A Test of Spiritual Maturity

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.

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 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 visit 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!

We Are Worth Dying For!

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?

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

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.

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!

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 highly recommend to you 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!

Add This To Your Vacation Plans

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!

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!

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 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!

Reasons To Come To Jesus

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.

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!

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 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!

God’s Discipline

I am reminded that discipline comes in many forms, and from almost every person in authority over us. Jesus (the Amen, as referenced in several translations) saw the need to say this to the church at Ladocia because they ‘sat on the fence’ – they were not hot, or cold. For they said they were servants of God, but they didn’t allow Him to be God in their own lives. Could God be bringing this to our attention today so that we may closely examine our own lives, and that of our own churches?

Thursday, 2018-11-29

Bible Reference: Revelation 3:19
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: 19 I continually discipline and punish everyone I love; so I must punish you unless you turn from your indifference and become enthusiastic about the things of God.

OBSERVATION: I am reminded that discipline comes in many forms, and from almost every person in authority over us. Jesus (the Amen, as referenced in several translations) saw the need to say this to the church at Ladocia because they ‘sat on the fence’ – they were not hot, or cold. For they said they were servants of God, but they didn’t allow Him to be God in their own lives. Could God be bringing this to our attention today so that we may closely examine our own lives, and that of our own churches? 

APPLICATION: From a very early age, good parents will discipline their children, as a way of stopping wrong doing, and guiding children towards the right way to act and do things. As children mature, they go to school and teachers are forced to instill discipline in their lives also. As young adults, they then find the need to test the systems outside of the home and school systems. So law enforcement and the courts come into play. Then they enter the work environment, where supervisors or managers take responsibility for guiding them as adults, and holding them accountable for their actions. Imagine what a parent will do if the young man who just landed a job, went home one evening and ignored everything his parents asked him to do around the home? In fact, all that he learned in growing up seemed to have drained out of the young man, for he is also ignoring his manners, respect and chores that were assigned to him. So the parents are looking at their son from birth, yet his attitude has changed into something they just can’t identify with. They want to love him, because of his ‘sonship’, yet they don’t want to reward unappreciated, rotten  behavior with their precious love. In our Scripture, Jesus is looking at a church that He gave up His very life for, yet He is disappointed at their disregard for His teachings; their refusal to participate in a number of church meetings that were designed to grow Christians; their withdrawing from certain activities that particular families are a part of, because they just don’t like them. Imagine the lack of appreciation Jesus must feel, knowing that He loved the church so much that He freely gave up His life for their good, and for their victory in overcoming the world’s weaknesses, and living with the promise of eternal life in heaven with Jesus and His Father? Do you suppose that He would be tempted to spew them out of His mouth, and possibly start over with a new group that may show signs of hope? What kind of discipline do you feel might be most appropriate for a church such as I described? Do you feel that you would be one who is caught up in the worldly actions described, or one of the few that may be praying for God to help them clean up their mess and live righteously before a holy God? Friends, I would encourage you to look inward before criticizing the church at Laodicea, or trying to pin the actions I raised on certain individuals. Does Jesus see an individual with a clean and contrite heart, filled with His righteousness, and appreciative for all that Jesus did for the church, when He looks intently into your heart? Precious Lord, may it be so for myself, and for many who will read this devotional. Please teach us to alway seek the truths of Your Word, and to humbly obey Your teachings.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, thank You for giving wholeheartedly of Yourself so that we might be saved from the attractions of this world. Thank You for helping us to look with joy at the realization of heaven and the wonder of the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, welcoming us home as a ‘son’ or a ‘daughter’! Our hearts are overwhelmed with joy over the promise and expectation of this, as we patiently await Your return to take us home with You precious Lord. Please ‘jerk our chain’ as we lose sight of whose we are, so that we would never be tempted to stray away from the commands of our General – our Lord and Savior. Thank You Lord for loving us enough to bring us through this challenging world with our eyes fixed on You. Please help us to maintain ‘tunnel vision’, so that the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of Your glory and grace! 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 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!

God Knows Your Heart ……… And your Love for Him

In this book of Revelation, God is speaking to the seven churches about their condition, and the subsequent result of their condition. For the church at Ephesus, God was pleased with some aspects of their ministry, but in these two verses we can see where God is getting to the root of their ineffectiveness. Let’s pay close attention to this, because I believe we will find God speaking to us about our own respective churches as we study this Book.

Monday, 2018-11-26

Bible Reference: Revelation 2:4-5
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text: “But I have this complaint against you. You don’t love me or each other as you did at first! Look how far you have fallen! Turn back to me and do the works you did at first. If you don’t repent, I will come and remove your lampstand from its place among the churches.

OBSERVATION: In this book of Revelation, God is speaking to the seven churches about their condition, and the subsequent result of their condition. For the church at Ephesus, God was pleased with some aspects of their ministry, but in these two verses we can see where God is getting to the root of their ineffectiveness. Let’s pay close attention to this, because I believe we will find God speaking to us about our own respective churches as we study this Book.

APPLICATION: From time to time we hear of many churches that fail for various reasons. Often we will hear of churches declining at such a rate, that it will only be the matter of time before they are forced to close their doors. Friends, churches are made up of folk like you and I, so when we say that our church is failing, I believe that we are really saying that we have become a sorry people. I know, that sounds really harsh. But allow me to challenge myself and you with a few sobering questions: When last have you prayed for your pastor? When last have you attended prayer meetings, to join hearts and souls in prayer about the needs of God’s people? Do you tithe and give generously to the work of the local church? Just like you need money to run your home, so the church needs money to pay salaries, and other operational expenses, plus support worldwide missions. When last have you visited the sick or helped the widow in need? No, that’s not the responsibility of the pastor, for we all should be obedient to the Word of God. Friends, I believe that when the church – you and I, becomes ‘the church’ and we follow the commands of our Lord Jesus Christ, then it will be evident who rules and reigns over us. People still need the Lord, and when they see God at work through His people, then perhaps they will be convinced of His existence and their need to accept Him as Lord. Looking back at our focal verses, we will see that God accused the church at Ephesus of losing their first love. Please take a moment and meditate on the days and weeks following your conversion. Remember how ‘in love’ you were with Jesus? I know, you still love Him, right? But I want you and I to think of the differences that are evident in our love now, compared to our love for Jesus at the time I referred to. What happened? I believe that such an influence of this old world has found its way into our lives, that our actions now portray more of the world than that of the One who saved us. Will the church – we the body, survive and flourish like this? Do people that we touch see more of Christ, or the world? Unless they unmistakably see Christ, let’s not think for a moment that we have a flourishing church. Examine yourselves and draw close to the One who gave up everything for you my friend. Only what’s done for Jesus will truly last!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for not giving up on us. Your Word is a light to our path, because It illuminates our earthly condition, that is often far from the path that You have laid out for Your people. Lord, we want our family and friends to know the Lord, so we want to look and sound more like You in everything we do and say every day. Please touch us once again and draw us close to You. May we become Your hands and feet on the ground, so that our people can see You and experience You when they come into contact with us. 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 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 Impact of Sin by Our Leaders

It is terrifying for God’s people to sit and watch while their leaders worship idols and foreign gods, because we know that our God is a jealous God and that He deserves all of our praise. However it is an awful thing when our leaders ignore God’s warnings and continue in sin to the point that God demands the punishment of all people under their rule. In our Scripture today, God was very angry with the people under the reign of these leaders, and I believe that it’s because they sat idly by while the leaders took the whole country to Hell with them. Don’t we feel the same way even today? Let’s look to the Scriptures!

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   2 Chronicles 24:18 (NLT)

TEXT: 18 The king and these leaders stopped worshiping in the Temple of the LORD, the God of their ancestors. Instead, they began to worship the Asherah idols and other idols. Because they did wrong, God was angry with the people of Judah and Jerusalem.

OBSERVATION:   It is terrifying for God’s people to sit and watch while their leaders worship idols and foreign gods, because we know that our God is a jealous God and that He deserves all of our praise. However it is an awful thing when our leaders ignore God’s warnings and continue in sin to the point that God demands the punishment of all people under their rule. In our Scripture today, God was very angry with the people under the reign of these leaders, and I believe that it’s because they sat idly by while the leaders took the whole country to Hell with them. Don’t we feel the same way even today? Let’s look to the Scriptures!

APPLICATION:   Growing up we were warned about staying away from certain kids, because we are known in our community based on those we hang around with. There are many other things that parents wisely share with their children about our relationship with the wrong crowd: guilty by association; you will quickly become like those you hang around with; their evil intentions will rub off on you a lot quicker than your good intentions will impact them. So how then do we have any control over our leaders? Good question, right? Because we can disassociate from our friends, but we can’t as easily disassociate from our country, or our state, or city or church. Friends, I believe that it all comes back to the level of commitment we have with our Father. A ‘Christian’ who accepted Jesus because of peer or family pressure, will probably struggle with standing firm in their faith that they have supposedly committed their lives to. Compared to a saint that was called by God, and they accepted His call to be Master and Lord of their life. However friends, there are many times in the Bible where Jesus stood up for what was right, and publicly denounced what was wrong. Does congress have a clue that there are Christians out there that disagrees with a law they are about to enact? If your senator came to your city and stood on a street corner where there was open opposition to something you joined other believers in asking him/her to promote in congress, can you speak the truth in love at that public meeting? Because of the way our Scripture is worded, I really believe that God punished the two nations because they sat back and allowed these two leaders to do whatever they pleased, knowing full well that their actions would impact each citizen. When last have you prayed for the leaders of your respective country, state, city or church? If you haven’t, then God is answering your desire to care less about what these leaders do, or how it may impact you. If we don’t pray for our leaders, then we show that we don’t care about them or about how their actions may impact each of us. Friends, I believe it is clear that no matter how much we want to stay out of politics, we are obligated by Scripture to pray for those who rule over us. I believe it is also clear from today’s Scripture that there are consequences when we disobey God’s commands. 

PRAYER:   Lord, thank You again today for Your Word. May our minds always be opened to sharing our faith and praying for our leaders, so that the decisions they make may be influenced by You, and that they may ultimately serve to bless Your children while living here on earth. Give us boldness oh Lord. For I ask all this in the precious and strong name of Jesus, 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 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 Sebring, 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!

 

Your Purpose in the local Church

The apostles were working hard in the ministry of the Word – teaching and preaching, but they heard rumblings that the poor were not being attended to. Instead of them distracting themselves from their convictions about the ministry they were responsible for, they set out to choose seven additional men for that purpose. I want us to think about the purpose that God has placed us in His church? We are about to start a New Year, Lord willing. What does God have in store for you to do in His ministry next year?

Post Date:

Saturday, 2017-12-30
SCRIPTURE

From:

Acts 6:2-4 (AMP)

Text:

So the Twelve called the disciples together and said, “It is not appropriate for us to neglect [teaching] the word of God in order to serve tables and manage the distribution of food. Therefore, brothers, choose from among you seven men with good reputations [men of godly character and moral integrity], full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will [continue to] devote ourselves [steadfastly] to prayer and to the ministry of the word.”
OBSERVATION:
The apostles were working hard in the ministry of the Word – teaching and preaching, but they heard rumblings that the poor were not being attended to. Instead of them distracting themselves from their convictions about the ministry they were responsible for, they set out to choose seven additional men for that purpose. I want us to think about the purpose that God has placed us in His church? We are about to start a New Year, Lord willing. What does God have in store for you to do in His ministry next year?
APPLICATION:
In just the first few verses of this chapter in Acts we see a few different categories of church attendees. I believe that it would behoove us to examine ourselves before God and identify which group we belong to – or should be striving to achieve. Here are the groups I see, and I will call them what most churches seem to use today:

  1. Pastors and Elders: I believe that these are what this Scripture referred to as ‘Apostles’. It was clear from the Scripture that these men took the serious responsibility of prayer and ministry of the word – teaching and preaching.
  2. Deacons: I believe that our deacons today are the equivalent of the servants chosen and ordained to help with the serving and administering of the church affairs. These men had to fit the parameters outlined by the apostles. I believe this is important for the church today also, because these men are not just representing the church as they go out to help the poor, but they are also representing God.
  3. The Support Team: This would be the congregation who is a part of the church with a very warm and sincere heart. A heart that is in constant prayer for the ministry, and supports the decisions made by their leaders, knowing that those godly men serve as a result of their faithful, personal prayers. As in the case of Moses’ arms being lifted up as he led the battle, so are these folk lifting up their Pastors, Elders and Deacons. These great folk consists of the men and women who will serve as lay leaders and a group from whom the next set of ordained leaders will be chosen.
  4. The whiners and complainers: You might say that this group is good for the church as they alert Pastors, Elders and Deacons to things that others may not see. While this could be true, I want you to remember what it feels like to have a thorn stuck in your side all day! Where this group could become helpful, is if they become Positively Critical. This happens when they pray for the success of their leaders and the strength, maturity and growth of the church body. You will always be very positive for those you pray favorably for, and your whining and complaints will become concerns that you want to help resolve and/or pray for!
  5. The uncommitted: Unfortunately there are many who are uncommitted in their marriage, their workplace and in their church.  Some are known in church circles as Christmas and Easter Christians, because that’s the only time they make an effort to attend church. Some are hit and miss on attending church at all, but since they were raised and baptized in that church, they consider that their church home. Unfortunately these folk tend to be undependable about attending classes or learning more about God, because they are uncommitted to Him and His church.

Friends, I believe that you will fit into one of the above groups. But I hope that you are always striving to grow and mature into the next group up. Jesus was perfect, and I believe it would thrill His heart to see us grow and mature into a perfect church under His leadership and development.

PRAYER:
Lord You are faithful to us, even when we are sometimes unworthy and unusable in Your ministry here on earth. Thank You for reaching into our hearts and awakening us from the grip of Satan, and the evil so prevalent in this world. As in any army battling evil and wrong doing, we continually need a few more good men and women to work in Your ministry to try and reach the lost and needy of our community. Please touch us Lord, help us to be Your arms extended and outreached to show the love of Jesus in every way and in everything we do. May our commitment and willingness to serve reach way beyond the four walls of our churches, and wherever man is found. I am so looking forward to the day that we will all look full into the eyes of our blessed Savior and sing Your praises throughout all eternity. Come Lord Jesus, come! 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 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!

A Community of Believers

Peter and the apostles taught the Word of God and many were saved. At one time over 3,000 joined the church in one day. I believe that these verses may hold the secret, or the key to the reason for the success in these services that started at Pentecost. I wonder if this could be repeated today? I wonder why there was such success? Let’s dig in and have a look…

Post Date:

Wednesday, 2017-12-20
SCRIPTURE

From:

Acts 2:42-44 (ERV)

Text:

42 The believers spent their time listening to the teaching of the apostles. They shared everything with each other. They ate together and prayed together. 43 Many wonders and miraculous signs were happening through the apostles, and everyone felt great respect for God. 44 All the believers stayed together and shared everything.
OBSERVATION:
Peter and the apostles taught the Word of God and many were saved. At one time over 3,000 joined the church in one day. I believe that these verses may hold the secret, or the key to the reason for the success in these services that started at Pentecost. I wonder if this could be repeated today? I wonder why there was such success? Let’s dig in and have a look…
APPLICATION:
I believe the biggest divide in churches today is probably caused by a few things: 1). Satan is determined to slow, or stop the work of the Holy Spirit and the advancement of God’s kingdom here on earth. 2). Riches and favoritism is probably one of the greatest divides in churches, for the affluent wants what they want, when they want it, or they will stop financially supporting the church and move to another one. This can even affect what is spoken from the pulpit, as the last thing some pastors want, is to ‘step on the toes’ of those that places food on the church family’s table. 3). The less affluent will soon feel left out, or abandoned, or ignored, and will move to a church where they feel like the love of God is extended to all attendees or members. As for this church referred to in these verses, everyone sold what they had and placed the money in a common account for the good of the whole congregation. Going before the throne of grace at that time, then meant that they were all equal in earthly things. It meant that they all went to God with their hands held out, waiting for His blessing and provision. It meant that anything achieved could only come from God. Can you imagine how humbling that would be today if everyone was in the same position when they stood before God? What impact do you suppose this would have on: our pride; our humbleness; our understanding and appreciation of each other; and our ability to feel what others are feeling outside of our group? I believe it will make all the difference in the world, and I believe that it will open our eyes to what it will be like when we stand before Jesus on Judgment Day. Perhaps despondent people will then flock to our churches, and to Christ. No matter how much money we ask our family to pack into our casket with us, we will stand before Christ just as we came into the world – of no earthly value. Perhaps we could learn today to reconsider our attitude toward others, and especially humble ourselves before Jesus as just another sinner saved by grace. If you have not surrendered your life to Jesus Christ yet, may I encourage you to make that a priority today? This may be the last opportunity you will have to approach Him from here on earth, and I really want you to be ready, friend.
PRAYER:
Lord, You used Your servants to minister to Your children gathered for that first Pentecost meeting recorded above. I believe that You are just as concerned for Your children today, and that You want them to be saved and/or encouraged to humble themselves before You just as they are. Thank You for opening our eyes today dear Lord, and thank You for giving us a second chance to rid ourselves of pride and all unrighteousness. Please make us holy, even as You are holy. 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 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!