Daily Devotions from The Word Of God… From the heart of Ed Algreen

Archive for the ‘Disciple’ Category

How Did You Respond?

Friday, 2016-08-19

Scripture

Bible Reference: Mark 1:16–20

Bible Text: 16 As Jesus was walking along the shore of Lake Galilee, he saw Simon and his brother Andrew. They were fishermen and were casting their nets into the lake. 17 Jesus said to them, “Come with me! I will teach you how to bring in people instead of fish.” 18 Right then the two brothers dropped their nets and went with him. 19 Jesus walked on and soon saw James and John, the sons of Zebedee. They were in a boat, mending their nets. 20 At once Jesus asked them to come with him. They left their father in the boat with the hired workers and went with him.

Bible Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

My Take

There are three calls by Jesus that I want to share with you, and the response I believe God expects from each. In the above scripture there are two examples highlighted in purple where Jesus called out to fishermen to follow Him. Their responses are almost identical. They are highlighted in green and to summarize, they both say that the fishermen saw no greater priority than to drop what they were doing – things they were familiar with, and coworkers that they knew and respected. And they did this to follow this Jesus who was passing along on the shoreline. Perhaps they had heard of Jesus before, and perhaps they had not, but they responded obediently to His call. Now the third call is probably the most important one for you to ponder today, for I am convinced that Jesus still calls His children today – that’s you and I friend. How you might ask? We are told in scripture that our experience with Jesus is ‘Good News’, in fact I might add that it’s the BEST news that one could hear in any given day. So may I help answer the ‘How’ question, by asking you:

  • When last have you been so determined to keep ‘Good News’ bottled up inside?
  • How can you say that Jesus hasn’t called you to follow Him into service, when you have already turned down so many opportunities to serve Him through your local church?
  • What do you mean that you are incapable, when we see that Jesus used uneducated fishermen to start off the whole Christian movement?
  • Why would you refer a family member or friend to your pastor, when Jesus placed the person and their situation right into your lap, expecting you to merely share your story with them, and the Good News of the One who rescued you from a life of sin?

Friends, I believe that Jesus is just as anxious about using you and I to spread the gospel as he was with the first disciples He called. They immediately responded by following His commands. Perhaps you should consider doing the same!

Prayer

Lord Jesus, we have been blessed with the greatest gift ever, and our blessings continue as we worship, adore, praise and serve You. Please help us to be as liberal in sharing this good news with others as we do with even the smallest successes in life. Lord, You know how blessed we are with the friends and family You have placed in our life. Please help us to show our deepest appreciation by sharing the Good News of our Savior, who actually sacrificed His life to provide our means of getting into Heaven. This is the greatest news ever, so let us be bold in sharing it with everyone we come into contact with. 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!

Your Faithfulness Will Prove To Whom You Are Faithful

THE HOLY BIBLE (New Living Translation – John 8:30-32): 30 Then many who heard him say these things believed in him. Jesus and Abraham 31 Jesus said to the people who believed in him, “You are truly my disciples if you remain faithful to my teachings32 And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”

THOUGHTS: I believe that the phrase where I bolded two items (in verse 31) is really very applicable to many areas of life. For one will be fired if they were not loyal to their employer; or military authorities would not permit a soldier to serve unless he could be loyal to his/her country. So why then would we ever think that the God of this universe, the Creator of everyone and everything, would sit idly by and permit us to serve any god we want, or to blatantly disobey His teachings and still be acceptable in His sight? Friends, in the very words of Jesus, the evidence of whether we are His followers, or His disciples, is whether we remain faithful to His teachings. So what is your evaluation about yourself? Are you a disciple of Jesus Christ? Often a good accountability partner would be very helpful to you with this, for they will look beyond your excuses and compare your actions with the Word of God – God’s teachings. If you don’t have an accountability partner, may I suggest that you look for one? Make sure this is not a ‘Yes’ man or woman, because you need their honesty and you need them to help you draw closer to God and His Word, not make you feel better about what you are doing. Friends, the time for us to meet one on one with Jesus is drawing near, for the signs of the times are very near. Please look closely into God’s Word and be obedient to His teachings. It’s for your own good! Based on your actions yesterday, to whom do you suppose the world think that you are faithful to?

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your awesome Word – Your directions for righteous living and for testifying of Your love and care for mankind. Please work in my life today that I may be honest in all my ways and may my actions be a true reflection of You and show obedience to Your teachings. For all my readers, family and friends today, Lord may their eyes also be opened to the importance of declaring their loyalty to You through the things they say, do and practice. You know our hearts Lord, so You know where we stand. May it be evident to our family and friends through our actions today, I pray. I humbly ask these things in the wonderful and outstanding name of Jesus, my Lord, Savior 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 read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Oneness – So The World Might Know

THE HOLY BIBLE (God’s Word Translation – John 17:20-23): 20 “I’m not praying only for them. I’m also praying for those who will believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that all of these people continue to have unity in the way that you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be united with us so that the world will believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me. I did this so that they are united in the same way we are. 23 I am in them, and you are in me. So they are completely united. In this way the world knows that you have sent me and that you have loved them in the same way you have loved me.

THOUGHTS: In this chapter Jesus prayed to His Father for His disciples and the church at large. In these verses He prayed in all sincerity that those who know Him (Christians) would be in such unity that the people to whom they speak (the unsaved world) would believe in Him and accept Him as the Savior of the world sent by God the Father. Friends, I often reflect on what the opposite effect might be if the will of the Father is not accomplished. That leads me into considering what happens to the ministry of Jesus Christ when children of God can’t agree – when they fight and bicker among themselves so much that the unsaved world wants no part of the confused mess they see occurring in and among churches. Is it any wonder sometime why we stop and ponder why our ministries are ineffective? It seems like even among ‘friendly’ denominations, we go out to minister in Jesus’ name, and wind up putting down another denomination. Oh my, friend, that is not a sign of ‘oneness’. When our job description dictates that we spread the love of God, and our lives reflect the joy of the Lord living inside of us, doesn’t that mean that we should be so busy praising and bragging on our Lord that there will be very little time or desire to reflect on the beliefs of some that we may not agree with? In fact, when I reflect on this prayer of Jesus and really gain the breadth and depth of His heart as He prays to His father, I see where He really wants us to reflect the ‘oneness’ that He portrays with His Father. There is no where in scripture that Jesus puts down His Father or speaks evil against Him or disagrees with Him. Instead, it is just the very opposite, for He respects the role of the Father in ultimately making decisions (especially about the second coming of Jesus), and He speaks as one and the same when conveying the truth and love of the gospel. So where do we get off at in being His follower, imitating Him in every way, yet being critical of fellow disciples who are working towards the same goal of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ? This type behavior or ministry will not serve the ultimate wish of Jesus in verse 21 when He prayed that we will go out and minister in such unity that the world (the unsaved) would know that God truly sent the One in whom we believe, and the One we are spreading Good News about. ‘Oneness’ points to us truly representing Jesus, who was sent and is representing His Father. Anything else tears down the ministry of Jesus Christ and promotes the intent and heart of Satan. I believe we all know what we should be busy doing today and every day of our life. Let’s get to work – unified in the Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ!

PRAYER: Father, please forgive us for our weakness in allowing so much of this world to indwell us and interfere in the ministry that You have aligned for us, and as these verses today reflect, that You have actually prayed for. Our lack of success in ministry is directly impacted by our disobedience to You and Your Word, and our selfish desire to tear down another while trying to promote our selfish goals. Reading these verses today causes me to seriously consider keeping these pinned in an obvious place for daily inflection, and as a guide towards my daily goal. Lord, I need Your power to overcome the desire to tear another down in order to promote self. May I ask that You grant me strength to overcome this weakness, but also to touch the heart of Your followers today and embed a deep desire within them to also do the same. Please strengthen and guide us towards ‘Oneness’ – the kind that You exampled before us in being ‘One’ with the Father. I ask this knowing that Your desire is that through our ‘Oneness’ the world will know that You were sent by the Father to save them. May this be accomplished today in and through your earthly representatives, for this is my pray that I ask in the name of Jesus, AMEN!

PLEASE NOTE: I will be out of town on a mission trip to be of service to our friends in Mexico during the week of July 19th. I will not be able to publish these devotionals during that time. Please pray that God will use His servants, our group of 30, so that His children in this foreign land might be encouraged and drawn to Him through our honest and sincere representation of our Savior. May God be glorified in all things through our witness! I expect to resume these devotionals on Monday, July 27th.

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

What Is Your Role In The Local Church?

The Holy Bible

     The way God designed our bodies is a model for understanding our lives together as a church: every part dependent on every other part, the parts we mention and the parts we don’t, the parts we see and the parts we don’t. If one part hurts, every other part is involved in the hurt, and in the healing. If one part flourishes, every other part enters into the exuberance.

The Message:1 Corinthians 12:25–26

Thoughts:

I am constantly amazed by folk who attend church and would normally answer the question posed in my title by saying “O I’m just a visitor” or “I’m just a regular attendee”! Friends, in light of this passage, Paul likens the church to our human bodies. So for a moment, imagine with me if the hand said to the brain “hey, I’m just here for show, as I wanted Mr. XYZ to see that you had a hand also, but you go right ahead and pick that food up by yourself”, how would that work for you? I know the example sounds silly, but in the context of these verses, and in light of the reasons given by some for church attendance or involvement, I believe you might get a better understanding of my illustration. I will give another very real illustration to you. My dad had injury to a kidney after having a heart stint installed. The doctors decided not to operate, as they relayed to my dad that the non-functioning kidney would just dry up like a prune and remain in his body. Unfortunately, I believe this is what happens to those who ‘just attend’ church and never become, or feel like, a functioning part of the church. However, based on our study in this chapter, I feel like there are two aspects worthy of attention here. First, is the visiting, or regular attendee who just shows up, sits in a very inconspicuous place hoping that no one will see them or come to trouble them. Perhaps, although God prompted them to attend church, Satan may still be working powerfully in their lives to stop them from getting anything out of attending, so I would strongly encourage this person to please do your part as a vital part of the body. I recently had a tooth implant and it was amazing how the body quickly accepted that foreign piece of metal and starting knitting to it! Likewise, I believe that an individual such as described, will be quickly received if they do their part in being loveable and showing interest in wanting to be a part. Secondly, I believe that the existing church members have a responsible to fight hard in making all attendees feel welcomed, loved and encouraged. Remember, this is like a foreign body to the human body, so they need extra care and attention. If God sends someone to a church, then those Christian members who are already a vital part of that ministry must do their part in response to God. Friends, you are in one of the roles mentioned, are you doing your part to further the kingdom of God? Will you commit to being more conscious of your role in growing the spiritual lives of all that worship with you?

Prayer:

Dear God, thank You for creating us and forming us into a body of believers for corporate worship. May I be more conscious in my daily life about the needs of others and respond in a manner that will be pleasing to You. For those that attend my church, I pray that although I may have no official role in church terms, I will respond to the key role you have made evident to me through the study of Your Word today. Sharing the love of Jesus through the spoken word, or just in a friendly smile or encouragement of some sort, is something that any of us can do. Please give me the boldness to do my part dear Lord. Friends meditating on this devotional today might also need help in this regard, please give us Your strength and Your vision to be the hands, feet and words of Jesus in all that we do and say. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, my Savior, AMEN!    

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the .devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

The Creation of My Awesome God!

The Bible – The Good News Translation

Psalm 104:13–15

13             From the sky you send rain on the hills, and the earth is filled with your blessings.

14             You make grass grow for the cattle and plants for human beings to use, so that they can grow their crops

15             and produce wine to make them happy, olive oil to make them cheerful, and bread to give them strength.

Thoughts:

I am blessed to enjoy a short vacation this week, so as I meditate on this scripture I can hear the ocean waves beating against the shoreline, I can overlook the vastness of the ocean, the beauty of the land as it tapers off into the ocean waters (the beach), and the shrubbery that is specific to this area and tolerant of the salt sprays from the ocean. In addition to its beauty and the amazement of my wonderful God, I am overwhelmed by the stubbornness of man who is forced to obey government rules and regulations concerning our beaches and adjacent properties, and they are forced to cooperate with the rules of nature/God by planting the right kind of shrubs for the brutal salt sprays, yet we are challenged to convince these same men that there is a God who loves them even more than the waters and the earth. Isn’t it interesting that God is patient with these smart men in their ignorance and rejection, and He will forgive them at their request when coming to Him for salvation? David also recognized the awesomeness of all that surrounded him, so he expressed the inner joy and appreciation in the value of the rain, and the lush growth of plants around him. These plants were not just another pesky bush that he had to complain about trimming, but David recognized that had it not been for God providing these specific plants, he and others, like you and I, would be cheated from valuable things like wine, olive oil and bread. Friends it is not our responsibility to prove to non-believers that God exist, it is our duty to God to boast about the power of God that saved us from our sin, and that all the many things around them us were created and strategically placed because of the wonder, majesty, power and awesome love of our Provider, our maker, our Savior and our Lord. Please be reminded that we can save no one. We merely express what’s in our heart. God will use that little, to accomplish much for His ultimate glory. I am reminded in another scripture verse where Jesus said that if His disciples kept quiet the very stones will cry out/sing praise (Luke 19:40). We are not challenged to find words to praise our kids and grand-kids, why are we so challenged to sing the praises of our Creator? Could it be that our relationship with God is not where it needs to be? Draw close to God dear friend, so that He can draw near to you. He loves You and wants to be involved in your life.

Prayer:

Lord, I praise You for who You are, and for the beauty of all that You have provided for us to enjoy and benefit from. You not only made us in Your wonderful image, but You followed through by providing everything we need to survive, and even things to enhance our worship of You. You are awesome Mighty God! Thank You for being my Master and yet my friend. I honor You today and I thank You for providing everything around me to enjoy, both for peace of mind and rejuvenation but also for survival through the foods that I eat and the air that I breathe. As David reminds me, this earth is filled with Your blessings and Your awesome touch. Thank you for being my God, my Lord and my Savior. I adore You heavenly Father. May You be praised by every living soul this day, especially those that may meditate on this devotional. I praise You, and ask all this, in Your most holy and awesome name, Jesus my Lord, AMEN!

 

NOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

Obedience to God’s Servants – Our Government Leaders

The Bible – The Good News Translation

Romans 13:1-2; 4b

 1 Everyone must obey the state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. 2 Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself.
4 …. they are God’s servants working for your own good

Thoughts:

This is probably one of the most challenging verses for us to follow, because we tend to look at the corruption and evil that goes on in government, and the laws that are put in place that especially seem to hurt Christians. It is obvious from the first 6 verses in Romans 13 that Paul encountered Christian brothers and sisters who thought very much the same as the way we tend to think today. I believe that anytime a law is instituted that works against our bottom line, we tend to send ‘hate vibes’ towards our senators, or authorities who had anything to do with the new law. In fact, at re-election time we have the availability to look into a candidate’s record and see exactly how they voted on certain items. Not a bad idea, but it also helps to build a wall of hatred and/or disrespect towards that person. I believe what Paul is teaching here actually goes very deep, because I believe he is telling us that if we are doing everything above board, then we have nothing to fear of our government leaders. I also believe that if we follow other Biblical references to pray for God’s direction as we vote, and yes Christians you must lead the pact in going out to vote, then our prayer, in faith, will play a part in having God’s man/woman elected. Further, I believe that if we had to publicly pray for our elected officials more than we complain about them, then perhaps God will intervene in their decision making and guide them into right decisions that will be pleasing to Him. Bottom line is that our officials are in place as God’s representatives/servants for our good (vs 4), and we are to obey them and support them so that God’s work might be accomplished through them. Friends remember, our initial instructions come from God, so our obedience, respect and prayerful support towards our leaders is a sign of obedience to God. Key points – prayer before voting; prayer while these folk are in power, as God’s servants, and our leaders; obedience and support of those servants of God for whom we are praying daily. Let’s get before God in prayer and ask Him to tender our hearts so that we can be obedient to Him in all things!

Prayer:

Lord, this is very challenging for us, so I humbly ask You to help us to get out of the ‘driver’s seat’ and allow You to control our government leaders/Your servants in place for our good. To do this I must first personally ask that You help me to totally surrender to You as my authority, because when I try to do your job I am showing lack of faith and trust in You. Please forgive me for that, and build my faith to a level where I can trust You in ALL things. Lord. I am embarrassed by some of the comments I hear from other Christian leaders about Your servants, please speak to these friends and co-laborers in Your work here on earth and help us all to submit to Your authority and will for our every concern, especially our government leaders. I must acknowledge that You are God over ALL things in our lives, not just the pieces that go our way and seem to benefit us personally. Please remind us of that when we tend to question those in authority. Needing Your help in such a powerful way, I humbly ask this in Your holy and most worthy name, Jesus my Lord, AMEN!

 

NOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

How To Handle Evil Against You

The Bible – New Living Translation

Romans 12:17-21

 

17 Never pay back evil with more evil. Do things in such a way that everyone can see you are honorable. 18 Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone.

19 Dear friends, never take revenge. Leave that to the righteous anger of God. For the Scriptures say, “I will take revenge; I will pay them back,” (Deut. 32:35) says the Lord.

20 Instead, “If your enemies are hungry, feed them. If they are thirsty, give them something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals of shame on their heads.” (Proverbs 25:21-22)

21 Don’t let evil conquer you, but conquer evil by doing good.

Thoughts:

 

Friends, these words are intended for children of God, because they are not the normal course of action for the person who has no Godly influence, or help to handle situations in just the opposite manner that one would normally expect. The actions mandated in these verses are God-inspired; God-directed; and only possible with God’s help, because in and of our natural selves we would normally lash back at those that misuse and abuse us. This is similar to another command given by God: when your enemy slaps you on one cheek, don’t lash back, turn the other cheek and let them slap you there also. Again, this is not a normal reaction to the natural sinful man. I believe a good question for the Christian would be: “why would God demand something so totally opposite to the norm?” Friends, I believe that God saw His only Son beaten, hung on a cross and crucified, but didn’t send down 10,000 angels to rescue Him, because it was all done for the purpose of showing the world (us) that His love for us extended even to the extent of crucifying His Son. Similarly, when we allow the grace of God to work in our lives and we subsequently behave like Jesus would have, we are showing the world that the grace by which we are driven is one filled with a miraculous love, a divine love. You see, what would the world learn if we reacted just like they would and expect? That we are no different to any other man, right? Now Brothers and Sisters, is this an easy thing? Absolutely not, but for those who are in the Word daily and learning about the ways of God, and constantly being reminded of things like Deuteronomy 32:35 (quoted above), then we know that the love by which we are driven is nothing like the love known by the world. Our actions are totally unexpected by the world, but we are to be obedient servants and follow the commands of Christ, knowing that He will not see His prized possessions taken advantage of. Remember, the last word is God’s, and He will settle the acts against His children. Let’s do our part, knowing full well that God is faithful to His Word and will do His part at the appropriate time. Let’s endeavor to love even in challenging circumstances, not give in and act just like the world expects one of their own to act. Let’s show that God is in control of our lives and our circumstances and we have nothing to fear!

 

 

Prayer:

 

Lord Jesus, these are very challenging directions in these verses, but thank You for reminding me that the battle is Yours and that You will revenge, if needed. My job is to love through the good times and through the challenging times, to those that love me and to those that hate me. My obligation is to be obedient, in spite of my circumstances, knowing that You have everything under control and that through my obedience You might have another opportunity to minister to that person who means ill towards me. I must be obedient to You, no matter the circumstances that face me in this world, because it is often through the most difficult, or challenging circumstance that an unsaved person might be challenged to look heavenly and find the source behind this Christian’s strength, wisdom, endurance and love. Lord Jesus, in Your name, I ask for this strength, wisdom, endurance and love to be imparted and available to me, because You have already demonstrated this type of love, and You definitely have the authority and power to give it to me. May this all be used for Your glory and Your honor, AMEN!

 

 

NOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray.

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