Archive for November 2016

Encourage One Another With These Words

November 30, 2016

Wednesday, 2016-11-30

Scripture

Bible Reference: Isaiah 35:3-7

Bible Text:  With this news bring cheer to all discouraged ones. Encourage those who are afraid. Tell them, “Be strong, fear not, for your God is coming to destroy your enemies. He is coming to save you.” And when he comes, he will open the eyes of the blind and unstop the ears of the deaf. The lame man will leap up like a deer, and those who could not speak will shout and sing! Springs will burst forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert. The parched ground will become a pool, with springs of water in the thirsty land. Where desert jackals lived, there will be reeds and rushes!

Bible Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

My Take

It seems like especially in the times that we live, people are so despondent that one might find it challenging as to what you might say or do to encourage them. I believe that Isaiah not only had insight from God as to what his people needed to hear at the time of his writing, because of all the unfair treatments they were receiving as a nation, BUT I also believe that God gave Isaiah foresight into the Savior that would be born and would handle unfair treatments and perform miracles such as restoring sight to the blind, and bringing hope to his people. I also believe that foresight extended to proclaim these words of encouragement for those still alive today. For it seems like there is more stress and discouragement in the lives of individuals today than ever before, whether it’s financial, health, family, work or friendship stresses. Our family and friends, or perhaps even my readers, may be facing very challenging times where there seems like little light at the end of the dark tunnel of circumstances they are now facing. Friends, I am encouraged by the words of Isaiah, and I want to share this with you so that you also might be encouraged. Our awesome God looks out for us today, through His Son Jesus, who came to save us from our sin, and He has a home already prepared for those who claim Him as Lord and Savior! May I be the first one to remind you today that there is a plan in place to not only protect us from the evil one here on this earth, but also a plan to unite us with our Savior on the other side! God tells us in His Word that there will be no crying there, no pain there, and I believe we can deduce that there will be no need for stress there, for our sole purpose will be to worship, praise and adore our wonderful Savior. I believe something that might help us comprehend what that may be like is, and may I encourage you to slow down your reading so that you can truly meditate on this thought, but: imagine that you are in the best worship service that you have ever experienced. For the sweet presence of the Holy Spirt is evident. There is no time to worry about work, family or any other issues, for your heart, soul and mind is fixed on worshiping the Savior of this world, who is obviously in your midst with an unbelievable presence. It’s a time that you don’t want to stop, because all of your external concerns and issues have faded away and you only have focus and time for Jesus – absolutely nothing else. Now imagine that precious time never ending – that’s a glimpse of what I believe it might be like in heaven. Is this something you might be willing to work towards even now? Believe it or not, that time could come much sooner than expected for some reading this devotional today. I pray that you have your heavenly affairs in order, because the alternative to what I described above is Hell itself with Satan as its leader. God has provided the means by which you might be assured today of what your destination might look like after you leave this world. Please read my Footnote and contact me if there are any unanswered questions.

Prayer

Father, thank You for creating such a wonderful world for Your children to live in! As with all sin, we have not only abused the beauty of everything that You have blessed us with, but we have burdened ourselves with a lot of worry about things that we really can’t change. Reading Your Word today has brought renewed hope and joy, as I am reminded that these things that my friends and I face today are only temporary, as You have a much brighter and happier future already prepared for those who have shown their interest in wanting to be with You eternally. Lord, may we learn to redirect our thoughts to the hope that lies ahead, instead of the circumstances we are burdened with today. May our eyes and our hearts be fixed on You, oh Lord, our hope for all eternity. Please help us to encourage one another, much like Isaiah did, on the fact that You are alive forevermore, and that You not only stand waiting to help us in our daily lives, but also awaiting our exit from this world, to welcome us home! With much love and adoration, we sincerely than You dear Father for that enormous love for us! 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!

Get Me Outt’a Here, PLEASE?

November 29, 2016

Tuesday, 2016-11-29

Scripture

Bible Reference: Romans 7:24-25

Bible Text:  24 There is no happiness in me! Who can set me free from my sinful old self? 25 God’s Law has power over my mind, but sin still has power over my sinful old self. I thank God I can be free through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Bible Translation:New Life Version (NLV)

My Take

Ever felt like you were at the stage of being overwhelmed and wish you could get off this runaway train called ‘life’? May I suggest that there is no need for a psychiatrist, because we all feel that way sometime! In fact, in our scripture today it appears like Paul was feeling in a similar way, for he recognized the pull that sin was having in his life, while in his mind he had dedicated his life to the Lord. He was in a dilemma, for in his mind he wanted to be loyal to Jesus Christ, yet his sinful nature kept him questioning his decisions, and pulling him back towards sinful actions. Friends, Paul demonstrated an awesome reminder for us, that while we may sometimes feel tugged at by the ‘dark side’, we must fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith. When we are feeling down and out, we must learn to look up, for our redemption comes from above! When we are feeling overwhelmed by circumstances beyond our control, we must call on Jesus – the one who overcame all odds, including death itself, and now sits at the right hand of the Father praying for us. Friends, Jesus is our intercessor and longs to hear from us, so that He may speak with His Father on our behalf. Are you staying in touch? Very often we find ourselves in situations where we are in well over our heads, and outside of our capabilities. Please don’t forget that Jesus is there with outstretched arms waiting for you to ask and call on Him. He provides life! Life that is eternal, and free from all sin and temptation. Life that is totally out of this world! Won’t you trust Him today to give you freedom to live stress free here on earth, because of the assurance that He can handle all that we place at His feet in surrender to His will and His way? Having accepted Jesus as Lord of your life, and trusting Him with your challenges, brings peace in a very chaotic world here on this earth. If you don’t have that type of relationship with my Savior, may I encourage you to read my Footnote, so that you may seek to know Him? I would gladly introduce you to my Lord, if you contact me! It’s up to you friend!

Prayer

Father, please forgive us for often waiting to call on you only as a last resort. We were a priority in Your eyes, for you gave up your own life for us, even while we were yet sinners. I believe that as long as we reside here on planet earth, sin will penetrate and impede our walk for You. This frustrates us Lord, and we need power from on high to help us overcome and deal with our daily frustrations. Please open our eyes and constantly remind us of whose we are, so that we might always look to You, especially when we feel like sin is penetrating us and impeding our walk. We want to represent You well, but we can only do that with Your help, Your guidance and Your power. You are our Strength, our Protector, our Guide and our Deliverer from sin. We need You in every aspect of our life, and we surrender our will to Yours oh 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!

From the Stump of Jesse – Jesus!

November 28, 2016

Monday, 2016-11-28

Scripture

Bible Reference: Isaiah 11:1-2

Bible Text:  1A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
The Spirit of the Lord will rest on him—
    the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
    the Spirit of counsel and of might,
    the Spirit of the knowledge and fear of the Lord.

Bible Translation: The New International Version (NIV)

My Take

It is times like this that we see how the Bible fits together like a glove! I was reading earlier in Deuteronomy 18 where God said that He would send a prophet just like Moses, for He would be obedient to God and to every word that He commands Him to say. In that chapter, it was very evident that God was speaking of His Son Jesus, that would later be born of a virgin in Bethlehem. In this scripture today, it is evident that the same reference in Luke 1:27 where Luke said that Jesus would be born of  a virgin named Mary, who was engaged to a carpenter, Joseph, a descendant of David, is very much the same as referenced in today’s scripture, that Jesus is of the root of, or from the stump of Jesse! I also found it fascinating that the seven gifts mentioned in this chapter that Jesus would benefit from – rest; wisdom; understanding; counsel; might; knowledge; and fear (respect for God), make up, and references the same sevenfold Spirit spoken of in Revelation 1:4! Friends, if you are anything like me, you have probably been very hooked into the New Testament and only hit the Old Testament when you absolutely have to. In reading through the Bible, I have been blessed to see that our Bible is all-inclusive and not separated by Testaments to cause segregation of one from the other. I have a pastor who teaches that we can find Jesus in every page of the Old Testament! Examples such as the one illustrated herein will cause you to believe that pastor, and encourage you to search for more! God had a plan in mind from the very beginning, I am so glad that embedded in that plan was His precious Son, Jesus, who would be born through miraculous means, and His life would touch the lives of so many, to make a miraculous way for them to enter Heaven’s portals because of a single word ‘grace’. All of this was done because of you and I Brothers and Sisters! The only thing needed for you to be recognized on that day of reconciliation friend, is to personally decide that you want this Savior of mine so much that you are willing to surrender your will to His will. In making this commitment, invite Jesus into your heart, mind and soul and give Him control of your life. I’ve done this, and been living over 40 years as His child, and submissive to His will. You can do this friend! Please read my Footnote for help on how to proceed. I would love for you to contact me, if you don’t have a local Bible teaching pastor that you know. I would love to pray with you and give you guidance, if I could.

Prayer

Father, You are so awesome! Through a great series of events You presented to us Your very own Son, Jesus, as a babe born in Bethlehem. We have been celebrating His birth for centuries at Christmas, and I thank You sincerely for this gift! While recognizing the gift, and the birth of Your Son, I believe very deeply, based on Your Word, that Your greatest desire is that mankind would seek out Your Son and accept Him personally in their lives, so that they might one day be accepted into Your kingdom. Lord please teach us to be obedient to Your Word in all that we do. May You be glorified because of the decisions made today here in my small town and throughout the world. I believe that You are earnestly working on the final chapter, I pray that we all might be ready! 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!

Who Done It?

November 26, 2016

Saturday, 2016-11-26

Scripture

Bible Reference: Genesis 3:6–8

Bible Text: 6 The woman stared at the fruit. It looked beautiful and tasty. She wanted the wisdom that it would give her, and she ate some of the fruit. Her husband was there with her, so she gave some to him, and he ate it too. 7 Right away they saw what they had done, and they realized they were naked. Then they sewed fig leaves together to make something to cover themselves.
8 Late in the afternoon a breeze began to blow, and the man and woman heard the LORD God walking in the garden. They were frightened and hid behind some trees.

Bible Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

My Take

On reading the title, you might conclude that I am about to introduce an old TV show by the same title! That’s not my intention, so no need to close the blog without reading today’s devotional!!! This scripture got my attention though, because we see in the three examples in this story how each party, Adam, Eve and the serpent, all found excuses for the cause of this very first sin that we read about in the Bible. In each case they quickly threw the blame, or cause of their action, on someone or something else. Unfortunately, in spite of all that transpired in this story, added to the enormous blessings that God has showered on us, I am amazed how little mankind has changed. I wonder today how much of our prayer time is spent on explaining to God who may have caused us to sin, or how it was possible for the infraction? Look at how Adam even went to the extent of trying to pass the responsibility of this sin to God Himself, for had God not sent the woman to Adam in the first place, then Adam thinks that he would not have sinned! eeeennnk! I don’t believe so Adam! Think about our many excuses, men blame their distractions at work or even at church, on the pretty lady who wears very short dresses or very tight pants, for leading them to infidelity. I wonder when God looks at the deepest part of man’s heart what He must find is really happening, to cause such sin to erupt in a man’s heart? Yes friend, you read that right. God considers even our wicked thoughts when He judges us! Men, may I plead with you join me in fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith? May I suggest that we commit ourselves more to the idea of drawing closer to God and being obedient to His Word, then perhaps our minds would be more focused on eternal matters than on the sinful things of this world? Ladies, I know you are not exempt from this condition, so please consider the gist of what I just shared and apply it to the challenges you face. God in His mighty wisdom actually distracted me on to the thoughts I just shared, because my initial intent was to actually introduce the Advent season into my blog over the next 24 days. Friends, we are introduced in this scripture today, to the very first sin – also known as the fall of mankind. You will quickly recognize that it was from the very beginning of time that God saw the need to send a Savior into the world to save fallen man. This ‘Savior’ of which I am referring is God’s very own Son that He sent – Jesus. It is the miraculous birth of Jesus that we celebrate each and every Christmas. Perhaps this should be the season of Thanksgiving when we consider the precious gift given for our benefit, and because of our weakness to sin!

Prayer

Father, from the time of our very first ancestor, sin has been a problem – a challenge for us. We are weak, and very gullible to sin, then we are so quick to reflect the cause of that sin on anything, or anyone else that we could think of. Please open our hearts to the awesome reminder of how You not only saw our sin, but You did everything to help us seek forgiveness of that sin in preparation for standing before a holy, sinless God. You alone are God in heaven, and yet You loved us enough to make the way clear for us to be with You! Thank You Heavenly Father, thank You Jesus, and thank You Holy Spirit. We are truly a blessed people. May Your kingdom come oh Lord, and may each person meditating on this thought today be ready to see You face-to-face on resurrection morning, all because 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!

Your Ashamedness vs God’s Ashamedness

November 25, 2016

Friday, 2016-11-25

Scripture

Bible Reference: Luke 9:23-26

Bible Text: 23 Jesus continued to say to all of them, “Any of you who want to be my follower must stop thinking about yourself and what you want. You must be willing to carry the cross that is given to you every day for following me. 24 Any of you who try to save the life you have will lose it. But you who give up your life for me will save it. 25 It is worth nothing for you to have the whole world if you yourself are destroyed or lost. 26 Don’t be ashamed of me and my teaching. If that happens, I[a] will be ashamed of you when I come with my divine greatness and that of the Father and the holy angels.

Bible Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

My Take

While on the way to a business reception I remember being challenged in the presence of about 4 others, why is that I don’t drink alcoholic beverages and whether it was related to my religious beliefs. I’m not sure if the businessman was starting to think that he might be ashamed of me while at the reception if I was one of the few not drinking, but I believe it was intended to question my Christian stand on the subject of drinking alcohol. There are many other stories I hear of individuals being challenged with similar questions. At times, I believe it opens the door for entertainment while the Christian is put on the spot about a belief that may be contrary to the worldly beliefs of others in the group, but I also believe that many times Satan is using his messengers to challenge us on our beliefs so that we may question our selves and possibly sweep our God-infused beliefs ‘under the rug’. Friends, there are many times that it is safer to blend in with the rest, than to stand out like a sore thumb, all alone in believing something contrary to the crowd. Might I suggest that this challenge is our ‘cross’ that we must carry every day? Let’s compare for a moment. Jesus carried a cross all the way up to Calvary that He knew He would be hung on to die. He also knew that, as the Son of God, He had all power to reverse the whole crucifixion, for we know that previously He had disappeared from a crowd of witness during His earthly ministry. He had miraculously turned water into wine, caused the blind to see and brought the dead back to life. Was there something about this crucifixion that was more difficult or impossible than any of the miracles just mentioned? However, remember when He prayed to His Father in the garden? In response to His own pleading for the cup of suffering to be taken from Him, Jesus said to His Father “none the less, may Your will be done”. Now let’s consider our ‘cross’ that we are called to carry every day. Like Jesus, we may commit to Him in private that we are determined to carry our ‘cross’ each day. However, like Peter, I believe we often cave in to the popular thing to do – the joys of partying and going along with the crowd, even if it takes us into choice areas that we would never agree to, if we sought to do the will of God withough any worldly pressures. Friends, I believe this all boils down to two things: First – Popularity – which means that we want to be super popular with the organizer of an event where we may have to compromise, or we just allow Satan to misguide us into putting God into a ‘box’ – a segregated comfortable ‘box’ we call the church, or even in the privacy of our home. We want to fit in with the crowd. However, Secondly – is Integrity – which means that we will stand firm to our commitment to serve God in season and out of season; at church or on the byways and at our parties or worldly events. Friends, if we surrender our lives to Jesus Christ, then transgress to living like the world, are we not saying that we are ok being a Christian in private, but publicly we are really ashamed of standing up for what God really teaches in His Word? Please allow me to be the first to tell you: that is not being a person of integrity. If you commit to something, or someone, let it exude from your mouth, your actions and every aspect of your life. If it’s in you, it will exude from you! I feel like these verses basically say that when we choose to be popular,  or feel ashamed to be obedient to God, we are showing that we are ashamed of Him. Isn’t that the same as saying that you are really not sure that you want to commit to God for all aspects of your life?  God declares that if this happens, He will shun us when He returns, for He will be ashamed of us. Is that what you truly want to happen? I pray that each of you reading this devotional today will stand firm and practice obedience to everything God teaches you to say and do, God being your helper!

Prayer

Lord, as I reflect on this today, my mind goes back to the sign that I see near the exit of many churches ‘you are now entering your mission field’, for daily we leave the comfort of our homes, and the safety of our commitment to you, to be bombarded by the practices of the world and the dictates of it’s leader. Lord, I pray that daily we can mimick Your words to Your Father and commit ourselves in saying:  not my will oh Lord, but may the words of our mouth, the meditation of our heart and the actions we take, be pleasing to You and represent Your compassion for our lives and witness, 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 http://www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!

Our Faith, Our Prayer, But His Results

November 24, 2016

Thursday, 2016-11-23

Scripture

Bible Reference: James 5:13-16

Bible Text: Are you hurting? Pray. Do you feel great? Sing. Are you sick? Call the church leaders together to pray and anoint you with oil in the name of the Master. Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out.

Bible Translation: The Message (MSG)

My Take

Just yesterday I shared on the importance of including ‘So That…’ in our prayers. In our scripture today we see where God used James to tell us that there are times when we just need to pray. In the first instance, James is teaching us that when we are suffering, or having hardships, or hurting, we should pray. Even though I believe that God would have us share one another’s burdens, I also believe that this scripture is telling us that it is way more important that we go directly to the master Healer and the One who cares about our hurts and misfortunes. In this instance the Bible doesn’t say ‘instead of…’, yet I believe we can conclude that without heeding to this advice, our normal action would probably see us resorting to whining and complaining to the extent that no one wants to be around us! Another instance that James advised on, is when we are sick then we should call on the elders of the church and have them anoint you with oil and pray over you. Now I would ask that you careful read this, because the Bible went on to say that based on the faith of the individuals and the prayer offered in faith, GOD will do the healing. Please, please, please don’t ever put a religious leader in a position where you thank them for the healing, or think for a moment that there is any power in their human touch. James clearly reminds us that Elders/church leaders are simply instruments that God uses to be His hands and feet on the ground. Now I believe all of what James has said so far, and I believe this would make most of us happy. However, in verse 16 James adds that although he shared with us how very possible it is for God to heal us physically, yet we must also realize that we have a deep responsibility to live a life pleasing to God so that we may be healed spiritually. To do this, we are taught that we must confess our sins one to another and pray for one another SO THAT we may be healed. Friends, I believe this is where we are reminded of so many other references in the Bible that confirms that we cannot be burdened down with the sin of the world, when we approach our holy God. We must be prepared to cleanse the inner man, if we expect to approach God for in all honesty for physical healing or any other prayer requests. I often reflect on the point that God and/or His Holy Spirit will not reside, or become involved where sin abounds, so if we want healing, or if we want God to intervene in any way in our lives, then we must be prepared first of all to deal with our sin. Remember, the earnest, effectual prayer of a righteous man, availeth much. Could there be reason for you feeling likes your prayers sometimes hit a brick wall and are ineffective?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I often wonder how such a righteous and holy God would put up with such a mess as You see in our attempt to live life here on this earth. I just can’t comprehend the love that You not only portrayed on Calvary for us weaklings, but the love and patience to put up with our failures each day. In Your Word You have challenged us today to not only seek physical healing for ourselves, but to first work through the misfortunes or our failures with each other. Please forgive us Lord for our inadequacies and our failures. Please build us up to not only be confident in our witness for You, but to be instruments that are usable by a holy and righteous God. Lord, may our lives, and may the words from our mouths, and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in your sight, our Rock and our Redeemer – all for Your ultimate purpose, and plan. 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 http://www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!

So That…

November 23, 2016

Wednesday, 2016-11-23

Scripture

Bible Reference: Philippians 1:9-11

Bible Text:  I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding. 10 For I want you to understand what really matters, so that you may live pure and blameless lives until the day of Christ’s return. 11 May you always be filled with the fruit of your salvation—the righteous character produced in your life by Jesus Christ – for this will bring much glory and praise to God.

Bible Translation:The New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take

Perhaps you hear it all the time and never noticed. A friend will ask you to pray about their weight. So how do you pray for them? I might assume and pray that they add some weight on so they will qualify for the wrestling or weightlifting team, because of something I overheard that talking about, however what they really wanted me to pray with them for: is to pray that they could drop 20 pounds so they could be in better shape for hip surgery in 3 months. Notice that God showed us through His servant Paul how we should really pray for one another. Paul prayed that the Philippians’ love might increase more and more, so that they would get out of the mode of self pity and, so that it would be transparent to him, and the rest of the world, what really matters in their life. Paul prayed this specifically, so that they could then live pure and blameless lives until the day Christ returns. Wouldn’t it be neat to always pray with the end result in mind? I believe this would help us to be more intentional in our praying for our family and friends. As an example only, let’s learn to not just pray for the aches and pains of those that ask us to pray, but for what they could achieve should their health be improved. Think about it friend, and unless you have talked long and deep enough with the individual, I would suggest that you ask what might be accomplished if God answered your prayer on their behalf, please don’t assume.

Prayer

Heavenly, loving and almighty God, You know the very depths of our heart, so you know our reason for asking You for all that we bring before You in prayer. Please cleanse us from deep within, so that we may ask with the specific purpose in mind of seeing Your kingdom grow, and that You might use even us to touch lives so that they may grow in, and draw closer to, You. Please help us to be more specific in our prayers for one another so that we may not take our obligation to pray for one another too lightly, but that through our prayers others may come to know You, or be drawn closer to You. We have only one life to live here on this earth, Lord may we be an instrument of Your love that will attract others to know You personally, and enjoy an even deeper relationship with You. May You be glorified as a result of our prayers for one another, oh 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!

Need Help With Your Praying?

November 22, 2016

Tuesday, 2016-11-22

Scripture

Bible Reference: Romans 8:26-28

Bible Text:  26 A similar thing happens when we pray. We are weak and do not know how to pray, so the Spirit steps in and articulates prayers for us with groaning too profound for words. 27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? 28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.

Bible Translation: The Voice Translation (VOICE)

My Take

Very often we are sitting around a family gathering and a spouse may start to share a story, but very soon the partner spouse, or perhaps a son or daughter, steps in and helps share the story, especially if they see the individual struggling to remember all of the facts, or properly articulate the story at the time. Ever felt sometimes that you have so much on your mind to speak with God about, but you just can’t put your words together to properly speak with God about it in prayer? Ever stopped to imagine that not only does God know the depth of your heart on the matter before you open your mouth to try and express your heart, but that the Holy Spirit who came to reside in you the day your surrendered your heart to Jesus, is already muttering prayers to God on your behalf? Further, one of the translations that I looked into on this passage indicated that while you might pray to God from a human perspective, the Holy Spirit is praying the will of God before the Master on your behalf! Wow! Can you comprehend that friend! How awesome is that? I believe this helps us avoid one of the huge obstacles for Christians in their prayer life – the excuse that you don’t know how to pray, or that you don’t know the right words to say. Friends, I believe we are reminded here that it is just super important that we pray – have conversation with our Creator; our Master; our Savior; and our everlasting Father. In the cases where we fall short, or we feel lacking in what to say, let’s always remember that we have an advocate that is every present and who speaks with the Father on our behalf. Now some of you reading this may question if this is for every church-goer, or for the whole family (sons and daughters; mothers and fathers). Please read carefully the very last sentence in our scripture today: for those who love Jesus, and accept His invitation to live according to His plan, the Word says that God will orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful. Friends, this wonderful expression of love by God is yours, if you have surrendered your life to the lordship of His Son Jesus, who sacrificed His life on a cross at Calvary, so that you may have forgiveness of your sin, and it opens the door for you to have eternal life in heaven with God. Do you know Him friend? Without Him you can do nothing of any kingdom value, nor do you have any hope in eternity. With Him you will not only have eternal life, but He will orchestrate everything to work towards something good and beautiful for you! I believe the choice is obvious. Read my Footnote for tips on how to make this change in your life, otherwise drop me a note so that I may pray with you about your life concerns.

Prayer

Lord, who are we that a King should live and die for? Who are we that a representative of the King of kings should take up residence in our hearts and lives just to ensure that we stay on course, and have ongoing assurance of the awesome power of our awesome God? Lord, I am convinced that it could only be a result of the love You have for your children, that You do so much for us. Thank You for Jesus, Heavenly Father! Thank You for the Holy Spirit – our comforter; our Joy; our Protector; our Guide and our Advocate. Lord, in You we place our trust, and in You we look for daily guidance to live a life worthy of Your calling, and the powerful delivery from the evil one. Thank You Holy Spirit for speaking with the Master on our behalf, for we are so unworthy and so incapable. Lord, we commend ourselves into Your keeping and Your care, for it’s You alone that we adore and seek to serve every day. 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!

Of One Heart and Mind

November 21, 2016

Monday, 2016-11-21

Scripture

Bible Reference: John 17:20-22

Bible Text: 20 “I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. 21 My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. 22 “I have given them the glory you gave me—the glorious unity of being one, as we are

Bible Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

My Take

I believe that if 5 families left my city in Florida to head to Atlanta, Georgia, there would probably be several different routes taken because we all have our own ideas about what will be the fastest route, or the most scenic, or the most enjoyable due to attractions along the way that we would like to visit. However, we will all probably wind up at our final destination in Atlanta, Georgia at some point. I believe it was extremely evident to Jesus that this would be the case with His children in many walks of life, even in religious circles where we have the ultimate goal of coming face-to-face with Jesus in heaven when we pass on from this old world. I was reminded in a very bold and obvious way in our scripture today that Jesus knew right from the very beginning that this would pose a challenge for His children. I was able to see where Jesus approached the Father in much the same way as I would, if I was leaving the state of Florida on an extended retirement trip throughout the rest of the United States. There would be concerns for ministries I am involved in at my church, and there would also be concerns that my relatives would be OK with me out of the picture for an extended period of time. Now, I must quickly acknowledge that I have nothing to worry about with any of these things falling apart, because I am not the glue that holds all these things together. However, we do worry about things that mean a lot to us, if we’re not around to do our part. Friends, Jesus came to this earth for one intended purpose, to save mankind from eternal damnation. To achieve this, He showed Himself in some very bold ways – through miracles, through loving the unlovable, through sacrificing Himself so that we might not have to sacrifice anything in order to be saved from our wretched sin. However, in spite of all that He did, we went back to the Father and prayed about His concerns for the wellbeing of His church – His children here on earth. I believe that anyone meditating on this devotional today will agree that the concerns of Jesus were right on target, just like the rest of His life and ministry were. For we have such a problem here on earth in that we segregate ourselves from other believers who are headed for the same destination. In my example above, if we come across one of our friends on that long trip to Atlanta who had chosen a different route than we did, we may tease and poke a little fun at each other, but we would still welcome them and celebrate with them at the destination point. In religion, it seems like we have become so secure in our understanding of the Word of God and/or other ancillary books given to us from our respective denominations, that we erect walls between ourselves that non-Christians probably look at and wonder how many destination points are there, because obviously we are not headed to the same one! Friends, I know that this may seem like I am picking on religious denominationalism, and perhaps I am, but I believe that Jesus has shared the concern with us to ponder, that He shared with His Father when He returned to Him. What can we do about it? Jesus wants us to be ‘one’ just as He and the Father are ‘one’. We know that the trinity represents three persons all in one, meaning that they have the same attributes and same power and are the same in the eyes of the Almighty God. For us to appease Jesus in His wish for us, we must be willing to tear down the walls of hatred and separation, and love one another as we love ourselves (according to the commandment of God). Great walls separate men and women, yet they are ‘one’ in marriage. Can we please set our goals on unity in the only thing in common, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? I get the distinct impression from our scripture that this would please Jesus beyond anything else we may attempt today. Please don’t wait for your church to adopt a philosophy to do this, I believe Jesus wants this to begin with you and I. Let’s personally commit to this wish of our Lord, and love one another unconditionally.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, You saw this coming and You prayed for this scenario ever since the beginning of time. I don’t know that things have gotten any better, so I want to commit myself to You today asking that You open my eyes to any injustices that may occur between myself and other believers in Jesus Christ. I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that regardless of what part of the world one might be from, or the color of their skin or their financial status, we all have the same channel to travel through in order to one day see You and the Father in heaven. Please help my readers and I to live today in a way pleasing to You, and in a way that we intend to live when we sit around your feet in heaven as one body of believers. Lord, may we practice today what we expect to do ‘tomorrow’ when You call us home to glory! I ask these things in the only One who can change our hearts and our minds, and the One who set the example for us while here on earth. 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!

Prayer In Anticipation of What’s To Come

November 20, 2016

Sunday, 2016-11-20

Scripture

Bible Reference: John 17:13-17

Bible Text:  13 “And now I am coming to you. I have told them many things while I was with them so that they would be filled with my joy. 14 I have given them your commands. And the world hates them because they don’t fit in with it, just as I don’t. 15 I’m not asking you to take them out of the world, but to keep them safe from Satan’s power. 16 They are not part of this world any more than I am. 17 Make them pure and holy through teaching them your words of truth.

Bible Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

My Take

Jesus was about to leave this world and return to His Father. While on earth He touched the hearts of many and saw them come to a saving knowledge of the Father. However, He knew that there was great opposition to the stand His followers took as children of God, as compared to the rest of the world being led by the evil one. So while Jesus was happy to return to His Father, He dreaded the idea of leaving His children among the likes of Satan and his earthly tempters. I believe that is most admirable of our blessed Savior, don’t you? So I believe that the question for us today is that knowing what our Lord did for us, how concerned are we for those we love? Can we honestly stand before God and say that we have prayed in all sincerity for our lost ones, or that we have shared the Word of God with them? I believe that we are prepared to pray that they be shielded from the evil one, because we would never want to see anything bad brought to them, but how often do we in all sincerity pray for that? As a child of the King, and aiming to be more like Jesus every day, I believe that God would rather see us imitate the example of our Lord and Savior, more than anything else that may seem somewhat important to us.  Friends, let us be reminded that we have only one life to live here on this earth, and only what’s done for Jesus will last. Oh that we will start each day determined to live a life pleasing to God, and that our relatives, friends and loved ones might come to accept Jesus as their Lord and Savior, based on the reality of what they see lived out in us. This is so important, especially knowing that one day soon we will stand before the throne of God and answer for our choices that we have made here on earth. My determination is that God might look intently into my eyes and share His pleasure with the choices that I have made and the life I have chosen to live here on this earth. May I count on you to do the same friend? If there is anything I can do to help you insure your eternal destination, or anything I can help you pray for regarding a loved one you fear is still without Christ, please drop me a note and allow me to pray with you. Jesus knew that we who are left on this earth would suffer through the temptations of this world and its leader, but He also knew that for the joy of what lies ahead of us, we may stand strong and joyful in the fact that greater is he that is in us than he that is in this world! Friends, we are assured that joy lies ahead for those of us that have the eternal hope of being with Jesus on that great resurrection morning! Based on the word of God, I can be confident in that fact that joy will come in the morning for me, I pray that you can do the same!

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for all that You have done for me and Your other children who have accepted You as Lord and Savior. We may struggle in our circumstances today, but praise be to the God of this universe, I know what the future holds for me and I know who holds the key to that future hope. You provided the way, and through Your Word You have shown us the way to eternal hope in You oh Lord. Please help us keep our eyes of faith focused on You and a burden for the souls of those that we love and care for, as we should be most concerned about their current decisions in preparation for their eternal hope. Please burden us with an urgent heart for the eternal destination of our family and friends so that together we may look full into the wonderfrul face of  Jesus on that judgment day and sing praises to the King of Glory, together with our loved ones. AMEN and 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. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! 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!