The Makeup of Our Churches

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-08-07
WRITTEN AT: Hattiesburg, MS

TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT: “A farmer went out to sow seed. While he was scattering the seed, some of it fell beside the road. People walked on the seed, and the birds ate it all. Other seed fell on rock. It began to grow but then died because it had no water. Some other seed fell among thorny weeds. This seed grew, but later the weeds stopped the plants from growing. The rest of the seed fell on good ground. This seed grew and made 100 times more grain.”….

APPLICATION: Ever notice how much easier you remember the pastor’s illustrations than you do with the simple reading of God’s Word? I remember a pastor who once started up a gas chain saw on the stage at our church and proceeded to cut a perfectly good chair in half. On another occasion the same pastor came through the back door with bags of garbage, and he dropped a bag sporadically along his path to the pulpit. On yet another occasion he hit an anvil that he had placed on the stage, and the sound echoed in my wife’s ear so badly that it made a lasting impression on her, and each of us, to this present day! These examples came to mind as I meditated on the reason Jesus gave for preaching in parables. He knew that His hearers would very easily understand His analogy and could apply the examples to their own lives. On occasion, the disciples would ask Jesus to clarify – to make sure they knew where He was coming from and the point He was trying to make sure that they understood and applied to their lives. I was intrigued by this particular parable, because Jesus explained Himself in good detail further down in the chapter, beginning in verse 14. To apply this to today’s church, I believe we should examine our hearts, and determine what it is that we look to in deciding which church to attend. We place a lot of emphasis on the music, and on the charisma of the pastor, but Jesus is teaching us today that these things matter very little when our own heart are not where it should be, or if we are ready to hear from the Lord. I have experienced repeatedly where someone may share how boring the service was and how little they received from the service that day. Then, in listening to a time of Christian testimonies, I hear how blessed people were in that same service and how tenderly God spoke to their heart from His Word. Jesus said that His Word will not return void. Think about this, pastors and teachers labor over God’s Word every week and they seek His face for what He would have them share with us. Yet many of us leave home without our tools (our Bible), and we head out to church, as if going to a concert, (no prayer in seeking out God’s answers to your life’s dilemmas, or praying for the wisdom for the messenger). So with that in mind, how do you suppose the Word will be received by you that day, perhaps like a seed that fell on rocky ground? Furthermore, some will head out to church with the weight of the world on their shoulders, and their minds will be so distracted with their worries, that their presence at church will in no way reflect how much they will receive from the Word of God. Much like seed falling among thorns, where the Word is simply overshadowed by everything else that is going on. Friends, let’s be reminded that the charisma of a pastor will show us how good they are at getting our attention. The spoken Word of God will show us how good God is, and how well He has taken on the weight of this world so that we might know how much He loves us, cares for us, and provides for us here on earth and in the heights of heaven when we leave this world. Let me suggest that when we check to see if we have everything when we head out the door for church, let’s make sure that we carefully check our heart and see that we are ready to receive instruction and blessing from our Master, God Almighty!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: With our minds fixed on Jesus, we are usually ready to hear from Him. Let us therefore set aside all stresses, doubt and fear and just listen to the Word with minds and hearts that are ready to obey!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please forgive us for the times that we come to Your house and our minds are anywhere but there in Your presence. I believe that when we do that, we reject the very presence of the One who: loves us unconditionally; and is out to provide the very best for us, Your children. Our hearts need refreshment from You and our minds need refocusing on You, instead instead of our situations and problems. But Lord, we need Your strength to overcome. Please give us Your power and Your wisdom to see Your perfect will for us. Lord this old world is filled with evil and needs You more today than ever before. Please help us to be Your light on a hill for the world to see hope, love and refreshment. Let them see Jesus in us, so that they may be drawn to You. Lord, may Your kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven. 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 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!

Commit to Peace and Unity!

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-10-26

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   2 Corinthians 13:11-12 (TPT)

TEXT:  11 ….. beloved friends, be cheerful! Repair whatever is broken among you, as your hearts are being knit together in perfect unity. Live continually in peace, and God, the source of love and peace, will mingle with you. 12 Greet and embrace one another with the sacred kiss.

OBSERVATION:   Paul, who went through a miraculous conversion into Christendom, had spent quality time with his friends at Corinth. He had also written several letters to them in between trips, just to encourage the new converts and help them stay strong in their faith, with their new-found Savior. At the conclusion of his letter, Paul gave some excellent advice, that I believe not only helped those believers in Corinth, but because churches today are still facing very similar challenges, I believe that this advice is still very applicable to us today.  

APPLICATION:   So often we look for Christian advice in the Bible, but then question every other resource for ways to do better in our family, friends and work life. I believe that you will find this Scripture helpful to you in general, so listen closely to the word of God. In earlier days of the church, some Might recall days, and sometimes weeks of revival services and/or evangelistic services, where there was a strong emphasis on reviving the saints and evangelizing the lost of the community. Because of the strong emphasis on prayer leading up to and during the times of these special services, there was usually a very strong presence of the Holy Spirit and many lives were impacted. Often at the end of the services, there was a sense of sadness to see the services end, so at the parting service there would be very similar sentiments, and challenges offered like these that Paul shared with his followers. Why was revival services needed? I believe that the answer is summed up in a phrase that I heard an old pastor say: “because, as Christians, we tend to leak!” Friends, it is very challenging to keep a good healthy church surviving as such, for there are many personalities working together – or at times against one another. There are so many who feel like they have all the right answers and therefore they should be the boss in most areas of the church. There are so many with chips on their shoulder, and if you only look at them seriously they may become very upset and threaten to leave the church, because they figured out exactly what that look meant! Aren’t most of these things very, very silly? Think about the one true God, whose Son we endeavor to exemplify. Jesus came into an imperfect world, as the perfect Son of God, filled with godly wisdom, and with love for everyone, as only God Himself could do. And this perfect Savior, He taught among the elite of society, as well as carefully and lovingly attending to those in need along the street and in the crowds that followed Him. He healed those that we may have considered ‘worthy’ and some who we tend to disassociate with, because they may not be ‘just like us’. He ate with sinners, and He chose some to follow Him that many would have turned up their noses at. However, for those of us that have accepted Jesus as Lord, and are committed to His teachings and commands, we strive to be just like Him. Why then do we tend to be so much unlike Him in so many ways? Are we still that needy, or is it that we have not totally turned away from our earthly master yet? In verse 11 of today’s Scripture, Paul warns us that we should repair whatever is broken among us. I believe this starts with our relationship with our Lord, for if we have a healthy relationship with Him, He will direct our paths, if we let Him, and that includes relationships with one another. Friends, here’s how important I believe this is: If we expect to be instrumental in our family and friends’ lives, to encourage them into a relationship with our Lord, then we must be living like Jesus. We could ‘tell’ them all we want, but unless they see it evident in our lives, they won’t listen to, or follow us. How much is a soul worth to you? There is absolutely nothing more important to me than to see my family and friends make a decision to follow Christ. When they, and me, leave this world, I want us all to be ready to meet Jesus in the air! I hope that you feel the same way!

PRAYER:   Lord Jesus, we need You more today than ever before. I believe that Paul realized how much impact Satan was having on Your children in his day, and I’m sure Satan is still impacting the lives of our people today. Lord, I know that You are such a strong and awesome God and that there is nothing that You can’t handle, so I beg You to work miracles in the lives of Your children – embolden us to be more like you in our character, our words and our actions. Humble the hearts of the proud into total surrender to You. I know that we don’t have a perfect world, but I am convinced that we have a perfect God, so I beg with You to work on us imperfect beings, all for benefit of Your kingdom, 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 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!

Make Room For God

Monday, 2020-02-17

Bible Reference: Jeremiah 4:1-3
Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Bible Text: The Lord said: Israel, if you really want to come back to me, get rid of those disgusting idols.     2 Make promises only in my name, and do what you promise! Then all nations will praise me, and I will bless them. 3 People of Jerusalem and Judah, don’t be so stubborn! Your hearts have become hard, like unplowed ground where thornbushes grow.

OBSERVATION: While I believe there was a lot of value in these verses for Israel and the people of Jerusalem and Judah, I believe that this passage of scripture was included in God’s Word to us for self-application also.

APPLICATION:  I believe that God spoke to me as I read this, and had me substitute ‘Israel’ with the family and friends that I am praying for. At times when I feel distant from God, I believe that this passage also applies to me. Friends, I want you to read this carefully to make sure that you too understand that when God seems far away from you, it may be time to examine your lives and see what idols (priorities; things) you may have allowed to step in the way of your open communication and dependence on God. The kinds of things that get in our way might be:
* Work – for we can become so absorbed in our job that we have no quality time to spend with God;
* Church – yes, even church. We can become a slave to the work of the church and exclude our study and worship time with the Lord, for whom we are presumably working;
* Family – even though this item is of super importance, if we’re not careful, Satan can use this as a tool to keep us away from God. Let’s learn to take our family to church, instead of feeling an obligation to spend quality time with them on our Sabbath. After all, we had other opportunities during the week to spend time with them, but with Satan’s help, we chose not to. Men/dads this is our responsibility as God’s leader in our homes;
* Activities – we all know that the beach is always better on our Sabbath day than any other day of the week, right? But does it fit with God’s command of what we should be doing on our Sabbath?!!;
* Sports – why would we consider giving our time to sports on our Sabbath day rather than assembling ourselves together to worship God and to encourage one another?;
* Weariness – the toils of the week have left us so worn out that giving one hour of our time to refuel spiritually, and to give God thanks for our jobs, and the good health to do our jobs, seems to be challenging for us – at least until we lose our job or some other crisis comes up;

Friends, I’m not judging, for that is God’s job. I merely listed a few things that may cause us to think about the possible idols that stand in our way of communion with God. May I encourage you to examine your own life and see if there is anything that distracts you in your walk with the Lord? Be honest with God as you consider this, for He knows your heart and your very circumstances, and He is willing to help you tear down those idols, so that you may be drawn closer to Him. Remember, sin must be removed from our heart, before our hearts will be opened for God’s mighty hand. The good news with this whole thing is that others will follow us, and God will bless us! Read verse 2 again! Imagine, your actions might actually revolutionize the world!!

PRAYER: Father, You know our hearts and You know our thoughts and our schemes. It is so unfortunate that in spite of Your goodness to us, we allow Satan to feed our thoughts, that often leads us to scheme and find reasons to not find time in the Word, in prayer and even church attendance. Please forgive us for our ingratitude and our unfaithfulness. You sacrificed Your very Son for our salvation, yet we find it challenging to make time to spend with You and/or Your people in corporate worship. Often this is just not a priority in our lives. Please forgive us oh Lord. Please touch the hearts of Your children who will read this devotional today, may they also be made aware of ‘idols’ that have become obstacles in their walk with You. Lord Jesus, we respect You and all that You stand for, however if we are to be true and honest representatives of Yours, we too must imitate you in every aspect of our lives. We can only do this with Your help, direction and wisdom oh Lord, and we humbly seek that today. For this is my humble and gracious plea before You oh God, in the name of Your Son 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 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!

Our Mission

Tuesday, 2019-12-10

Bible Reference: John 20:21-23
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 21 Jesus repeated his greeting, “Peace to you!” And he told them, “Just as the Father has sent me, I’m now sending you.” 22 Then, taking a deep breath, he blew[l] on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit.[m] 23 I send you to preach the forgiveness[n] of sins—and people’s sins will be forgiven. But if you don’t proclaim the forgiveness of their sins, they will remain guilty.”[o]

OBSERVATION: Multiple times we see where Jesus emphasized to His disciples what their ongoing mission would be, but in our Scripture today we see where Jesus wanted them, and us, to know that our mission would be the same as His was. So one might ask: ’Well, would you kindly encapsulate that for me?’ As we meditate on these verses today, let us consider what our mission here on earth might be.

APPLICATION: I am often recognized as a son of my earthly father, because of the things that I do, or the corny jokes that I tell, or just the things that I say in general. Jesus reminds us in today’s Scripture that just as He was sent by His father, spoke only those things ordered by His Father and did only those things directed by His Father, His followers should also follow His (Jesus’) pattern in life while He was here on earth with us. I believe that establishes our direction, or mission for life, so let us seriously look into what this might be. I believe that it is important to notice right at the very beginning that the New Testament is filled with the words, actions and directions of our Savior, and the Old Testament is filled with prophecies of what would be expected of us. So the best way for us to learn, or be reminded of certain actions of our Lord, is to deliberately spend intimate, quiet, God-directed time seeking the will and direction of God each day, by studying His Word. I know, you really don’t have time to sit and read large chunks of the Bible every day – right? I understand dear friend, but please allow me to suggest to you that when you get in conversation with God again, consider replacing the words ‘I didn’t have time’ with something like this: ‘Dear God, please listen to your son/daughter who didn’t make it a priority to seek Your direction from Your Word today…..’ I bet by now you are ready to close this devotional because you feel like I am trying to lead you on a guilt trip, but friend of God, may I suggest that the ‘lack of priority’ words I used, really explains why there was not time to study God’s Word and seek His direction for your life that day? For we found it a priority to: Spend extra time in preparing ourselves for work; Spend time watching the morning news so we could be on top of our game while speaking with business leaders each day; And spend time at the local coffee bar to be encouraged by true leaders that meet there each morning. However, it was not a priority to seek the will of the Creator of this world, the One who ordains everything that will occur today, the One who could guide us to success here on earth AND to our heavenly kingdom that He has especially prepared for those who know Him. Many years ago I was prompted to accept the love and direction of my Savior. In a very deliberate act of maturity in my relationship with Jesus, I was prompted, and I followed in obedience, to make it a priority to spend time in God’s Word each day. To do this, and still leave home in time for work, I had to get up earlier. In being led to also make Nuggets From God’s Word available to the world, I deliberately awoke 2 hours earlier so that my commitment would be a priority. This information was not intended to brag to you dear friend, but instead to help you see how you might make time alone with God a priority in your busy life’s schedule. If it’s important to you, I believe that you will make it a priority. Reading God’s Word each day will lead you to pattern your life after His Son that was sent for this purpose. In our verses today, Jesus told us that He did what His Father told Him to do. As you learn from God’s Word what you should be doing each day, you will one day say like Paul: ‘follow me as I follow Christ’! Please consider making this a priority in your life precious child of God!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, You have shown us in Your Word that there was nothing more important than you giving up Your life in order that we might have life eternally in heaven one day with You and Your Father. You have also taught us many things that should be a priority in our lives so that we might pattern our after Yours. As You observe our lack of priority to spend time alone with You, but yet a glimpse of our desire to reflect You in all aspects of our life, please open our hearts to be willing to make the main Thing the main thing. In every walk of life here on earth, our lives are pulled towards every lust and material obsession that our neighbor or coworker might desire or boast of. Please help us to be leaders, by making You a priority in our life – something that will draw others towards a similar commitment and a firm desire to be a child of the King in every aspect of life. YOU are our King! May it be evident in the choices we make and the way we spend our time. AMEN!

Because of Our Personal Faithfulness, God will….

Monday, 2019-12-08

Bible Reference: 1 Kings 15:1-5
Translation: New Century Version (NCV)

Bible Text: Abijam became king of Judah during the eighteenth year Jeroboam son of Nebat was king of Israel. Abijam ruled in Jerusalem for three years. His mother was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. He did all the same sins his father before him had done. Abijam was not faithful to the Lord his God as David, his great-grandfather, had been. Because the Lord loved David, the Lord gave him a kingdom in Jerusalem and allowed him to have a son to be king after him. The Lord also kept Jerusalem safe. David always did what the Lord said was right and obeyed his commands all his life, except the one time when David sinned against Uriah the Hittite.

OBSERVATION: Some of us may stand proud before God and brag about our faithfulness, while others will stand at a distance with heads lowered in shame because of our lack of commitment and faithfulness to our God. Our Scripture today tells of God’s faithfulness to David and his ancestors that followed, because of David’s commitment and loyalty to His God. Let us reflect on what we anticipate hearing from God, because of our own faithfulness, or lack thereof.

APPLICATION: Isn’t it interesting to consider the excuses that we make for missing the mark that we know God has established for us? It might be in the words we speak, where we quickly adapt to the ways and wishes of the crowd, but find it so impossible to try and speak words of Truth taught to us in the Word of God? I will be the first to tell you that I am not good in remembering Bible verses. However. In my grandmother’s last years of life here on earth when her sight diminished, she completed her daily devotional time with God by sharing back with Him, Bible verses that she had memorized over her lifetime. So can we memorize God’s Word? Of course we can! Consider also the things that we memorize from the world. How many jokes can you sit and tell at once time? How many stories from you childhood can you still share with friends? How often do you sit and share what you heard from friends (gossip)! So is it a matter of remembering God’s Word, or is it due to the lack of time that we spend in the Word, compared to the time spent around the television or with the unsaved? And what about our actions? When last have you stood firm for what you learned from God, while you attended a party or a work social? Do friends recognize whose you are, based on your actions inside the four walls of your church AND at all events they might find you at? Remember, just as God knew David’s heart and that David was diligent to obey all of God’s commands in every circumstance of life, except in the case of Bathsheba and Uriah, He also know our every move and the vain words that we frequently utter. David earned the title given by God as ‘a man after God’s own heart’, is that one of the titles God might give to you dear friend? A true reality check is that only God truly knows you (your heart). For you can fool those around you, seeing that they only see your ‘public’ life, but God sees you without any filters being applied. Oh that our God may be able to bless others because of our faithfulness; because of our telling the truth; because of our love for others; because we gave honestly of our income to God and His work; because our actions towards others are a result of all that God blessed us with and not because of selfish reasons or in an effort to attain recognition. God loved us because of who He is. Oh that we may do the same, love others because of who God is! Lay your cares before God today dear friend, and allow Him to have His way in and through you, so that You may serve Him with every good intention that He has in mind for you.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, please help us to do your will and be obedient to Your every command. You laid out a perfect plan for us to follow so that we could look like You, talk like You, love like You and give freely of the gifts that You bless us with so bountifully. May the Words of our mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in Your sight and be a pleasing aroma in Your nostrils precious Lord, so that You may be glorified in all the earth. May others see Jesus today, and not us in all of our weakness and selfish desires. AMEN!

What’s Your Sign

Friday, 2019-12-06

Bible Reference: John 19:17-20
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 17 Jesus carried his own cross out of the city to the place called “The Skull,” which in Aramaic is Golgotha. 18 And there they nailed him to the cross. He was crucified, along with two others, one on each side with Jesus in the middle. 19–20 Pilate had them post a sign over the cross, which was written in three languages—Aramaic, Latin, and Greek. Many of the people of Jerusalem read the sign, for he was crucified near the city. The sign stated: “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”[k]

OBSERVATION: Pilate was almost persuaded, in that he seemed to have believed that Jesus was, who He said He was. Why he even used part of the title given to Jesus in the sign he had posted over him on the cross. In our time of meditation today, I believe that the Holy Spirit prompted me to have us consider what we may have placed on our sign to identify our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. to the crowds that passed by. I wonder…..

APPLICATION: Don’t you find it interesting that we might call someone by their name when addressing them face-to-face, but we may have other names for them when referring to them in discussion with our friends? Of course, that could change when we speak with close friends or relatives of the individual; and it may change even more when we become upset with the individual. But what about Jesus, what might you place on a sign to identify Him? What does He mean to you? I would dare say that at church you might have a very religious name for Him; Among Christian friends you might have a similarly religious name; In close communion with God and when you feel like He is answering your prayers, you may still have a very positive reference for God. But let us consider how that changes when things are not going our way, and in fact, when we feel like the world is against us, or when our prayers seem to not leave the dark room in which we find ourselves. Are you still willing to use strictly complimentary names for God, and/or His Son? There is a saying in Christian circles that may contain more truth than we care to accept at times: Jesus is either God of all, or perhaps He’s not our Lord at all. Oh my. When we consider that He went to the cross for our sin, and our eternal destiny in heaven, how shameful for us to place conditions on our relationship with Him. Conditions, you might ask? That’s correct, my friend. For if Jesus is not Lord of all in the good times when everything is going our own way, AND in those challenging times when we can’t understand why we lost a young sibling, or our job, or our car in an unfortunate accident, then obviously we are not truly entrusting all of life’s circumstances into His awesome hands. The whole reason we ask God about our circumstances, or for direction, is that we want His will to be done, and not our wishful, selfish thinking and/or desires. I therefore feel like it is very obvious that we should not only accept His agreement with our requests, but also His decisions to offer us a better way at times. With Jesus in our corner during the rough times of life, we are much more blessed than doing things our own way during the highlights of our blessed life. Perhaps we should write our sign, and each day re-visit that sign to either remind us of who God was yesterday, but also who He still is today – in spite of the change in circumstances. Our God is awesome my friend! He has shown us that, He has proven that in so many ways, and He has promised that He will be with us right up until He returns to take us home to glory! I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that He is able, to take that which I’ve committed unto Him until that day!

PRAYER: Lord, You are so wonderful to me in so many ways, and I thank You for loving me and caring for me in the good times, and in those times when I feel like all hope is lost. Please keep me near the cross, for there’s a precious fountain. A place where You gave it all so that I may have eternal happiness – both here on this earth and in the glories of heaven. Please speak to my friends and I when we struggle with the challenges of life, and help us to know that the same loving Savior who gave it all for us, is still with us even when we feel abandoned. You are my King, my Savior and my ever-loving Master. I commit myself anew to You and ask that though I may doubt at times, that You will always love and care for me in every circumstance of life. AMEN!

Is It I? or Is It You?

Monday, 2019-11-18

Bible Reference: John 13:18-21
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 18 “I don’t refer to all of you when I tell you these things, for I know the ones I’ve chosen—to fulfill the Scripture that says, ‘The one who shared supper with me treacherously betrays me.’ 19 I am telling you this now, before it happens, so that when the prophecy comes to pass you will be convinced that I AM. 20 “Listen to this timeless truth: whoever receives the messenger I send receives me, and the one who receives me receives the Father who sent me.” 21 Then Jesus was moved deeply in his spirit. Looking at his disciples, he announced, “I tell you the truth—one of you is about to betray me.

OBSERVATION: To consider this topic today, is like saying to a crowded room ‘Will the perfect one please stand up’! For who do you suppose has been ‘perfect’, or fully obedient in every way to the commands of Christ? Wouldn’t you be like the rest of the disciples should Jesus say to your group that one of you will betray Him. Let’s humble ourselves before God and consider this very challenge that the disciples faced. Is it I, Lord?

APPLICATION: We could very easily see a group of Christians get upset if someone walked into their meeting room and said that one of them will betray Jesus that day. In fact, they would probably shoo that critique out of their midst immediately, thinking that he meant to go next door where the non-Christians were hanging out. But how often do Christians take for granted the awesome love that Jesus extended to them?; how often do we think about the sacrifice Jesus made just for us at Calvary?; how often do we imitate Him in following His example to only say what the Master has ordered us to say?; and how often have we sold out to the world when it comes to representing Christ in action, deed or word? I know, the immediate response is often but. ‘we’re only human’. However, for what purpose have you given your heart to the Lord? Is it not to promise Jesus that you will leave these earthly desires and sin, so that you might live a holy, dedicated, life for Him? As you do this, are you not saying to the world, ‘follow me as I follow Christ’? So, when you choose to deliberately defy the commands of Christ, ignore the love of Christ, and totally destroy your witness to the unsaved, have you not betrayed the trust that Jesus placed in you when you promised Him that you would love and represent Him for as long as you live? Friends, I believe that if Jesus walked into a room filled with, who we might consider to be the most respected christian leaders, and He said that one of them would betray Him, I believe they all would stand in open guilt, knowing that it could be either one of them. Do we set out to be like that? No, I would never believe that. But let me remind us today that when we become unconcerned and uncommitted in our faith, we tend to start accepting more and more of the world back in. When that pollution reenters our lives, we are easily swayed into doing the former things of life. The hurtful thing about that, is that you are now subjecting the Holy Spirit to all of the filth, because you invited Him to come and live inside of you the day you gave your heart to the Lord. Do you suppose that the heart of Jesus was broken when He realized that one of His own disciples would betray Him? How do you suppose our risen Lord feels when He sees you and I betraying Him still today? Just living in this world, we will be tempted, but let me assure you today, based on the very Word of God, that greater is He that lives in you, greater is He that is available to you when you cry out to Him for help and guidance, than he that is in the world! For those who know Jesus personally, know that we serve an awesome God – one who is greater, stronger and always willing to empower us to overcome the struggles of this world! Know Him today my friend, and know peace everlasting!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, Your weak and sinful children need You each and every day. The temptations of this world are real, and they are often stronger than we can personally overcome. Please teach us to always lean on You for the strength to face the challenges of this world, and to live noble lives ordained by our perfect Savior. For those that may find this whole devotional unreal, I pray that You would please speak gently to them and melt their heart of stone so that they may see Jesus in all His glory. Lord, I know that Jesus is the answer to all of man’s challenges today. Oh that sinful man might see Him and accept Him as Lord and personal Savior, and may we commit ourselves fully to Your care, Your power and Your direction. We need You precious Lord, every hour of every day. AMEN!

Your Interest in The Living Christ

Friday, 2019-09-20

Bible Reference: Luke 24:1-3
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: Very early that Sunday morning, the women made their way to the tomb, carrying the spices they had prepared.  Among them were Mary Magdalene; Joanna; and Mary, Jesus’ mother. Arriving at the tomb they discovered that the huge stone covering the entrance had been rolled aside, so they went in to look. But the tomb was empty. The body of Jesus was gone!

OBSERVATION: Perhaps it’s part of the difference between how men and women think, or perhaps what each find important, but regardless of the differences, the three ladies mentioned in our text were determined to take good care of our Lord after His death, while the men gathered together for prayer. As we meditate on these verses, I pray that God will draw us into a time that we place ourselves into the picture and think about what we may have done!

APPLICATION: While reading God’s Word, I was led to reflect on how any of this applies to us today. I was reminded of the major crisis going on today in our communities, where crime is at such critical levels, while at the same time the family structure is probably at it’s worse. I wonder if there is a parallel? Throughout the Bible we can see clearly how God expects our men to take an important role in life. Leadership of their families, and leadership at our churches. So let us therefore look inward to see how we might have handled this situation today. First of all, let us reflect on our family structure. Where are our men? Gentlemen, is it enough to date our women and have children with them, but have no leadership role in their home? Could it be that too many of you are without the key leadership role of Jesus Christ in your lives, so there is therefore no prompting of the Holy Ghost to be good husbands and/or dads? Could it be that because you have no true relationship with Jesus Christ, that it is not important for you to teach His principles in your homes, or lead the way in taking your family out to church? I believe it is evident that because of our dysfunctional families and homes, our kids have resorted to lives of crime in order to find attention from someone. I want to encourage our men to stand tall Brothers. Jesus Christ sacrificed His life, so that we might have an eternity to look forward to with He and His Father! He invited us to know Him personally, and to lead our families into a relationship with Him. He led a perfect life – without sin! So if we commit to Him, and we lead our families to do the same, and we are obedient to His Word, then our families will be led to lives free of crime! So why did God take me in this direction today? I don’t believe it was to indicate that the disciples were living sinful lives, unworthy of Christ, but in wondering why the disciples chose not to take care of the body of Jesus after his death, I was led to also wonder why our men today are satisfied in resting while: their wives take on the role of getting her family out to church; while their children follow the crowd in committing crime (sin); while churches struggle to find qualified men for leadership. Wake up men! Please take on your assigned role and be good leaders. Become a ‘Paul’, who told his followers to follow him as he follows Christ. Please, let’s take our roles seriously. Only what’s done for Jesus will last, so let’s make our lives count!

PRAYER: Oh Lord Jesus, please help our men to be men of God. Our communities are going to ‘pot’, and our young people are resorting to everything Satan has to offer, because of the lack of leadership and role models in their lives. Oh that we might commit ourselves so faithfully to You Lord, that our kids will see the living Christ working through us. May our words remind others of Jesus, may our actions and our lives be living examples of all that we know of Jesus – the One who never sinned. For the one who stumbled on this devotional and might be trying to understand its message, please Lord, touch their hearts and call them to Yourself today. 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 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!

Be Faithful in Following Jesus

Friday, 2019-09-13

Bible Reference: Matthew 4:18-22
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  18 One day as Jesus was walking along the shore of the Sea of Galilee, he saw two brothers—Simon, also called Peter, and Andrew—throwing a net into the water, for they fished for a living. 19 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!” 20 And they left their nets at once and followed him. 21 A little farther up the shore he saw two other brothers, James and John, sitting in a boat with their father, Zebedee, repairing their nets. And he called them to come, too. 22 They immediately followed him, leaving the boat and their father behind.

OBSERVATION: Accepting Jesus because mom pressured you to do so, or because your prospective father-in-law only wants his daughter to marry a believer, would receive a totally different commitment from you, than a personal encounter with God, where He called you to repentance for the way that you have totally ignored His gift of salvation. In our example today from the Scripture, God had a personal encounter with the disciples. I believe that you should also listen closely for the call of God on your life, and that you should quickly respond.

APPLICATION:  Imagine for a moment if Peter and Andrew had concluded after meeting Jesus that He was a good man and would make a wonderful Savior for many people, especially for those who had time to follow Him around and observe His marvelous works. Imagine how little impact Jesus would have had on these two men if they chose to continue making a living and left Jesus alone to go and impact the brothers up the road who had nothing better to do. James and John had similar choices to make in verses 21 and 22, but like Peter and Andrew, these guys immediately dropped what they were doing and followed Jesus. Friends these stories were included in the Word to show us the impact of total surrender. I don’t believe for a moment that God intends for every Christian to give up our jobs to be obedient followers of His. However, I do believe that God is showing us that it is important for us to take a 180 degree turn from what we did as a sinner, so that we might prove to whom we now belong. We don’t need to prove it to God, for He knows our very inmost thoughts and desires, but we need to convince ourselves that we have seriously redirected our lives to following the Savior, the King of all kings, Jesus Christ. We need to prove it to our friends. We can’t continue doing the things of this world (Satan approved things) and still expect our friends to see a difference in our lives. Think about everyday scenarios: what do you do when you go on a diet? You can’t lose weight eating the same junk food and sweets that brought you to your obese state in the first place. What do you do when you get married? You can’t hang out with your buddies until the wee hours of the morning and expect to go home and find your new spouse happily waiting for you. So what about the Christian walk? I would dare say that you can’t live like the Devil and say that you are a Christian. We have to leave the garbage behind, much like the disciples left their nets and their boats behind, and choose to give God our all – our undying allegiance, our unwavering love and dedication. Show Him that You are serious about the decision you made to follow Him – perhaps He will use you like He did in the case of the disciples mentioned! Won’t that be awesome!

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, thank You for being patient with us. I’m afraid that too often we tend to try and continue doing what we’ve always done, yet expect different results, or worse still – try to convince ourselves that our allegiance has changed. Lord, I believe that these four disciples were so sold out to you that they gave up their fishing careers to become ‘fishers of men’ in your kingdom work. I am convinced that we need more folk like this today Lord, so that the world might know without a doubt who rules in our lives. Please work on us today and convict us of any shortfall You see in our lives and our commitment to You. May we be usable instruments in Your hands to reach the lost. I ask this in the strong and unwavering name of Jesus, AMEN!

The Results of Half-Hearted Commitment

Saturday, 2019-09-07

Bible Reference: Joshua 13:13 ; 15:63
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  Joshua 13:13 But the Israelites failed to drive out the people of Geshur and Maacah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.
Joshua 15:63 But the tribe of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites, who lived in the city of Jerusalem, so the Jebusites live there among the people of Judah to this day.

OBSERVATION: There are consequences for lack of commitment, whether in our homes, our jobs, or in our decision to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Christ. Join me as we meditate on a few examples of this and how God totally used a man who was sold out in his commitment to Him.

APPLICATION:  Over the past chapters we read where Joshua and/or Moses were, with the help and direction of God, successful in overcoming a number of territories and their respective kings. I found it odd to read the two verses above where the Israelites were unsuccessful, or perhaps failed, in driving out the Jebusites and the people of Geshur and Maacah. Surely the God they served, and of course the same God that we serve today, is very capable of overcoming all obstacles. In my further study I found where these same people that failed to fully conquer, were the same ones that caused unending difficulties for the Israelites, as recorded in the book of Judges. This sounds like there may have been personal reasons that the Israelites just didn’t push hard enough to really oust these people. This reminds me of ourselves, for there are times that we refuse to seek God’s forgiveness of certain things that we like to hang on to, or His power to truly rid ourselves of certain sins that are either profitable for us, or meaningful to us. Often these little sins that we hold dear to our selfish little hearts are the very same things that come back to bite us and cause us extreme difficulties. I believe that like in the case of Joshua, God is still looking for folk that are totally sold out to Him. Folk that have totally surrendered everything to Him. Folk that have set aside the sinful things of this world, committed themselves, and surrendered themselves to the unadulterated Word of God and have sought to serve Him unconditionally. In fact, the Word of God goes on to substantiate this, for in Joshua 14:9 we are told that Caleb was given special favor with God because he ‘wholeheartedly‘ followed God’s commands. Because God gave up everything for me, yes His one and only Son, so that I might have life eternally and more abundantly, then the least I can do in return is to surrender ALL sin to Him – yes everything that does not align with God’s Word, His will, and His commands. I commit myself anew to serve my King unconditionally, and without compromise. I pray that my readers who are serious about the Lord will consider this same commitment today. For those who have not yet met my Lord personally, I pray that you will read my Footnote carefully, including the hyperlinked Scriptures, and invite Jesus into your heart today. He loves you and He wants to rule and reign in your life today! Friends, there is no room for halfheartedness – oh that we may all be totally sold out to Jesus! There is nothing that this world can offer that compares to Him!

PRAYER: There is only one way that I can be a totally true, unselfish, child of God and overcome daily temptations and sin, and that is to seek Your help O God and look to You in all humility for strength and guidance to live as You would have me live – so that You can truly have a usable vessel through which You can touch others. May others come to know You as Lord, and surrender their all to You. Many need the Lord, and I pray that You will be able to use all of us meditating on this devotional today as we fully place our trust in You. Please forgive me where I have been deliberately selfish and weak and given in to sin. This is unbecoming of a child of Yours and I need Your forgiveness and strength to overcome. May my readers and I live our lives in total surrender and commitment to our Lord, is my humble prayer O Lord! Amen!