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

Archive for the ‘Allegiance to the Lamb’ Category

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.

Recognizing God

Scripture: Genesis 40-41; Matthew 12

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

22 Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see.23 The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?” Matt 12:22-23 (NLT)

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

Sometimes we read these familiar stories in God’s Word and God will just speak to us afresh through something contained in that passage. In this story Jesus had performed several miracles, and finally the crowd stepped back in wonderment and questioned among themselves ‘Could this possibly be the Messiah?”. In the world we live in today God is still very active, and although we tend to really hone in on the negative, there are times that our spiritual minds are awakened and we say to ourselves “that must be a Jesus thing”. That certain thing could only have occurred if Jesus made it happen. Friends, I believe that we must be praying with such expectation that we will notice every little act of God and response to our prayers by God. He is very much alive today and active in our lives. It is time for Christians to wake up and give Him credit for all that He does. It is in this type of act that we help to make believers out of those that doubt and question. They must see our faith, if we ever expect to be a Christian influence on them! We serve a mighty God, but don’t wait for the ‘big’ miracles to occur, recognize and praise Him daily for all that He does in your life. Good health – especially when we see so many in hospitals or at home sick; safety – especially when we pass a wreck on the road where some innocent person got hurt or even killed; answer to prayer – especially when we see so many that doubt or questions the work of God, or try to give credit to chance or horoscopes or palm readers. Friends we serve, and we should recognize the mighty God of all, the King of all kings, the creator of our universe – including mankind. Do we have reason to doubt? I believe that we actually have more reasons not to doubt the mighty works of God in our world today.

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

Praise be to God for accepting me as a humble child in great need of a Savior. Praise be to God for all the miracles performed in my life, in the life of our church and in the lives of my family and friends. May I be very alert to Your mighty hand at work in my life and all around me. May others see Jesus reflected in my life and in their own lives, so that together we can truly be a thankful people praising You for all Your mighty works and wondrous love. Thank You Jesus for caring so much for me. Please continue to work on me and mold me into something that  You can use to accomplish Your work. May I recognize Your mighty works each and every day!

Think about your ‘Marker’

Scripture: Genesis 33-35 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

14 Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil.15 And Jacob named the place Bethel (which means “house of God”), because God had spoken to him there.   Gen 35:14-15 (NLT)

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

Jacob went to Bethel because he was reminded of how God revealed Himself to him there when he originally escaped from his brother Esau over 20 years earlier. While there the second time, God gave Jacob a new name, Israel, gave him renewed strength to repopulate the land, and gave him much of the land that He (God) had once given to Abraham and Isaac. I got the impression that God was giving Jacob/Israel a new beginning, and telling him “Now go and get busy for me”. We just celebrated the beginning of a New Year. It started much like the old year ended, without much ado. It sure would have been nice to, and probably is not too late to, recommit ourselves to God as His children looking to restart our respective ministries and seek God’s direction for what He would have us do this year with all that He has blessed us with. I believe that if each of us reflect on the blessings that God has showered on us over the past year, then plant a marker to remind us of those blessings, then in all earnest seek to be involved in God’s direction for more successes in 2011, our churches would not be able to contain the overflow of His blessings. I feel like we need to set aside our personal agendas and ‘business as usual’ attitudes, and be willing to let God work mightily through us. We know the awesome spiritual needs of our community, and we believe that we know the God who holds all the answers to all of life’s problems and shortcomings. This is the same God that we, as Christians, have accepted as our King. Let’s let go of our selfish desires and let God perform miracles in and through us, so that His work can be accomplished in our community.   

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

Praise be to God for His mighty hand and for all that He does for me each and every day. In being reminded of how You worked in the past dear God, I pray that You will again work in and through me and my church, and the churches of my community. There is no reason for us to have lost people in this community, or sinful acts a part of our neighborhood, for You are more powerful than anything or anyone else that we know. You are bigger than all these problems and challenges that we see, and You hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. I pray that You will find me faithful. I pray that You will find all those that worship You each week around Avon Park, Florida, willing and ready to bow before You, recognize Your Lordship and Your Kingship and that we will get off our personal thrones and allow You to be God, while we, as Your humble servants, stand ready to let You use us to do greater things for the Kingdom than we ever thought possible. May this be a year that we will look on as a ‘marker’ that future generations will come back to spiritually when they want to be reminded of Your power and move on a people and a community. Begin a renewed work in me, dear Lord, is my humble prayer.

The ‘Right Words’ – From God

Scripture: Matthew 10 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

….don’t worry about how to respond or what to say. God will give you the right words at the right time.20 For it is not you who will be speaking—it will be the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.  Matt 10:19-20 (NLT)

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

I believe that one of the greatest fears that we have as Christians, is wondering if we will have the right words to say when we witness to someone about Jesus. In these verses Jesus told His disciples, who He was readying to send into the world as His witnesses, “don’t worry about that, because it won’t be you doing the speaking, but the Spirit of the heavenly father”. This is the peace that we need to have when we approach others. First of all. I believe that our personal ‘witness’ would have already been evident to them, because they would have looked at our actions long before thinking about listening to us. Secondly, when we represent Jesus, He will, like He did with His first disciples, allow His Holy Spirit to speak through us. So really, all we need to do is to be obedient and share His love with others around us and leave the rest up to the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. Let’s not mess it up by adding our two cents. Jesus knows the heart, mind and condition of the individuals we approach, so it is extra fitting that we allow Him to take control and speak the right words through us. This should take all the stress out of witnessing!

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

Father I believe that You know all that goes on around us, and You know the stress that we place on ourselves when we try to do the work that You have told us to leave up to You. Please help me to surrender this stress to You and allow You to speak the words through me in those opportunities that I have to share Your love and salvation. I know that it’s no different today than it was with Your first disciples, so please get my attention when I try to blurt out the wrong words (those of self) so that I may stop and give You the controls where the right words will flow and the effectiveness of Your Holy Spirit will be very evident to the one with whom I am trying to witness to. You alone are God! Thank You!

Blessings that are showered on Us!

Scripture: Genesis 32

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’10 I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps!   Gen 32:9-10 (NLT)

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

Jacob had worked very hard for his father-in-law Laban over the years, and because of his hard work he was rewarded with a lot of livestock. This never went to his head, but at this time when Jacob was worried about the possibility of there being trouble ahead for him, and especially knowing that he was following God’s instructions, he stopped to pray again to God for some reassurance. This was admirable for Jacob to do this, but what caught my attention was the humbleness of his prayer. He felt unworthy of all the blessings that God had showered on him over the years. While I don’t feel like I am anywhere near the humility level of Jacob, I often reflect on the poor around me and wonder in amazement about the ways that God has seen fit to bless me. I am convinced that God is in control and that He loves us so much that if we would only open our hearts to Him and surrender our stubborn selves over to the control of His mighty hand, we will stand back, like Jacob, in amazement and count our blessings and give God the praise that He alone deserves. Whether we live in what some may consider ‘a mansion’ , or whether we live in what some may consider ‘a shack’ let us thank God for His awesome mercy and blessings on our lives. Our pausing to recognize our blessing before God may never be recognized in print like Jacob’s experience was, but what is important is for God to know that our hearts are filled with amazement and thanksgiving for all that He does for us each and every day. Our God is awesome, there is no one like He is!

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

Thank You Father for all that You do for me each and every day. I can’t imagine what I must do to deserve Your love, Your protection, Your provision and Your will manifesting itself in and through me. The amazing thing is, that I don’t need to understand all this, but rather just to know that You love me so much that although You sent Your one and only precious Son to die for me, You would go to any extent to continue extending Your love towards me. Thank You for all that You do for me, thank You for providing the means for me to one day worship at Your feet in glory! I have so much to look forward to today and every day because of Your love. Thank You Jesus!

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