Archive for December 2016

The Old vs The New

December 31, 2016

Saturday, 2016-12-31

Scripture

Bible Reference: John 19:28-30

Bible Text: 28 Jesus knew that everything was now finished, and to fulfill the Scriptures said, “I’m thirsty.” 29 A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so a sponge was soaked in it and put on a hyssop branch and held up to his lips. 30 When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished,” and bowed his head and dismissed his spirit.

Bible Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

My Take

This passage of scripture is generally heard around Easter time, when we hear about the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. In considering what happened around that time, we might consider what the followers of Jesus were thinking as they saw their Master crucified. This was a crossroads for them on what the future might hold. Similarly, today is a crossroads for each of us, for many things will change, if God allows us to welcome a New Year in tomorrow. Putting aside the obvious changes such as government leadership; increased taxes; new church leadership; new benefit packages at work, etc., I want us to center our thoughts around the purpose of my blog – to help us stop and think spiritually about how God may have been involved in the old vs how we will permit Him to be involved in the new. Stop for a few minutes and consider some of the key events of the current year that is quickly drawing to a close. What would you tell an unbeliever may have been the most exciting time of your Christian walk this year? Think about a time that God may have been so real to you that you felt there was only one thing better, and that was to be at His side in glory! Think about a time when you thought God was not listening and had no interest in your prayer request, only to find out later that He was there all the while answering your prayer in ways that you weren’t expecting, but that you later discovered was the best thing for you. Take a moment and praise Him for all these things and acknowledge His presence with you in so many unbelievable ways. Jesus’ situation was much more dire, but in verse 30 He realized that all Scripture had been fulfilled, and in accordance with the will of the Father, His time had come to give up His earthly ministry and prepare for what was ahead. Today you will not only give thanks for the many ways that God accomplished His work through You, but I believe many of us will also have regrets for the times that we took the reigns of life and ‘did it our way’, only to find out later that things didn’t always turn out right. May I suggest that you use this as an opportunity to speak to God about your regrets, and possibly ask Him to help you seek Him first and His righteousness as you approach this brand new year? In preparing for a long road trip, you may easily remember the gas, water, snacks, head rests, GPS, etc, but in facing a New Year you will be taking this trip without knowing about the bumps in the road, the crazy drivers on the road, road construction, etc. However, I am here to remind you and/or enlighten you to the fact that for those who have place their faith and trust in Jesus Christ, we serve the One who knows exactly what lies ahead for us – the good, the bad and the ugly. The fascinating, and encouraging part for the Christian is that we know the creator of life and death and of each person. He has already proved His love for us in very extreme ways, so we have no doubt that He will be watching every step that we take, and help us over every hurdle that we will meet. Our part is to stay loyal to the Director of it all – worship Him when everything seems perfect to us, and when we wish things were different, but in ALL things, knowing that our Savior leads the way for our good and for His glory! So while the THINGS of this earth seems so uncertain for many, the ONE who holds the whole earth together is the One who holds our hand and guides us along to the end of all time! That’s the One I have placed my faith and trust in friend. Have you? If not, please, please read my Footnote and take advantage of the help offered to you.

Prayer

Father, as we reflect on the blessings and the undeserved grace that You have showered on us throughout this year that is ending, may we also gain strength and confidence in knowing that You are still so very faithful, so very loving, so very kind and that You will be our friend and guide even until the very end of time. Lord, we have no idea what tomorrow holds, but I praise You for knowing the One who not only holds tomorrow, but who knows what every day in this New Year will hold for each child that meditates on this devotional today. So Lord, I praise You for everything that You are, and for all that You will do in my life and in the lives of those that I love and care for. You are forever faithful and true, and in You I can assure my readers that we must place our faith and our trust. You were faithful to the very end in fulfilling the word of Your Father, may we be found faithful to You in all aspects of our lives this coming year, for this is my humble plea for Your help to achieve all this, AMEN!

Footnote

There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please 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 More Importance Than Food

December 30, 2016

Friday, 2016-12-30

Scripture

Bible Reference: John 4:31-34 (CEV)

Bible Text:  31  While this was happening, Jesus’ disciples were saying to him, “Teacher, please eat something.” 32  But Jesus told them, “I have food that you don’t know anything about.” 33  His disciples started asking each other, “Has someone brought him something to eat?”
34  Jesus said: My food is to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that he gave me to do.

My Take

There is a saying I’ve heard around churches, “if you feed them, they will come”! That sounds bad, but it is so true of many folk who attend church today! I believe you will even see this proven at weddings where the couple decides not to have a reception, for I’m sure their attendance is down, compared to the weddings that offer a feast afterwards at a reception. Why, even to funerals are now followed by a huge reception that attracts most attendees to eat, rather than spending quality time with the mourning family members. It is unfortunate that we have gotten our priorities so twisted. Perhaps as we face the coming of a brand new year, we may look to the Word of God to make sure that our priorities are in order. Here are some examples for us to take note of, and follow as God leads:

  • John 4:31-34 In this focal passage, Jesus saw an opportunity to speak with unsaved Samaritans, and this was far more satisfying to Him than any amount, or quality of food that He could physically eat at the time. If it was important to Jesus, should it not be for us also?
  • Matt. 14:15–17; John 4:8; Luke 18:28 – The Disciples were always concerned about the physical need, particularly food!
  • Luke 11:11-13 Jesus taught the disciples to first remember that God will provide exactly what they need, even though their tendency was to worry about food and physical needs primarily. Imagine pleading and pleading for a hamburger, when God wants to give you a ranch where you could have all the beef you want! He will supply our needs, friends! Praise the wonderful name of Jesus!

Friends, when we get our priorities straight and do what Jesus commands in Matthew 6:33 seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then perhaps He will see to it that ALL of our need are met, not just our physical needs of nourishment. Perhaps the next time we become so concerned over whether to have a meal in order to attract folk to an event, particularly a church event, we should read Romans 14:17-18 and remind ourselves of what’s important to the kingdom of heaven! Perhaps if we concentrate more on our spiritual needs and the desire of God for our lives in 2017, we will not only trim some fat, but we will gain a whole lot more faith, hope, love for each other, and gain a closer walk with the Lord than we have ever had before. Friends, can we make this our goal in 2017, God being our helper?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, please forgive us for alowing our priorities to drift away from the most important person, and the most important thing. We are very close to being blessed with a brand new year, where we have the opportunity to make a brand new start in our spiritual lives. We need to draw close to You Lord, for living in this old wicked world has poisoned us into following the ways of Satan instead of the righteousness that would please You, the one who sacrificed Your very own life for us. Please renew within us a right spirit, so that we might get our priorities straight, and may this all happen so that You might be glorified in all things. AMEN!

Footnote

There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please 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!

Well Worth Our Effort

December 26, 2016

Monday, 2016-12-26

Scripture

Bible Reference: 1 Corinthians 15:58

Bible Text:  58  Therefore, my dear brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always excelling in the Lord’s work, knowing that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

Bible Translation: Holman Christian Standard Bible (HCSB)

My Take

I believe that especially at this time of the year we tend to feel so exhausted and may even cause ourselves to doubt whether, in light of everything we did at Christmas, was it really worth it all. I heard that studies show that the day that most pastors resign their churches is Monday, and I believe that this may be due to the fact that Satan ‘beats them up’ so badly and causes them to question themselves about the job they did the previous day. Paul tried to encourage the Corinthian church by reminding them of the truth about the resurrection, and about the glorious day that will be when they see the face of the Savior! Friends, this same assurance is promised to those of us who have surrendered our lives to Jesus and invited Him into our hearts! So to reiterate the thoughts of Paul in these verses today, may I remind you that in light of what God has promised to us, we should be:

  • Steadfast – Deeply rooted and built up in Christ. Established in the faith and know what we believe, sufficient that we can freely share our faith with others;
  • Immovable – Confident in our faith and not vulnerable towards evil coming between us and our Lord, while still gaining strength and assurance in remembering that nothing will separate us from the love of God!
  • Excelling – Isn’t it interesting how much time we put into our jobs, and how easily we accept going long distances to conferences or attending educational opportunities that will help sharpen our work-related skills? However, when it comes to the work of the Lord we find excuse after excuse why we can’t go to similar events that may sharpen our ministry related skills? Isn’t it interesting how we are prepared to work long hours, and even weekends, if necessary, to get our jobs done in perfect condition, yet we ‘slap together’ a lesson or a sermon as we rush into the hours right before delivery to our classes or congregations? Paul encourages us to always excel in our work for the Lord, especially knowing that our effort will not be in vain.

Friends, Galatians 6:8-10 says: …. the one who sows to his flesh will reap corruption from the flesh, but the one who sows to the Spirit will reap eternal life from the Spirit. 9  So we must not get tired of doing good, for we will reap at the proper time if we don’t give up. 10  Therefore, as we have opportunity, we must work for the good of all, especially for those who belong to the household of faith. I interpret this as a promise that we will be rewarded for all that we do for the Lord, and I especially believe this will be the case when we’ve put our all into the effort. Remember, all that’s done for Jesus will last!

Prayer

Father, there was nothing about our salvation that You took lightly, for You gave of Your very best, so that we might have the very best when we past from this world. I therefore question myself as to whether there is anything that I can do to compare with all that You have done for me? Lord, I pray that You will remind us of the gifts that You have blessed us with. There’s an awesome day coming, and we are anxious to see You, Lord Jesus! However, while here on this earth, please touch us each and every day with a strong desire to do our very best to spread the good news, and I firmly believe that unless we do that from the heart, our efforts will be in vain. Please place a passion in us to serve You better by ministering to our fellow man each and 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!

The Joys and Applicability of Christmas!

December 25, 2016

To my awesome subscribers, followers and readers of this daily devotional, ‘Nuggets From God’s Word’:

May the anticipation that filled the hearts of Mary and Joseph as they learned of their involvement in Jesus’ birth, also fill your hearts today and throughout the coming year as you recognize, and agree to be used in the work of the Lord, just like Mary and Joseph did!

May you find an opportunity each and every day to rejoice, and praise God for His awesome mercy, and His choice in using even you to help in accomplishing His work, just as Mary did when she visited Elizabeth after finding that she was an instrument in God’s hand!

May you be willing and quick to obey the call on your life, and willing to go wherever instructed to go, just as the shepherds welcomed the announcement of the angels and then immediately left their posts and went on to Bethlehem to find baby Jesus to personally worship and welcome Him!

May you be reminded of the reason Jesus came, and be willing to follow His example in also being a carrier of the Good News of Jesus Christ to all those in need of a Savior! For Jesus will return again, this time to take His children home to glory with He and His Father! You will want to be ready for that day, and that could be today friend, but you will also want to ensure that all those in your realm of influence are also ready to meet Him on that day! Your involvement in their life and your reflection of Jesus Christ will either help them agree to accept Jesus, or if you are not careful to honestly live the life that you preach, you might totally confuse them and be a stumbling block for them. Seek Jesus as your Savior and allow Him to live in and through every aspect of your life, friend! Others’ lives might be depending on that!

Based on the Word of God, I believe I can safely assure you that Jesus loves you for who you are and just where you are in life right now. Trust in Him, friend, and allow Him to care for your every need! As a representative, or messenger of God, let me assure you that I love you also. Feel free to email me, and allow me to pray with you as we meditate on God’s Word through these devotionals every day, wont you?

Your Response Compared to Mary’s

December 24, 2016

Saturday, 2016-12-24

Scripture

Bible Reference: Luke 1:46-50

Bible Text: Then Mary said, “I praise the Lord with all my heart. I am very happy because God is my Savior. I am not important, but he has shown his care for me, his lowly servant. From now until the end of time, people will remember how much God blessed me. Yes, the Powerful One has done great things for me. His name is very holy. He always gives mercy to those who worship him.

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

My Take

In verse 30 of this same chapter, the angel who appeared before this young virgin, Mary, calmed her be saying that God was delivering this awesome news to her because He was pleased with her. Does that make you think that there was a close relationship between Mary and her God? There is a gospel song entitled ‘Why me’, and I love that song, but I believe it is evident in this example of Mary that if we have the kind of relationship with God that He is pleased with, then perhaps He will be pleased with us also! Therefore, in line with God’s everlasting goodness,  there is no limit as to what He might do through you and I also! I believe that the other thing that we are taught in this greeting to Mary, is that when you have this type of relationship with God, and He decides to use you, He may very well use an agent of His to deliver the good news, as He did with the angel to Mary. Oh that we may have the grace to humbly accept the assignments that God sends our way. In accepting His assignment, I believe you are acknowledging that the God of this universe knows what He’s doing, and will do what He has planned, and He knows how He might best use you for His ultimate glory! Now consider what you may have thought of Mary if she responded to the angel that she would take time to think about it, because she is not one to make snap decisions. Or perhaps, asked the angel for a sign to prove to her that this assignment is truly from God. Wouldn’t that sound like she was second-guessing God. Friends, I believe that it is very obvious that God always looks for our availability, and He never has to worry about our abilities. Remember in Paul’s ministry, he desired that he might decrease, so that God may increase? Remember how John the Baptist said that he could only baptize with water, but that One who was to follow Him would actually baptize with the Holy Spirit? Yes, considering our weaknesses and our limited knowledge and abilities, we are limited by what we can do for the glory of God, but the Word of God reminds us that in Christ, and under the anointing of His Holy Spirit, He (God) can do ALL things. Friends, without any intention to brag, I can share from personal experience that God called me into various ministries where I was totally dependent on Him, and when totally surrendered to God, He was able to accomplish great things for His glory. When others look at us, and witness our actions and attitudes, their lives will only be moved into action IF they see Jesus. I would like to recommend that you consider joining me, as we daily connect with God – seek His face, not His hand, and give Him the place of honor and glory that He deserves. Make yourself available to Him for anything that He would consider using you for in accomplishing His will in your realm of influence. I believe it will amaze us how He could use even you and me! Can we, like Mary, praise God from the very depths of our hearts for what He has done, can do, and even accomplish through us, this Christmas?

Prayer

Lord Jesus, what a wonderful Savior You are! To create mere humans, allow them to do their own thing, then to accept our call for salvation, and unconditionally love us enough to welcome us back to Yourself. Wow, Oh What A Savior! But more than that Lord, You look at Your restored loved ones with such holiness that they are at Your disposal to even be used by You! Wow, Oh What A Savior! Scripture shows us how You used Your humble servant Mary, and I truly believe today that those who know You personally can easily be used by You as we place ourselves at Your feet and accept Your authority. Your will be done 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!

What Happened?

December 23, 2016

Friday, 2016-12-23

Scripture

Bible Reference: Luke 2:15-17

Bible Text: 15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.

Bible Translation:New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take

Perhaps this Christmas, as we are reminded again about the actions, excitement, awe and obedience of those involved in the story of the birth of Christ, we might ask ourselves “What Happened?”. Why is it that poor shepherds who saw nothing but stink, four-legged sheep all day and then watched over them even by night, why is that they ‘got it’, and we still look through blurred glasses and see nothing but gifts, shopping, stress, children singing and preachers bellowing, but we never stop to consider the thought of meeting or knowing the One that this whole thing of Christmas is all about? I believe that way too often we would represent the shepherds who saw and heard angels for the very first time, recognized that yes, they are directing their message towards us, but then sit back and say “oh well, that was nice. They were in tune and did a wonderful job” and then roll back on our side and go to sleep. Please stop and read the story again, the shepherds didn’t settle for hearing about this miraculous birth, they wanted to see, feel, and witness the scene, the baby, the parents and understand the whole concept of what this whole thing was about! So what do you suppose happened to you and I? We have attended, and probably still will attend church events where we hear in song and word about a God who loves us so much that He miraculously caused His Son to be born among us; lived among us and performed many miracles to prove His relation to God; humbly and obediently died between two common criminals, just to prove His love for us and to provide the means of eternal life for us. Yes friend, that’s the kind of amazing story that surrounds the One we will hear about this Christmas, but will you look deeper than the ones singing, the ones preaching and the nagging mother who tries every year to get you out to church with her, and instead commit to knowing more about the One whom this whole Christmas thing is about? If your best friend told you they were having chest pain, you would not simply smile at them and express your disappointment, most of us would start researching for ways to help that friend overcome the problem. So what happened to us that we would hear of Jesus and deflect that good news and reject the offer that still stands today – to know Him personally and accept His free gift of salvation that leads to life eternally with He and our Father! Friends, may I encourage you to know Him; know the true meaning of ‘love’ in its purest form, and know about that peace that surpasses everything we could every imagine or understand this Christmas season? This could then truly be the merriest of all Christmases for you and those you love, friend!

Prayer

Lord God, we are thankful that You gave to us in the form of Your precious Son in greatest humility back in Bethlehem many years ago. We are compelled to seek Your forgiveness for the ways that we have focused attention from Your birth and more towards the commercial aspects of Christmas that we now find ourselves caught up in. I believe that what has happened is that the evil one has found ways to distract us from Your birth and instead more towards the worldly pleasures that pull us away from You. Please restore a desire within us to know You personally and a deep commitment to serve You and share Your love with others. May we be reminded that because You gave to us of your very best, we too might give You our heart and share our love with others in ways that might draw them to You this Christmas. 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!

Time, Place and Availability

December 22, 2016

Thursday, 2016-12-22

Scripture

Bible Reference: Luke 2:4-7

Bible Text:  4-5 Mary’s fiancé Joseph, from Nazareth in Galilee, had to participate in the census in the same way everyone else did. Because he was a descendant of King David, his ancestral city was Bethlehem, David’s birthplace. Mary, who was now late in her pregnancy that the messenger Gabriel had predicted, accompanied Joseph. While in Bethlehem, she went into labor and gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped the baby in a blanket and laid Him in a feeding trough because the inn had no room for them.

Bible Translation: The Voice Translation (Voice)

My Take

Time, Place and Availability are three things we tend to look closely at this time of the year as we plan our parties and family meals. But these are some things that require our attention in the Christmas story also!  I would suggest that you click on the Scripture for today and read the first 7 verses of Luke chapter 2. You will notice in this short passage that God had a perfect plan for the birth of His Son, Jesus. Here are some points that I believe you will find fascinating:

  • The Time: Was it coincidence, or was it God’s perfect plan that the very time for Joseph to go to his family’s birthplace (Bethlehem) to be registered for the census, was also the time in Mary’s pregnancy that her baby would be born?
  • The Place: Was it coincidence, or was it God’s perfect plan that when Isaiah prophesied that the Son of the Most High would be of the lineage of David, that God would actually align a plan to place Mary and Joseph in the same birth-town of David at the time of Jesus’ birth?
  • The Availability: Joseph broke all traditions to take Mary as his wife, even after learning that she was pregnant – and not bearing his child. He was available to the call of God, in spite of the mockery he would receive. Mary openly accepted the call of God to carry His miraculous One, in spite of the possibility of losing her fiancé Joseph, and losing all respect from her family and townspeople. They both were available to the will and plan of God. However, this was not the way it was in every case during the pregnancy and birth of our Lord, for much like many of us today, there was no room for Joseph and Mary to rest their head and prepare for the birth of their child – the Savior of the world; the King of all kings; the Redeemer sent to save all mankind from the grip of sin on their life. There was no room for Jesus.

Friends, I believe that there is an enormous message in this short Scripture for us today. At times, it appears like there are circumstances in our lives that we would just rather not deal with, and for the life of us we just can’t understand why some things happen to us. I believe you can see from the above that our awesome God has this whole delicate life of ours perfectly in the palm of His hand and under His awesome plan and care, even if we sometimes may think in terms of coincidence, or happen-chance. Here is a personal experience that gives me confidence in this powerful truth: almost 30 years ago I sat before my aging parents in the Bahamas, and told them that my wife and I had been approved by the US Government to reside in the USA. It really saddened and frustrated my dad that his oldest son would move that far away from his aging parents. In less than 2 years after that meeting with my parents, my dad thanked God, in my presence, that He had opened that door for me, that now led to his life being saved through medical intervention here in the US. Friends, when we allow room for Jesus in our life, we had best hang tight for the time of our lives. Yes, there will be circumstances we don’t understand, but notice that there is no recorded argument by Mary or Joseph with God over His perfect plan. God just needs our availability. Have you found time for Jesus in your life? Have you surrendered to His perfect plan for your life? Ours is not to question or reason, just to surrender and obey. One of these days, when face to face with Jesus, I look forward to the voice of my Savior saying “well done, good; faithful; and obedient servant, welcome home!” This can also be your outcome, if you have surrendered your life to Jesus. Please read my Footnote and follow the referenced scripture to identify the need in your life today.

Prayer

Heavenly Father, even at Your birth we marvel at the perfect plan that had been aligned to announce Your coming, Your birth and the heralded welcome by so many. There were many who surrendered to Your call, and who stopped what they were doing to allow Your guiding hand upon their lives. Perhaps as we stop and listen this Christmas, we will hear; we will understand better; and we will be more obedient to Your call on our lives. Lord may we learn to place You as high priority in our busy lives this Christmas and in the year ahead. Often we tend to blame our neglect on not having time (for You). May we learn to change that to openly confess that You were just not a priority to us. I sincerely believe that to be the case, and pray that You might help us to get our priorities straight, beginning with me, and beginning today. For I surrender myself afresh to You precious 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!

A Deep Test Of Obedience

December 21, 2016

Wednesday, 2016-12-21

Scripture

Bible Reference: Matthew 1:20-25

Bible Text: 20 Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream.

Messenger of the Lord: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else—rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus, which means “the Lord saves, because this Jesus is the person who will save all of His people from sin.

24 Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife 25 (though he did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born). And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Savior.

Bible Translation: The Voice Translation (Voice)

My Take

Kids learn at a very early age that if you really want to get to another kid, just mention something bad about their mom. As adults we become very tender anytime we hear something derogatory about almost any close relative, whether spouse; child; sibling or parents. So as I meditated on this very common passage of scripture that we hear almost every Christmas, I tried to imagine what Joseph must have been thinking when, in spite of him having no sexual relations with Mary, yet he found that the woman he was about to marry was already pregnant. I’m sure his mind must have travelled along the road of infidelity on Mary’s part, and the mockery that he would receive from family and friends. Like us, Joseph had already made plans in his mind how he was going to handle the break-off of the engagement so that there would not be a negative impact on Mary. However, I believe that as Joseph pondered these things in his heart, he must have really been hoping that there would be some miraculous explanation about this whole earth-shattering event in his life, for I believe that love is just that way, it hears bad things, but expects clarification to help an individual make good on his/her commitment to one another. But here comes the kicker, hope came in a very unexpected, and yes, miraculous way, for an angel appeared to Joseph as he slept and dreamed. However the message was very clear. In fact, so much so, that there is no doubt expressed in the Word of God! Joseph simply followed the instructions given to him by the angel. He married his awesome bride, and from every indication, he took care of her as if the baby was his very own flesh and blood. This is an awesome story of obedience to the Holy Spirit, friends. Yes, we can surmise what may have happened if Joseph decided to ignore God, but I sincerely believe that God works very much the same today. When he speaks to us, there is no doubting on our part, or trying to conjure up a plan to escape His plan, for we are His servants who should be constantly asking for His guidance and understanding of His will for our lives. Therefore, when it becomes evident to us, we simply obey and thank God for it. The obedience of Mary and Joseph let to the fulfilment of prophecy, and to being used by God to birth into this world the Savior, who would ultimately prove to be the very Son of God and redeemer of all who trust Him as their Lord and Savior. Friends, the obedience talked about here led to something BIG, I mean HUGE! Imagine what miracles can be wrought through you and me if only we will humble ourselves in obedience to the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. We may look at the challenges of reaching our family and friends for the Lord as virtually impossible in our eyes, but compared to the miracle of a virgin girl becoming conceived without sexual relations by a man makes our challenges somewhat lame in comparison. Being led by God to witness and encourage a lost friend may sound impossible to us because we are so convinced that we know the negativity of the person so well, but the same God who got through to Joseph, can also redirect our doubtful minds and lead us and the friend we are direct to, towards total obedience. Are you prepared to imitate the obedience and faith of Joseph this Christmas? God has a plan, and you and I could very well be in the very middle of it, if only we will surrender our will to the Master.

Prayer

Dear Lord, You are truly in control of this whole universe, and especially in control of Your children seeking Your will for their very next move. As in the case of Joseph, I pray that we will look beyond the possibilities of our natural eyes, and instead rest our very selves at the control of our Savior during this time of the year when most folk stop to reflect on the newborn Christ-child as being the very meaning and reason for Christmas. Lord, may joy bells ring out loudly this Christmas as our family and friends find peace in the grace and power of the new-born King, Jesus, our Lord and the Savior of the world! 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!

A Well Orchestrated Plan!

December 20, 2016

Tuesday, 2016-12-20

Scripture

Bible Reference: Micah 5:2-5

Bible Text: The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel, whose family line goes back to ancient times.” So the Lord will abandon his people to their enemies until the woman who is to give birth has her son. Then those Israelites who are in exile will be reunited with their own people. When he comes, he will rule his people with the strength that comes from the Lord and with the majesty of the Lord God himself. His people will live in safety because people all over the earth will acknowledge his greatness, and he will bring peace.

Bible Translation: Good News Translation (GNT)

My Take

Because I learned a few new things in my study today about this popular passage included in the story about the birth of Jesus, I wanted to share with you the fascination I found with how God coordinated this whole birth of His Holy One, the Lord Jesus Christ. For those of you that know all of these things, I ask that you bear with this humble child while I continue to learn the great truths of God’s Word. Look at these things with me:

  1. Bethlehem Ephrathah – It seems interesting why God chose the humility of one of the smallest  towns around for His Son to be born. His Son that would be born to rule and reign over all Israel and be the Savior of the whole world. But:
    • Did you know that in this small town, David was also born? Look at 1 Samuel 17:12 for this reference! Remember from New Testament scripture that Jesus would be of the lineage of David!
    • Did you know that God didn’t need the popularity of a large town, or the extra security of a major city for His Son to be born and recognized as a major leader of the world?
  2. The Lord abandoned His people – The Lord had worked so miraculously among the Israelites and carefully provided for them, yet time after time He sadly saw them return to their sin and idol worship. So in this passage we are told that He answered their requests to leave them alone, for He abandoned them. But He did this while also foretelling of One that He would send to love, rule, and reign over them with deep compassion. Friends, do you see where this whole miracle has changed us very much today? For it seems like we live in a world where idol worship is still very prevalent, and our merciful God is still mocked through the blatant sin and disregard of His precious Son. Note that ‘idol’ worship is something, or someone, other than God, who attracts  the attention of His people. What are those excuses again that folk use when they can’t, or won’t make it to corporate worship?

Friends, we can see from the very beginning that God had a well orchestrated plan to save His people from their sin, and I am convinced that this was not just for the people of Israel, but for all that He created to live on this earth. That includes both you and me. I have accepted Him as my Lord and Savior and therefore can boast of my eternal home in heaven. My whole purpose in sharing these blogs each day is not to help you feel better about yourself, or for you to see how guilty I feel about myself, but to encourage you to take God at His word. He orchestrated a plan for your salvation. Please consider accepting that gift today, by surrendering your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. You will see and feel Christmas in a way that you have never done before! Friends, know Him and know the peace that is often referred to each Christmas, won’t you?

Prayer

Dear God, I thank You for the everlasting gift of salvation, and for Your precious Son that You sent so that salvation might be possible. I am so afraid that our world has become as bad or worse than Israel when You removed Your hand from them. I am also afraid that we are still as stubborn about our sin and disregard even after Your special provision given through Your Son. Lord, please use this Christmas season to once again remind our people of the purpose of You sending Your Son, and the unique privilege that is ours to allow Your Prince of Peace, the Everlasting Savior, to rule and reign in our lives throughout the rest of our lives and even through eternity with You in glory. You’re my King, and I praise You Heavenly Father, 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!

Telling The World About Jesus

December 19, 2016

Monday, 2016-12-13

Scripture

Bible Reference: John 1:6-9

Bible Text:  6 There was a man named John, who was sent by God. 7 He came to tell people about the light. Through him all people could hear about the light and believe. 8 John was not the light. But he came to tell people about the light. 9 The true light was coming into the world. This is the true light that gives light to all people.

Bible Translation: New Century Version (NCV)

My Take

Not only was Jesus born through miraculous means, but God also miraculously created a forerunner to tell the world about the Savior that was to come, and his name was John. I believe that God also created others to share the responsibility in John’s absence. If you haven’t guessed already, I believe those partners of John are you and I. No, I didn’t make an error in what I said. I didn’t mean the pastors and preachers and evangelists. I really meant those of us that are saved, filled with the Holy Spirit and prepared spiritually to share the love story about Jesus with those that He loves and that we should care about. There are many stories about John and the extremes he went to in accomplishing his responsibility. I wonder if others who know us, know that we are recipients of the most precious gift of all. I wonder if they know and recognize that because of God’s promise of eternal life, that we are making every effort to convince our family and friends of their need for this Savior of ours! Friends, John was the forerunner of Jesus, and we are the forerunner of His return. The dark world that we  live in today is so full of sin and evil in so many ways, that there appears to be no ‘light’ at the end of our ‘dark tunnel’. My desire is to see the light of Jesus blot out the darkness and get the attention of our friends that are so enveloped in darkness, so that they may surrender to the lordship of Jesus, the ultimate Light of the world! But how will they know if we don’t tell them? Like John, we have a responsibility to tell about the Light of the word, Jesus!

Prayer

Lord Jesus, thank You for using a humble servant of yours to show me the Light of the world! Thank You for being my Savior and my Lord, especially in this dark world in which I live. I am convinced from our scripture today that we are to be partners with John and humble servants of Yours, and to share that Light with all those that we come into contact with. Lord, may your Light shine through my readers and I so that the world may know and believe. I ask these things knowing that there are many that each of us know personally who need You, the Light of the world! 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!