Gift Ideas For Christmas

At Christmas time we seem to easily find room in our hearts to be kind to others and give physical gifts, much like the Wise Men did when they visited the baby Jesus. However, in our Scripture today, Paul reminds us of what all God did for us, and how that should lead us to do the same for others. So, as we meditate on this today, may it stir up within us many ideas on how we might bless others at Christmas with the many God-given gifts we have been blessed with! Take a few minutes to meditate with me, won’t you?

DATE POSTED Wednesday, 2022-12-07
WRITTEN AT: O’Brien, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Colossians 3:12-14
TRANSLATION: Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT: 12 God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. 13 Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. 14 Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. 

APPLICATION: Most children are probably looking forward to Christmas because of the gifts they have asked for and expect to receive. As adults, Paul has reminded us of the gracious gifts that are ours, in being a child of the most high God! Here are some of the gifts mentioned by Paul: 1). God has made us His holy people – imagine that – steeped in sin and very much a part of Satan’s army, yet when we felt the call on our life by Jesus, and surrendered our life to Him, God accepted us as His very own child! That is beyond comprehension and could only be imagined through faith in the truth of God’s Holy Word; 2). God loves us – ‘Love’ is an awesome word that we use, and even abuse in our lifetime, but it takes on such a special meaning when the holy Son of God loves a child that has been so blatant in sin and asked for His forgiveness. Oh, that we may find it in our hearts to love so unconditionally and sincerely this Christmas! and 3). God blessed us with gifts that only He can give – So now we have amazing gifts to share with others because of what God blessed us with: Show mercy towards others; Be kind to others; Be humble towards others; Be gentle to others; Be patient with others; Don’t be angry with others; Forgive others; and LOVE others. Friends, the best news of all about these godly gifts, compared to our usual gift giving, is that there will be no increase in credit card bills whatsoever! God blesses us with these gifts every day, so now we too can share with others throughout the year, and not just at Christmas! Try reading over this devotional again and again as Christmas draws night and concentrate on all the godly gifts that you can extend to family and friends. Be instrumental in teaching them God’s ways and His teachings through your example this Christmas! Others just may see that you have a heart like that of Jesus, because you showed that you cared for them!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Christmas, and the precious, ultimate gift of Your Son! Thank You for this reminder again today through your servant Paul, teaching us how we might extend to others the many gifts that You have showered on us. Please help us to make someone’s Christmas special this year, simply by showering them with the character of Your Son, and the godly gifts mentioned in our Scripture today. These are things that money can’t buy, yet because they were gifted to us, we are more than able to shower others with evidence of Your precious love. Thank You for blessing us, Lord! 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!

A Demonstration of God’s love For His Children

We have the benefit of knowing why kings in the Old Testament acted and ruled the way they did, because the Bible tells us whether they were obedient to God and ruled with His principles in mind. As we meditate on the introduction of this one king today, Jehoahaz, I believe God might have us think about how we might be referred to by others today. Worthy of our attention also, is the way that God responded to the cry of Jehoahaz, even though he was referred to as being unfaithful and sinful in his ways. I wonder, what will they say about us?

DATE POSTED Tuesday, 2022-12-6
WRITTEN AT: O’Brien, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 2 Kings 13:1-6
TRANSLATION: The Message (MSG)

BIBLE TEXT: 1-3 …. Jehoahaz son of Jehu became king of Israel in Samaria—a rule of seventeen years. He lived an evil life before God, walking step for step in the tracks of Jeroboam son of Nebat who led Israel into a life of sin, swerving neither left or right. Exasperated, God was furious with Israel and turned them over to Hazael king of Aram and Ben-Hadad son of Hazael. This domination went on for a long time.
4-6 Then Jehoahaz prayed for a softening of God’s anger, and God listened. He realized how wretched Israel had become under the brutalities of the king of Aram. So God provided a savior for Israel who brought them out from under Aram’s oppression.

APPLICATION: Why should it matter how people see us, you might ask. I believe it is obvious that the people under each king’s rule in the Old Testament, were impacted by who they were, and how they responded – based on their principal values. Is that what happens in the department you have supervision over at work? Will your beliefs and principles become a part of them? What about your family, does the same happen with them? I believe the BIG question for us to consider today is: how far will you be permitted to impose bad habits or cruel treatment or rudeness on those who look up to you, before your reins are pulled in and you are held accountable? How bad will it get before God gives up on you and refuses to listen to your heart’s cry? Jehoahaz was described as a king who couldn’t be bothered to change any bad habits, rules, or laws introduced by his predecessors. In fact, as this translation says, ‘he didn’t swerve to the left or the right of the habits, laws and actions handed to him’. Although there is no evidence that this king accepted God to rule over His life and lead him to be the best king they ever had, yet we could see that the king knew where his only source of help would come from – God alone. When the enemy had totally destroyed his kingdom, and he realized that there was not one thing he could do better, he didn’t turn to his astrologers, or his wise men, or his magicians, like some other kings did. He turned to the One true God, whom he had no doubt, could solve the dilemma he faced. Now, for you and me – whether we are a pastor, elder, deacon, other church leader of just a regular church member, I believe Jehoahaz would have been hard-pressed getting our attention or help, based on all the trouble he may have caused us. But thank God, the king turned to One much greater than us! The One whose example we should aim to follow all the days we have remaining on earth. For you see, knowing this king’s heart, knowing the disregard he had for God’s people, and knowing how this may be the very first time that he called on God for anything, yet because of God’s love for His children, God not only listened to the cry of Jehoahaz, but He also provided a savior to rescue he and his nation from the tyranny they were facing from Aram and his army. STOP! Wait just a minute. God provided a savior for this sinful man who caused such death and destruction on a whole nation? Who could ever forgive such an awful man? My friend, the story of Jehoahaz describes each of us meditating on this word from God today. While we were still sinners – just like Jehoahaz, yet God loved us enough that He sent His very own son – a Savior, to save us from our sin and destruction brought on by the enemy, then He gave us the rights to eternity with the Father and the Son. As I meditate on this, there’s a chorus that comes to mind, ‘If that Isn’t love‘. Stop for a moment and watch/worship with this short music video, I believe you will be blessed as you reflect on all that God did in providing a Savior for you. In the story of Jehoahaz, the people did like many of us today. They were happy about the help from God, but they quickly returned to their sin and sinful deeds. Make your experience and commitment a lasting one my friend. God loves you today, and every day for the rest of your life. Let your commitment to Him be just as lasting – until you see Him in glory someday soon!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: In spite of Jehoahaz being disobedient and disobeying God’s commands, yet because of God’s love for His children, He sent a savior to rescue them and restore their peace. Because of God’s love for us, He also sent a Savior for us – Jesus Christ, His Son! Praise be to God!

PRAYER: Thank You Jesus, that because of God’s wondrous love for us, He sent You, His one and only Son, so that we, even while we were just sinners – undeserving of anything from Him, to be our Savior and Lord. Oh, what a Savior! Oh, what grace from our Almighty King! Thank You Father, Son and Holy Spirit for loving me, and for loving each and every reader and listener who will commit their lives to Your amazing grace today. Lord, You are more wonderful than anything we could imagine! Please touch our hearts so that we might be more like You in every way, to all that we come into contact with, so that You may be glorified through our words and actions. 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!

What You Genuinely Care About

As I pondered this Scripture today, it made me look deep inside and ask why would my pastor ask me to help in the ministry – in service to my precious Lord? Paul found that most sought after their own good, for their own advantage, for their personal profit and welfare. But, praise God, Paul found one, Timothy, who cared about the welfare of the people where he needed him to serve. Let’s take time to examine ourselves and also the ministry needs of those we come into contact with. Are we trustworthy to be His disciple here on earth, today?

DATE POSTED Saturday, 2022-12-03
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Philippians 2:20-21
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: 20 I have no one else like Timothy, who genuinely cares about your welfare. 21 All the others care only for themselves and not for what matters to Jesus Christ. 

APPLICATION: Over the years I have served on many Pastor Search Committees, where we searched high and low, far and wide, in what seemed like, ‘a needle in a haystack’, for the next pastor to serve at our church. Also served on church Nominating Committees, where we looked over the church membership role to find qualified persons to fill the internal ministry needs of our church. I don’t recall this Scripture ever coming up in either of the above committees, but I wonder if, unconsciously, we weren’t led by God, like He did with Paul, to choose the candidates who were serious about the needs and work of the Lord, His people, and His church. I sincerely hope, in retrospect, that God turned our stomachs on the applicants who were after their own personal interests and just needed income to complete His mission here on earth. Nominating Committees always seemed so judgmental, because we based our decision on what we saw the individuals do in and around the church. Seldom do churches visit the homes of church families anymore, and seldom do leaders even call to check on their members. Covid? Perhaps! Busyness? Perhaps! Selfish and/or personal agendas? Perhaps! But how do you suppose that Paul knew the very heart of the men available to him for ministry? My gut feeling is that he spent some quality time with them. No devices to distract him. Keeping quiet enough to hear the heart of the individual he was visiting. Praying for each prospect in a very non-judgmental way, but always open to the voice of God on who His chosen workers will be. Friends, I believe you will say like many church leaders today will use for an excuse – ‘but these men and women who serve on our committees are just human’. Fortunately, that’s the correct answer! However, it gives them even more reason to seek the heart of the One they are serving. God has a plan for each of us, and for His ministry here on earth. We must present ourselves to Him as living sacrifices, meaning that we must approach him without a personal agenda, and sincerely make ourselves available to Him. We must surrender our will to His, and be willing to do whatever He commands, without excuses, that ultimately comes from fear and self examination. I want to challenge each reader, along with myself, to consider: if our church looked at us individually to serve in ministry, would they see someone interested in the ways, commands, and wishes of Almighty God, or just individuals centered on selfish desires and personal agendas. Just as Paul saw these awesome and trustworthy qualities in Timothy, I pray that our similar qualities are shinning brightly for God and everyone else to see, God being our helper and awesome Miracle Worker!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: May it be obvious to others what God already knows about us, and may it all be pleasing to God, and for His glory only.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You are worthy of all our praise. Please forgive us for not always acting in ways that would pleases and honor You, but way too often seeking after our own will and benefit. Paul needed someone who had a heart for the people he served and ministered to. Our pastors, and our churches still need folk like that today. Please humble our hearts Lord, so that we may always seek to serve You and represent You in all that we do, so that all the glory will be attributed to You alone. Please humble the hearts of those who need You today, and open their eyes to all that You are doing in their world, and possible even through us. Be glorified in us today, oh Lord. 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!

Ask, And God Will Give It To You

This is a chapter well worth taking the time to read and meditate on. Solomon tried to pattern his life after his dad, David, so of course he followed many of God’s laws. However, he still went to offer sacrifices to the gods of the local temples with his fellow citizens. But God had a plan for Solomon’s life, so He appeared to him in a dream, even while in Gibeon for the purpose of sacrificing to another god. The question asked by God in that dream is one that, I believe, He is still asking us today when we approach the throne in prayer: ‘What do you want me to give you?’ Your dilemma might be in deciding what the most pressing thing is that’s on your mind to ask of God?

DATE POSTED Wednesday, 2022-11-30
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Kings 3:3-5
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: Solomon loved the Lord and followed his father David’s instructions, but Solomon also offered sacrifices and burned incense at the shrines. The most important shrine was in Gibeon, and Solomon had offered more than a thousand sacrifices on that altar.
One night while Solomon was in Gibeon, the Lord God appeared to him in a dream and said, “Solomon, ask for anything you want, and I will give it to you.”

APPLICATION: So often we bow the head to pray, and the words are automatic. We’ve heard the pastor, Sunday School teacher and friends pray, and always wished that we could perfect our prayers like them, so we adopt certain points from their prayers so we might ‘sound legitimate’ in the ears of our peers. But wait a minute, who are we praying to? What are we praying for? Do we have faith in the One to whom we are praying? Do we have a personal relationship with the One to whom we are praying, and have confidence that our deepest thoughts, expressions and requests will be safe in His hands? Do we know that He could accomplish everything that may be bearing on my heart? Friends, I believe that when the God of all creation reaches down in love and shares His interest in us and simply asks us to share openly our needs with the only One who could do anything about them, suddenly our minds will turn away from memorized, written, or repetitious prayers, and the words from our heavy heart, or our joyous heart, or our pleading heart, will bubble forth from a heart longing for God to hear us, and meet our needs. Suddenly we realize that we are in the presence of the One who created us, the One who loved us even when we were so unlovable, the One who raised Lazarus from the dead, made the blind man see again and the crippled man walk for the first time – the only One who has the compassion to put up with our worry, heal our loved ones, encourage the broken heart, get the attention of the lost, and fulfill His promise of welcoming us home to glory when that day comes! Praise the Lord, Without the fear of retribution, we could freely, openly, and in all honesty tell our Father exactly what we need and what we want. He is in control, and He knows before we do, what the best course of action is for our lives! Solomon was blessed with much more than he asked for, even though he was in Gibeon to offer sacrifices to a false god. There is no telling what God has in store for us – His precious children! Oh that we will recognize Him the next time that we bow our heads in prayer, and may we always be prepared to answer Him when He asks the same question of us that He did of Solomon, ‘ask Me for anything you want’.

PRAYER: Lord my prayer today is that others might see Jesus, and that they may hear the whisper of their Creator when He tells them ‘Ask for whatever you want, and I will give it to you’. What have we possibly done to deserve this oh Lord? May You see hearts that are filled with gratitude for all that You have already done for us, and may we have the faith to ask, in faith, for everything You approve of. Oh, that Jesus will always be our greatest desire. 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!

Work Out Your Salvation

I hope the title will not detract many from reading this devotional, but those are exactly the words used by Paul in addressing the church he started in Philippi. I’m hoping that, with the help of Bible commentators, I can help to clarify Paul’s instructions to the church, for it is still very applicable to us today. Open your heart to the voice of God today as you try to understand His Word better.

DATE POSTED Tuesday, 2022-11-29
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Philippians 2:12-13
TRANSLATION: Amplified Bible (AMP)

BIBLE TEXT: 12 So then, my dear ones, just as you have always obeyed [my instructions with enthusiasm], not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence, continue to work out your salvation [that is, cultivate it, bring it to full effect, actively pursue spiritual maturity] with awe-inspired fear and trembling [using serious caution and critical self-evaluation to avoid anything that might offend God or discredit the name of Christ]. 13 For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is effectively at work in you, both to will and to work [that is, strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfill your purpose] for His good pleasure.

APPLICATION: A ‘Work-Out’ today, almost constitutes negative connotations to many, for it means going to the gym, or hitting the streets, or your exercise equipment for a complete ‘work-out’ 3 or 4 times per week. Normally we hate it because those muscles that we don’t use by sitting in front of the television, they will burn, and hurt for, sometimes, days after our workout! Yet Paul chose to use those words as he gave instructions to new Christians – that they should work-out their salvation. It is extremely important to note that Paul in no way indicated that we are to work for our salvation, for salvation comes only through the wonderful grace of Jesus, who came, died, and rose again, so that we might be saved. But imagine having a gift and never unwrapping it or using it? That would not serve the intended purpose of someone giving it to you, nor you receiving it, nor having it sit on a shelf like it did in the stores. It’s like Paul wanted the Philippian church, and Christians today, to rejoice in having the gift of salvation by showing it off to the world, especially those who so badly need salvation. ‘Showing it off’ is not intended to implicate pride or boasting, but instead meaning that if you are called on to pray for your sick mother in hospital, you must never indicate that you can’t, or you have no idea why you are being called on. Instead, exercise your faith – ask for God to give you boldness and courage to walk into that hospital room and call on Him to give comfort and healing to your mother, just like He did for Lazarus, or the sick girl whose dad came pleading with Jesus to heal his daughter. You would be ‘working-out’ or using the faith that God blessed you with to call on Him at a time where only He could heal or restore encouragement and faith to your mother.
It is so easy for us to use the excuse that we just don’t have the faith or boldness to stand up and proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord over our lives. So in verse 13 Paul goes on to enlighten us as to how this is done. Real simple, it’s not through our strength, but the wonderful work of Jesus in our lives that empowers us to exercise the faith given to us at the time that we accepted Him as Lord. Particularly try to latch on to the very last words in our Scripture – Jesus is looking for us to glorify Him and lift up our praises to Him. He therefore gives us what we need to reflect our salvation, allow Him to work through us, and attribute any and all miracles to Him alone. Through this process, we will recognize the power of God and give Him praise and thanksgiving. The folk who are touched by God through exercising our faith, will also see evidence of God at work and desire to know Him intimately. To God be the glory for all He achieves among His people.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Of my own strength, I can merely show up as a lump on a log, but with Christ working in and through me, He can accomplish much! May I always facilitate the work of Christ every day through all circumstances.

PRAYER: Lord, I plead with You to work-out Your perfect will in and through my life today. I also pray that as each reader and listener commits themselves to You completely today, You will also show Your power through them. This old world is so bombarded by Satan and his evil works through mankind, that they need a fresh perspective in seeing us bless them as we incorporate them while working out our salvation. It’s so hard to fathom the idea of You using us in Your miraculous work here below, Lord. But Your Word is clear that while You can do all things independent of us, yet You chose to work through Your saints to minister to our struggling world. There’s so much to be done Lord, please encourage every Christian to ‘work out their salvation’ while they have the wisdom and strength to allow You to accomplish Your work, especially through us, Your precious saints. 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!

Invite Everyone To Know Your Jesus

As in the day when Jesus walked here on earth, Christians are frowned upon when they are not acting like, or meeting with the right folk in the right place, just as they did when Jesus called a Tax Collector and met with, he and his peers. If you tend to find yourself guilty of similar accusations, then I believe you might be in for a blessing, like I was, to see the reasoning given by Jesus about who needs Him!

DATE POSTED Monday, 2022-11-28
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Luke 5:27-28; 31-32;
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 27 Later on as Jesus left the town he saw a tax collector—with the usual reputation for cheating—sitting at a tax collection booth. The man’s name was Levi. Jesus said to him, “Come and be one of my disciples!” 28 So Levi left everything, sprang up, and went with him.
31 Jesus answered them, “It is the sick who need a doctor, not those in good health. 32 My purpose is to invite sinners to turn from their sins, not to spend my time with those who think themselves already good enough.”

APPLICATION: If you hang around Christians long enough, you will find that many are like babies, they want the full, undivided attention of their pastor, and they want their own way in the decisions of church leadership. When they don’t get their own way, these ‘God-fearing, and wonderful’ people tend to search for the reasons why not. If this includes accusations against the pastor or church leadership, then so be it. Just in case you are wondering why I am coming down on my own Christian Brothers and Sisters, then I would suggest that you re-read our focal Bible verses for today. Jesus had the same problem. Jesus brought to the attention of His accusers that the whole reason He came, was to save the lost. Just as a medical doctor has no reason to setup shop in a gym, Jesus had no reason to try and continue saving the saved. I love the way this translation put verse 32 where Jesus spoke of the unnecessary job of preaching to those who consider themselves already good enough! Not only is much of our pastor’s sermon thrown right over our shoulders to the sinners in back of us, but especially the part where he shares the need for salvation. Unfortunately, those of us who tend to pass on the challenges presented by our pastors, are the hardest to accept the teaching and correction of our Lord. Many miss the word that God has for them when they meditate on the Word of God, because they continually try to apply the voice of God to someone else who is much worse than we are! Please, please dear friend, when you read the Bible, listen closely to what God is saying to you. Soften your heart so that God might speak truth into your life and get His message deep inside of you so that you might become more aligned with His ways and His teachings. When this happens, you will be more qualified to also speak truth into the life of that family member, friend, coworker, or the unsaved who is diligently looking for an image of Christ here on earth. Now, you might be confused and thinking that I feel like the pastor has no reason to preach to the church. Please know that each Christian needs daily communion with God. Bible Study, prayer and the opportunity to minister to the needs of others. Cooperate worship is something called for in the Bible, for it serves to help us recognize God through our prayers, worship and praise. We hear the Word preached so we could understand it better and apply it more fully to our own lives to be better prepared to share it with others. We must always go before God for ourselves first and foremost, for we are all sinners where our attitudes, actions and speech are all influenced by the people, ways and circumstances of the world in which we live. To share Christ with others, we must have Him living and operating in our own lives in such a way that the unsaved will see Jesus, and not the mere knowledge we have of Him. God is very qualified to speak into the hearts of Christians and unbelievers alike. Let’s let Him be God, while we strive to be His faithful servants in obedience to His commands, and in sharing His love with others so that they may have a growing desire for His lordship over their lives.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: When God calls, let’s be like Levi (Matthew), ready to drop everything, get up and follow Him. We tend to worry about the qualifications of an individual, but God seems more willing to work through those who are willing to answer His call. With the Holy Spirit residing inside of Christians, we are adequately able and qualified to answer the call of Christ in our lives.

PRAYER: Doubt arises when we listen to the wrong master. But Lord Jesus, we know that with You beside us, in front of us and inside of us, we can do all things commanded and demonstrated by You. Lord, You were questioned about the crowd that You chose to minister to, so we know that we can expect no less abuse. Please teach us and give us the boldness to always keep it foremost in our minds that our intentions, actions, thoughts and words are to always be geared towards the One we serve, and to introduce others to You. Oh that we could see You move today in the lives of those that we would least expect! For we all need You, Jesus! 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!

May The Christ In You Be Evident To Others Around You

I often feel like a good guide to how we are doing in our Christian walk might come from those we least expect. Perhaps a coworker or acquaintance who you never shared your testimony with, or even told that you are a Christian. Today we will look at the advice that Paul gave to the church at Philippi – the individuals who accepted Jesus as the Christ and Lord of their lives. Notice that he expected a better output from them, based on their input by the One who impacted their lives for the Kingdom. You might fit the same person that Paul was speaking to, so I believe the Holy Spirit might encourage you to take note of this reminder today!

DATE POSTED Saturday, 2022-11-26
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Philippians 2:1-4
TRANSLATION: The Message (MSG)

BIBLE TEXT: 1-4 If you’ve gotten anything at all out of following Christ, if his love has made any difference in your life, if being in a community of the Spirit means anything to you, if you have a heart, if you care—then do me a favor: Agree with each other, love each other, be deep-spirited friends. Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.

APPLICATION: I attended an English high school, where I also boarded under English house parents. The principles and influence of my teachers and house parents have impacted my whole life – timeliness and eating very proper at the table are two of them!!! Having worked at a Canadian bank for over 15 years, I picked up a few things that have followed me right up until now – pretty cool ‘eh’?!!!! So, when your pastor preaches on the subject of being more like Jesus, he may be influenced by the teaching of the apostle Paul to the Philippian church. You see, Paul started this church after seeing many converted to Jesus as His followers. So, if Jesus was impacting their lives, then there should be clear evidence of principles that Jesus followed during His short life here on earth. Before looking closer at the things that were of particular interest to Paul, let me encourage you to first read the principles that were evident in the life of Jesus – found in verses 5-8. Simply click on the Scripture reference above and you will be presented with the full chapter. Paul therefore felt like just how Jesus was uniquely impacted by His Father, that the Philippian church, and Christians today should be impacted by our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ. Notice that the things brought out by Paul, are still things that ‘Christians’ struggle with today. Paul, back then, and Pastors today still struggle why, if Christians love Jesus and is blessed by Him, why are we not following in His footsteps and imitating His Character. Of course, they are assuming that each of us are constantly reminded of the life of Jesus, because we read our Bibles and learn of His character and His teachings. But look at the wish list by Paul:
*~* Agree with each other – You don’t need to prove that you are right all the time. Surely you remember how Jesus just kept silent when he was falsely accused before Pilate. There’s nothing wrong with a friend having their opinion, even if it’s different to yours.
*~* Love each other – Think about God loving you enough that despite your sin and ugly attitude, yet He sent His one and only Son to die a sacrificial life, so that you may live eternally with Him. No greater, unselfish and unconditional love than that.
*~* Be deep-spirited friends – of course they may not think like you, like the same things you like, or frequent the same places that you do, but they are your brother/sister with the same Father. Be good friends with those who need you in their lives.
*~* Others first – Paul said: ‘Don’t push your way to the front; don’t sweet-talk your way to the top. Put yourself aside, and help others get ahead. Don’t be obsessed with getting your own advantage. Forget yourselves long enough to lend a helping hand.
I thought it was really a blessing how Paul even told us how to accomplish these things: a). Through all that we have learned, gained and attained from following Christ; b). Through the lasting impression made on our lives by the love of Christ; c). Through being as one with our community – no reference to what ‘they’ are doing, but always what ‘we’ are doing as a community; and d). Through the love and caring attitude of our heart – God made us this way!
Notice that none of these things teach us to depend on what the other person thinks, does, says, or how they act towards us. This is a message to us personally. God will also deal with the other person, but when you stand before Him, it will all depend on what you did with what was given to you. Friends, the lost in our world need Jesus – our Savior and Lord. Oh, that they will especially see Him in our lives!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: As already evidenced by our Lord and Savior, let us also share compassion, unconditional love and the caring attitude of our Savior with all that we come into contact with. Let them look right through us and yet see ONLY JESUS!

PRAYER: Oh Lord, our lives were very much like the world we still experience every day while here on earth. We all need more of You and no longer be dulled or negatively impacted by the sin, strife and hatred of this world. Thank You for teaching through Your servant Paul so that we might again be reminded of the pitfalls we easily fall into when all we ingest each day is more of the world in which we live. Teach us Lord to always find the joy of our salvation and to aim at pleasing You every day because of what we learn from Your Word, and practice in our earthly travails. Your love, Your awesome gift of eternal life in glory with You and the Father are rewards that all Your saints long for. May the unsaved catch a glimpse of this and desire to know You personally. 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!

Our Priorities vs God’s Priorities

The sentence that I underlined really caught my attention as I studied this passage of scripture. Join me in considering what many of us may have said or done, should this incident happen today. Don’t you imagine that the problems would begin in finding enough able men, that are not too busy, to help us carry this man to Jesus?

DATE POSTED Friday, 2022-11-25
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Luke 5:18-20
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 18-19 Then—look! Some men came carrying a paralyzed man on a sleeping mat. They tried to push through the crowd to Jesus but couldn’t reach him. So they went up on the roof above him, took off some tiles, and lowered the sick man down into the crowd, still on his sleeping mat, right in front of Jesus. 20 Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the man, “My friend, your sins are forgiven!”

APPLICATION: I’m sure that excuses such as: “I heard that you can’t get anywhere near Jesus because of the crowds”, or “I must be back in an hour to catch the game, so I can’t take that chance in leaving to go with you” or “I just got home from work and I can’t leave that quickly, can’t you find someone else to go?” or “I have family in town and I can’t leave them for what may wind up being an hour or more, just to take the old crippled before a man claiming to be God?” or “My family needs me tonight way more than this mission you have dreamed up to take old Jack before this so-called prophet who doesn’t even worship with us each week”. Now imagine arriving at the home where Jesus is, and the excuses that would be used by our current day Christian workers. Friends, before you consider me crazy for thinking this way, think about interviewing fellow ‘Christians’ about their Bible-reading habits. Or their priority in attending your church prayer meetings each week. It is pitiful to see, perhaps less than 1% of your membership who find the time and priority to read their Bible and seek guidance from the Almighty God or attend Prayer Meetings where they could join with other believers around the throne in conversation with their Father. Would it be any different if those absent heard that Jesus would be at your Prayer Meetings in physical form? What if you told them that this might be a healing service? Or that you need them to join with you in prayer for a crippled man, like the one mentioned in this story? Do you suppose you would find the regular attendees bold enough to step out in faith and talk to God openly about healing a crippled? Unfortunately, many attending church have their false precepts that the pastor or elders or deacons are the only ones to pray over someone. Friends, these men of the community were determined to get the paralytic before the God of all Healing. Are you willing to put aside your personal agenda to help someone get at the feet of Jesus for salvation or healing or encouragement? Because of the faith and actions of the men who carried this man to Jesus, the man had an even more important miracle performed in his life than the men realized. His sins were forgiven – THE most important aspect of one’s life was attended to. Jesus first saw a sinner – the spiritual needs of the man, before He saw the physical need for healing. Is that not enough for us to drop everything we are doing to help someone with such critical needs in their lives? Can I suggest that we make every effort to see others through the same lens that Jesus saw this crippled man? Their spiritual needs first, then turn to begging Jesus for any other physical needs they may have.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus I must come before You in humility today asking for Your forgiveness for the times that I have come before You in prayer for a Brother or Sister, but without addressing their spiritual need first and foremost. Please help me to gain the priorities that were most important to You. Please take this vessel and mold it to be just like You. Please help me to be in tuned with You and Your Word each and every day so that I may hear Your voice and obey Your commands and become more like You in my words and in my actions. It is my strong desire that You would also touch the hearts of each and every reader and listener to also acquire the same priorities that You demonstrated to us in this account today. 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!

Greater Is He That Cares For Us….

When the situation around you seem impossible, what do you do? Who do you call on for reassurance that everything will be ok? Do you fall apart when the challenge seems much bigger than anything you could handle or even think of as a reasonable response? Perhaps we all need to draw closer to God, the Author and Maker of all things in heaven and on earth! Stay with me as we compare Elisha’s response to that of his servant when they faced a situation that seemed overwhelming in man’s eyes.

DATE POSTED Thursday, 2022-11-24
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 2 Kings 6:15-17
TRANSLATION: New Century Version (NCV)

BIBLE TEXT: 15 Elisha’s servant got up early, and when he went out, he saw an army with horses and chariots all around the city. The servant said to Elisha, “Oh, my master, what can we do?”
16 Elisha said, “Don’t be afraid. The army that fights for us is larger than the one against us.” 17 Then Elisha prayed, “Lord, open my servant’s eyes, and let him see.”
The Lord opened the eyes of the young man, and he saw that the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha.

APPLICATION: Children will run home to their parents when they face situations that seem larger than anything they could handle. But what do parents do? Church members tend to run, and they may wind up joining another church, when situations arise that they would rather not look for solutions. But what about church leaders. What will they do when they take their jobs of responsibility serious, and accept the task assigned to them by church membership? Often these very real situations arise, and way too often we tend to look at them with no real hope of resolution. We may say the words “Only God can resolve these issues” yet we continue running from the situation. It is obvious from our Scripture reading that Elisha’s servant saw something that seemed impossible to him, and for the man that he served. That happens often during our lifetimes, it may be Covid; or it may be a serious market crash; lack of oil; the unexpected loss of a close family member/friend, or a war where the odds seem really impossible for our country. Many of us have seen what we do when we’re in a panic: we hoard food items; we stockpile household supplies; we fill every possible container with fuel; we may even escape to the hills in our RV’s and just wait as we anticipate the worse possible outcome. But our wisdom from God comes in the way that Elisha and his servant responded, and of course, the way that God protected His own. The servant immediately panicked, much like most of us would do. However, the servant ran to ‘The Man of God’ (I love that title, especially when considering the title attributed to Jesus ‘The Son of Man’!), for he had seen Elisha pray down miracle after miracle, and perhaps the servant had faith enough to believe that Elisha would do just that again. Friends, this is why Christian fellowship, and praying or worshipping together has such an awesome impact on us, for we are encouraged that God IS still at work in each other’s lives. We may be going through a dry season spiritually, and we may be like the servant where we don’t feel strong enough in our faith to approach God for the situation at hand. But I pray today that we will be much like the servant in deciding not to hide the problem, but rather seek out those who are closely in tuned with God, knowing that they will pray on our behalf for God’s protection, provision, and encouragement. There are times when we are close enough to God and been encouraged by His powerful acts in our lives, that we would pray for every possible obstacle that stands in our way of spreading the love of God with others. It is at those times that others may turn to us as an ‘Elisha’ who would pray to God for blessings on His people, or miracles in their lives. But true to human form, there are times that we need someone else to intervene on our behalf. In His precious Word, God encourages us to pray one for another. There are times that this could mean the difference between encouragement vs defeat or depression; health vs worsening diseases; or even life vs death. Let’s be nosy enough to know what our neighbor, or fellow church member needs from God, it is then that we could pray directly and specifically for their needs rather than generalities. God is in control dear friends, so let us pray for His miraculous response to the things that seem impossible to us and our neighbor. Remember, greater is He that is in us than he that is in the world!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: The provisions of God was overwhelming to Elisha’s servant whose eyes were opened. Perhaps our eyes will be opened to God’s provisions in meeting the many challenges that seem so out of reach and bearing stress in our lives. God still cares for His children, so let’s call on Him today!

PRAYER: To look the other way, or to imagine life without interaction with You oh Lord, would easily lead to a life of excess stress and very little hope. May we, like Elisha, be known as ‘Men or Women of God’, not for any recognition on earth, but to demonstrate our commitment and desire to be people after Your own heart. It is obvious that this will make the difference between hope and despair vs joyous recognition with our Creator, and hope, as we call on You especially for the things that seem impossible to us. Teach us Lord to lean on other believers, while encouraging them to always call on us to support and encourage them in our prayers. As we are encouraged and touched by You Oh Lord, please impress upon us to also pass this blessing on to others who need a touch from You. Please melt the hearts of those opposed to You and draw them to the foot of the cross where they will see the love of God as shown on that cross at Calvary, for the remission of their sin. 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!

May Your Church Bring Honor To Christ

Many will assume from the title of today’s devotional that they now have reinforcement to get their pastor, or church leaders straightened out. But Paul was addressing the church at Philippi, that’s the Christians meeting together there. The Holy Spirit invoked this message in and through Paul that we will meditate on today, because it is still so relevant to your church and my church. At the end of today’s lesson, we should walk away knowing how best to think, act and minister in a united fashion for the benefit of the Kingdom of God. If you feel like you worship with imperfect people at your church, then this lesson is for you!

DATE POSTED Tuesday, 2022-11-22
WRITTEN AT: O’Brien, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Philippians 1:27
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: 27 Above all else, you must live in a way that brings honor to the good news about Christ. Then, whether I visit you or not, I will hear that all of you think alike. I will know that you are working together and are struggling side by side to get others to believe the good news.

APPLICATION: Why do you suppose that we are such miserable folk as to find fault with everything, and everyone at our respective churches? When imperfectness meets together with others who are imperfect, does it not result in imperfect results? So how do we correct this? Friends, we are reminded by the Holy Spirit, through Paul, that we must live, and meet together with certain goals in mind:
~**~ The Purpose For Which We Meet – Imagine after a long week at work, where so much has gone down between envious employees, that you would dare awaken and choose to go to a place that supposedly represents a loving and miraculous God, but you have foreknowledge that there is much strife and embattlement going on between its members? Paul said that the church should be meeting to bring honor to the good news of Jesus Christ. A church that fails in that, will look like what I just described. Remember, the ‘church’ is the people, or the body – you and I, that assembles in the name of Jesus. Paul also emphasized this same subject in Romans 12:18, so I am convinced that it was important then, as it should be now. In as much as it depends on me, may I always live at peace with everyone!
~**~ Evidence of being a Philippians 1 Church – ‘Think alike‘ – isn’t it interesting that for every person in a church business meeting, you will find their own respective views on something?! Yet, if we are living under the same principles, we will tend to ‘think alike’! ‘Work Together‘ – I heard an older church member say at one time while working on a project for the church, if only the others would disappear, then I might get the work done. While this may be true in certain circumstances, I believe that God uses such times to strengthen our bond with each other so we could, in turn, go on to accomplish ministry together. ‘Struggling side-by-side‘ – As we help to bear one another’s burdens, they learn to trust and appreciate us, to again form an admirable ministry partner. ‘Get others to believe the Good News‘ – If we keep this as our common goal, we will work together to achieve the goal for which Jesus saved us – ‘Go and tell the world about Me
Let’s not forget, we must live in a way that brings glory to God and shows the world that we represent the Good News of which we preach and teach!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: When we follow the teaching God gave to Paul for us, we will see the work of our Master take hold and seem enticing to even the hardest sinner. Oh, that Jesus will shine through His children and may He be glorified through everything accomplished by His saints.

PRAYER: You are a merciful Father, for You rescued us from our sin and directed our path to represent You in this wicked and sinful world. Oh, how easily we forget how far You brought us from, so we struggle to identify with others who are traveling the same road as we did. Please forgive us, Lord. Thank You for this reminder today that to be effective in ministry, we must live as You taught us to, and allow others to see in us all that they have learned about You. As they see You in us, Lord, may they also have a growing desire to know You personally and invite You to rule and reign in their lives. I believe that most who will read or listen to this devotional today, will identify with the struggles of the local church. Please let the change begin in us. As we strive to demonstrate all that we know of Your teachings and commands, may others take note and have a growing desire to do the same. Please help us to straighten up and fly right, so that the lost will have hope as they see You evidenced in our lives. To God be the glory, for the great things You have done, and will continue to do, until Jesus returns to take His church home! 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!