Daily Devotions from The Word Of God… From the heart of Ed Algreen

Archive for the ‘Allegiance to the Lamb’ Category

A Sweet Fragrance To God

The Holy Bible

15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – 2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

Thoughts:

Paul shared that their (his and Timothy’s) lives were a sweet fragrance to God and to the Christians they came into contact with, however to the non-Christians, their lives were as the dreadful smell of death and doom. In applying this scripture today, I want you to look beyond the many books written by Paul, and the many churches he started, and remember that Paul had no advantage over us, and our ability to be the same sweet fragrance for God today. When God looks below the surface, does He still smell the sweet fragrance of holiness in our lives? Is God standing tall and proud when we find ourselves in a tight spot, knowing that we will still represent him well – exude the sweet fragrance of His Holy Spirit, in spite of the circumstances or who we might be with? Are we bold enough, and firm enough in our faith, that God is proud of us even in the presence of non-Christians, or do we meld into the audience and try to be their buddy? Of course, the words “a sweet fragrance” were only used as a metaphor and really could, or should, be substituted for the words “very pleasing to”. The bottom line friends, is that when we claim to have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are to live our lives very pleasing to God, or our actions and words are to be like a sweet aroma to God. As you reflect on the opposite to these, I believe you will get an even better picture, as you will quickly realize that in no way do we want to be a repugnant odor to our God, especially after having received His forgiveness of our sins, and our celebration of the great sacrifice He paid so that we could be saved in the first place. Friends, we have a choice. What will it be for you? Be reflective of whose you are (Christians), or to my non-Christian friends, accept Jesus as Lord and be loyal to His cause, creating a sweet aroma back up to Him? Or are you more inclined to refuse Him and stifle Him with the stench of sin, unbelief and/or disobedience?

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, what a challenge these verses present for us today, because there are so many circumstances where we are totally engulfed in the world and its demands through our friends and coworkers. However, I believe that Paul also found it impossible to be holy, especially without Your powerful hand upon his life. Therefore please remind us often of our power source that enable us to be good examples of Yours and to act Godly, even under extreme circumstances and opposition. Thank You for being available to us, and willing to work through such weak vessels. May we always be mold-able and usable by You, is my sincere plea today. For the non-Christians who might be led to this devotional today, may they recognize their need for You in their lives, surrender their lives to You, and find peace in knowing You, is my humble prayer today that I ask in the precious name of Jesus, my Lord, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will 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 blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each days devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL!

Ready Your Heart for Worship!

God’s Word Says….

Psalm 24:3-6 (NCV)

Who may go up on the mountain of the Lord? Who may stand in his holy Temple? 4 Only those with clean hands and pure hearts, who have not worshiped idols, who have not made promises in the name of a false god. 5 They will receive a blessing from the Lord; the God who saves them will declare them right. They try to follow God; they look to the God of Jacob for help.

My Thoughts…..

Praise God, His Word is filled with little ‘Nuggets’ that will bless our souls each time that we meditate on it. It is our source document for everything in this life. As we read it, there are certain things that God allows to just stand off the pages and ‘light us up’! Here’s what I got from this ‘Nugget’ referenced above: The question is being asked about who may approach God in His holy place – in His temple. The answer to this is no mystery. Our God is holy, long-suffering, loving and merciful. So who are we to approach Him in any other manner? Think about our worship services. The idea is that God’s people gather to praise Him for all that He has done for us during the past week; petition Him for needs that exist in our lives that, we feel, needs His powerful touch; and to learn from His Word in order that we may portray Him better and to gain strength and direction for the week ahead of us. The verses highlighted today explains how some people walk away from a church service just as empty as they walked in, and yet why some leave overwhelmed with God’s blessing in and through that service. Friends, it’s a matter of where our hearts are. In verse 6, we are told that the blessings were received because they ‘tried to follow God’!

Challenge……

Friends, in our marriages, in our homes, in our work and in our friendships, what we get back is often impacted by what we put into these things. The Psalmist helped me to see that I will be blessed when I ‘Try to follow God’. A doctor or an attorney who wants to be the best at their jobs will find themselves constantly in their books trying to keep up with latest laws or the latest developments in medical science. If we are truly trying to follow God, would it not appear that we should be students of THE Book in order to discern the heart and will of God? Would it not appear that we need to do more than just show up for a worship service, if we truly want to follow God and His teachings? I would dare say friend that we should be doing more than just showing up waiting for a bucket of blessings to be poured on us. I believe God would easily discern those of us that show up with: the Spirit of God very fresh in our spiritual lives; with thankful hearts ready to explode in worship and thanksgiving to God; and like a baby bird waiting for the return of the mother bird with food, God would also discern those of us that show up with a deep hunger to learn more of, and get a better understanding of, His precious Word. Perhaps then, we might approach His holy throne somewhat worthily and ready to worship Him and receive His blessing. Where’s your heart friend? Do you have a heart yearning for more of Jesus, so that you may become more like Him? Do you put effort into following God?

Prayer……

Heavenly Father, You made us to worship You and to be little ‘Christ’s’ so that we may win the world through our love and expression of faith in, and forgiveness by, Your Son Jesus. Lord, we take so much for granted and, many times many of us will just flippantly show up for a worship service assuming that the worship band might stir up a feeling in us, or the preacher might say something magnificent that might stir up something in us. Please forgive me for the times that I have been guilty of this. Unfortunately I received everything from that service that I put into it – nothing. Please give me an urgency and a desire to follow You, and to worship You, and to want to be in Your presence. To portray You in my life, I must be filled with Your Holy Spirit, please guide me in the way of Truth and give me a deeper desire to follow You in every walk of my life. I strongly feel like my friends will need something similar to this today also, please tender their hearts to Your Word so that It may do a powerful work in their lives and better prepare them for Your work. For I ask all this in the name of, and in respect and admiration of You, Oh Lord, my Rock and my redeemer, AMEN!

Action…..

In response to God leading You through this devotional today, please get with a Bible teaching Pastor you may know and allow him to guide you. Otherwise feel free to reply to my post online, or you may email me directly at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. I will gladly add you to my prayer list, and/or respond to your request(s) ASAP.

We Will Act Like Our Master

Scripture: Leviticus 17-18.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

Leviticus 18:2-5 (NLT)

2
“Give the following instructions to the people of Israel. I am the Lord your God.

3
So do not act like the people in Egypt, where you used to live, or like the people of Canaan, where I am taking you. You must not imitate their way of life.

4 You must obey all my regulations and be careful to obey my decrees, for I am the Lord your God.

5 If you obey my decrees and my regulations, you will find life through them. I am the Lord.

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

God delivered the Israelites from their bondage in Egypt. He took care of them in some miraculous ways each day while in the wilderness and yet He found it an ongoing opportunity to see them overcome their worldly weaknesses each day. Friends, this is exactly how I see our situation today. God received us as a forgiven people when we accepted Him as Lord and Savior, yet we struggle through life each day facing very serious temptations and subsequently very challenging decisions on which master we will follow. Jesus is reminding me through His word today, that He alone is God and considering that I have accepted His as Lord and Ruler of my life, I must act like Him, obey His decrees/laws/written Word and follow His will and way every day. I must act so much like He did when He walked this earth that folk will take me for a ‘Jesus kid’ or a Christian or a child of God. In growing up I remember my parents saying that I was not to act like my unruly friends, but in a manner like they had taught me and brought me up. I feel like God is reminding me here to do the same. Some key ways of doing this are included in the verses observed above:

  1. Do not act like the people that do not know God;
  2. Do not imitate our old way of life;
  3. Obey God’s regulations and decrees;

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

I am a blessed man, and I feel like I can say that because although I may not have been looked down on as an awful person, yet God accepted me as His child when I invited Him to rule and reign in my life. As part of my commitment to Him I promised to follow His will and way every day. Thank You for reminding me in the above of the areas that I must emphasize on to truly declare You Lord each day. Thank You for Your Word to guide me each day. Thank You for Your love that surrounds me every day. Thank You for the hope that is mine in knowing that one day I will be with You in heaven. While here on this earth, I humbly ask that You guide my every step, my every decision, my every word and every action so that I may declare who is Lord of my life. Without ever saying a word, may others recognize to whom I belong.

Obligations from Generation to Generation

Scripture: Exodus 30 – 31.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

7 “Every morning when Aaron maintains the lamps, he must burn fragrant incense on the altar. 8 And each evening when he lights the lamps, he must again burn incense in the Lord’s presence. This must be done from generation to generation. Ex 30:7-8 (NLT)

 

10 “Once a year Aaron must purify the altar by smearing its horns with blood from the offering made to purify the people from their sin. This will be a regular, annual event from generation to generation, for this is the Lord’s most holy altar.” Ex 30:10 (NLT)

 

30 “Anoint Aaron and his sons also, consecrating them to serve me as priests. 31 And say to the people of Israel, ‘This holy anointing oil is reserved for me from generation to generation. 32 It must never be used to anoint anyone else, and you must never make any blend like it for yourselves. It is holy, and you must treat it as holy. Ex 30:30-32 (NLT)

 

13 “Tell the people of Israel: Ex 31:13 (NLT) ‘Be careful to keep my Sabbath day, for the Sabbath is a sign of the covenant between me and you from generation to generation. Ex 31:13 (NLT)

 

16 The people of Israel must keep the Sabbath day by observing it from generation to generation. This is a covenant obligation for all time. 17 It is a permanent sign of my covenant with the people of Israel. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, but on the seventh day he stopped working and was refreshed. Ex 31:16-17 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

I was truly amazed and touched by the number of times in these two chapters that God told Moses how important His instructions were at the time, and how important it was that these instructions be carried on from generation to generation. While we hear from a lot of scholars, that claim to know a whole lot more than I do, that we are living under the New Testament, I can’t help but believe that these commands were placed appropriately in God’s Word for even us. Here are some things that I feel God said to me through these verses, and each bullet will represent each of the above sections:

  • It seems to me that God wants us to be a disciplined people. To follow His commands, without looking for excuses or trying to justify ourselves about how different we are today. In a movie I watched Saturday night it showed where the first steps in teaching karate is discipline, and even though the young man saw no reason in taking his jacket off about 1,000 times and doing various disciplined things each time he took it off, he later found that it was all for a good purpose. Likewise, we must believe that God has excellent reasoning in mind when He demands that we follow his commands. In this particular instance, we are to make His meeting place very special and give of our very best in respect to the presence of the universe.
  • At least once a year purify the temple and God’s people – I saw where this was done recently at revival services in a neighboring county and God worked in miraculous ways. There is nothing ‘ordinary’, or ‘traditional’ about coming into the presence of the Almighty. It is for a prepared people in a prepared place.
  • Anoint the leaders and helpers of the church – wow, if this was done at least annually, what an impact and encouragement this would have on our workers! To know that we have the prayers and support of the people we serve would be overwhelming encouragement and blessing.
  • Our Sabbath day has become anything but ‘holy’, and where is it getting us? I believe that we each can tell from the local, national and international news how chaotic life has gotten and how out of control crime and unrest has become. I see the opposite of this being a peaceful, loving, serving, giving, servant-led people, and only through God’s grace and us calling on Him daily, and finding ourselves in the right place at the right time, will we ever see such achievement.
  • God not only gave his commands, He went on to explain why He gave them. The Sabbath, a day to stop and reflect on the holiness of our Father, and to refresh ourselves. Two things so very critical in our lives and so badly needed to help our state of mind, and our relationship with our heavenly Father.

So with the above explanations, I believe that I can see where much of this is still very applicable to us today. Additionally, I believe that God’s Word is still true and deserves my undivided attention, not just certain parts of it. Praise be to God for His Holy Word!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I thank You for providing Your Word as a lamp unto my feet. A Guide for me, and commands to direct my path each and every day. You know that my heart’s desire is to be more like You every day, and I thank You for providing me the insight and Guide book to do just that. Please give me the boldness and wisdom to follow these steps even in the sinful, evil world in which I live. May I always be a true example of You each and every day.

Overcoming the ‘gods’ in our lives

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 19.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

21 Jesus told him, “If you want to be perfect, go and sell all your possessions and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Matt 19:21 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

In response to a question posed to Jesus by a rich young man about what he must do to have eternal life, Jesus first told him of 6 key commandments that he must obey. Interestingly enough, each of these six commandments referred to the man’s relationship with others, so this re-emphasizes that we must love our brother as much as we love ourselves, and also points to another teaching that we show our love for God by how well we show love to others. However, the young man responded that he was already obeying each of those commandments. To an all knowing God though, Jesus knew that there were other distractions in this man’s life that hindered him from total obedience, humility and the mind to totally follow Christ. In other words, Jesus knew that there was another ‘god’ that was hindering this young man – his wealth. Many of us that read this passage may automatically pass over this because we automatically exclude ourselves as we may not be wealthy, by the world’s standards today. The point that got my attention is: I wonder what Jesus might say to me if such a question was asked of me? What are the ‘gods’ that stand in the way of my relationship with Him? What are the ‘gods’ that prevent me from being effective for Him in my ministry efforts? Jesus told the rich man to go and get rid of the interference, the little ‘god’, the interference, the distraction that was preventing him from being totally committed to Him. Being involved in church leadership, I wonder what God may be saying to us as a church? What should we rid ourselves of in order to see His mighty hand at work – at work accomplishing kingdom work through us? God is holy, forgiving, humble and loving to all of His children, plus endless other top qualities. If we are to be like Him/Christ-like/Christians, then we need to examine ourselves for the same qualities that we see in Christ. Let’s pass control to Him and see Him perform a great work in and through us!

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I realize that I am not rich monetarily, but I feel rich because of the many blessings that You have bestowed on me. Please help me to not let anything/any ‘god’ interfere in my commitment to You. Please help me to stay focused on the ministry that You want to accomplish through me. Please help me to stay focused, and depending solely on You to help me live a life that would example You in every way, so that others may see Jesus in all that I say or do. Please forgive me when I have let self interfere so much before, but today I ask that you give me added strength, boldness and the faith that will not be easily penetrated by this world and Your opposers. You are God alone, so I must look to You to help me daily to overcome and be a successful witness for You in my personal life, and in the ministry areas in which I am involved.

Are You Clean Before God?

SCRIPTURE: Exodus 4.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

24 On the way to Egypt, at a place where Moses and his family had stopped for the night, the Lord confronted him and was about to kill him. Ex 4:24 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

This verse really caused me to stop and ponder a while. God had elected Moses to set His people free and to lead them on an awesome journey, to a country where both milk and honey flowed, according to the Word of God. However, in sending him from one place to another to make final arrangements for the journey, God took advantage of a time that Moses and his entourage stopped for the night to confront Moses about a situation, and this was confrontation to the extent that He was about to kill Moses. Bottom line is that Moses had not followed one of the God-based laws of that day, to circumcise his own son. I believe that regardless of what sin it was, God did not want a man leading His people out of Egypt when there was sin in his life. This then opened up my eyes to remind me that just because we may be leading a ministry, or perhaps teaching others about Jesus’ love, and even thought we may feel very led of God to do that, I was reminded that God wants to use clean vessels to perform His work. Yes, I know that none of us are perfect, but I feel like this passage was appropriately placed to show us that we must not only make a onetime clean-up in our lives, but that we are to be ‘clean’ as Jesus is ‘clean’ if we are to represent Him before His people.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Lord, I pray that as You have spoken to my heart this morning that You will also open up my spiritual eyes so that I may clearly see any sin that separates me from You, yes any sin that would prevent the effectiveness of Your ministry through using me as Your vessel here on this earth. I pray that You would forgive me where I have failed in this, and instead open my eyes clearly to Your ways, Your attitudes and Your commands. May You find a clean, contrite heart ready and willing to serve You wherever and whenever You issue the call.

WWJS (What Would Jesus Say)

SCRIPTURE: Matthew 15.  

OBSERVATION
(What is God saying here?)

7 You hypocrites! Isaiah was right when he prophesied about you, for he wrote,

8 ‘These people honor me with their lips,
but their hearts are far from me.
9 Their worship is a farce,
for they teach man-made ideas as

commands from God.’
Matt 15:7-9 (NLT)

APPLICATION
(How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Jesus was questioned by the Pharisees who had come to analyze the man whom their people were so enthused with and following everyday to witness miracles and to be taught the principles of God. Jesus then told the Pharisees how He felt about their actions and their worship. My mind then reflected on ‘What Would Jesus Say’ to me about my words (the things that I say); my thoughts; the content of my heart; my act of worship and that of my church. Too often I believe that we carry on like we have no master, and often I’m sure that we say things that would not be words from Jesus’ mouth. Furthermore we often do well at going before God at select times and, using our ‘churchy’ intellect we tell Jesus how we love and adore Him, then as soon as we walk outside the doors of the church building, or get over the tragedy for which we were praying so hard, we quickly transform into the way of our friends or peers. Are we a ‘farce’? Can anyone look at us at anytime and truly see that we are representatives of God? Are we a part of the problem or working to solve the problems that Isaiah spoke of? I am convinced that the problem still exist today, but I am also convinced that we serve a God big enough to help those of us interested in overcoming the problem. God wants us to be more like Him every day. As we turn lose of self and grasp hold of the hand that could help us live out holy lives dedicated to Him and representing Him in every way, then our daily lives will look more like Jesus and we will have more of an impact for the kingdom in our daily earthly walk.

PRAYER
(With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, I wouldn’t dare point fingers at anyone, because I am a part of the crowd that Your fingers are pointed towards, for I often fail in living this life totally under Your control and guidance, and no doubt You look at me and consider me a ‘farce’ at times. Please accept this as my honest plea for help me to be a stronger, more committed child of the King today. Help me to never give in to the earthly thoughts of doing unkind things or saying unkind words just because I am in this world, for I serve a Savior that is way bigger – bigger than all the struggles I might face; stronger – stronger than any temptation that may weaken my witness; but praise be to God for You are also more loving than anything or anyone in this world; You are definitely more capable than anyone or anything I can turn to for help to overcome my weaknesses; and caring enough to grant my desire to represent You better in my every action, thought or deed. You are God, and I am Your servant, please grant me the strength to honor and obey Your commands.

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