God’s Desire For His People

THE HOLY BIBLE (The Contemporary English Version – Jeremiah 13:11): …. That’s how tightly I held onto the kingdoms of Israel and Judah. I wanted them to be my people. I wanted to make them famous, so that other nations would praise and honor me, but they refused to obey me.

THOUGHTS: This verse reminds me of the desire of most parents to see the very best for their children, yet we often see our children go on living their own life and doing their own thing. Sometimes this aligns with our desire for their success and/or their future, and sometimes not. There are times that we put aside certain gifts for our children and wait for the right opportunity to bless them with it, but there are times our children become so independent that they run off and do their own thing without wanting anything from their humble parents. So if we, as weak and humble parents plan for such good things for our children, imagine how much more our heavenly Father has in store for us? As it is, I am personally blessed beyond my wildest imagination – health, family, job, friends, church home and family, and a Savior who loves me enough to have sacrificed His very life so that I might have access to heaven through His sacrifice! Wow!! But friends, more than all of this we should truly recognize the evidence of God’s love for us. Can you even imagine that He would think of us like He did Israel and Judah? Can you imagine that He wants to be able to have non-believers look up to us for spiritual life and hope? Can you even imagine us being praised by non-believers for reflecting the light and love of Jesus to them so that their eyes might be opened to His forgiveness and His offer of salvation for them? Can you allow your mind to wander off and think about other nations looking to us, then accepting Jesus as their Lord, praising His dear name and honoring Him as He demands? I know this is mind boggling friends, but I believe that God can do what appears to be impossible to us. I believe that He can, and will, use His children who will surrender all to Him, and use us for His ultimate glory. Time is running short for the unsaved to find Truth and Hope and Eternal Salvation. Under no circumstances are we needed by God, but I believe that His Word is clear in proclaiming that He wants to use us in His service while still here on this old earth. Oh that He might have unhindered access to us today! Just let go of the evil hold of this old earth, and allow God control of a fully surrendered life to Him. Will you do that today? Read the footnote for help in doing this friend!

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for loving me enough to overwhelm me with Your love! That’s about how I feel today after meditating on this verse of Scripture! To think that You would love me enough to entrust me with Your message to share with the unsaved world, is nothing short of miraculous. Please help me to surrender the parts of my life that is hindering You from working completely through me. Lord, I have family and friends that show no evidence of having accepted You as Lord. Please forgive me if I have been a hindrance to them. Please give me boldness and tenacity to show them Your love, and express the awesome impact that You have been in my life. Lord, I want them to see You and accept You as their Lord and Savior. I pray that I might be used by you to be a positive influence in their life as a child of the King, and a life so filled with Your love and example that they will be drawn to You. I know that time is getting short before Your return for Your church. Please impact the lives of all readers of this devotional today in such a way that we might all be re-energized to constant expressions of Your love towards all that we might come into contact with today. Thank You for being such a loving God to us, Your children. May we be acceptable in Your sight oh Lord, and worthy of impacting another life for You, Savior Divine, 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Teach With Your Life

The Holy Bible   (The Message – 1 Timothy 4:11-14):     Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.

Thoughts:   Paul instructed Timothy on things to be leery of. I believe that God ordered that these instructions be included in His Message to us because they equally apply to us. In these verses, I heard God saying:

  • We have a responsibility to get the word out – the Word of God, The witness of all that He has done in our lives;
  • We are cautioned that people might be prejudiced against us – it might be age, it might be color, it might be gender, or anything else that they feel might serve to block us from imposing, or sharing our message with them;
  • We must be careful to also minister to believers – Paul knew that the primary way to get through to believers would be to teach them through our actions, our words, our demeanor, our love, our faith, our integrity – just our straight out attitude and character. If Jesus is not shining through us in our outward life actions, does He truly reside in our heart?
  • Keep on keeping on – a message I’ve heard consistently over the past few months. Paul is also advising that we stay at our posts, doing what God instructs us, in spite of what the people around us may do to deflect or reject us;
  • We have a special gift – share it! This can be from a talent standpoint, or simply from a standpoint of having the gift of God’s Son inside of us and a deep desire to share Him with others;
  • Keep our gift dusted off – this reminds me that I am to stay in the Word, attend church services and training, and do my very best to be current in my relationship and experiences with the Lord. Sharing something with someone that happened to you over 10 years ago gives the impression that your God must be dead. Why hasn’t He been active in your life experiences this week? Also, witnessing about something that has occurred in your life, versus something that happened in a friend’s life, is way more powerful. So be attuned to all that God is doing for you personally.

Prayer:   Thank You Lord for the plan You had for Timothy; the plan You had for Paul to encourage and minister to Timothy; and the plan You have for my life and the lives of my readers. Thankfully You are a ‘personal’ God who loves us individually in unconditional ways. You chose us to be Your children; Your followers; Your messengers; because we have family, friends and loved ones that will listen to us and watch our very actions. Lord, may they see Jesus very evident in our life, our word, our demeanor, our love, our faith and in our integrity. In fact, may the love of God be so evident in us that others would have a desire to also have Him become a part of their lives. Just as Timothy went on to win the lost to You, may You also see results from our very existence here on this earth and particularly from our personal witness. This is my desire today Lord, and I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, my King, now and throughout eternity, 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Be Passionate In Ministry

The Holy Bible   (New Living Translation – 1Timothy 4:7-10): Do not waste time arguing over godless ideas and old wives’ tales. Instead, train yourself to be godly. “Physical training is good, but training for godliness is much better, promising benefits in this life and in the life to come.” This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it. 10 This is why we work hard and continue to struggle (or continue to suffer), for our hope is in the living God, who is the Savior of all people and particularly of all believers.

Thoughts:   In our everyday conversations we often find ourselves ‘chasing rabbits’ – getting off the subject at hand. Often, if we are not careful, our little side-tracked conversations could actually turn into a total distraction from what we intended to say. I believe that Satan works exactly like that friends. I believe that he is most upset when he is losing the battle and we are succeeding in sharing the gospel with a non-believer, so he gets us off on to something irrelevant. Paul saw where this was challenging Timothy, so he warned him to not get caught up in it. Instead, he wanted Timothy to become proficient in his faith and to work steadily and faithfully to be godly in every way. Doesn’t the various distractions, which tend to side-track Bible studies or other Christian based enhancement studies, amaze you? Let’s be cautioned about the originator of the distractions, and instead be steadfast in declaring the Word of God as He intended for us to do. Remember also that this is not restricted to studies taking place at our churches. This will happen when you are determined to witness to a friend or loved one. But let’s keep in mind that through our passion for the Lord and/or leading the unsaved to Him, that there is no greater purpose. Be reminded of what Paul said in verse 8, the benefits will bless us in this world, and in the next. So be prepared and determined to prevent distractions from getting in your way of sharing the gospel today. There is a greater purpose, and there are great rewards for those of us who believe, and are willing to share the joy with others! Be passionate and determined, and ask God to be your guide as you work for Him. Remember, it is for His glory that you share His name, not yours.

Prayer:   Lord, You are good and Your mercies endureth forever! Whom then shall I fear? Why should I doubt when I see distraction occurring? Please help me to stay focused and passionate towards the work that You have assigned to me. Please help me to be careful not to distract those trying to share the gospel, instead please teach me to pray in all earnest that You may speak through the words of mere man to reach a soul for You. Please encourage us today, and give us boldness to spread the good news of Jesus Christ through all that we may say or do with all that we may come into contact with. Please teach us to stay focused on the goal – spending eternity with You, and give us a deep desire to do everything possible to encourage those we love to be present on that day when You will gather us around Your throne. Lord, You are good and Your mercies endureth forever! Praise the name of the Lord! Thank You for being so good! Thank You for hearing the cry of Your humble servant today, for I ask all this in the precious and holy name of Jesus, all for You sake and Your glory, 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

What God Likes Best!

The Holy Bible   (The Contemporary English Version – Jeremiah 9:23-24): 23 The Lord says: Don’t brag about your wisdom or strength or wealth. 24 If you feel you must brag, then have enough sense to brag about worshiping me, the Lord. What I like best is showing kindness, justice, and mercy to everyone on earth.

Thoughts:   From a very young age, I believe that we have a desire to please, especially when we know there are rewards when such behavior is recognized! I was pleasantly surprised to find these two verses smack in the middle of a discourse between God and Jeremiah, where God was warning Jeremiah about the destruction that will be poured out on his people, because of their sin and disregard. Fortunately, I believe that this is the same attitude God has towards you and I today, friend. Because of our sin, and our disregard for Him and His precious Word, we deserve death, destruction and total disregard by God, for we are doing much like God accused Jeremiah’s people of. We are all about self-success, self-riches, self-pride, self-smarts. I believe that way too often we feel like we have this thing called ‘life’ all figured out, so why would we need God. This is most unfortunate, because there are also times where we feel so out of control and helpless. Don’t you know that those are the times that God is shaking our conscience and trying to wake us up from the awful sleep/disregard/disrespect that we have fallen into? I was most humbled by what God told Jeremiah, when He indicated that He would really prefer not having to punish us (ever heard your parents say that!!!), if only we would worship Him, accept Him, love Him and honor Him, then He would instead show kindness, justice and mercy towards everyone on earth! We serve such an awesome God friend! He loves us enough to forgive us and bless us instead of destroying us, which is probably what we deserve. So pleasing God replaces the destruction that could be brought upon us, with blessings beyond our imagination! But can you imagine how happy that would also make God? I believe that just as we have a spirit of goodness in us, rather than a will to destroy, harm or hate, so does God. So I would encourage you to make every effort to accept Jesus and your Savior; love on Him and show the respect, regard and worship that He deserves, and then relax in His goodness and mercy all the days of your life, yes even throughout eternity! Praise the name of Jesus, our Savior and Lord for loving me enough to forgive me and put up with me through my weaknesses!! He is such an awesome God!

Prayer:   Jesus, friend of sinners, author and finisher of our faith, provider of life eternal for all who believes, thank You for Your undying love. Throughout scripture we discern that You would much prefer to love on us and provide for us, rather than the total opposite that will destroy us. Thank You for all You have done for me, I love You Lord and I lift my voice, to worship You, oh my soul, rejoice! Take joy my King, in all of Your children today. May our worship be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear. Although thankful for all Your blessings on me, I pray that You might still shower Your blessings on us yet again today. Please give us boldness and determination to be Your witness today and represent You well to those that need to accept You as King of their lives. I ask these things in the wonderful, loving and precious name of Jesus, 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Church Leader-Elder-Pastor

The Holy Bible   (The Good News Translation – 1 Timothy 3:1-7): This is a true saying: if a man is eager to be a church leader, he desires an excellent work. A church leader must be without fault; he must have only one wife, be sober, self-controlled, and orderly; he must welcome strangers in his home; he must be able to teach; he must not be a drunkard or a violent man, but gentle and peaceful; he must not love money; he must be able to manage his own family well and make his children obey him with all respect. For if a man does not know how to manage his own family, how can he take care of the church of God? He must be mature in the faith, so that he will not swell up with pride and be condemned, as the Devil was. He should be a man who is respected by the people outside the church, so that he will not be disgraced and fall into the Devil’s trap.

Thoughts:   Because the ‘church’ is the bride of Christ, I believe that instructions for its leadership must be closely adhered to in order that it be pure, legitimate and representative of God’s image. I believe also that anytime we want to validate, or answer any questions regarding God’s intent for us, we should look to His Word for guidance and instruction. In my study of the Word this morning the highlighted verses were part of my study plan, and I felt impelled to share these verses. I have no reason to feel like any of my Pastors or Elders are faulting and specifically need to be reminded of the standards set by God for themselves, although they should always have this in the forefront of their minds. However, I don’t believe that God had Paul include these qualifications just for the purpose of our leaders, because it is incumbent upon the lay persons of the church to responsibly elect those leaders who truly qualify for the said positions, without allowing the overriding factors of wealth, community leadership or worldly skills to force an election, regardless of their spiritual or Biblical based qualifications. Furthermore, I believe you will agree that these are some very stringent guidelines in character, and involve personal decisions and choices over a lifetime. So it is vitally important that we, laypersons, keep these gentlemen foremost in our prayers, asking for God’s constant hand of mercy, leadership, guidance and protection from the Evil one. These guys are a prime target for the Devil, because they are given the task of leading God’s work in this world. However, we know that God’s power is greater than any attempts by Satan, so as we plead the hand of Jesus upon them, we are actually raising the only worthy shield against Satan. Friends, if we are to obey the full extent of God’s Word, then we are to ensure that God’s leaders are properly chosen based on His instruction, for we will be held accountable by God. Once elected, we are then to lift these leaders up in constant prayer so that they may be protected from the Evil one and continue to live Godly lives, and lead God’s church in ways that will magnify Him and win the lost to Him. All of this will lead to the preservation of the church, God’s bride, all for the honor and glory of Jesus Christ! Leaders, Elders, Pastors, only you and God know what happens in the closets of your lives, May you stand boldly before God, as an open book before Him, and without blemish. May His bride flourish through your leadership!

Prayer:   Thank You Lord for the Elders and Pastors you have blessed us with at my church! Thank You for the opportunities given to pray for these gentlemen! May I always take my responsibility seriously to pray for Your work in my area, and for the leaders given the responsibility to organize and promote Your cause through my church. May Your church be the church You intended for ministry to this area and as we travel abroad in mission work. May Your work never be hindered by leaders that disqualify themselves because of Satan, for that will not only constitute a failure on the individual(s) but also on laity for not doing our job of praying sufficiently. I pray that You will always have wide open access to the hearts of men, women and children who need to know You, and that no distraction by our leadership might intervene in Your work. Thank You Lord for Your Word, and for the assurance of Your protection as You build a hedge around our leaders who are determined to fulfill Your kingdom work in our community. May I always be a part of Your work and not a detractor. Bless my friends who will read this devotional with the same determination to pray. Please continue to bless our Pastors and Elders with Your will to live holy and upright lives that can be used by You. I pray believing, and in thanksgiving, 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Necessary Actions for Effective Ministry

The Holy Bible  (The Message – 1 Timothy 2:8-10): Since prayer is at the bottom of all this, what I want mostly is for men to pray—not shaking angry fists at enemies but raising holy hands to God. And I want women to get in there with the men in humility before God, not primping before a mirror or chasing the latest fashions but doing something beautiful for God and becoming beautiful doing it.

Thoughts:  In giving direction to Timothy for ministry among the churches, Paul knew that the driving force behind a successful work of the Lord would be: prayer; commitment by the church (Christian brothers and sisters); their respective attitudes, and their roles being controlled by the God they intended to serve. Friends, these same characteristics are necessary for the successful work of the Lord in our day also! To achieve the desired dedication, commitment personal effectiveness of the people, Paul had a few guidelines for Timothy to teach them, and since I already stated that this is much like our efforts today to spread the gospel, I believe this applies to us also. Here’s what Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, taught us:

MEN – Pray, pray, pray! As I studied this deeper, there is indication that Paul wanted men to pray everywhere. That tells me that we are to pray even in public places, not just in our closets as alluded to in earlier scripture. Also, just as Solomon did in 1 Kings 8:22 and Psalm 141:2, Paul felt it was important that men lift up holy hands before a holy God. Not only is this a sign of surrendering self to God, but doing this in all holiness is also reemphasizing Psalm 24:3-4. Prayer should be the first thing a Christian man should do in every circumstance. In fact, Paul indicated that this should be done rather than showing our anger against those who abuse us or harm us in any way. Think about it Brothers, when we ‘PRAY’, we are showing respect to God, humbling ourselves to His authority and His power to fulfill His way in our circumstances, and to grow us into being more like Him. Going off and doing our own thing defies submission to God and shows disrespect to the authority of God.

WOMEN – Depending on the Bible version you read this verse in, women may be offended by what Paul was teaching here. But ladies/friends, please allow me to remind you that the Word of God is not intended to be a ‘feel good’ book of instructions for everything you may like. In fact, why have a book of instruction if you want it to always make you feel good about what you are doing, or want to do? Based on supporting study material, I believe Paul is instructing our beautiful ladies to not spend so much time on the physical appearance, but instead on the inward person. For the outward appearance will attract undesirables, but the inward loving, caring, beauty and example of a God-fearing woman will serve to display the love and concern of our loving Father who wants so badly that all may come to know Him personally. Your humbleness to your Christian husbands will be a display of the respect Jesus showed for His Father in depending solely on Him for knowledge, timing and direction. Further, women have a built in mechanism that tends to nurture their children, much like Jesus wants to nurture all those that surrender their lives to Him and His authority.

Friends, if we are to see the work of God flourish, we must take our respective roles very seriously. God used this opportunity to help Paul see how to grow the churches in His day, and His Word still speaks just as clearly and loudly to us in growing and nurturing His church today. Are you on board?

Prayer:  Thank You for Your precious Word dear Lord. Thank You for considering us and how we might accept You, know You intimately, and showing us the way that we might love and care for others as You would. Please speak to myself and our Christian men that we might learn to pray more and learn to be more submissive in our prayers, so that Your perfect will might be accomplished in our world. Without You in our lives, we have absolutely nothing to offer this world that might serve to improve their standard of life. However, because You hold the key to eternal life and heaven, Your rewards are simply ‘out of this world’. May the unsaved recognize this before it is eternally too late. May we, as Christians lean on this as our encouragement for self, and as our determination to share the love of Jesus with all that we know and come into contact with. May our precious ladies have an example to follow in us as their earthly leaders, caretakers and lovers. May they see Jesus exampled in us, and may they in turn, seek to live disciplined and controlled lives led by Your sweet Holy Spirit. All to You I surrender Lord. More of You and Less of me, is my song of dedication to You today oh Lord. Thank You for taking time to listen, comfort, cheer and encourage this child today! Please be a special blessing to all who will read this devotional. May they be drawn to You. For I praise You and request my petitions in the wonderful name of Jesus, my Lord, 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!