Don’t Cheat

I believe that God blessed me with the best wife, when we made our vows before Him on November 7, 1975. I believe that God has also blessed our work for Him over the years, and in the daughter He blessed us with. But little did I realize the full extent of this Scripture, until today. Please know that I am not here to criticize anyone whose marriage fell by the wayside, but I thought it important that we see what the Word of God says about this important aspect of two lives becoming one in holy matrimony.

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2020-12-31
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Malachi 2:13-16
TRANSLATION: The Message (MSG)

BIBLE TEXT: 13-15 And here’s a second offense: You fill the place of worship with your whining and sniveling because you don’t get what you want from God. Do you know why? Simple. Because God was there as a witness when you spoke your marriage vows to your young bride, and now you’ve broken those vows, broken the faith-bond with your vowed companion, your covenant wife. God, not you, made marriage. His Spirit inhabits even the smallest details of marriage. And what does he want from marriage? Children of God, that’s what. So guard the spirit of marriage within you. Don’t cheat on your spouse.
16 “I hate divorce,” says the God of Israel. God-of-the-Angel-Armies says, “I hate the violent dismembering of the ‘one flesh’ of marriage.” So watch yourselves. Don’t let your guard down. Don’t cheat.

OBSERVATION: I believe that God blessed me with the best wife, when we made our vows before Him on November 7, 1975. I believe that God has also blessed our work for Him over the years, and in the daughter He blessed us with. But little did I realize the full extent of this Scripture, until today. Please know that I am not here to criticize anyone whose marriage fell by the wayside, but I thought it important that we see what the Word of God says about this important aspect of two lives becoming one in holy matrimony.

APPLICATION: I don’t believe that things have changed very much at all. Malachi dealt with the whining and complaining of the Jews on why they were feeling so empty in their worship to God. Malachi, in speaking the word of the Lord, immediately recognized that something was blocking the communion of the saints with their Father as they worshipped. Isn’t it interesting how still today we could go through the motions, but yet feel very empty inside, as if we never truly worshipped? You see, we might take off the dirty filthy clothes worn all week and we may put on our very best clothes, but will that truly bring us close to God? We might attend the biggest and best rated church in town, or we may decide to visit a small, quaint, secluded church that claims to have the best pastor, but in either case we could very easily leave as empty as when we walked in, even though we were convinced that God was just not there. We may decide to get involved at our church – singing in the choir, helping in a Bible Study class, or working with the children, but yet we might drown in our sorrows, feeling like we have not connected with God. Obviously we must know that God never reneges on His Word. He said that He would be with us through every stage of life and be there to accept us as we leave this world, so what might trick our brains into thinking that we have a disconnect between us and God? Friends, God made it clear in His word that He will not reside where sin is, and He will not approve of sin in any form, for He has never sinned, nor will He ever sin, seeing that He is the righteous Son of God. We may immediately think of sin, like we see in our neighbor or our friend, but in our example today of how sin could separate us from God, Malachi dealt with divorce – breaking the covenant agreement made between a man and a woman in the presence of the Almighty. Friends, our fleshly minds will tell us that everything we did was legal, and furthermore we even had a Notary pronounce our wedding vows. I’m sure that makes you feel that your actions are therefore more legitimate because of that, but because we are talking about a right relationship with God, I believe it behooves us to think about how our relationship was injured when we totally ignored the covenant we made with Him and our spouse. Why do you suppose this is important to God? He became a party to our vows and He blessed our union with our spouse, so that we could produce godly children. So through divorce, we not only broke our covenant agreement with God, but we also made it impossible to give Him what He desired from us – godly children. Without looking down my nose in the slightest at any divorcee, let me just say that God’s Word is exactly that – it’s His Word, and not mine. I am merely the messenger reminding you of what the Word has to say about everything – today being about marriage. Please read the Word of God and endeavor to live by it, God being your helper. Take your petitions before God and seek His forgiveness, guidance and His perfect will for your life.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, thank You for making us in Your own image. We were placed here on earth being weak and fully susceptible to sin. You are the only One without sin, and You are the only One to whom we must give an account of what we have done with all You have blessed us with. Unfortunately we have messed up a lot, and it is so challenging to approach Your throne in such an ugly, sinful manner. But praise be to the Father, You are the only One capable of forgiving us of our sin and making us right with You and the Father. Please renew within us a right spirit and a righteous and holy respect for You in every phase of life – one that You could use to bless others who need an example to follow. Oh that You may be lifted up, magnified and praised today because someone may have realized their need for a Savior. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

It Is Finished, Now Expect This…

Twice in the New Testament I remember the words ‘It Is Finished’. Once at Jesus’ death, and again in our Scripture today. If Jesus should postpone His return for a few days, we may hear these words again, for we will be reminded at midnight tomorrow evening that 2020 has come to an end – it (the old year) is finished. Let us meditate on all this means for us individually.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-12-30
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Revelation 21:6-8
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: It is finished! I am the A and the Z—the Beginning and the End. I will give to the thirsty the springs of the Water of Life—as a gift! Everyone who conquers will inherit all these blessings, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But cowards who turn back from following me, and those who are unfaithful to me, and the corrupt, and murderers, and the immoral, and those conversing with demons, and idol worshipers and all liars—their doom is in the Lake that burns with fire and sulphur. This is the Second Death.”

OBSERVATION: Twice in the New Testament I remember the words ‘It Is Finished’. Once at Jesus’ death, and again in our Scripture today. If Jesus should postpone His return for a few days, we may hear these words again, for we will be reminded at midnight tomorrow evening that 2020 has come to an end – it (the old year) is finished. Let us meditate on all this means for us individually.

APPLICATION: For some, 2020 may have been an exceptionally good year, but for most this has probably been the most challenging year of our lives. Of course, we have no idea what 2021 will bring to us, because it could be 100% better as the vaccine is introduced to the worldwide population and perhaps we could finally see an end to the COVID virus. Our lives could finally return to ‘normal’! There are some lessons we could learn from the challenges this year, as we were faced with an evil/virus that never before showed its ugly face. We were forced into quarantine; forced to wear masks; forced to social distance; forced to cook at home more, as restaurants were either closed, restricted or impossible to gain access to, due to the social distancing guidelines. We did all these things in order to survive – in order to avoid catching the virus. For centuries the church has been alive and well, with pastors preaching the saving gospel of Jesus Christ, so that we might prepared for eternity and our meeting in the air with our Maker. Jesus made Himself available to you and gave you the freedom to accept Him as Lord, so that you could avoid the pit of Hell and avoid all your worldly leader, Satan, has planned for you. Given the choice, even though the end result would lead to certain death and eternal punishment, yet many have chosen to ignore the warnings and instead, take their chances. Friends, I pray that as you evaluate what your chances were in ignoring the warnings in 2020, you might also think about how, given the warnings in the Bible about your eternal destination, you will make the right decision in favor of spending eternity with Jesus and His Father. This could occur before we finish out 2020, so I would highly recommend that you not postpone your decision any longer. See my Footnote for help, particularly the link ‘To Know Jesus’, for all the Scriptural help you need to accept Jesus. Be ready today my friend. I’m not sure when you might hear that phrase ‘It is finished’ next. Only God knows when He will call an end to this world by pronouncing ‘It (this world) is finished’. Only God knows when He will call an end to your life by pronouncing ‘It (your life) is finished’. Either of these could occur before you ever see 2021. The answer for full readiness in either scenario has been provided. It’s your turn – your decision, as no one can do this for you. Please dear friends, know Jesus and know the peace that passeth all understanding. Know where you will spend eternity after hearing your last ‘It is finished’ from God Himself.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for providing the path to eternal life for mankind, even though we may have done nothing to deserve it. Your love for us is far greater than anything we could imagine, but we appreciate Your unconditional and everlasting love for Your children. Praise God, You called me out of my sin and into the light of Your salvation, before pronouncing ‘it is finished’ on my life. I now can look forward to unending peace while still here on earth, knowing that I will enjoy eternal peace in heaven with You and the Father. Lord, I’m afraid that many are taking Your Word too lightly and not heeding to the warnings given in It. Please oh God, soften the hearts of my readers that they might know You before it is eternally too late, and do the same for my family and friends who are playing with their life and the vain benefits offered by this world. I would be forever grateful to You, Lord Jesus. May You be glorified throughout the rest of 2020 as Your children make important decisions in their lives. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Judged For ALL We have Done

It’s a frightening thought about being judged for all we have done – our motives, our aims, our works, and our actions (good and bad). There may be some actions that we are very proud of and we don’t mind the whole world knowing about, and some that we would prefer that they were kept secret. But then there’s God – He knows everything about everything that we have ever done. What must we do oh God?

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-12-29
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Revelation 20:12-13
TRANSLATION: Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

BIBLE TEXT: 12 I [also] saw the dead, great and small; they stood before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is [the Book] of Life. And the dead were judged (sentenced) by what they had done [[b]their whole way of feeling and acting, their aims and endeavors] in accordance with what was recorded in the books. 13 And the sea delivered up the dead who were in it, death and Hades ([c]the state of death or disembodied existence) surrendered the dead in them, and all were tried and their cases determined by what they had done [according to their motives, aims, and works].

OBSERVATION: It’s a frightening thought about being judged for all we have done – our motives, our aims, our works, and our actions (good and bad). There may be some actions that we are very proud of and we don’t mind the whole world knowing about, and some that we would prefer that they were kept secret. But then there’s God – He knows everything about everything that we have ever done. What must we do oh God?

APPLICATION: We are usually good at hiding stuff from our parents, from our spouse, from our boss and perhaps even from our best friend. But God is all-knowing, all-seeing and always present. So there’s no hiding from Him. However, for the child of God that sought forgiveness through His Son, Jesus, the Bible says that our sin was separated from us as far as the east is from the west. Therefore, I believe that when God looks at our lives on Judgment Day, He will just see His precious Son! But our Scripture today reminds us of what God sees when the non-Christian stands before Him, whether dead or alive on Resurrection morning. I love the way that the Amplified Bible emphasizes what John meant when he said that the dead will be brought before God, for we are reminded that this not only means for all they have done, but they must remember to incorporate: their motives behind the things that they did; their aim in what they wanted to accomplish in the things that they did; their works – whether good or bad, that were strategically done to ensure glorification of self and or self gain; and their actions – whether its the good ones they did in the presence of the pastor, or the bad ones that they did in the middle of the night. I believe that God gave me this Scripture today to share with you, in the hopes that it would cause you to reflect on your ‘works’, or what you have done in 2020. I’m sure that as each reader is reminded of their unfaithful deeds in the current year, they will strive to improve as they head into 2021, or the return of Jesus Christ, whichever comes first. Dear friends, let me encourage you to meet my Savior today. See His forgiveness of your sin and ask for His help to live more like Him every day. Remember, God will either see the person who has been washed white as snow with the forgiveness of God’s Son, or God will see the many horrible things that you have done as described above. Which do you prefer? Are you prepared to do something about that today? If so, may I recommend that you read my Footnote, and especially click on the link ‘To Know Jesus’ for helpful Scripture references that will lead you to Christ.

PRAYER: Thank You precious Lord that there is a day coming when all of life’s worries, strife and hardships will be over, as we know it today. Thank You for the forgiveness of my sin, and thank You for the bright new future that heaven holds for those of us who have accepted Your precious Son As our Lord and Savior. Please soften the hearts of those who continue to serve the evil one, may they choose life over death, and the goodness of God over the punishment of Satan and his domain. Please Lord, may each reader be assured of their fate for eternity, whether sealed in You and Your kingdom, or not. And may they choose life over death and eternal punishment. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Use Virtues of God to Set Your 2021 Goals

Around this time of the year we begin to reflect on the accomplishments, failures, heartaches and missed goals of the year about to end, and many of us will begin to set goals for the incoming year. It’s always good to have something to reach towards, for without that, we might tend to merely exist and settle for anything that comes our way. What if we chose some spiritual goals for 2021? Let’s meditate on the ones listed in today’s Scripture and see what God might be directing us towards.

Monday, 2020-12-28

Bible Reference: Colossians 3:12-14
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 12 You are always and dearly loved by God! So robe yourself with virtues of God, since you have been divinely chosen to be holy. Be merciful as you endeavor to understand others, and be compassionate, showing kindness toward all. Be gentle and humble, unoffendable in your patience with others. 13 Tolerate the weaknesses of those in the family of faith, forgiving one another in the same way you have been graciously forgiven by Jesus Christ. If you find fault with someone, release this same gift of forgiveness to them. 14 For love is supreme and must flow through each of these virtues. Love becomes the mark[k] of true maturity.[l]

OBSERVATION: Around this time of the year we begin to reflect on the accomplishments, failures, heartaches and missed goals of the year about to end, and many of us will begin to set goals for the incoming year. It’s always good to have something to reach towards, for without that, we might tend to merely exist and settle for anything that comes our way. What if we chose some spiritual goals for 2021? Let’s meditate on the ones listed in today’s Scripture and see what God might be directing us towards.

APPLICATION: I believe that we unconsciously set New Years’ goals for ourselves, depending on our audience at the time. For we tend to concentrate on spiritual goals when we are with God or His people; and we tend to drift more into financial and other personal goals when we are with our friends and family. This may not be a bad philosophy, but we might question ourselves as to why is there a need to compartmentalize depending on the audience. I believe that when God listens to the cry of His precious child’s heart, He listens for everything that might be troubling that child, or being celebrated by them. After all, if we are going through financial woes, don’t you know that subject will be foremost on our minds as cry out to God about our disappointments in 2020 and when we speak with God and seek His perfect will for our lives in 2021? On another note, don’t you know that our attitudes will be drastically impacted when we are struggling in our relationship with God? But isn’t it awesome to know that God is more than willing to speak with His children about all aspects of our life, as we seek His direction and try to establish goals for the New Year? After all, He’s the only One who truly knows what will transpire next year, so His guidance is vital. However friends, I believe that God has given us some virtues to concentrate on in the days ahead. Think about these things: be holy as our Father is holy; be merciful as we seek to understand others; be compassionate and show kindness to others, as you take the focus off self and all that you want; be gentle; be humble; be so patient with others that you would never offend them; learn to tolerate the weaknesses of believers, for you are also flesh and blood, and you could also easily fall short in multiple ways; God has forgiven you, so learn to also forgive others, especially for their faults; and love – remember, your love for others will be a sign of your maturity in Christ. Friends, can you imagine how much better our world will be, if we choose to seek God’s help in achieving these virtues in 2021? Can you imagine the reduction in stress levels for us individually when we strive for these goals? I believe that as we work towards these goals, we will see God also bless us with the other things He knows that we need, such as financial freedom; good decisions about people and events that we are a part of, etc. As our priority shifts towards our God and His righteousness, I believe that we will see more clearly how truly serious we are about Him, and be reminded of how gracious and kind He is to us.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for saving my soul, thank You Lord for making me whole, thank You Lord for giving to me, Thy great salvation so rich and free! Your Word is a light unto our path oh Lord, may we read it, take it to heart and be obedient to it, with Your amazing help! As we depend on You for all that 2021 brings our way, may we never cease to stop asking You for help in living life here on earth as You intended for us. May others see Your virtues in us before we ever open our mouths to evangelize with words! AMEN!

God is able to Orchestrate Everything For Our Good!

As we approach the end of the year and begin thinking back to all that has taken place in our lives in 2020, unfortunately others may hear us moaning about the ups and downs of COVID or the hardships brought on because of that dreaded virus. However, there could be a much brighter view if we review the year based on our Scripture today. Join me for a time of reflection on the mercies of our awesome God!

Wednesday, 2020-12-27

Bible Reference: Romans 8:27-28
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: 27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? 28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.

OBSERVATION: As we approach the end of the year and begin thinking back to all that has taken place in our lives in 2020, unfortunately others may hear us moaning about the ups and downs of COVID or the hardships brought on because of that dreaded virus. However, there could be a much brighter view if we review the year based on our Scripture today. Join me for a time of reflection on the mercies of our awesome God!

APPLICATION: For some, who may have won the lotto, or been immensely blessed in many ways, it may be easy to reflect on how good God is, and the many ways in which He has blessed. But there are some who may have experienced great life events, that may have involved losing a loved one; or medical challenges that may have almost caused separation from life to death for a precious family member; or losing a house or a car because of devastating financial burdens; or any number of things that you may have wished were more ‘normal’ or in line with others. However, if we look at the year in light of what today’s Scripture is teaching us, how might we answer this question of ‘blessings’ more appropriately, or how might we understand more clearly how God’s hand was right plumb in the middle of our circumstances? Friends, the Word of God says that our Savior is ‘pursuing and exploring our heart’ and petitioning the Father on our behalf that we may stay aligned with His will for our lives. Is it any wonder why we reflect on circumstances and wonder why we chose to take a certain road home in lieu of another, after hearing of the awful accident around the time of our travel home? Or that we chose to go to the hospital for expert medical help, instead of playing doctor and treating our chest pains with aspirin? Or that we chose to share our testimony with our best friend, at a time that God was already working out His salvation plan in her life? Friends, for each of these examples we may easily brush them off as just being something you would have done anyway, or we may call them coincidence or good luck, but please notice again from the Scripture that neither of these words are used – not even in this modern translation of the Bible. There is nothing haphazard about God’s plan, or about His actions in working out His plan in our lives. Remember, we are His workmanship, and for those who have accepted Him as Lord, we are His prized possession on loan only to this world for just a little while longer. So let’s look for, and expect to see His love and His caring touch work through us in miraculous ways. Verse 28 is a commonly recited verse, but I pray that it takes on a more enriched meaning for you as you are reminded of these verses today. I love the way that the Voice has translated the condition in verse 28: ‘when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan’. So friends, whether you reflect on 2020, or look towards 2021, try creating a sense of accountability with God on whether you could honestly say that you have loved Him sincerely, and you have accepted His plan for your life. Learn to praise Him unconditionally for everything that has transpired in your life, even if something devastated you at the time, because you know that He has worked it out with the Father for your good!

PRAYER: Lord You are so good to us! You amaze us with Your love and Your goodness, so much so that we may tend to question ‘why me Lord?’. Thank You for the lessons taught in these special verses today, for we are reminded of Your unconditional love for us, and how You love us enough that You keep us constantly before the Father, for our good. Help us Lord to keep this awesome reminder in mind, especially when things don’t appear to be going our way. May we be encouraged to share that special love with those that we come into contact with today. AMEN!

Celebrate Jesus!

As I read this passage I believe that God reminded me of how careful we must be in getting distracted from the Main Thing, just as John was distracted. Notice how John was ready to bow at the feet of the angel and worship him because of all the awesome things he saw and heard around him, in his dream? Now notice how, for us at this very special time of the year, such little attention is given to Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas. Wouldn’t You think that perhaps an angel should stop us in our rush and haste to spend our very last dollar on gifts that has nothing at all to do with Jesus, and remind us of where our attention should be centered?

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-12-25
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Revelation 19:9-10
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: Then the angel said to me, “Write these words: Wonderfully blessed are those who are invited to feast at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!” And then he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
10 At this I fell facedown at the angel’s feet to worship him, but he stopped me and said, “Don’t do this! For I am only a fellow servant with you and one of your brothers and sisters who cling to what Jesus testifies. Worship God. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”[e]

OBSERVATION: As I read this passage I believe that God reminded me of how careful we must be in getting distracted from the Main Thing, just as John was distracted. Notice how John was ready to bow at the feet of the angel and worship him because of all the awesome things he saw and heard around him, in his dream? Now notice how, for us at this very special time of the year, such little attention is given to Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas. Wouldn’t You think that perhaps an angel should stop us in our rush and haste to spend our very last dollar on gifts that has nothing at all to do with Jesus, and remind us of where our attention should be centered?

APPLICATION: What if, in the middle of your shopping this Christmas, an angel tapped you on the shoulder and insisted that you return home and stop worrying about what the world promotes around Christmas time? Do doubt over recent weeks you have been frantic in shopping for the best deals, worrying about what you will give this family member or that particular friend who most people find it impossible to please. You probably fought the crowds to purchase food enough for several families, as you think about Christmas dinner for your own family, and you may have even worried about when you might have a small party in these days of social distancing and COVID spread, so that you might look at least equally as good as your friend, who always have great parties at Christmas. But in the middle of one of these activities, suppose you heard a message from God that reminded you of this being the birthday of a KingThe King of all kings. You might be reminded that the Shepherds left their sheep and went as they were, with all that they had while tending sheep, and traveled a long distance at the beckon of a star, to worship this newborn and to recognize the gift that God sent to us that first Christmas. It is at that point that you become real confused, as if an angel stood before you and asked you to explain how, what you are doing correlates with what the Shepherds did. They didn’t worship the host of heavenly angels, because they knew it was about the One whom the angels sang about. They didn’t praise the star for taking them in the right direction, because it took them to the bedside of the newborn King. They didn’t go off course to see if any stores were opened, because they knew that giving of themselves was way more important than anything artificial or bought, that they could take in their hands. The angel stopped John from paying homage to him, because he was like John, a worshipper and a servant. If the angel stopped us and redirected our thoughts towards the reason for the season, Jesus Christ, what do you suppose he might suggest that we do? Perhaps like the Shepherds, give ourselves completely to our Lord? The Shepherds also worshipped the newborn King, perhaps the angel might suggest that we consider putting everything else aside and concentrate on Jesus, worship Him as our King and devote the day to Him? Perhaps our Christmas should revolve around giving of ourselves, and not the things that we purchase to demonstrate how much we care. John was told by the angel that Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. I believe the angel would remind us this holiday season that Jesus is the spirit of Christmas!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for sending Your Son as a baby, so that we might ultimately have a Savior who would save us of our sin, and redeem us, fit for heaven for all eternity. This may have been a year filled with signs and wonders, but Lord, we need to hear from You again, much like Your messenger spoke to John in our Scripture today. Please help us to keep our eyes fixed on You as we celebrate Your birth. In spite of our sacrifices for gifts that may or may not be of value to those we love, I pray that You will help us to keep our hearts and minds fixed on You, the greatest gift ever given by Your Father to mankind. Happy Birthday Jesus! Please accept my humble gift of myself as a token of my love for my Savior and King. May the hearts of my readers also be touched by You this Christmas, so that You may be lifted up and praised like never before. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

You Are Precious

God referred to His people (the Jews in Babylon) as being ‘precious’ in His sight. Based on His sacrifice and various indications in the New Testament of His love for those who have accepted His precious Son, I believe that we are also considered ‘precious’ in His sight. No doubt many of you are struggling with many things that seemed to have hit us this year and we all need to be encouraged by the fact that we are the apple of God’s eye, as some translations put it, or precious to God, as other translations did. Oh my, who are we that the God of this universe should consider us so special? Wow!

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2020-12-24
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Zechariah 2:6-9
TRANSLATION: New Century Version (NCV)

BIBLE TEXT: “Oh no! Oh no! Run away from Babylon, because I have scattered you like the four winds of heaven,” says the Lord.
“Oh no, Jerusalem! Escape, you who live right in Babylon.” This is what the Lord All-Powerful says: “After he has honored me and sent me against the nations who took your possessions—because whoever touches you hurts what is precious to me— I will shake my hand against them so that their slaves will rob them.”
Then you will know that the Lord All-Powerful sent me.

OBSERVATION: God referred to His people (the Jews in Babylon) as being ‘precious’ in His sight. Based on His sacrifice and various indications in the New Testament of His love for those who have accepted His precious Son, I believe that we are also considered ‘precious’ in His sight. No doubt many of you are struggling with many things that seemed to have hit us this year and we all need to be encouraged by the fact that we are the apple of God’s eye, as some translations put it, or precious to God, as other translations did. Oh my, who are we that the God of this universe should consider us so special? Wow!

APPLICATION: After bringing the Israelites safely through the wilderness in a journey lasting over 40 years, God disbursed those who had not learned a lesson in obedience and worship to Himself. However, Zechariah was ordained by God to begin calling His people home. It sounds to me that this is in preparation for His return, because He said that Jerusalem would be bursting at its seams – overflowing with people and animals (food). This being the case, I believe that those of us that have accepted the Lord Jesus, and are still alive, will also be called together with God’s people, for we are considered His children, or His chosen ones, and we have been promised a grand meeting in the air when He calls us home to glory. Friends, we have a wonderful time ahead of us, no matter what we suffer or endure here on earth, for the King is coming, and He’s coming for you and I! Surely after the trials of 2020, we are all hoping that this will be sooner than later, but as a friend of mine says at the end of each Bible verse he posts: Keep our eyes on Jesus and our mind in the Book! For God is the only One who knows the day, the hour and the minute of His return, so our best clues will come from the Book! The other thing about today’s verses is the reminder of how precious we are to God. I love to see the emotional return of our troops when they greet their children for the first time. It’s like they don’t want to let them go. Don’t you know that the greeting by our Heavenly Father will be with the same intensity, warmth and love? One of my favorite hymns about that greeting is: Oh I want to see Him, look upon His face. There to sing forever of His wondrous grace...! I can hardly wait dear friends! I hope that you are prepared and also ready to meet our Creator when He returns to take His precious children (the church) home. You are the apple of His eye, so He is waiting to hear from you. If you have doubts, please look at my Footnote and particularly click on the link ‘To Know Jesus’. I have include multiple Biblical references that will help guide you to the throne of grace and accept Jesus as your Lord. Of course, you can always click on the link for Nuggets below and contact me. Share your decisions with me and/or ask questions that might help you make decisions. I would be overjoyed to introduce you to my Lord, or help in any other way that I can.

PRAYER: Oh the joy of knowing that there is more to expect than the challenges of this earth that we encounter from day to day! Praise God for His promises – always true and always with us in mind. To be considered a son, and precious in the sight of the Lord is an awesome honor and a warm hope, unrivaled with anything else available to mankind! Thank You precious Lord. Please speak with all my readers and give us assurance that our loved ones will also be ready to meet You, for we are very concerned about those we love. We want to see You dear Lord, and we want to worship You in Your place at the right hand of the Father. Come Lord Jesus, come! AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Come Back To God

I believe that we are quick to complain about how terrible things are – COVID, crime, wickedness, non-curable diseases, etc. Fortunately we have some of the best scientists ever lived, but isn’t it shocking that cancer is still killing so many people who can’t find help from doctors and modern medicine? Heart attacks are still taking the lives of many, regardless of age or gender. COVID is impacting the whole world, and although we may currently have a vaccine, we have not seen proven effects from that yet. So what might the problem be? Look no further than God’s Word, as we will do today. Stay with me.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-12-23
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Zechariah 1:4-6
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT: “Don’t be like your ancestors. In the past the prophets spoke to them and said, ‘The Lord All-Powerful wants you to change your evil way of living. Stop doing evil things!’ But your ancestors did not listen to me.” This is what the Lord said. “Your ancestors are gone, and those prophets did not live forever. The prophets were my servants. I used them to tell your ancestors about my laws and teachings. Your ancestors finally learned their lesson and said, ‘The Lord All-Powerful did what he said he would do. He punished us for the way we lived and for all the evil things we did.’ So they came back to God.

OBSERVATION: I believe that we are quick to complain about how terrible things are – COVID, crime, wickedness, non-curable diseases, etc. Fortunately we have some of the best scientists ever lived, but isn’t it shocking that cancer is still killing so many people who can’t find help from doctors and modern medicine? Heart attacks are still taking the lives of many, regardless of age or gender. COVID is impacting the whole world, and although we may currently have a vaccine, we have not seen proven effects from that yet. So what might the problem be? Look no further than God’s Word, as we will do today. Stay with me.

APPLICATION: I don’t know about you, but I was always one who enjoyed the benefits of happy parents. I hated to disappoint them, and I was terribly unhappy when I saw they were unhappy and/or disappointed about something. We carry that same emotional concept throughout life, as we have the same feelings for our spouse. But what happens when we no longer care about how the other party feels about our wicked actions and attitude? Generally this will involve separation of some sort. As a kid, we were sent to our room to allow a ‘cool-off’ period. In the case of a spouse, one party may ask for permission to go out on a date with friends, or take a weekend trip with friends to hunt, or go shopping, or just visit a big city. But what about God? What do we do when we have been disrespectful and dishonored Him; where we have deliberately sinned, in spite of being reminded in last week’s sermon about how God feels about that particular sin; where we have repeatedly responded negatively to God’s invitation to accept His one and only Son. I believe that God is at the top of the list in being what we consider ‘a total gentleman’. So I believe that He withdraws from you and will allow you to proceed with your selfish desires. But my dear friends, please allow me to remind you that just as God spoke through Zechariah to tell the Israelites that He would return to them if they sought after Him, He also stands ready, with outstretched arms, inviting His sinful children to return to Him, and promising that He would, in turn, return to them. Is there any reason to doubt God at His word? Absolutely not, for He said that He could do anything but sin, or go back on His word. Furthermore, the last words in our Scripture were spoken by the Israelites, who declared that just as God said, they returned to Him and, in turn, He returned to them. Dear son or daughter, there would be no greater gift to your mom or dad this Christmas than to come back to God, so that He would freely come back to you.

PRAYER: It is beyond our wildest imagination to understand why a holy and righteous God would return to us after we have deserted Him and gone our own way, or did our own thing. However, we know that You love us dear God and we know that You went to the extreme to save us from our sin, so Lord Jesus, we surrender ourselves back to You anew and ask for Your forgiveness. We have sinned against You and our lives are in shambles. In line with Your Word, we ask that You forgive us of our sin and accept us back into your favor. You honored Your promise to the Israelites, and I believe that You will do it again. Thank You for loving us unconditionally and for honoring Your Word. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Impacts of Giving/Not Giving

It is popular to remind Christians about the blessings that will flow from their giving, but seldom do we hear about the affects of not giving in return for the countless blessings that God bestows on us. However, God had such a conversation through His servant Haggai for his people at Jerusalem, and it was pointed enough to impact me, so I hope that it may also hit close to home for my readers.

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-12-22
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Haggai 1:4-7
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: Do you think the time is right for you to live in secure and lavishly covered homes when My house still lies in a heap of rubble? Think very carefully about your choices. You have planted a large crop, but your harvest is small. You have food to eat, but it is never enough to satisfy. You have something to drink, but you are never filled. You have clothes to wear, but they are not enough to keep you warm. You earn a salary, but the money runs out quickly, as if there are holes in your pocket. Think very carefully about your choices. 

OBSERVATION: It is popular to remind Christians about the blessings that will flow from their giving, but seldom do we hear about the affects of not giving in return for the countless blessings that God bestows on us. However, God had such a conversation through His servant Haggai for his people at Jerusalem, and it was pointed enough to impact me, so I hope that it may also hit close to home for my readers.

APPLICATION: This is a challenging subject to write on, because it hits very close to home long before I could share my thoughts with you and allow it to impact you. You see, I was brought up taking a quarter to place in the offering plate at church. After a few years, I remember that amount increasing to a dollar bill, but never any greater. I won’t dare question whether my parents had more to give us and chose to give less, because their finances were never discussed with the kids. However, by the time I started attending high school, I went to a church that taught tithing a minimum of 10% of my income! After I started working, I remember writing that first tithe check and comparing it to the one dollar bill that I gave prior to that. Wow, what a discussion Satan had with me on that subject! Later in my life, I remember sitting in revival services and being asked to take my wallet out and hold it. The speaker then reminded us that God gave us everything contained in that wallet, so why would we hold back His future blessings by being stingy with the amount we give. I remember looking at my budget, which was already strained, and questioning God as to how would I possibly make this work if I gave 10% of my gross salary. God convinced me that He would bless me as I chose to give freely and happily to Him and His work. I remember times where Satan really used very tight budgeting constraints to try and have me change my tithing, but as soon as I drew closer to God, He convinced me that He was more than able. I apologize for the long personal experiences, but when I read this passage today, I believe that God drew those memories to mind, and I hope they may help you in your spiritual and financial journey. In the Scripture today God acted upon a people that had their priorities wrong. They had money for everything else, except their giving for the ongoing work of the Kingdom. Friends, I can tell you from a church perspective how challenging it becomes for a church to accomplish all they feel God placing before them to do, when the income is just not there. And this sounds much like the situation God recognized with the Israelites and their priority for maintaining His church. I am also aware that many families are struggling, and it sounds an awful lot like what the Israelites faced in the examples given by God in verse 6 of our Scripture. Unfortunately, I could also tell you of many who take care of their personal pleasures first and then, possibly give to God a small portion of what’s left over. Please Brothers and Sisters, know that our Scripture today is showing us that God’s work suffers when: we withhold giving of tithes from our income; when we do not acknowledge that it’s God that we are holding out on when we choose not to give biblically; when we look for excuses why we can’t give a percentage of our income – no matter what that income might be. Friends, I pray that God will forgive me if I walked over the line in judging, but I sincerely pray that He will touch the hearts of His children today and help them see how their mediocracy in giving, results in mediocracy in His blessings. May He never have to discipline us like detailed in verse 6 above, in order to get our attention on giving of the income that He blessed us with. I believe that the God who loves us unconditionally, desires to bless His children beyond anything we could understand or imagine. May we be careful not to place any stumbling blocks that would cause Him to withhold His wondrous blessings.

PRAYER: Lord You are so good to me, and I’m sure You are especially good to many who claim You as Lord and Master. Thank You for getting our attention about the impact of not giving, and reminding us of the blessings You bestow every day on us so that we might give. Lord I pray that You will get the attention of all who might read this devotional. I pray that You will get the attention of those who have chosen not to give generously and willingly to Your work. Please show them Your mighty works and remind them of Your love for them. May each one search deeply inside and put away the excuses they have developed, if they are not giving in line with Your wishes. Praise God we can’t out-give You, for Your awesome love is shown in so many ways. Thank You Heavenly Father for loving and blessing in so many wonderful and surprising ways. Please teach us to love You enough in return that we will give without hesitation to Your work. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

The Day of The Lord

The Bible says that life will be going on as usual – Christmas celebrations, Covid complications, New jobs, Retirements, New births, deaths, family celebrations and family arguments. Any of these things could be happening when the last trumpet call is heard loud and clear. Christians know that this will herald a time when they will meet their Savior face-to-face. However, Zephaniah has a stark contrast for those without Jesus Christ. Your choice today decides what you will face on the day and time of that last trumpet blast. Think about that today as we delve into the Scriptures.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2020-12-20
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Zephaniah 2:2-3
TRANSLATION: Amplified Bible (AMP)

BIBLE TEXT:  ….. Before the burning and fierce anger of the Lord comes upon you,
Before the day of the wrath of the Lord comes upon you.
Seek the Lord [search diligently for Him and regard Him as the foremost necessity of your life], All you humble of the land who have practiced His ordinances and have kept His commandments; seek righteousness, seek humility [regard them as vital].
Perhaps you will be hidden [and pardoned and rescued] in the day of the Lord’s anger.

OBSERVATION: The Bible says that life will be going on as usual – Christmas celebrations, Covid complications, New jobs, Retirements, New births, deaths, family celebrations and family arguments. Any of these things could be happening when the last trumpet call is heard loud and clear. Christians know that this will herald a time when they will meet their Savior face-to-face. However, Zephaniah has a stark contrast for those without Jesus Christ. Your choice today decides what you will face on the day and time of that last trumpet blast. Think about that today as we delve into the Scriptures.

APPLICATION: We all love to have fun, and in most cases that is a good thing. However, Zephaniah wanted to make sure that that putting all the fun aside, the Judeans knew that they had a very bleak future ahead. So he shared very bluntly what they could expect that day, or on any other day that Jesus Christ returns. Way too often we show such a good face to our friends and neighbors that they would probably be willing to testify of our future prospect in heaven. However, God knows what’s under the surface and buried deep inside our ugly hearts. Although Zephaniah was deeply concerned for the Judeans, God is concerned about us all, and I believe that He insisted on this scripture being included in His Book, because He wanted us to also be reminded that very sad times are ahead for those who choose to ignore the love of Jesus Christ on the cross. Notice that the Word encourages us to seek after Jesus with all our heart – in fact, make it a top priority in our life. Why? Because we could very easily hear that trumpet blast before we could finish reading this blog. For those of us who make it a priority to ‘live right’, or obey the commandments of God, Zephaniah is encouraging us to really strive hard to improve our relationship with our King in two primary areas (probably the ones that we struggle with most):
~ Seek righteousness – Righteousness is thought of best when we honestly consider if we are ‘right with God’. Very challenging, as God is known as the only perfect One, and we realize what a stretch that would be for us. But also notice that God commanded through Zephaniah that we ‘seek after’ righteousness. In other words, evaluate self against the Word of God, and then reevaluate yourself after a challenging day to see how you did with that. When you take time to look for ways to improve your actions and determine how you could be more like Jesus, then I believe you are ‘seeking after’ ways to be ‘right with God’; and
~ Seek humility – Most would gloss over this because they are convinced that they already have this under control. But if we feel like we could brag about it, doesn’t that mean that you’re not really humble? Friends, this is a very challenging characteristic and one that we are forced to seek after until we are called home to Glory. You know what it means, and you know what it looks like as you look on others who struggle with being humble. Let me suggest that you join me in asking God at the beginning of each day to help us to be humble, like He is. Then at the end of each day, ask God to show us where we messed up, and how we may be more like Him in humility the next day.
Like Zephaniah told his people, as we strive to assume the above characteristics of our Father, then perhaps He will pardon us on the Day of the Lord, when He returns to take His church home!

PRAYER: Thank You for Your Word today Lord. Another reminder that You are not finished with us yet, but that we are a work in progress. Please Lord, impact our hearts in such a way that we will daily seek to improved our walk with You and seek after righteousness and humility – two areas that I believe we will never attain perfection in while living here on earth and being stained by the world’s sinful acts. Oh that we might be found faithful and true, for this is my humble plea for my readers and I. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!