Pastors, Workers and Servants Praise The Lord

DATE POSTED Wednesday, 2023-02-08
WRITTEN AT: O’Brien, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Psalm 135:1-3
TRANSLATION: New International Version (NIV)

BIBLE TEXT: Praise the Lord. Praise the name of the Lord; praise him, you servants of the Lord, you who minister in the house of the Lord, in the courts of the house of our God. Praise the Lord, for the Lord is good; sing praise to his name, for that is pleasant.

APPLICATION: I have never served as ‘Pastor’ of a local church, but I have filled many servant positions in the local church, so I can speak to the ways that I have seen where this has worked well and also stories from friends where this was a challenge. Before reading on, perhaps stop and have an internal discussion between you and God as to why the Psalmist may have seen importance in this, and because God saw need in having it be a part of His instructions to every generation, why does He see it as important for us. Friends, I firmly believe that in order for me to properly address this, I will need to borrow the words from 2 Chronicles 7:14, because I believe this may be the heart of our God for His people:

If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.

Hopefully all church workers are ones who know God and call Him by name each and every day. But think carefully about this, dear ones, when thinking of ministry servants and leaders at your church. Hopefully this includes many in my readership. Remember, applying this personally, we should consider: If we know God personally; if we call Him by name; if we turn away from our wicked ways; if we seek His face, and we are not always after just His gifts to us; is there anything else that might prevent us from being on the same page as God and also hearing from Him? Think about the Sunday School teacher who stands in front of you on Sunday, and they have not done like the Psalmist said, or as was given to us in 2 Chronicles 7:14. Are they truly prepared to share from the depths of their heart relationship with God and the time spent in His Word that week? Could they sahre how we could truly incorporate such blessings into our lives in the following week? This is not picking on Sunday School teachers, because many churches are blessed with dedicated teachers who love the Lord and depend on Him each week in their obligation to fulfill their teaching role. But, just as the Psalmist shared, this example applies to all servants of the Most High God. If our pastors are not enjoying time together with the Lord and lifting up praise to Him in unison and in an effort to place the burden of their ‘sheep’ into the all-powerful hand of Almighty God, can we expect any better on Sunday morning when we show up and depend on them to help uplift our spirits and help us draw close to this God, that they themselves may not be close to? Few churches have choirs these days, but whether it’s a choir member, or a praise team member, if the spirit of our Holy God is not familiar in their hearts from a week of praising and drawing close to God, what is there that’s inside them to share with us on Sunday that would help draw us into worship? Pastors and teachers have an awesome responsibility to their members, and even as the Word says, it is not a position that one should desire. Instead, it must be one to which they are called to by God. In my almost 50 years of banking. If I spent most days doing everything else that was unassociated with my particular position, do you feel like I would have grown in my position? I feel like this is the same with our servants and leaders, and I feel that for all those who are not on the actual team, we have a deep responsibility to pray in earnest as we seek the face of Almighty God and beg His touch on our workers/servants/teachers/pastors of our churches. For what they have in them, from their week of experience and relationship with God, is what will be evident on Sunday morning when we get to church. Both the passage in Psalms today, and the one referenced in 2 Chronicles, apply to all of us. For although we may not have volunteered or been chosen as a named church leader, God chose us collectively in Matthew 28 when He commissioned us to go and tell the world about His saving grace and His love for all humanity. So, take from this today that we all should worship our Master every day, and never neglect humbling ourselves before God, praying, seeking His face, turning from our wicked ways, and watching for His mighty hand as He hears from Heaven and heals our land!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Blessed be the name of Lord! The more we praise Him, the more joy will bubble from our hearts as we join with others in corporate worship!

PRAYER: So often we give the excuse that we just don’t have time for more activity in our lives, but I thank You Lord for teaching me that the truth of this whole matter is really that we will not give You the priority in our lives that You deserve. It’s easier for us to tell others it’s a matter of time, and then later sit with You in prayer and meditation and apologize for not making You a priority. Forgive us Lord. In the closing sentence of my ‘APPLICATION’ I named a few things that I believe Your Word made clear to my readers, listeners and I today. This can only come about if we commit ourselves to You with all our heart, soul and mind, and if we humble ourselves, pray and turn from our wicked ways. Please grant us Your power to accomplish Your will for us this day, so that we in turn we may honest, sincere and solid believers who will demonstrate Jesus in every word and action. 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!

Reassuring Trust In Church Leaders

DATE POSTED Monday, 2022-07-11
WRITTEN AT: O Brien, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 2 Corinthians 1:12-13; 17-19;
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: 12 We can say with confidence and a clear conscience that we have lived with a God-given holiness and sincerity in all our dealings. We have depended on God’s grace, not on our own human wisdom. That is how we have conducted ourselves before the world, and especially toward you. 13 Our letters have been straightforward, and there is nothing written between the lines and nothing you can’t understand. I hope someday you will fully understand us.
17 …. Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”? 18 As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waver between “Yes” and “No.” 19 For Jesus Christ, the Son of God, does not waver between “Yes” and “No.”….

APPLICATION: The church that is considered ‘perfect’ in the eyes of its membership, is probably most successful when it keeps the struggles that embattle their leadership, behind the scenes. After all, church leadership is made up of human men and/or women. In many cases, church leadership is made up of the same men and women who are challenged with their kids, struggle in their marriages, and possibly written up for various reasons at work. Having been there and done that, I was stricken by the Holy Spirit to carefully read what Paul, a notable saint of God, shared with one of his churches. Let’s take a deep dive into the words of Paul, which we know were inspired by the Holy Spirit, for his words to be included in God’s book of Instruction to us:
~ A God-given holiness and sincerity in all dealings (vs 12) – Because we deal with mere humans in church leadership, we can understand why this may be hard for parishioners to believe. After all, we insist on audits of church financial records, because of the horror stories of theft at some churches. We insist on a buddy system for counseling, because we have heard horror stories of misappropriation between counselors and counselees. BUT I believe that Paul wanted his church to know that he is aiming for perfection as he follows the teachings of Jesus Christ. He therefore shared with the church the principles that he had chosen to live by, with God’s help. I pray that each leader will strive to live as Paul taught, and that each reader will find men and women of God-like character in their church leadership;
~ Depending on God’s grace and not on human wisdom (vs 12) – In each of us, I believe that we are so tainted by the world, that it is always challenging for others to see the grace of God at work in us. We will always try to clarify the process by which we have made decisions regarding the church. However, when we depend on God, it is easy to explain how He guided us through His Word and through His almighty power to the decision He wants made for His church. Which do you see most often by your church leadership;
~ Straightforward letters (vs 13) – There are times when we need an attorney to review certain documents, because we want to make sure that there are no hidden agendas included between the lines. It is interesting, but also conniving how we could place our words just right in a document that leaves the interpretation totally up to the recipient! Paul assured his church that this was not his style of writing. Do you feel the same way about correspondence from your church leadership?
– Let you “Yes” be yes, and your “No” be no (vs 17) – If asked a pointed question, will it depend on the response from the others as to how you might respond? If your church leadership is prayed up and honest in God’s sight, each of them will know how God wants them to individually respond, regardless of what the others might say.
Friends, in all honesty, church leadership is a very challenging thing. Because leaders must learn to put aside personal agendas and wait for the Lord to impress upon them what He wants. Let me encourage every reader and listener to pray diligently for your church leaders. Pray that they will learn to empty themselves of selfish pride and personal agendas, and wait on the Lord for His direction in His church.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Imitate Jesus in our lives and our dealings with others, so that God may bless our efforts and our dealings with others.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You were perfect in the sight of Your Father, yet You were criticized, judged and rejected by mankind. I should expect no less, but please direct my path and keep me on the straight and narrow path so that I may be pleasing to my all-knowing God. Please Lord, give wisdom to our church leaders and guide them in the very critical matters they govern. Trying to gently deal with mankind, while staying true to our perfect God is extremely challenging. Please Lord, always give contentment to our church leaders who strive to always please You, and intervene on their behalf as their church members seek to trust and obey their decisions. You alone are our ultimate Judge, so I pray that we would always strive to please You in all that we do and say. Please remove the desire to please mankind, less our churches become more like the world than their God they were designed to honor and obey. May we always be pleasing in your sight so that You may accomplish Your work through us and our churches. 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!

Remove The Evil One

DATE POSTED Sunday, 2022-05-01
WRITTEN AT: Citra, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Corinthians 5:9-13
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: When I wrote to you before, I told you not to associate with people who indulge in sexual sin. 10 But I wasn’t talking about unbelievers who indulge in sexual sin, or are greedy, or cheat people, or worship idols. You would have to leave this world to avoid people like that.11 I meant that you are not to associate with anyone who claims to be a believer yet indulges in sexual sin, or is greedy, or worships idols, or is abusive, or is a drunkard, or cheats people. Don’t even eat with such people.
12 It isn’t my responsibility to judge outsiders, but it certainly is your responsibility to judge those inside the church who are sinning.13 God will judge those on the outside; but as the Scriptures say, “You must remove the evil person from among you.”

APPLICATION: I was in conversation yesterday with a few apartment tenants in a large city, and I overheard them talking about the warnings of eviction that were threatened by their landlord, and I believe it seems like an appropriate illustration, just as in the case of our upbringing, as they both open the door to discuss how God’s holy people are set apart unto Him. It is evident that in the case of our parents, they wanted no bad thing to distract from what they were teaching us at home, for parents try to help their children learn to always aim for what is best in life for their own good. It also goes to say that parents want to teach us that if we see behavior that is opposite to what we aim to live, then we should force ourselves away from that person or persons who lead that lifestyle. Similarly, landlords aim at finding the best tenants who will pay their rent on time and treat their building and fellow tenants with due respect. When either of these things become questionable, the landlord seeks to evict that questionable tenant, with hopes of finding one that better suites the desires of the landlord. Now, when Jesus gets a hold of our heart and invites us to let Him in, He teaches us in His Word how it is that He wants us to live so that He might be best represented, so that other non-repentant sinners may be wooed into the Kingdom. So we start to spend a lot of time around church, and with fellow believers, so that we may grow from each other’s strength and encouragement. But what happens when a ‘bad apple’ finds their way into our fellowship? I believe that our Scripture perfectly supports the very old proverb that says ‘one bad apple spoils the whole bunch’! You see, Christians have become so accustomed to ‘loving like Jesus’, that we tend to forget that an important part of loving is to also discipline those who are about to ‘spoil the whole bunch’. In our parents home, if they don’t discipline bad behavior or otherwise breaking their rules, then our siblings quickly catch on to the fact that the rules set by our parents are not really intended to be followed seriously. All of a sudden we see children grow into maturity and expect to view the rules established by police and community leaders in much the same, lax way. Dear friends, I am convinced that there is nothing more serious than us trying to please our Heavenly Father. In Deuteronomy 17:7, the Israelites were told by God that when they discover ‘one bad apple’, they are to rid themselves of that evil. Paul quoted that Scripture to the church in Corinth as he taught them how to rid themselves of the evil that may come in their midst. I believe that for those who have been around for a while, we can look around and see where many standards have been lowered compared to what our ancestors understood from the Scriptures and tolerated in the church. I can only wonder what God might have to say to us on Judgment Day. Is He pleased with the way that we are interpreting His commands, and the little twists we are making to them in the name of politically correctness, or in the name of ‘love’? I believe that if we find reason to question our decision on some of these ‘evil’, controversial, or otherwise borderline things, then perhaps we need more time with God – on our knees and in His Word, until we are convinced that we are obedient to His will. When we question evil in someone else, the whole church may look back at us as also being imperfect. So let’s begin with getting ourselves better aligned with God’s perfect law, design, and will. If we are pleasing in God’s sight, then the same should carry over as we assume leadership in our churches and strive to rid them of evil.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: In obedience to God, we are often called to love one another. But at times, it also means disciplining, as needed. I believe that God will bless us when we do both of these things for His glory, and for no gain of our own.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, thank You for the love that You extend to all your children – even during the times that You love us enough to discipline us. Please teach us daily to: love like You first loved us; judge honestly and fairly like we expect from You; always seek out the best in everyone; and to always present ourselves and Your church as holy in Your eyes, just as You are holy. Lord, You know how badly we fail in life, but thanks for Your forgiveness and strength to go on. May the people see Jesus evident in every fiber of our being, and therefore no condemnation for our failures already covered by Your precious blood. 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!

Build A Sanctuary Where God Abides

DATE POSTED Thursday, 2022-02-24
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Exodus 25:8-9
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: “Have the people of Israel build me a holy sanctuary so I can live among them. You must build this Tabernacle and its furnishings exactly according to the pattern I will show you.

APPLICATION: The Israelites had wandered in the wilderness, and even after seeing God’s mighty hand at work in protecting them, feeding them, and guiding them, yet they just could not accept the fact that He deserved their undivided devotion, honor, worship and praise. So God called Moses and his support leaders to a meeting and He relayed how everything will be, going forward. As I meditated on the instructions given to Moses, I was struck, and went into deep thought about what God might say to our leaders today regarding the Sanctuary of the Lord. Will His instructions today be more applicable to our times, or might He demand similar instructions to those that He gave to Moses? Here are some thoughts:
-o- Gold, Silver and Jewels – God demanded that the people build something extremely unique, expensive and something that required their very best and most precious belongings. Many parts of the Ark, and the sanctuary were to be lavished in gold. Can you imagine the security we would have to provide for a building adorned in gold today? But what are our concept of gold in a church environment today? Is it too much for the God of this universe? I remember visiting a Christian-based park, and the bathroom fixtures were gold (or at least gold plated). My first thoughts went on how much the owners must have ripped off from its visitors and followers. Isn’t that sad? Shouldn’t I have given glory to God for these owners who wanted to show the world that God deserves our very best? But don’t we sometimes tend to think that anything will do for our church buildings?
-o- A place for God to live – When leaders evaluate options for their church buildings, I wonder how much consideration is given to the building being the place where God resides, or where we meet with God, versus how lavish the offices should be, or the refreshment area, or the children’s play areas. Let me be quick to say that in ministering to the whole family, all of these things are undoubtably important, but we must always remember that they are secondary to us having a place conducive to meeting with God. Notice that God attributed no value to who else will make use of the sanctuary, for its sole purpose was for the Israelites to meet with God.
Notice that God called the leaders aside and gave the instructions about the sanctuary they should build for His glory. Is that the way it happens today, or do we become over zealous in have the biggest, greatest and most expensive buildings in town. Some leaders are finding the need to add a Bowling Alley to their church facilities. Do you imagine that God gave those instructions? Perhaps instead of gold ornaments and fixtures, they thought to spend that money on something to attract young men and women off the streets, right? I pray that God will not see me in a judgmental way in this blog today. I merely wanted to share my thoughts – perhaps God’s whisperings to me as I read this account today. I believe that God will speak to us individually through His Word, including today’s Scripture, if we welcome Him in. Perhaps He wants each believer to be intimate with Him about every need or concern, even our respective church facilities. There may be some that merely attend church for an hour on Sunday mornings, and they feel content that they have met this ‘religious’ tradition, or commitment for the week. God may be saying to you that He needs you involved in every aspect of His work, even down to His sanctuary – whether existing or in the process of upgrading to meet the needs of His people that want to have a closer walk with Him. God’s Word is one of the primary ways of you hearing His voice as he directs your path. It’s important to listen, and obey, dear friends!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: God speaks to us through His Word! May our hearts be open to His direction and His leading today – even if that includes His Sanctuary.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, You are all-powerful and all-mighty in every way. You created us in Your image so that we might be like You, and that we might have a desire to please You in all walks of life. Thank You for opening our eyes today to the simple, but extravagant building of Your sanctuary. Please continue to remind us of the importance of meeting with You each day, and especially when we visit with You in Your sanctuary. Bless us O Lord as we seek to honor, serve and obey Your commands. 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!

Great Leaders Do This

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-07-31
WRITTEN AT: Hattiesburg, MS

SCRIPTURE FROM: Deuteronomy 17:18-20
TRANSLATION:Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: 18 The official copy of God’s laws will be kept by the priests of the Levi tribe. So, as soon as anyone becomes king, he must go to the priests and write out a copy of these laws while they watch. 19 Each day the king must read and obey these laws, so that he will learn to worship the Lord with fear and trembling 20 and not think that he’s better than everyone else.

APPLICATION: Especially since I started using the computer for almost everything that I do, I despise having to write anything out. I’m sure you are much more disciplined than that! But I believe that in writing something out, you tend to remember the content much better than just reading the text from already printed material. The first thing that caught my attention was the fact that the incoming king would have to sit down in front of the priests and write out for himself a copy of God’s laws. I would like for us to think for a moment how effective it would be today in the following cases:
~ A Husband – Imagine if a new husband had to only write out the laws surrounding being a godly husband. Wouldn’t he tend to be more careful how he loves, provides, protects, cares for, lead by example, teaches his new wife the ways of the Lord, etc? Wouldn’t he be an excellent choice when you vote in deacons or elders in your church the next time?
~ A Dad – Don’t you know that we would have much less crime and delinquency in our world today if dad’s got their training from the Word of God, instead of the local bar, or from their hunting/fishing buddies, or from the company executive who could only handle being home on weekends? Imagine, they will know how to train up a child in the way they should go, and when they enter adulthood they will also honor the ways of the Lord!
~ A Pastor and/or Church Leader – These individuals come into leadership depending on their training from outgoing leaders, or the ones that remain. Imagine, being trained by men who may, or may not have the above disciplines in their personal lives? What might be the result? The same mistakes that have always occurred! Imagine the great leader who takes time to study and understand God’s Word every day!
~ Political Leaders – It seems very evident that as long as leaders outdo the opposition, or make them look as badly as possible in man’s eyes, then they receive a great rating from their constituents. What if they were required to spend weeks, or months, reading the constitution for themselves and writing down what God instructed in His Word? Can’t you imagine that they will be less apt to go after the opposition, or seek revenge, all of which is at the expense of the constituents, but instead they will rule in accordance with the laws you have given them, and the commands of our ultimate ruler, Almighty God?
Oh, and whatever else they may, or may not, find time to do in their day, the above individuals must always read the law every day so that they will be sure to obey it consistently. What kind of home, church and country leaders might we wind up having, dear friends? Would you want to live in their country? My friend, God has the plans in place for our leaders and ourselves to be successful, if only we will honor Him, honor His Word, and live to please Him alone. Before you point fingers at anyone else, consider the degree to which you are living by God’s laws.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: In return for obeying God’s commands, He will make us successful and honor us with a long, happy and healthy life. God being our helper, may each reader and listener commit to this today!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, we admit that we are well aware why You felt the need for these commands for the Israelites. However, we have continued their bad habits, and in many cases we have become more entrenched in sin and evil. Please forgive us of our sin, and impress upon each one again today, the importance of living and ruling in accordance with the commands You have given to us. Things have gone so far, that it is virtually impossible for us to imagine a world like You first designed, and for which Your laws were designed. Lord, we need You in every part of our lives more today than ever before. Please invoke Your presence in our everyday lives so that the world might still see You at work here on earth. 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 Test of Spiritual Maturity

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-04-29
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 3:1-3
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: My brothers and sisters, I cannot address you as people who walk by the Spirit; I have to speak to you as people who tend to think in merely human terms, as spiritual infants in the Anointed One. I nursed you with milk, as a mother would feed her baby, because you were not, and still are not, developed enough to digest complex spiritual food. And here’s why: you are still living in the flesh, not in the SpiritHow do I know? Are you fighting with one another? Are you comparing yourselves to others and becoming consumed with jealousy? Then it sounds like you are living in the flesh, no different from the rest who live by the standards of this rebellious and broken world.

OBSERVATION: Paul’s test for spiritually immaturity: Do you argue? Do you compare yourself to others? Are you jealous? Answer “yes” to any of these, then you are spiritually immature. Let’s look closer at this today, for the sake of the Gospel, and for the sake of Christian growth and maturity – so that the world may be saved.

APPLICATION: I believe that the downfall for most pastors is not for neglecting to dedicate themselves fully to the preaching of the Word, nor attending to the needs of their flock, but rather when spiritually immaturity rears its ugly head. This is no different to the secular world, for during my years of supervising and managing staff, it was always the most challenging part of my job – to deal with the ups and downs of my staff. Yes, we could get the work done, but there always came times when an employee saw the need to show their immaturity and they would become fixated on pulling a coworker down. As a supervisor wanting to make sure that all staff are happy workers, one might make the mistake of trying to ‘fix’ these problems. But often, it is just a matter of trying to help mature the employee who has the issue. Like Paul, many pastors become so burdened with these acts of immaturity that it pulls them down, through discouragement, anger and resentment. It can also destroy a church, for as word gets around, good, mature Christians will leave a church to avoid confrontation. This also serves to keep the unsaved from knowing Christ, for they look at the church and have no desire to gain the kind of disharmony that they hear about at their local church. Ministering to immature Christians is a persistent challenge for a teacher or pastor as they are forced to always teach or preach from an elementary level, or from the basics of the Bible, even if others in the class or church long for the depths of truth from the Word. So I believe that the reason God had Paul share this lesson with us in two different areas: 1). For the parishioner: work towards an intimate, learning, experience with your Maker. This means developing a personal relationship with the Master and getting to know Him better each and every day by studying His Word and conversing with God (praying) on a regular basis. If you only met with your spouse once per year, you would have to reignite the love relationship you once shared. In studying the Word of God, you learn more about Him and long to spend more time with Him, and this becomes a key reason for you to meet together with other believers; and 2). For the teacher and/or preacher: Patience is a virtue, and I believe that we will always need the love and grace of God to work with folk who refuse to fully develop their relationship with the Creator of the World. It gives us reason for seeking God’s help and understanding on why He brings certain circumstances into our lives and ministry. Often these folk are needy people who will always want our attention and our love to help them move on to greater heights in their relationship with God. Will it keep others back, perhaps. However, let’s use this as good reason to seek the help of the Master and follow what He tells us to do. It may be a growing experience for us as we deal with this each situation. There may eventually be another leader who will look to us for advice on how to handle these delicate matters. God may be preparing us and placing us in the right situations at the right time, for His ultimate glory. So let us learn to be content in whatever situation we may find ourselves, so that we may learn to praise God in our storms, in our growth opportunities and in our times of celebration – all glory goes to the Lord!

PRAYER: We probably use the word ‘WHY’ way too much Lord, and almost every time we realize that we are sadly questioning You. I believe that You created us to worship You, with absolutely no reason to question You. Please forgive us for placing ourselves in a bad position with You. To question You is just as immature as in the case of those we just pondered over in the above thoughts. As long as we are alive, please remind us that we are the clay and You are the Potter. You will provide situations that will mold us and shape us in the way that is pleasing to You. Please touch the hearts of those that will read this devotional. May they find total peace in knowing You as Lord, and as their personal Savior, regardless of the storm we may face while still here on earth. Please teach us and lead us to grow in You daily. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. 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!

We Are Worth Dying For!

Wednesday, 2020-02-19

Bible Reference: Acts 20:28
Translation:  Amplified Bible (AMP)

Bible Text: 28 Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood.

OBSERVATION: Paul tried to tell the church leaders at Ephesus how important their job was, and he not only based that importance on his dedication and hard work, but he also explained that the value of the church to God was such that He was willing to have His Son die for it. Many of my readers are probably workers in the church, or involved in ministry in one way or another. How seriously are you taking that work? Ever have to sacrifice for those whom you are serving in God’s church?

APPLICATION: Paul was passionate about the ministry and had traveled to many places sharing the story of Jesus with all who would listen. It is apparent from this Scripture that Paul felt very responsible for the work that he started, and as he shared with the leaders being charged with continuing the work, we could easily tell that it was difficult for Paul to pass along this responsibility. However, I was reminded of a current day parallel to what Paul faced. Think about a new mom who is about to leave her child at the daycare for the first time. There is usually a lot of concern that the daycare workers would know what to expect from this new infant, and there would be detailed steps for them to follow, to make sure that the child is well taken care of after the mother goes on to work. The mother is looking for very caring attention, with responses that would assure her that her child is being left with professionals who would take the same care with the newborn as the mother would do. I love the extra commentary added by the Amplified Bible, for it helps us to really understand the heart of Paul for the church. So of course this made me think about the church today. God uses the foolishness of preaching and the worship of His people to draw men to Himself. Then He turns to His caretakers in the church – the pastor, elders and other church leaders and teachers, and He says like He did through Paul: Now take care of these dear children. Love on them; meet their needs; teach them my Word; correct them spiritually and lovingly, as needed; and don’t think twice about it, because I want you to remember how much I loved the church. And if you want to live just like me, then I believe you will want to love the church and do everything you can for it, just like I did. How obligated are you feeling about all that you do for the church? Don’t we often feel that way? But if we loved the church like Jesus did/does, should there be a feeling of obligation; stress; ungratefulness; with no return to us for all we do and/or give? I believe that this Scripture should open our eyes to do all that we could for the church – all of it’s members, because we love the church just like Jesus does. We’re His followers, His imitators, and undeserved recipients of His love. Why shouldn’t we love the church unconditionally? This will result in Christ-Followers having a desire to be just like their Master. Is He your Master and Lord dear friend? Please read through my Footnote and visit the links that I have included, perhaps the information will be helpful for you as you seek to respond to Jesus after reading this Scripture and my blog today.

PRAYER: Oh to be like Jesus, is all that I ask of Him. To do His will, as reminded by Paul in this Scripture today, will not only bless my readers and myself, but as we react from the impact of God’s Word in our lives, others will come to know Him and want to serve Him faithfully in all that they do. Please speak to the hearts of Your children again today dear Lord. May we shine forth in our work for You without any feeling of obligation or remorse. May You be glorified in Your church today Lord, and may we complete the work You have assigned for us to do. 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to attend my home church. 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!

Consequences for Criticizing God’s Servant

Wednesday, 2019-11-20

Bible Reference: Numbers 12:5-10
Translation: The New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  5 …the Lord descended in the pillar of cloud and stood at the entrance of the Tabernacle. “Aaron and Miriam!” he called, and they stepped forward. 6 And the Lord said to them, “Now listen to what I say: If there were prophets among you, I, the Lord, would reveal myself in visions. I would speak to them in dreams. 7 But not with my servant Moses. Of all my house, he is the one I trust. 8 I speak to him face to face, clearly, and not in riddles! He sees the Lord as he is. So why were you not afraid to criticize my servant Moses?” The Lord was very angry with them, and he departed. 10 As the cloud moved from above the Tabernacle, there stood Miriam, her skin as white as snow from leprosy.

OBSERVATION: In today’s church environment, it seems like many will criticize the man of God for things like: his style of preaching; the volume he uses to deliver the Word of God; his dress code; if he looks at a particular section of the church while delivering his message; etc. Our Scripture today tells us that God questioned Miriam and Aaron about not being afraid to criticize His messenger, and He followed through by penalizing Miriam for her actions. As we meditate on this Scripture today, consider laying yourself honestly before God to examine you for similar actions as Miriam.

APPLICATION:  I would strongly encourage you to read the short chapter from which this scripture reference was taken, for it had a profound impact on me. Click on the scripture reference above and you will be taken to a place where you could read all 16 verses. You will get a better understanding in verse 3 why God took such a fierce stand against the sister and brother of Moses, for the Word declares that Moses was the most humble man on earth at the time. I believe this was included to help us understand that Moses would probably have loved his siblings regardless of what they may have said about him. What a humbling honor to be considered as the humblest man on earth, wow! Does that not automatically cause us to question ourselves and what we might do to be more humble in God’s eyes? However, this criticizing of God’s servant, truly angered God, and He dealt with it severely. He had Moses and his siblings go to the tabernacle, and there He called Miriam and Aaron to step forward as He was about to speak directly to them, and He wanted Moses to witness this. Friends, I want you to read verses 6 through 8 and imagine yourself in place of Miriam and Aaron for anything derogatory you may have spoken or thought about your Pastor or other called church leader. Don’t you know that these men have sacrificed their entire lives to Christ, instead of any possible worldly success? They have submitted themselves to God, and surrendered to the call of Christ to serve Him in the positions He has prepared just for them? Are we then not like Miriam and Aaron, where we are criticizing God for the man He has placed as His leader in our local assemblies? I would strongly caution you that we had better be very careful to pray for our leaders and their humbleness to closely obey God’s commands for His local church. Notice that there is no indication that Moses complained to God about the bad things his siblings were saying. God knew their hearts, He heard their words and saw their actions, and He subsequently reacted very harshly – not just with a tongue lashing, but actually imposed on the ringleader (Miriam) the horrible decease of leprosy. This caused her to be placed outside of the camp (city) for 7 days, even in spite of Moses’ plea with God to heal her. Friends, we must learn from this that we must respect God first of all and, in turn, those whom He chooses as His representatives among us – our pastors and church leaders. We must also learn that God loves His humble servants so much that He will stand in the gap for them. So if you are a called person of God and reading this devotional, please know that God has your back. Be committed to Him and serve Him faithfully, knowing that He will take care of the back-biting, gossip and ridicule. If God has truly placed you as His leader to His people, it is He who is more hurt by the backlash from His people, as they are really questioning His authority. Child of God, pray, pray, pray for the men of God that He places to serve you at your church. May we all be found faithful and true to our Master, until the day He calls us home to glory!

PRAYER: Lord God, Almighty Father, thank You for the picture of love for Your humble servant, and the reassurance that there is no reason why You would still not protect Your servants even today. It is so easy to get caught up in complaining or whining about our leaders, especially when they don’t pat our backs just right, or say the things that we like to hear. Please help us to stay focused on Your Word, for I believe that as we do, then we will appreciate the words from the leaders You have placed in charge of ministering to us. Please teach us to be humble like Your servant Moses, and also teach us to follow Your pattern of obedience when it comes to our spiritual leaders. As church leaders, we badly need encouragement for boldness before Your people, yet humbleness to always seek Your face so that we can seek Your favor for Your people. As followers of Christ, please help us to always pray for, and encourage our church leaders as they seek to obey You and follow Your commands for our respective churches. You are holy and deserving of our praise, worship and honor, and when we do this, perhaps we won’t have time to ridicule and/or gossip about our Brothers and Sisters! I love You lord for who You are, and I ask these things in faith and in the name of Jesus my Savior, AMEN!

Add This To Your Vacation Plans

Wednesday, 2019-07-03

Bible Reference: Acts 21:3–4
Translation: The Good News Translation (GNT)

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……

OBSERVATION: It might be challenging for many to get out of bed to attend church while on vacation, so to follow in Paul’s footsteps might be an impossible challenge for most! But I believe that our relationship with the Master helps us determine each week whether going to church is more important than anything else on our to-do list. Be ready to be challenged by the Word today as you read my blog!

APPLICATION:  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. In our world today, think about when a cruise ship stops into a port. They will inevitably have lots of tours and/or suggestions for its passengers, but I don’t believe you would hear them suggest time at a local church, or listening, and ministering to the poor and downtrodden. 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 that I am visiting. 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 us, as to what is permissible in worship at our home church, mostly because of what our friends and family may think. (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. When it was time to leave the island, 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?

PRAYER: 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 work week, 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 nations and all cultures 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, so 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!

Reasons To Come To Jesus

Wednesday, 2019-01-09

Bible Reference: Matthew 4:23-24
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text:  23 Jesus ministered from place to place throughout all of the province of Galilee. He taught[r] in the synagogues, preaching the hope of the kingdom realm[s] and healing every kind of sickness and disease among the people. 24 His fame spread everywhere![t] Many people who were in pain and suffering with every kind of illness were brought to Jesus for their healing—epileptics,[u] paralytics, and those tormented by demonic powers were all set free. Everyone who was brought to Jesus was healed!

OBSERVATION: People flocked to be in the presence of Jesus, because word got around about His teachings, His healings and the hope of this future home that He taught about. Let’s meditate on our current day situation and consider the things that draw people to Jesus today, and possibly the things that causes people to reject the idea of our Master.

APPLICATION: I once heard a story of a neighborhood kid standing besides the pastor of a church while firefighters fought a blazing fire that seemed destined to totally destroy the church building. The pastor turns to the young man and introduced himself while saying that he had never seen him around the church before. To which the young man gave this response ‘because I had never seen the church on fire before’. A simple, but profound answer, for how many in the neighborhood of our church buildings know that the church even exists there, and secondly, have they heard any results of happenings at the church, or from its services, such as what we read in our focal Scripture today? Is it evident to the attendees and the neighborhood that Jesus is present every time we meet? Will young men, such as the one at the fire (mentioned above), hear about the Holy Spirit convicting people of their sin, causing them to surrender their lives to the holy Son of God? Will the neighborhood hear about the ‘tongues of fire’ that moved in our church service, like it did in Acts 2, and how it convicted hundreds to turn from their sin and accept the love and security of knowing Jesus as Lord? My solemn prayer is that our neighborhoods will hear more of God moving in His church, than they do about the fights and church splits that plague so many churches today. Oh that they may hear about, and see a flourishing church, where people go to visit while steeped in the likes of their earthly leader, but leave as changed men and women, boys and girls. Friends, our churches must be busy about pointing people to Christ, for we could boast of the largest and prettiest buildings, or the expanse of our properties, but it’s not until our neighborhoods see lives being transformed into the likeness of everything they have heard about God, that they will know that the fire of the Holy Spirit is alive and well at our churches. Now, before leaving this thought today, let me quickly remind us that the ‘church’ is not the building where we attend services, nor is it the Pastor to whom we may pay to lead our church, but rather, it consists of each believer that meets corporately to worship God together. So in that context, I pray that we might be more careful to look for how God is at work in our worship services, and that we concentrate on Him wholeheartedly as we go to worship, not the many other people or things that distract us in and around our sanctuaries. In this way, our lives will shine with the glow from the Holy Spirit inside the church building and everywhere we are seen! It’s all about our God, friend!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for all that You did on Calvary, so that we might gain access to our heavenly home. May our relationship with You be so intimate, so personal, so worshipful, and so sincere, that our time together in corporate worship might be magnified by the same Spirit that lives in the hearts and lives of every believer gathered. You and You alone deserve our praise and our worship. Please help us to forget about ourselves and the distractions around us, so that our minds are fixed on You. May our times together in such a setting be so impacted, that our lives outside the church will overflow and shine with the glory of God. May the unsaved see the ‘tongues of fire’ referred to in the early church, prevalent in our churches and in our neighborhoods as we scatter. To God be the glory for all that He will accomplish, even through us! AMEN!