Your Choice – Blessings or Curses

THE HOLY BIBLE New Living Translation (NLT) ~ Deuteronomy 28:1-2 & 15 ~ 1 If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully keep all his commands that I am giving -you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations of the world. 2 You will experience all these blessings if you obey the Lord your God: …. 15 “But if you refuse to listen to the Lord your God and do not obey all the commands and decrees I am giving you today, all these curses will come and overwhelm you: ….

THOUGHTS: I know, you looked at the title today and almost didn’t open this to read it, because you probably figured that this old man just lost his marbles (brains), otherwise why else would he possibly think that you would be interested in reading about ‘curses’? Of course you don’t want that, right? If you are one that is ‘fully obedient to the Lord’ and ‘carefully keeping His commands’, then I agree I am wasting your precious time by explain what you can expect in 2016 because of your disobedience. Oops, nothing is said in the text about 2016, right? But friend, why would God possibly bless us if we are disobedient? Do you suppose it was just the Israelites that He loved enough to discipline when they disobeyed? Perhaps I should remind you that it was us that God sent His only Son, Jesus, to the cross for our forgiveness, our salvation from sin, our peace about eternity with Him in glory. You see, through His servant Moses, God warned the Israelites that as they entered the Promised Land that He brought them to; that He cleared the path for; and that He prepared just for them; they had a choice to make. They could enter and choose: (1) To be obedient to God and keep His commands taught to them over the past 40 years – and this would result in blessings that it took the writer 13 verses to express to them. Otherwise, (2) To be disobedient and not keep the commands of God, and they could expect curses on every aspect of their lives. In fact, it took the writer the next 52 verses to detail all of the curses that would fall upon this chosen people. Friends, why would this be any different for us as we welcome another year in that God has led us to, and that He has prepared as a clean slate for us? In your wildest expectations, do you suppose that God would possibly bless a people that drag into a brand new year, all of the sin, disobedience and disregard that He absolutely deplores? If God tarries, we have at least a few days to think about this; to clean up our act; to spend time in prayer before the Father seeking His forgiveness and asking for His strength and boldness to obey under every circumstance of life. Without some obvious and intentional steps by us, and if God permits time to go on, we will enter 2016 under the same load of sin and punishment we have faced in 2015. I believe God is teaching us in this scripture today that it really doesn’t have to be that way. Our destiny can be changed, with God’s help, if we choose to be obedient children of God. Won’t you do that today friend? For the unbeliever reading this today, please know that God wants your heart first. Please read my ‘Footnote’ for tips on how to personally know my Savior. Only as His child, will He hear your cry for help, direction, and the promised blessings only He can offer you in 2016.

PRAYER: Lord God, thank You for providing the greatest gift ever, in the form of Your Precious Son – Jesus. You loved, protected and led the Israelites through 40 years of life-challenges, then You provided the wonders and the blessings of the Promised Land to them! You still love, protect and lead Your children today and You have promised an even greater Promised Land for those who truly know You personally. You had blessings in store for the Israelites who obeyed You and kept Your commands. I believe that 2016 can be a time period You are calling us into where blessings may abound for those who know and obey You, however You have promised us an even greater Promised Land – Heaven where we will meet with You and the Father eternally in worship, praise and adoration. Please bless us as we tarry on this old earth, so that one day soon we may advance to our ultimate Promised Land with You! Oh I long To See You, Look Upon Your Face, There to Sing forever of Your Saving Grace! Lord, please speak to the hearts of those needing discipline, even while still in 2015. May they receive a word from You today that will convince them of their sin and incent them to clean their act up and prepare to meet You in action in 2016 and be blessed by You in every way imaginable. May our blessings transform the lives of others as they gaze on Your goodness. I ask these things in faith, and in the strong name of Jesus, my Savior, 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. 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 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!

Meeting The Needs of Others

THE HOLY BIBLE (New Living Translation – Matthew 14:13-16): 13 As soon as Jesus heard the news, he left in a boat to a remote area to be alone. But the crowds heard where he was headed and followed on foot from many towns. 14 Jesus saw the huge crowd as he stepped from the boat, and he had compassion on them and healed their sick. 15 That evening the disciples came to him and said, “This is a remote place, and it’s already getting late. Send the crowds away so they can go to the villages and buy food for themselves.” 16 But Jesus said, “That isn’t necessary—you feed them.”

THOUGHTS: One might look at this passage and see where the disciples were ready for some one-on-one time with Jesus. But since that was almost impossible with over 5,000 people hanging around, the disciples suggested to Jesus that they would send them on their way so they could take care of their physical needs. So from man’s eyes this appeared to be a great responsibility that was way beyond them. Now I realize that the disciples could have been looking out for Jesus’ best interest emotionally also, because He was visibly upset over just learning of the death of His friend, John the Baptist, but I also can’t help but believe that the disciples also needed some time alone with Jesus. This kind of made me think about the times that we close the doors to the world and get in our comfortable church buildings to soak in the blessings of God for ourselves. We need that ‘refueling’ time. We need to saturate ourselves in the love and warmth of our Savior so that our ministry, or our evangelizing ‘tanks’ might be refilled and re-energized. This is all well and good friends, but how often do we leave our respective churches on fire for the Lord, and head out of the doors to the world with a deep, burning desire to share the love of God, that we were just reminded of? You see, the crowds will press in on us to gain an understanding of why we might be different. Scripture tells us that we should be ready to give an account, and share the joy and source of our happiness and our salvation. I believe that in much the same way that Jesus told His disciples to feed the crowd, He is also telling us to feed His sheep. Don’t push them away so that we can go to ‘soak and sour’, but share His love as we know it! Show His kindness as we have experienced it! And most of all, be ready at all times to give account for the joy that fills our hearts in knowing Jesus Christ, the Master of this universe, in a personal way. These are things that the world is badly in need of today among the pressures of unemployment, declining stock markets, increasing consumer costs, etc. The world needs Jesus, and we are His ambassadors to spread the good news. How will they know, unless we tell them? Friends, for the ongoing benefit of the kingdom, consider committing to share all that you have been blessed with spiritually!

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for Your blessings on me! Thank You Savior for Your amazing, unselfish sacrifice made just for me! Thank You Jesus for the amazing power and influence You have given to Your children to be instruments of Your love and a reflection of Your precious sacrifice. Oh that we may be open channels of Your amazing grace, to all that we come into contact with, and to all where a need becomes evident to us. Jesus blessed over 5,000 through the hands of His disciples, and I am sure that He can also meet the needs of many through us as we surrender our selfish selves to the awesome and miraculous power of the Almighty God. Oh Lord, may we let go and let God, and may Your power become very evident today because of our surrender. These are my wishes Lord, but may Your perfect will be done. For I ask these things in the wonderful name of Jesus, my loving Savior and 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 www.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!

A Warning To Those Who Have Much

THE HOLY BIBLE (Good News Translation – 1 Timothy 6:17-19): 17 Command those who are rich in the things of this life not to be proud, but to place their hope, not in such an uncertain thing as riches, but in God, who generously gives us everything for our enjoyment. 18Command them to do good, to be rich in good works, to be generous and ready to share with others. 19In this way they will store up for themselves a treasure which will be a solid foundation for the future. And then they will be able to win the life which is true life.

THOUGHTS: Way too often we attribute ‘riches’ to mean those who are rich financially, and yes I agree that this could very easily apply to them. But I believe that deep within the meaning of this we must be careful to never lose sight of everything that God has truly blessed us with! We must also be very careful to not get satisfied in our blessings, because that becomes challenging to appreciate what another person might be going through. For example, one might be crying out for help in dealing with family issues, but if we are content and ‘rich’ in peace in our family, it might be hard to identify with the need. I believe the point that God is relaying to us through Paul is that we must learn to put our faith in the Giver of all good things and not in the riches we feel secure in, for it is God who gives the gifts/riches to us. Let’s remember that everything we are blessed with comes from the generosity of the gracious hand of God. He blesses us with such gifts to enable us to help others. I believe that a kind heart and a generous hand is demanded of all God’s children, for this is what Jesus exampled for us to follow. It is not sinful to be rich, and it is not godly to be poor. Some are blessed with resources that could serve well in the ongoing ministry of the church. Often with these resources comes the temptation to misuse them, for some will demand leadership in the church, or a major say in where the finances must be used. There is nothing biblical about that kind of giving friends, so be careful to always give from a heart of love to the work of Christ in and through His local church – your church. If you have been diligent in electing church officials according to God’s design, then the funds will be properly allocated and used for His glory, not yours. The joy of the giving Christian comes from the treasure they are laying up in heaven through obeying God and investing their gifts – monetarily or plain life-talents here on earth for the glory of God. I believe that the take-away on this scripture today, is that we give of ourselves and our resources generously, just as God generously gave to us at Calvary, and through all that He blesses us with daily here on this earth. The Bible gives us guidelines on the minimum amount we should give financially, but it also teaches us to give from the generosity of which we have been blessed. Is that truly measurable? Just learn to give friend, and then watch the blessings of God that is out-poured on you! You just can’t out-give God!

PRAYER: To the Giver of all life and all good and perfect gifts, Jesus my Lord, thank You for Your generosity in all that You have blessed me with. So undeserving, yet You loved me beyond all measure. I am rich in Your awesome blessings, way beyond anything I deserve. Thank You! I pray that You might open my heart and my mind to the riches that I have yet to share with others. Lord, I want to show Your goodness so that You may be lifted up, and recognized as the loving, tenderhearted and understanding God that You are. Please lead me and guide me to do better at this. My friends who will read this devotional might also be faced with similar challenges, please speak very boldly to them as they meditate on Your Word and cause them to know the path You would have them travel today, and the attitudes necessary to allow others to know that You are God, yet working through mere humans that love and serve You. Father God, may I ask that You continue to pour Your riches on our lives, but also ask that You give us renewed hearts so that we may pass those riches on to others – many of whom need an urgent touch from You today. In appreciation for all You have done, and will continue to do, I bring these petitions before You, in thanksgiving, and through Your precious Son, Jesus, 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 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!