud to hear when my dad was pleased with my success in a life situation, or that I finally understood and applied something that he had taught me! I believe that every day our heavenly Father looks on us with a sense of pride about our accomplishments, and hopefully not too many times that He nods His head in disappointment that again we did it ‘our way’. I’m sure you are as excited as I am about one day standing before our Maker and hear Him say the words, “Well Done, Good and Faithful Servant”. Therefore friends, let us be diligent about understanding the instructions given by God, so that we can honestly work towards obedience of His will for us in every way. There is a prize ahead for all who believe and have obeyed! I am anxiously awaiting the day to see the face of my Savior and my desire is that He would have found me faithful. How about you friend? If you are not satisfied with your progress so far, may I remind you that where there is life there is hope! Now, because we never know when our life will end, I would greatly encourage you to actively seek the Lord and His perfect will for you while He is available. Today is the day of salvation and/or your commitment to obedience! Please contact me if I could possibly help you! It would be a joy for me to do so!

My Prayer:

‘Your Word is a lamp unto my feet’ dear God, and it impacts my decisions towards right and wrong, as it guides me based on total truth, and based on the desires of my heavenly Father. I believe that I really see the importance of not only reading Your Word, but even deeper importance in understanding it as my guide throughout each day’s challenges and in giving me insight into the heart and mind of my blessed Savior. Thank You Lord for not just placing me here on earth to figure everything out on my own, or based on everything that Your servants may teach me at church. But You have blessed me with Your Book of Instructions (The Bible), and also given me personal insight into Your desire for me as an individual. Please help me to always first come to the cross for me primarily, because I can’t help anyone else if I’m off-track myself. Please keep me in the center of Your perfect will, and I ask for boldness to help as many as possible along the way until You call me home to glory. Many friends that You have directed to this devotional today might have similar challenges. Please speak personally to them and also help them overcome any obstacles or other priorities in their lives that may prevent them from getting deeper into Your Word. I ask this humbly in the name of Jesus, my Lord and blessed Savior, AMEN!
**If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

Hide God’s Word in Your Heart & Truly Live for Him

The Holy Bible: The Good News Translation

Psalm 119:10–11

10             With all my heart I try to serve you;

keep me from disobeying your commandments.

11             I keep your law in my heart,

so that I will not sin against you.

Thoughts:

I heard at a conference last Friday that if every American paid their fair share of taxes, then each American who currently pay, would pay $2,000 less per year! I have no political agenda friends, but I thought that statistic would help me to introduce my thought on this short passage. For I believe that if every Christian took the stand as David did in vowing to sincerely serve God from the very depths of our hearts, and with God’s help, vowed to obey His commands, then I believe several things will occur:

  • We will not be looked upon by non-Christians as hypocrites, for we will live our lives in accordance with what we say we believe;
  • Individually we would have such an influence on non-Christians, that we associate with, that they will be under constant conviction by God, because they will feel the presence of God in such a real and sobering way;
  • We will naturally humble ourselves, kneel and pray, so that God might hear from heaven, heal our land and perform mighty works among the people and governments of our land (2 Chronicles 7:14);
  • Our worship services will be so filled with praise and worship to our Lord and Savior that non-believers walking into our midst will be immediately touched by God’s Holy Spirit that will be very evident in the place of worship.

So friends, how important is it for us to draw near to God, commit to obeying His commands and actually live out His whole teaching? It could mean the difference of life eternally for a friend or loved one. If not, we could continue to live our lackadaisical lives content with seeing these special folk die every day around us and go to hell. It can make the difference of life and death for them, and a much more pleasing experience for us when we stand before our Master. What will it be for you, friend?

Prayer:

Heavenly Father, walking the Christian life and living according to Your will is influenced by everything talked about in this devotional today. Thank You for the reminder through Your servant David, on the importance of committing Your Word to our hearts so that our lives will be influenced by it, and not the alternative – the evil things of this world and its leader, Satan. Others need to see Jesus in us to help convince them that there is a living, loving, everlasting God. Oh that they may see just that today dear God. This can only be possible through the power and might of Your precious Holy Spirit, so I plead my case before You dear God, in the precious and powerful name of Your Son, Jesus, my Lord, AMEN!

NOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

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