Your Purpose in the local Church

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

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!

Your Church – House of ‘Prayer’?

Post Date:

Thursday, 2017-08-31
SCRIPTURE

From:

Luke 19:45-47 (NLT)

Text:

 45 Then Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out the people selling animals for sacrifices. 46 He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves.”47 After that, he taught daily in the Temple….
OBSERVATION:
In the verses immediately preceding these, Jesus entered into Jerusalem and wept over the city because of all that He saw going on there. The sadness stirred His anger as He walked into the temple, a place set aside for prayer, as declared in Isaiah 56:7. Jesus immediately thought of the prophecy by Jeremiah where he declared that the house of God would be turned in a den of thieves (Jer. 7:11). Let’s see how this impacts us today….
APPLICATION:
In our study yesterday, we looked at the results of the Israelites ‘crying out to God’. My interpretation of that is: they were pleading earnestly with God in prayer for Him to rescue them. Throughout the Bible we see example after example where successful, dedicated men of God pleaded earnestly with God for His protection, guidance and wisdom. Would you dare say that each of our churches are more dedicated to prayer than anything else in our ministry? I believe that I can safely say that churches today are more geared towards praise and worship, preaching the Word, youth and children’s programs and adult ministries that may, or may not, be linked to a Bible Study or prayer. For those churches who still have prayer meetings, it is one of the least attended services of the week, with very few exceptions. So this makes me question, can God look at our church as a real Isaiah 56:7 church? I believe,  that we can attribute this to the heart of our people during the week. If we pray and meditate during the week, we will certainly miss that, and demand it for the church at large, during corporate worship, or even that we hold special prayer meetings. I heard one old saint say that if all we were going to do on Wednesday nights is pray, he just won’t come, for he wanted to hear the Pastor teach! This may be the heart set of many, but yet we call it ‘Prayer Meeting’! Jesus said in 2 Chronicles 7:14 that ‘if my people would humble themselves and pray, and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven….’ Friends, I believe this is telling us that we need God’s help to turn from our wicked ways; we need His power to heal our wicked, sinful land; and we know for sure that He is the only one capable of touching the heart of mankind and creating within them a desire to accept Jesus as Lord. This all starts with prayer! Please give this a much higher priority in your home, in your church, and in your life! As God heals our land, you will be among that crowd! 
PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, just as You cleansed the temple before You taught, please cleanse me of all my sin so that You may also teach me Your truths and give me opportunities to share that with others. Lord, I would also ask that You work in the lives of our church leaders to assume the primary focus of Your intent for the church, that it be a place of prayer, where we sometime preach, and teach, and have fun times, and have great praise teams, etc. May the main thing be the main thing in my church oh Lord, my Rock, my Redeemer; and soon coming King, 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!

Your Wish For The Church

May I encourage you to get your spiritual ‘Nuggets’ to start your day off right? Pretty amazing that our awesome God would consider feeding even us with His Word! May I encourage you to read the whole devotional and look for a blessing, friend!………

The Bible Reference: 2 Corinthians 13:11-14

The Bible Text: And that’s about it, friends. Be cheerful. Keep things in good repair. Keep your spirits up. Think in harmony. Be agreeable. Do all that, and the God of love and peace will be with you for sure. Greet one another with a holy embrace……… The amazing grace of the Master, Jesus Christ, the extravagant love of God, the intimate friendship of the Holy Spirit, be with all of you.
The Bible Translation: The Message (MSG)

My Take Away: I generally provide, what I believe to be, provocative thoughts for you from my Bible studies, hoping that as God had touched my heart while in His Word, my sharing might provoke you to search the heart of God for what He would say to you through the scriptures. Meditating on the closing wishes of Paul, in the highlighted verses, for his friends at Corinth, led me to think about something that may sound a little morbid to some, and it may sound like homework to some. However, Paul shared with his readers what was on his heart for them, especially now that he was closing his current communication with them. I want to encourage you to take a moment and write your responses to the following ideas, and if you’re really feeling bold, share these with your pastor. I believe it would be neat for your pastor to read these words at a service that celebrates your life on earth and your departing wishes for your fellow family and church members:

  • My life has been enriched by ________ (hopefully God) in the following ways: ____________________
  • Friends, I believe that for you to grow closer to God and to each other, you should: _________________________
  • Please do away with: _______________________________ and
  • Allow God to: _________________________________
  • I have prayed for you in these ways: _________________________ and,
  • Wish: ______________________ for you, until we meet again on the other side, God being your helper!

Try copying this into a word processor and completing the blanks, friends. What a testimony this would present of your time on earth and your heart-challenge for those you may leave behind!

Prayer: Lord God, You created us for a purpose, and You have placed us here on this earth with a purpose in mind. May we seek You and accept You as our Creator, and as our Savior and Lord, then may we seek to worship, love, adore and obey You all of our days here on earth. May our God-following lives impact others that we come into contact with, because of the clear evidence of whom we belong to, and from whom our speech and actions derive. It’s all about You Lord! It’s You that we strive to live for and strive to live with after our life is finished here on plant earth. Please mold our lives so that we may be usable by You to impact those who You are reaching out to from the inside out. With much love and affection I glorify You and seek Your face today and everyday oh Lord. Please impact the lives of all who will read this devotional today, so that You may impact the world through us. I ask these things in the strong and wonderful name of Jesus, My Lord and soon coming King, AMEN!

Footnote: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely 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!

2016

The Essence of Worship

May I encourage you to get your spiritual ‘Nuggets’ to start your day off right? Pretty amazing that our awesome God would consider even us, to nourish us for His glory! Read on and be blessed!………

The Bible Translation: Common English Bible (CEB)
The Bible Reference: Psalm 48:9-10
The Bible Text: We dwell on your faithful love, God, in your temple. Your praise, God, just like your reputation, extends to the far corners of the earth. Your strong hand is filled with righteousness.

My Take Away: As I meditated on the Word today, I tried to think about where my worship time is today, versus where it should be after reflection on these two verses. I believe that most of us will automatically think of our church services when we think about ‘Worship’. However, it would be extremely challenging for any of us to come to a ‘Worship’ service and be impacted by God if we only sit and listen to the many ways that our Worship Leader, or our Pastor saw God’s faithfulness throughout the week. Could you possibly imagine that praise would exude from God’s people all over the world, if only our Pastors were being touched by God? Friends, in these verses the Psalmist is encouraging us individually to reflect on the faithfulness of God. As we do this all across this vast earth, can’t you see where our thunderous acts of praise and worship in unison, could possibly be compared to the Israelites that marched around Jericho as told in Joshua 6? Our obedience, our actions, our faith and our love for our blessed God would result in many walls of doubt, sadness, and unbelief being collapsed. Please join me in making every effort to recognize God and His handiwork, and to worship and show our appreciation to Him every day. For as we become a worshipping and praising people, we will automatically do that as we meet corporately in our respective churches. Yes, our Worship Leaders and our Pastors will still make every possible attempt  to lead us into corporate worship, but guess what, you and I will have so much joy bottled up inside of us because of us already dwelling on God’s faithful love, that our hearts will explode into worship and praise to our wonderful and magnificent God. Friends, we may be a very needy people, but let me assure you that our awesome God is very worthy of our praise and worship at every opportunity. In our key verses today, it seems like the Psalmist may have completed the following sentence: At my church, our service is …… May I encourage you to try the above for a few weeks then complete this sentence yourself? Always remember, the joy in your heart is not placed there by an exciting corporate Worship Leader, or a young and vibrant Pastor, it’s the result of all that God has blessed, and still blessing, you with! That’s why He is worthy of your personal praise!

Prayer: Dear God, I pray that You may continue to bless us, Your children, but I also pray that You will create within us a clean and contrite heart, so that we might always be filled with appreciation that will result in expressive worship to our Provider, our Redeemer, our Faithful One, our Savior and our Lord. You are so worthy of our praise Lord. Please forgive our lack of appreciation by not responding in constant praise and worship to You. May there be a change in us, oh Lord, and may it be evident in our churches as we fill its pews each week. I ask these things in total appreciation for all that You do each and every day for me. In the precious name of Jesus, AMEN!

Footnote: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

2016