|John 11:14-15 (MSG)|
|14-15 Then Jesus became explicit: “Lazarus died. And I am glad for your sakes that I wasn’t there. You’re about to be given new grounds for believing. Now let’s go to him.”|
|Earlier in chapter 11 the followers of Jesus had reminded Him of the danger in returning to Bethany, the town where His friends Mary, Martha and Lazarus lived, because the last time they were there they were stoned. Right after Jesus’ command His disciples to follow Him to Bethany, Thomas spoke what may have been on the hearts of most of the disciples, when he said “let’s follow Him so that we may die together”. However Jesus had a greater mission in mind, and I believe we could also learn from this….|
|It seems like our attention is often enhanced by the unexpected. Jesus could have healed His friend Lazarus while he was still alive; He could have brought him back to life as soon as He was told that Lazarus had died; He could have performed the miracle before a large crowd, or He could have done it in the middle of the night. However, I believe that Jesus saw the doubt and limitations being built by His own disciples, so He wanted to go beyond anything they had seen before, to make sure that lives were miraculously touched, and that God the Father received glory. This very much spoke to me about the normal church attendee today. We have come to expect a special order of service, the same speaker bringing the sermon and we have become so accustomed to getting out at a certain time, that we could easily plan our oven to complete cooking lunch at a certain time. Now IF God was programmable, all of this would work within His time-frames, but knowing that He’s not, what would happen if people started getting saved in every service, or Brothers getting healed, or sisters recommitting their lives to Christ in every service? Think about it, Jesus deliberately delayed His arrival to Bethany so that followers would see a different kind of miracle – one that would shake them up from their normal expectation, and they would be reminded that He truly is the Son of God, who could do ALL things. We too get ourselves into a box of believing that God can do only so much, because we have seen or heard of Him doing just that much before. Friends, I believe we are being taught here, along with the disciples, that the God who created us and placed the stars in the sky, is still very much alive and capable of doing way more than we could every dream or believe. I believe that our part is: to believe in the only One who could save us from our sin; trust Him to watch over, protect and guide us in the way of Truth daily; learn to worship Him, thank Him and depend on Him daily; trust Him by never putting Him in a box of limited possibilities; and get excited about the place He has prepared for us in glory. Do you feel like you are lacking in either of these things? Do you feel like you have placed complete faith and trust in Jesus, to accomplish way more than you could ever imagine? We tend to ask for only as much as we could believe, or have faith to ask for. God can do so much more than that friend!
|Lord, I believe that we are just as guilty as Your disciples were in the story of Lazarus, They followed you to Bethany, but they were so worried about their own lives that I believe it was challenging for them to truly appreciate the miracle that You brought about with Lazarus that day. We have become so accustomed to knowing the limitations of everything that we encounter, that we tend to place those same limitations on what our awesome God could do. Please forgive us for our littleness and for the blessings we miss out one because of our limitations. You are worthy oh Lord, please forgive us for our unworthiness and grant us new perspectives about You every day so that we may be overzealous in praise and thanksgiving. AMEN!
|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 could 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 to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!|
Archive for the ‘Believers’ Category
Bible Reference: Acts 21:3–4
Bible Text: 3 ……. We went ashore at Tyre, where the ship was going to unload its cargo. 4 There we found some believers and stayed with them a week……
Bible Translation: The Good News Translation (GNT)
By using the only means of transportation from one place to another, Paul wound up having to be at the Port of Tyre for over a week while goods were being unloaded for the local people. Whenever a cruise ship stops into a port, they have enough tours and/or suggestions for its passengers that I don’t believe you would ever have time to think of the local church. What do you find to do while on vacation with regards to God, His church and/or His people? Do you tend to take a vacation from all of your ‘God related things’ also? I once heard a sermon entitled ‘Saints on Vacation’, and it truly was an eye opener! Here’s what I really enjoy about attending a church in the area in which I vacation: (a) It is refreshing to see God at work not only in my home church, but also in fresh new ways that are so apropos for the area. In other words, ministry in a rural town to mostly farmers, might look quite different to ministry in a coastal town to mostly college-aged kids. (b) I find that there is greater freedom to worship in a place that I am visiting, because we tend to build a box around what is permissible in worship at our home church, mostly because of our friends and family who may be present. (c) I look for ideas that I could bring back and share with my home church. Perhaps a bulletin, or other literature; and (d) I find it refreshing to just worship with these new-found believers without the distraction of any side jobs on my mind. Paul’s new found Christian friends followed him to the seashore and sent him off with a prayer meeting. I believe that visiting a church while on vacation, might bring similar results, for fellow Christians are often out to minister to attendees – especially visitors! Be sure to always include church attendance as part of your vacation plans, won’t you?
Father, we are either a Christian or we’re not. We either want to be with you, or we don’t. These things will hold true in our normal working weeks, but they will also hold true even when we’re out of town and even when out of sight of our pastor or church leaders. Mixing with saints of other towns remind us a lot of what it might be like when we worship around Your throne with saints from all over the world. Please help us to hold true to our faith, and to desire times of worship with other believers, even when out of town or far from our local church. Heaven will not just be made up of members of my church. Please help us to get used to the idea of worshiping with other believers while still here on earth. Thank You Lord for who You are and especially who you are to such a vast cloud of witnesses here on this earth today. I look forward to the day that we will all be gathered around your throne worshiping at Your feet! AMEN!
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. 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 could 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s 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, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!
THE HOLY BIBLE (New Living Translation – 1 John 3:9-10): 9 Those who have been born into God’s family do not make a practice of sinning, because God’s life is in them. So they can’t keep on sinning, because they are children of God. 10 So now we can tell who are children of God and who are children of the devil. Anyone who does not live righteously and does not love other believers does not belong to God.
THOUGHTS: I remember at one point in my life I was at a gas station pumping gas, when suddenly someone called me by my dad’s name. My head quickly popped up to see who knew my family. Apparently there was enough facial resemblance, or actions, to remind the person of something he had seen in my dad! I find it exciting when I walk away from a sales clerk knowing that they must be a brother or sister, because their actions, their concern, their unselfish care for me as a customer, were all indicators that they must share the same faith that I do, and have the same Father that I have learned about over the years from His handbook, the Bible. Friends there are a few tests in these verses today that I would encourage you to use as a self-examination tool:
Do not make a practice of sinning – When we invite Jesus into our hearts and lives as our Savior and Lord, not only does He forgive us of our sin, but He shows us a new way to live – like Him. Through His example, we are guided and encouraged to live holy lives, even as He is holy. To depend on the power within (the Holy Spirit) to prevent us from performing the same sin that we may have committed without thought, prior to our conversion;
Do not keep on sinning – Very similar to the above, but the difference is that once we have been prompted by the Holy Spirit to stop doing something that He considers sin, we are to make every effort to not repeat that sin. We must not let it rule us. God’s Holy Spirit cannot reside where sin abides!
Live righteously – Live our lives ‘right with God’. We are shown throughout the Bible what God expects of us – what is right and what is wrong. With the awesome power of the Holy Spirit, we are to live our lives ‘right with God’!
Love other believers – We are to live life expressing our love and concern for each other, even if they don’t love us back, or show any appreciation for what we do for them. Sadly there is a saying that “Christians in particular, tend to shoot their wounded”. We are taught in this scripture that when the world sees us loving each other, they will know that we are different and controlled by a greater power. Selfishness and Satan-led malice, jealousy or envy will eat up our desire to love like Jesus did. The power of the Holy Spirit within us will help us to love even those who despitefully use us.
Friends, living like I described above will help us to internalize whether we truly did commit to accepting, loving, serving and practicing the love of God. It will also help confirm to the world that we are who we say we are. However, please remember that God knows our heart, so He knows whether we honestly dedicated our lives to Him. I believe He is ashamed when we act up, but our outward actions only influences the world, they’re not needed to prove anything to God.
PRAYER: Dear God, please help us to be a people who acts, responds and loves like the people we say we are. ‘Hypocritical’ is a word often used when we don’t. Furthermore, folk tend to mistrust us when they feel we are hypocritical, and this destroys our possibility to honestly witness to them. Please help us to live consistent, open lives that will represent You well. Beginning with me Lord, may Your children rededicate themselves to being transparent to those that we come into contact with. May they see Jesus in and through our words and actions so that they may be influenced to follow You, and so that Your kingdom might be glorified even now, here on this earth. Your love is amazing, and Your rich blessings are beyond compare, and more than anything that we can imagine. Please forgive us for the times we fail, and grant us strength and a quick rebound so that we might get back on track without causing damage to our witness of You. I need You every hour of every day, please continue to work on me oh Lord, so that I might be all that You need me to be for the ministry/witness You have in store for me. Bless my readers today with similar grace, so that You may be lifted up more than ever before, for I ask all this 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 read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, 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 nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s 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! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!