How We’ve Changed

DATE POSTED Friday, 2023-01-13
WRITTEN AT: O’Brien, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Luke 8:1-3
TRANSLATION: Good News Translation (GNT)

BIBLE TEXT: …. Jesus traveled through towns and villages, preaching the Good News about the Kingdom of God. The twelve disciples went with him, and so did some women who had been healed of evil spirits and diseases: Mary (who was called Magdalene), from whom seven demons had been driven out; Joanna, whose husband Chuza was an officer in Herod’s court; and Susanna, and many other women who used their own resources to help Jesus and his disciples.

APPLICATION: As a child, I remember evangelists coming to my small town, seemingly without prior notice. We would suddenly find them on our street corners celebrating their Savior and sharing the Word of God. Although they received an offering to help with their expenses and to fund future endeavors, finances didn’t seem to be the emphasis. Were they mocked and accused of sin even while representing God in those street services? Of course. But which of you can stand and say that your church leaders are not under close scrutiny by your members, and perhaps even accused many times of things that members tend to judge minister on? Notice that Jesus allowed some on the trip that everyone may have known to have committed certain sins or had been possessed by certain demons. What should that say to us when we look at certain church attendees who may be identified by the community to be of questionable character? Can God cleanse their hearts, make them brand new inside, and accept them as His humble servants? As for ministering in support positions, I once went on a mission’s trip to South Dakota with several men, mostly pastors. In our van that we travelled in, we found coolers filled with drinks and snacks for us. The love and support of our church ladies was felt throughout our trip and especially the many hours of driving time. In our story today, these ladies actually went along with Jesus and His disciples as a support arm. This was one aspect of the trip that these men would not be distracted from their mission for! I feel deeply that God looks on the support team for our ministers and missionaries, just as importantly as he does for the actual ministers. Another major part of this story is the reminder that Jesus led the way for He and His disciples to take the Good News of Jesus Christ outside the walls of the church and into the hi-ways and byways where folk may never bother themselves to hear the Gospel message inside a fancy church building. Oh, how that has changed. Are we really effective anymore in reaching the communities we live in, work in, and conduct our church services in? Some larger churches manage to attract people from deep within their communities because of the programs, exciting praise and worship segments of their services, and possibly the charisma of their pastor. But do our churches today truly prepare their congregants to go out spread the Gospel to everyone, like we are instructed in Matthew 28:19? I feel like Jesus took His disciples along so that He could ensure that they could carry the torch when He is no longer around in person. This would mean that they could make the next trip into the community on their own and train other new Christians following in their footsteps. Friends, ashamedly I believe we could easily see that churches today barely minister to the sick of their congregation, or small group, anymore. Christians are often afraid to offend anyone, so telling others the Good News that they may have never heard before, may provoke challenging Biblical questions and/or insult to our efforts. Let’s be challenged by the lesson taught to us by our Master – go into all the world and preach the Gospel – the Good News. Start by sharing that message with another church member, or a friend you can trust. Then challenge a coworker to hear the Good News that you have to share with them. These are all folk who would very willingly sit to hear you tell them about an approaching storm, or the newest movie you saw. If something has truly changed your life and continues to change you each day that You spend time communicating with God through prayer and Bible Study, then I would dare say that you have a personal, life changing message to share with them. Remember, our job is to share the Good News. It’s still God’s job to save them, if they accept the Good News brought by us!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Jesus set the example for His disciples, and for us, in ministering to the local communities and the many who have chosen to exclude God from their lives. I wonder how He will rate our efforts to follow in His footsteps.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You saw the need to minister to those in need of a Savior, and the need to teach spiritual leaders how they should follow in Your example. I don’t believe we are doing so well in this today, dear Lord. We hardly show compassion to believers who worship or study alongside us in the church, and we have occupied ourselves with everything but ministry. How will they know, unless we teach them or minister to them? (Romans 10:14) Please Lord, teach us to get over ourselves, and our church, and our business, and instead think of the souls of Your children, especially the unsaved and the hurting, in our community. Please show us ministry opportunities and fill our hearts with the words that You would have us share. New Christians are looking for real-life examples to follow, and leaders who will train them in the ways of the Lord. May we be among those who are willing to share the love of Christ that has saturated our lives through every circumstance of life. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. 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!

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