Go and Tell

Monday, 2019-12-30

Bible Reference: Acts 5:17-21
Translation: GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Bible Text: 17 The chief priest and the whole party of the Sadducees who were with him were extremely jealous. So they took action 18 by arresting the apostles and putting them in the city jail. 19 But at night an angel from the Lord opened the doors to their cell and led them out of the prison. 20 The angel told them, “Stand in the temple courtyard, and tell the people everything about life in Christ.” 21 Early in the morning, after they had listened to the angel, the apostles went into the temple courtyard and began to teach….

OBSERVATION: In most translations, the angels’ first words to the apostles were ‘Go, stand in the temple courtyard and tell…’. I believe these are awesome words for us to remember as we usher in a New Year – Go, tell the good News of Jesus Christ. As we meditate on this Scripture today, let us be reminded that we still serve the same miraculous God who sent the angles to the apostles!

APPLICATION: I believe that one of the biggest obstacles to current day Christians sharing the joy of knowing Christ, is rejection, coupled with our fear of intruding in someone else’s space. But notice in our Scripture that the angels first approached the disciples in prison, then miraculously released them from prison, without the authorities actually opening the gates to let them out. Do you suppose that there have been any doubt by the apostles that God would be with them as they carried out the instructions given to them? But before you come back at me about the differences between the help given the apostles and what we might expect today, let me remind you that the Bible is clear on how God assures us: How He will be with us until the very end; How He will direct our paths; How He will fill our hearts with joy; and How He will give us the words to say, if only we will surrender ourselves over to Him completely, and allow Him full access to our lips and our heart. Friends, I believe where we mess things up, is that we quickly assume full responsibility for our words and our actions, and only call on God for direction when we run into trouble. I am hoping that God will send me, and use me for His glory. When He does, the ministry will only be successful if HE uses me as a means for His ministry, not the other way around. My thoughts about the ministry will be limited to what is impacting me. In most cases, that will be irrelevant to what is troubling my Brother. Trusting Jesus to fulfill His awesome work through a usable vessel like me, or you, will achieve His work in each of us.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am trusting You today to accomplish Your work in Your people today, and I make myself available for You to use me to accomplish that work in accordance with Your perfect will. People need the Lord, not more of broken mankind. Please complete your work in me. I believe that many of my readers will submit to a similar commitment today. Please touch their hearts and make them Your usable vessels dear Lord. AMEN!

Giving In Response to God’s Instructions

Friday, 2019-12-27

Bible Reference: Acts 5:3
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: God revealed their secret to Peter,[b] so he said to him, “Ananias, why did you let Satan fill your heart and make you think you could lie to the Holy Spirit? You only pretended to give it all, yet you hid back part of the proceeds from the sale of your property to keep for yourselves.

OBSERVATION: Perhaps one of the most controversial matters in a church is discussions around the subject of giving. Whether it’s how much we should give, or the ways that the church leadership spends the money, or how much the pastor is paid. But unless we miss the whole point of whether Christians should give, or the point of how much we should freely give, let us seek guidance from the Word of God. Our Scripture today is a good example of an individual not giving in a way pleasing to God. Perhaps this is something that God had planned to deal with you on today, so ask Him to help you place self aside while you meditate on His Word for a few minutes.

APPLICATION: Isn’t it interesting how……When we pray in times of trouble we seem convinced that God hears our cry, that He knows all about our troubles, and that He will take care of us and see us through our difficulty? Praise God He is such an awesome God, and He Cares for us in that way. But isn’t it strange how we pick and choose what we will share with our loving God? When it comes to tithing, I am convinced that our churches will never have another budget shortage, if God’s children would be diligent in their tithing/giving, as instructed in God’s Word. So what do you suppose might be the problem, child of God? Are we really putting the Lord’s Spirit to the test like Ananias and Sapphira did? Are we trying to pull one off on God, like we try to do with our government when we file our taxes or pay our import duties? Please allow me to simply clarify what I feel like God instructs us in His Word about giving, from the earnings that He has blessed us to receive. A guide is given to us of at least 10% of the first fruits of our income. In other words, 10% of our gross income, or before anything else is taken out. The discussion around this will often arise from individuals who feel like taxes should come out before calculating the tithe, or their house mortgage or other bills should come out first. But then God could also come back to us and show where He gave to us right from the very best that He had – His one and only Son. Friends, please allow me to assure you, that we could never out-give God, also, that God will care for His kids who makes every effort to be obedient to His commands and His calling. We may give and not have a clue where the money will come from to meet all the bills that are due, but when we are obedient to God, He will provide a way even when there appears to be no way. God will never ask us to give, then turn His back on us when it comes to meeting the remaining needs that we have. Ananias and Sapphira got into trouble when they thought that they were hiding something from God, and that their lie would never be detected. Of course God knew what was happening and He shared that with His servant (Peter). Are you also testing God, by keeping your income a secret? Remember, God knows all things. There is no hiding from Him. Also remember that you will never be disappointed with the blessings from God when you’re honest before Him and obedient to His commands. When He owns all of you, He will never fail you. Testing Him, is allowing Satan to interfere and have a ‘piece of the pie’. God never blesses you halfheartedly, He blesses you abundantly more that you can ever imagine! That’s our loving God my friend!

PRAYER: Thank You loving Lord for giving Your ultimate sacrifice just for me – Your precious Son, Jesus. Thank you for giving guidance to us on what we should give in return to You. Please help Your children to stay true to You, regardless of what our worldly eyes might see as impossibilities in our limited view as mere humans. Lord, we honestly want to please You in every way possible, but the temptations of this world are so great that we need Your help to keep our eyes fixed on You, and our hearts determined to honor and love You in every way possible. Oh that our hearts may be moved in such a way, that our wallets will be opened to giving as You direct us to. Thank You Lord for first giving to us. As we give back to You, may we never regret giving towards Your will and Your work here on earth, that results in kingdom benefits for You. AMEN!

An Earth-Shaking Experience

Thursday, 2019-12-26

Bible Reference: Acts 4:31-35
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 31 At that moment the earth shook beneath them, causing the building they were in to tremble.[s] Each one of them was filled with the Holy Spirit, and they proclaimed the word of God with unrestrained boldness.[t] 32 All the believers were one in mind and heart. Selfishness was not a part of their community, for they shared everything they had with one another. 33 The apostles gave powerful testimonies about the resurrection of the Lord Jesus, and great measures of grace rested upon them all. 34–35 Some who owned houses or land sold them and brought the proceeds before the apostles to distribute to those without. Not a single person among them was needy.

OBSERVATION: Here’s a story about the results of prayer. Let me encourage you to carefully read the above verses. The preceding verse says that ‘after they had prayed….’. We are reminded that there is awesome power in the prayers of a righteous person. How’s your prayer life? As we meditate on the precious Word of God today, may it impact our life and drive you towards praying for the needs of those around you.

APPLICATION: There is a story about a renowned preacher that was blessed to have a team of prayer warriors in the basement of his church while he preached. Of course the results were always very productive, as God responded to the cries of His people concerning the hearts of those who were listening to His Word. Many surrendered their hearts to the Lord. In our story, the disciples had labored in prayer, and the Holy Spirit had dealt so strongly in their hearts that were willing to sacrifice their material gifts to share with those in need. Can you imagine the mindset of an unbeliever today if we (Christians) tell them that we love them, but we are willing to stand by and see them go hungry? Or that we care for their eternal destiny, but we uncaringly see them lose their home, while we drive around in very expensive cars and live in luxurious homes? Friend of God, can you see where those things just don’t go together? Unbelievers will never know how much we care about them until they see our God-like hearts revealed in caring for them whether we are asked to, or not. Think about the power channel used to see the earth-shaking experience mentioned in our Scripture today – prayer. One of our worst attended services in most churches today is our Prayer Meeting. So what do you suppose might be the driving force of our earth-shaking experience today? Church members and attendees today refuse to attend more than one church service per week; they are embarrassed to talk to their heavenly father (pray) in the presence of other believers; they find excuses for not attending a small, often thought of as insignificant, midweek meeting, etc, etc. Dear friends, with prayer being so insignificant to many, how might we expect to see an earth-shaking move of God in our churches, our communities and our country? God gave His all for us, yet we find excuses why we should not return the favor to Him in appreciation for all that He did, and all that He gave. Our lives reflect what we ask God for. If we ask for nothing, what might we expect from God?

PRAYER: Precious Lord, Your are our King! Thank You for all that You gave at Calvary so that we might have everlasting peace in our everlasting home in heaven. Please reach in to the hearts of many today so that there might be an awesome moving of Your Holy Spirit in Your people in our town. People need the Lord. Oh dear Savior, may our hearts be so impacted by Your love and Your saving grace, that they may see enough of Jesus in our lives to convince them of the decision they need to make. May You rule and reign in our midst heavenly Father, and may You receive honor and glory today from those who may surrender their hearts to you. AMEN!

Can’t Help Telling

Tuesday, 2019-12-24

Bible Reference: Acts 4:18-20
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: 18 The leaders brought the prisoners back in and prohibited them from doing any more speaking or teaching in the name of Jesus. 19 Peter and John listened quietly and then replied: You are the judges here, so we’ll leave it up to you to judge whether it is right in the sight of God to obey your commands or God’s. 20 But one thing we can tell you: we cannot possibly restrain ourselves from speaking about what we have seen and heard with our own eyes and ears.

OBSERVATION: Gossip is one of those evils that many of us become involved in, and we just can’t help ourselves from sharing the juicy news that we just heard from a friend! But think about it, when something miraculous or disastrous happens in our lives, we openly share that with family and friends also. Peter and John was much like us, in that they didn’t feel like anything, or anyone, could stop them from sharing the outstanding miracles they witnessed while in the presence of Jesus. As we meditate, let me encourage you to think of the miracles in your life, and whether you were as prone to share that news as our brothers (disciples) did in this story.

APPLICATION: Is there anything more beautiful than a newborn baby? Is there anything that will prevent that mother, father or grandparents from bragging about the new addition to their family? What about that young man who was given his death sentence by an attending physician, but later found that God had intervened, healed his body, and restored him to perfect health? Would you ever imagine him staying silent about his miracle, and the God who ordained it all? But as for our Christian friends, isn’t it amazing how we tend to listen to those leaders mentioned in verse 18, and try to avoid being offensive to anyone, or hurting the feelings of the criminal down the street, and we stay in our little corner and keep very quiet, or we try to avoid the subject of our faith while speaking in the presence of that individual. Why, in the United States, Christians sat back and allowed Satan and his followers to take God out of our school system – no prayer in schools – much like the leaders were telling Peter and John to do. At work; in the restaurants and around our business places, often you will find that patrons listen very carefully to Satan’s leaders and do their best to avoid hurting the feelings of every one else. Or is that really what Christians are afraid of (hurting the feelings of others)? Peter said that the leaders could draw whatever conclusions they wanted and/or demanded them to do, but nothing, or no one could stop them from sharing the love expressed to them, the miracles that took place right before their eyes, the intimate times of praise and worship they enjoyed with the Master, and the promises that He shared with them. In fact, it was so embedded in their minds and in their hearts, that NOTHING or NO ONE could stop them from sharing it with others. So why are we not like our Brothers (Peter and John)? Do we have something to share? If so, why would we ever allow anyone to stop us from sharing that exciting news with someone else? May I challenge you dear Christian believer, that we find it very easy to share with others what we fill our hearts and lives with? A good baseball game the night before, will result in an exciting discussion the next morning at work. A graduation party will result in a lot of bragging about our precious kids the following morning. But what about a church service where kids surrendered their sinful hearts to a holy God – the Creator and Master of this universe? They turned from the wickedness and sin of this challenging world, and decided to follow Jesus! Why listen to worldly leaders and hide that exciting news? Surely we would not opt to see them die and go eternally to Hell with Satan and his demons, while we know from experience how we might help them avoid that pitfall? What’s your stance today dear friend? What do you do in these situations? What would you prefer doing when these situations arise again?

PRAYER: For all that You are, all that You do for us, and for all that You have promised us for eternity, we give You eternal thanks oh God. You are our hope today and throughout eternity. Please continue to prompt us towards holiness and righteousness because of Jesus. Please remove every selfish desire, and give us boldness to share the love extended to us by Your Son, so that others may know You and want to serve You while still remaining on earth. We have everything to share, and nothing to fear, and with Your strength, wisdom and boldness I am convinced that we could assume the same stance as our Brothers Peter and John – nothing can stop us from sharing the love and power of our Lord that we have experienced ourselves. May You be glorified through everything we say or do oh Lord. AMEN!

Who’s Responsible?

Monday, 2019-12-23

Bible Reference: Acts 4:8-12
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: Peter, filled with the Holy Spirit, answered, “Respected elders and leaders of the people, listen. Are we being put on trial today for doing an act of kindness by healing a frail, crippled man? Well then, 10 you and everyone else in Israel should know that it is by the power of the name of Jesus that the crippled man stands here today completely healed! You crucified Jesus Christ of Nazareth,[f] but God raised him from the dead. 11 This Jesus is ‘the stone that you, the builders, have rejected, and now he has become the cornerstone!’[g] 12 There is no one else[h] who has the power to save us, for there is only one name to whom God has given authority by which we must experience salvation:[i] the name of Jesus.”

OBSERVATION: You will see from this Scripture that there was trouble between church and state right from the days of Jesus’ earthly ministry. However, I believe you will also see how important it is to represent Jesus well, even when questioned by unsuspecting authorities. As we meditate on this today, hopefully we will learn how to best represent Christ in all circumstances of life.

APPLICATION: I would imagine that most of my readers will fall into the same ‘boat’ as myself, in that we may never have been under close scrutiny by governing authorities in practicing our faith. Because of this, it may be challenging for us to identify with all that Peter and his companions dealt with. However there are some important points in this story that, I believe, will help us in our Christian journey:
(1) Stand firm in your faith in the good times and in the challenging times. Think about it. The easiest way to get along with people, is to agree with their opinions, beliefs and ideals. But what does this convey about your own personal opinions, beliefs and ideals? Don’t you think that in the case of the latter, folk will soon look at you in pity knowing that you have no firm convictions about anything in life? Yes, you will probably be less argumentative that most people, because you will never challenge anyone about their convictions. Peter stood firm in his convictions even when faced with the authorities who had every right to sentence him to death;
(2) Speak as a representative of Christ. I believe it is easy to see that Peter showed no anger in his voice, and that he respected the authorities that he was addressing. When our motives and integrity is questioned, we will often raise our voices and say things that are disrespectful. There are certain pieces of evidence that we portray when someone is really getting us upset. It may be the wrinkled forehead, or the tremor in your lips, or the twitch in your eyes, but often something will let the other party know that they are truly getting ‘under our skin’! Peter had every reason to try every trick in the book to get his point across properly and respectfully, as the authorities could easily have ordered his death. Our conflicts may never be quite as life threatening, but yet we tend to go overboard in trying to convince those who question us. I’ve seen great exaggeration by individuals, as well as awful anger built up in folk when questioned. Peter’s response actually led to sharing prophecy, and the plan of salvation with those who questioned him. Wow, wouldn’t that be a great goal to try and achieve before a conversation is finished with someone who questions us?
(3) Nothing to hide. Peter held nothing back, nor did he use terms to disguise what he felt God wanted him to say to the leaders. Unfortunately, it seems like we try very hard to avoid hurting the feelings of our friends and family, so we talk in riddles in order to avoid actually speaking openly about our Lord. Oh my, what a shame dear friend. In spite of all the power of our Lord, Jesus still went to a criminal’s cross, walking thru the shame and jeering of an angry crowd, and He hung there – exposed to additional shame and disrespect – but precious friend, He did all that in love, so that we might live forever with He and the Father in heaven! So what is it again that you feel ashamed to talk about in public? Who is it that intimidates you when you know you should be sharing your faith with them?
May I encourage you to be very open in sharing who healed you; who touched your life; who brightens your day; who is your hope for all eternity; etc, etc. Jesus wasn’t ashamed of anyone that He made, nor anyone He saved. Why should you or I be ashamed of Him?

PRAYER: Thank You precious Lord for creating us in Your image. Thank You for giving up Your very life so that we may see the likes of heaven and our heavenly Father. As You touch our lives each day, may we be especially bold about declaring the Word of God, honoring the One who saved us, and bragging on the One who healed us and made us anew in Jesus Christ. To You be all glory, honor and praise! Oh that our lives will reflect Your glory in every aspect of our lives. AMEN!

Decisions Based on God’s Will

Tuesday, 2019-12-17

Bible Reference: Acts 1:23–25
Translation: Good News Bible (GNB)

Bible Text: So they proposed two men: Joseph, who was called Barsabbas (also known as Justus), and Matthias. Then they prayed, “Lord, you know the thoughts of everyone, so show us which of these two you have chosen to serve as an apostle in the place of Judas, who left to go to the place where he belongs.”

OBSERVATION: Often we will see so many earthly distractions and evils coming into play with godly decisions, that it becomes very challenging for mere man to make a decision that pleases God. However, in our Scripture today, we see how the disciples made their decision for the replacement of Judas. I believe that all followers of Christ would prefer to make decisions pleasing to God, so let us meditate and seek God’s perfect will for our decisions today.

APPLICATION: Too often we make personal decisions based on our selfish desires, wants, passion, and from a heart of envy for what others might have. Unfortunately, there are persons who make up the leadership of our local churches that are challenged with this same issue, but these are also the fathers and mothers in our homes and in our local businesses that take care of us. Therefore. we must realize that when it comes time to make decisions, sometimes very critical ones, these individuals may revert to the same earthly methods for making decisions about God’s work through the church. God’s Word was specifically provided to us so that we may discern truth and wisdom from it, and use it as a guide on how God expects us to live today. I love the way that the disciples approached this matter in prayer when they admitted to God that He knows the thoughts and hearts of the two men in question and that they (the disciples) didn’t. That God knew which one should serve as a disciple to replace Judas, and they didn’t. Friends, this is a simple truth that we should always adhere to, for we are too apt to apply our personal desires and preferences to a candidate, where God can point us to the one who has a heart like Him and who will serve to represent Him in truth at all times. Let us therefore set aside personal preferences and seek God’s perfect will in our decision making, whether at church or at home, work or anywhere we are called on to help make decisions. An important part of this, is to consider what made the disciples any different to us. I might remind you that the disciples spent valuable time with the Lord. They walked along the same roads that He did; They witnessed many of the miracles that He did; They saw the difference that He made in their lives in turning them around from fishermen, tax-collectors, etc to followers of the Son of God. So what prepares you and I for drawing closer to God? May I suggest that the following things may help: perhaps you might open up yourself to understand the heart and mind of Christ By praying to Him and inviting Him to speak very clearly to you; Perhaps when you prepare yourself before reading His Word, you might understand His intention and His will as you meditate on the Word; Perhaps as you sit in church or Bible study prepared to hear the Word proclaimed and explained, God might speak direct truth to You to prepare you for the challenges of the day. Friends, I believe that what I am saying to you today is that the pastor cannot draw you closer to God, nor can your parents, or your spouse, for drawing close to God is an individual desire of each person that is followed by action by the individual alone. It’s a personal experience, desire and action that takes place when prompted by the Holy Spirit and followed through in obedience by the individual with the Father. Have you been that deliberate my friend? If not, do you feel that God would possibly lead you towards deeper truths or in seeing His works all around you? Take, for example, in the case of my wife, I saw her beauty, wanted to know her better, made every effort to place myself in her presence and communicate with her, then asked her to marry me so that I could know her even better. Does that sound like your relationship with Jesus Christ? If not, why do you suppose that He would think you are serious about having Him help you make right decisions? My dear friend, draw close to God, and watch how He will draw close to You and work miracles in your life, and all around you!

PRAYER: Oh Lord my God, when I in awesome wonder, see all the worlds thy hands have made… I stand in awe precious Lord that You would reach down in love to help me make it through every circumstance of life. Thank You Lord, for hearing my cry; for leading me thru the path to righteousness, and pointing me in and through a day filled with opportunities to share Your love with others. Lord You are, more precious than diamonds, and nothing – yes nothing, I desire more, than knowing that You are guiding and directing my daily path, so that others might be drawn to a closer walk with you. Please Lord, hear my cry, and the hearts and desires of each reader who might meditate on this devotional today. Only You can make a difference in our lives, so that we, in true, may make a difference to those that we come into contact with today. We are your vessels dear Lord, please fill us, lead us and use us to fulfill Your will here on earth. AMEN!

Book cover


The Importance of the Here and Now

Saturday, 2019-12-14

Bible Reference: Acts 1:7-8
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: He answered, “The Father is the one who sets the fixed dates and the times of their fulfillment. You are not permitted to know the timing of all that he has prepared by his own authority. But I promise you this—the Holy Spirit will come upon you and you will be filled with power.[k] And you will be my messengers[l] to Jerusalem, throughout Judea, the distant provinces[m]—even to the remotest places on earth![n]

OBSERVATION: It seems like there was never a time where it was more important to be concerned about the here and now. Yes it is always a joy to study future prospects and try to know today what would happen tomorrow, but let’s take some time to remind ourselves about why Jesus taught us to be concerned about today, and allow God the Father to take full responsibility for what lies ahead.

APPLICATION: I don’t believe there is anything quite as bad as living with regrets for not having taken advantage of a situation that presented itself at a given time. Often this might be caused by us being preoccupied and more concerned about what would happen tomorrow. As we take a few moments to think about it, I believe that each reader will quickly realize at least one time in their life where this occurred, and it probably hurts to even think about it. Had we studied harder in high school and college, we would be much further ahead today and In the weeks ahead. Had we spoken to a friend about the Lord yesterday, we may have convinced them of their need for the Savior, before they passed away last night, but we wanted them to speak with our pastor on Sunday. Had we befriended that neighbor at our neighborhood party last weekend, it may have helped save them from self injury last night. However, whether we look back, or try to find ways to look forward, I believe we are totally distracting ourselves from what is actually occurring currently, or especially at what we should currently be doing to help further the kingdom of God. Conferences tend to fill up quickly when a speaker brings in the latest timelines and news on prophecies related to end times. Important? Absolutely. But in our Scripture Jesus tells us that His all-powerful Holy Spirit will come upon us and we would become His messengers in our neighborhoods, our hometowns, our states, our country, and throughout all parts of the world – wherever His children are. Friends, I believe that Jesus is saying: look, I want you to pay attention to the prophecies I have given to my prophets, but it is far more important that you become my messengers for the times in which we find ourselves right now. What sorts of things would messengers do? Take the message of Jesus wherever he is sent; Represent Jesus so that there will be no confusion on the part of the hearers about whose messenger came to them. I believe this means acting like Jesus in every way taught through His Word; sharing the Word of God as taught in His Word; and loving people just like God first loved us. I hope that no one will walk away thinking that I am opposed to prophecies, because I am a strong believer in God’s Word, and He said that He would give the gift of prophecy to some. But I was reminded in our Scripture today that most of us reading this devotional today, are actually considered ‘messengers of the Heavenly King’, yet we casually make our way to church like we are doing God a favor, and we do everything possible not to impose our religion on others – or is that the same as saying that we don’t want to share our ‘Jesus’ with anyone? Friends, I believe that God is saying to us that He has a plan for us today, and He has kids that He wants us to share Christ with today. Let’s try and share the precious love of the same Savior that has blessed us beyond measure yesterday, today, and who has promised to bless us until He returns. Today is the day of salvation!

PRAYER: Jesus, the same yesterday, today and forever, has blessed us so that we could bless others. Thank you for trusting us with today, dear Lord! We have been reminded of the importance of where we are at right now. Thank you for opening our eyes to those in our path that need to know you personally. We have been reminded of the importance of today, please humble us to be obedient to Your voice and to the opportunities that exists right here, right now. Please help us to be mere instruments of Your love and allow others to see You in all of Your glory. Precious Lord, oh how sweet, hope of earth and joy of heav’n; Precious name! Oh, how sweet! Hope of earth and joy of heav’n. AMEN!

What About Him or Her, Lord?

Friday, 2019-12-13

Bible Reference: John 21:19-22
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: 19 Jesus said this to let him know what kind of death he would die to glorify God. Then Jesus told him, “Follow me.”
20 Peter turned around and saw the disciple Jesus loved following, the one who had leaned around at supper that time to ask Jesus, “Master, which of us will betray you?” 21 Peter asked Jesus, “What about him, Lord? What sort of death will he die?”[f]
22 Jesus replied, “If I want him to live[g] until I return, what is that to you? You follow me.”

OBSERVATION: What an eye opener and a keen reminder, to hear the words of Jesus in this Scripture that calls our attention back to self, instead of pointing fingers at our neighbor. In Jesus pointing out to Peter how important is is that he concentrate on his own relationship with Jesus, verses worrying about John, I was reminded of an old spiritual song that I learned later in life ‘It’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer, not my brother or my sister, but It’s me oh Lord’.

APPLICATION: Often we will pray for others because we want to be unselfish, and we want to show that we care and we love our Brother or Sister, so we pray primarily for others. But what a reminder by Jesus when Peter seemed concerned about what would happen to his Brother (John). Jesus basically told him that even if He allowed John to live all the way through until His return, it shouldn’t matter to Peter, because It was he (Peter) being told to follow Jesus. Listen how we hear this going on right where we’re at today my friend: Oh Lord, why did I come down with this awful disease? Don’t you see how much I give to the church? Don’t you see how faithful I am in attending all church services? Why, I even treat my neighbor like a loving relative, not as a stranger. Oh my Lord, don’t you see the neighbor down the street who never does any of these great things that I am so faithful in? Wouldn’t it make more sense that they go through this tough stuff that I’m now facing? It sounds to me that they are more deserving of hard times, than I, dear Lord. Friends, I am convinced from the Word of God that none of us are deserving of the grace God bestowed on us when He sent His only Son – a perfect, royal, infinite, sinless, Savior that went to the cross of Calvary with all the power of His Father, yet He endured the cross, so that we might have the means of eternal salvation – free from our earthly sin, and perfected before our awesome God. Imagine – undeserving, yet imagine appearing before a perfect God as a cleansed, forgiven son or daughter – because of Jesus? However, Please note that our cleansing is something granted by Jesus, because of our individual relationship with Him. Mom, nor grandma could pray you in to the kingdom. It’s like Jesus told Peter – forget about the others – it’s YOU I have called to follow me. So have YOU met my Savior? Have YOU settled a personal relationship with Him? It’s not your father, or your mother; not your brother or your sister; It’s not your neighbor or your boss, but it’s YOU that Jesus is calling to follow Him. Your decision could mean the difference between heaven and hell for you dear friend. Make sure that your position is clear, won’t you?

PRAYER: It’s me, it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer. It’s not my mother or my father, but it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer. It wasn’t just Peter who needed to give attention to himself and his state of salvation, or relationship with You, but it’s me oh Lord. Please help me to always seek a right, personal relationship with You, and not try to make that decision for my Brothers and Sisters. Lord, my readers and I approach Your throne in all humility and seeking forgiveness of our sin. We need you individually, oh Lord. Please forgive us for looking more to the faults and sins of our neighbors rather than the board that is in our own eyes. Thank You for Your Word that is in season at all times in our own personal lives. Forgive us where we fail, and help us always be aligned with Your perfect will for our lives precious Lord, so that others may see and believe. AMEN!

Actions That Are Dependent On Obedience to God

Thursday, 2019-12-12

Bible Reference: John 21:4–6
Translation: Good News Translation (GNT)

Bible Text: As the sun was rising, Jesus stood at the water’s edge, but the disciples did not know that it was Jesus. Then he asked them, “Young men, haven’t you caught anything?” “Not a thing,” they answered. He said to them, “Throw your net out on the right side of the boat, and you will catch some.” So they threw the net out and could not pull it back in, because they had caught so many fish.

OBSERVATION: When you are secure in your job and have been doing it for a while, it becomes challenging to accept advice from someone else. So could this be some of the same challenges that we face when we are confident in what we feel needs to be done, and someone suggests that we seek God for His direction? Granted, that challenge becomes much more palatable when we have done all that we could, and we are left with, what seems to be, no other options available to us, other than seeking what God may direct us towards. As we meditate on this today, let us place ourselves in the disciples dilemma and honestly consider how obedient we would be.

APPLICATION: Three of Jesus’ disciples, who really struggled with believing and obedience, are now faced with a decision that many of us could very easily face each day. Having fished all night and caught nothing, they were ready to pack up their nets and call it a night. But from the shoreline a man questions them, and begins to tell them what to do. Now I’m sure that many of you have encountered professionals before, and you know what to expect from them. Often men who know what they are doing, yet they are going through times of unsuccessful results, will snap at anyone questioning, or especially telling, them how to do their job. Yet these fishermen faced this exact dilemma. Exhausted, and tired from a long night, they approached the shoreline a man begins to hand out instructions to them. Perhaps they felt like one more attempt could have no worse results than the entire night of fishing did, so the disciples decided to give it a try. Could it have been a God inspired moment? Because through obedience to the Master of the sea and of the fish, the disciples obeyed and saw marvelous results. Interesting that at this point they then realized that it had to have been Jesus on the shoreline instructing them! Could it be that often when we feel like our Christian ministry seems to have plateaued and/or become stagnant, that it might be because we have not yet invited the Master in? We are reminded here in this Scripture that just a word is enough from Him! Reminded that our obedience to His instructions could make a world of difference. Let’s invite Him in friend, and ask for His involvement and direction. Doing this right from the very beginning will achieve God-like results that will make a difference to the kingdom, because He would be in charge. Remember, our ministry is all about Him anyway, and when we include Him perhaps we would not be so centered on our personal agendas. Oh that we may let go and let God have His perfect will in our hearts and lives – for His glory!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank You for Your grace! Thank You for Your saving power that reached into a selfish and sinful heart and showed me a better way. As my readers and I come to Your throne today, it is because we acknowledge that we cannot handle this complex, challenging, sin-controlled world that is determined to destroy Your work through us. Of ourselves, we are like the disciples who toiled all night and caught nothing. Praise God, we know the Master! We know the maker of the sea and all that is in it. We know that control of the sea and all its inhabitance is still controlled by You. The same is true with the wonderful world that You created, but which Satan has marred with his deception, lies and sinful acts. Please fill our cups Lord, and make us whole, bold and useful for Your kingdom’s sake as we walk through this dark world. May our words and deeds be used by You to impact all those we will come into contact with today, so that Your kingdom may be enriched as a result of us having been allowed to live here. AMEN!

Our Mission

Tuesday, 2019-12-10

Bible Reference: John 20:21-23
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 21 Jesus repeated his greeting, “Peace to you!” And he told them, “Just as the Father has sent me, I’m now sending you.” 22 Then, taking a deep breath, he blew[l] on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.[m] 23 I send you to preach the forgiveness[n] of sins—and people’s sins will be forgiven. But if you don’t proclaim the forgiveness of their sins, they will remain guilty.”[o]

OBSERVATION: Multiple times we see where Jesus emphasized to His disciples what their ongoing mission would be, but in our Scripture today we see where Jesus wanted them, and us, to know that our mission would be the same as His was. So one might ask: ’Well, would you kindly encapsulate that for me?’ As we meditate on these verses today, let us consider what our mission here on earth might be.

APPLICATION: I am often recognized as a son of my earthly father, because of the things that I do, or the corny jokes that I tell, or just the things that I say in general. Jesus reminds us in today’s Scripture that just as He was sent by His father, spoke only those things ordered by His Father and did only those things directed by His Father, His followers should also follow His (Jesus’) pattern in life while He was here on earth with us. I believe that establishes our direction, or mission for life, so let us seriously look into what this might be. I believe that it is important to notice right at the very beginning that the New Testament is filled with the words, actions and directions of our Savior, and the Old Testament is filled with prophecies of what would be expected of us. So the best way for us to learn, or be reminded of certain actions of our Lord, is to deliberately spend intimate, quiet, God-directed time seeking the will and direction of God each day, by studying His Word. I know, you really don’t have time to sit and read large chunks of the Bible every day – right? I understand dear friend, but please allow me to suggest to you that when you get in conversation with God again, consider replacing the words ‘I didn’t have time’ with something like this: ‘Dear God, please listen to your son/daughter who didn’t make it a priority to seek Your direction from Your Word today…..’ I bet by now you are ready to close this devotional because you feel like I am trying to lead you on a guilt trip, but friend of God, may I suggest that the ‘lack of priority’ words I used, really explains why there was not time to study God’s Word and seek His direction for your life that day? For we found it a priority to: Spend extra time in preparing ourselves for work; Spend time watching the morning news so we could be on top of our game while speaking with business leaders each day; And spend time at the local coffee bar to be encouraged by true leaders that meet there each morning. However, it was not a priority to seek the will of the Creator of this world, the One who ordains everything that will occur today, the One who could guide us to success here on earth AND to our heavenly kingdom that He has especially prepared for those who know Him. Many years ago I was prompted to accept the love and direction of my Savior. In a very deliberate act of maturity in my relationship with Jesus, I was prompted, and I followed in obedience, to make it a priority to spend time in God’s Word each day. To do this, and still leave home in time for work, I had to get up earlier. In being led to also make Nuggets From God’s Word available to the world, I deliberately awoke 2 hours earlier so that my commitment would be a priority. This information was not intended to brag to you dear friend, but instead to help you see how you might make time alone with God a priority in your busy life’s schedule. If it’s important to you, I believe that you will make it a priority. Reading God’s Word each day will lead you to pattern your life after His Son that was sent for this purpose. In our verses today, Jesus told us that He did what His Father told Him to do. As you learn from God’s Word what you should be doing each day, you will one day say like Paul: ‘follow me as I follow Christ’! Please consider making this a priority in your life precious child of God!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, You have shown us in Your Word that there was nothing more important than you giving up Your life in order that we might have life eternally in heaven one day with You and Your Father. You have also taught us many things that should be a priority in our lives so that we might pattern our after Yours. As You observe our lack of priority to spend time alone with You, but yet a glimpse of our desire to reflect You in all aspects of our life, please open our hearts to be willing to make the main Thing the main thing. In every walk of life here on earth, our lives are pulled towards every lust and material obsession that our neighbor or coworker might desire or boast of. Please help us to be leaders, by making You a priority in our life – something that will draw others towards a similar commitment and a firm desire to be a child of the King in every aspect of life. YOU are our King! May it be evident in the choices we make and the way we spend our time. AMEN!