Where Do You Tend To Hang Out?

From a very young age many of us have receive training from our parents to watch the company that we hang out with. Many times churches will teach that the place for the Christian is at church and/or around church families. No doubt this was similar to our ancestors, as they really looked down on Jesus and His disciples for hanging out with known sinners. Jesus quickly responded to this idea about the importance of who He spent time with, and I believe that this might still be good advice for us today. Let me encourage you to read the entire devotional for my thoughts on this!

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2021-07-27
WRITTEN AT: Hattiesburg, MS

SCRIPTURE FROM: Luke 5:30-32
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: 30 … “Why would you defile yourselves by eating and drinking with tax collectors and sinners? Doesn’t Jesus know it’s wrong to do that?
31 Jesus overheard their complaining and said, “Who goes to the doctor for a cure? Those who are well or those who are sick? 32 I have not come to call the ‘righteous,’ but to call those who know they are sinners and bring them to repentance.”

APPLICATION: Part of the great divide between Christians and unbelievers might be caused by the cliques that are created, often unknowingly. Christians are taught to, and often feel most comfortable to, hang out with those of like faith. Sure, I believe that scenario will create great accountability partners, and there will probably be less room for argument, as we will seldom challenge each other on what we believe, or what we do. I see little difference in this practice when looking at the unsaved, for they tend to hang out in like groups and places. Because of this exclusivity, it seems like each group tends to look at the other group as pretenders and thinking of themselves as better than the other. To a certain extent, this may be true, especially if one fails to associate with member of the opposite group. But Jesus may have introduced us to a very unique thought in the Scriptures today. It we truly want to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and do the will of the Father, wouldn’t we want to spend some time around the people we are trying to share the Gospel with? After all, how many Christians will we aim to ‘save’, again? Sure, iron sharpens iron, and we need the strength, encouragement and love from our Christian brothers and sisters, but if we refuse to mix with non-Christians and understand their needs, how will we ever discern the difference that Jesus might make in their lives? Additionally, how else will your unsaved friends know Jesus’ way of living and treating one another if you don’t give them opportunity to spend time with you? I believe that one of the most interesting changes we must consider, is that instead of feeling compelled to stay away from unbelievers in fear of adopting their bad habits, we must instead desire to be around them and ask God to let them grow in Him by seeing God at work in us. Friends, people need the Lord – those are the unbelievers. Unless we spend time around them and teach them God’s ways, how else will they see God and come to know Him personally?

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Jesus hung out with sinners, because He wanted to bring them to repentance. We should do the same!

PRAYER: Lord, please teach us to live like You demonstrated to us in Your Word. We have picked up too many earthly practices to often be of any heavenly good to our neighbors. Please help us to stay centered on Your Word and practice all that You have taught us. Much of this will be quite different for us in contrast to what we have practiced so far, so please give us strength, give us wisdom, give us boldness and most of all, give us a heart like yours. Let others experience Your awesome love and goodness through our encounters with them, and convince them of their need for a Savior. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. 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!

Become All Things To All People

Paul realized that he could share the Good News of Jesus Christ with every Christian gathering and they would totally get it, but should he walk down the street or around the corner, folk might wonder if he was from a different planet! I don’t believe that has changed, for we sometimes speak a totally foreign language, compared to the ordinary person on the street or the executive who has his nose in the financial books most of his life. Let’s see what we could glean from this scripture and how we might apply it….

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2021-05-12
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Corinthians 9:22-23 
TRANSLATION: East-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT: 22 To those who are weak, I became weak so that I could help save them. I have become all things to all people. I did this so that I could save people in any way possible. 23 I do all this to make the Good News known. I do it so that I can share in the blessings of the Good News.

APPLICATION: First of all, let me emphasize that I firmly believe Jesus came to save all  people groups of the world, no matter your education status; your skin color; your culture; your financial status; the sin you have committed; etc, etc. Paul saw a challenge, that I believe still exists today – who will tell them? There’s an old proverb that says ‘Birds of a feather flock together’. There may be many applications for that proverb, but I believe the primary fault with it, is that we tend to become a very exclusive group of folk that either worship together, or play together, or visit one another. I almost left out the last option, because so few of us visit one another anymore. So what does this all boil down to? Well, unfortunately, I believe that it points to the idea that we quickly form little groups of like minded, like cultured, like financially,  type people. These are the folk that we worship with, visit and feel closest to. However, we also know that God came to seek and to save ALL that are lost, all that are hurting and need a Savior. So if we are His missionaries and His hands and feet on the ground, what will we find to respond when asked about serving or ministering to the unlikely person stuck with living under that nearby bridge, or sleeps outside of the liquor store for the convenience of being there when it opens next morning? How do you suppose you would think about these scenarios if you were to follow Paul’s example? How do you feel like you could reach these unlikely folk for Jesus? Will you have a satisfactory response for Jesus when He questions you about your work on earth, including ministering to all people in need? Please know that our response to God concerning that man we pay a salary to at church to do all of this, will probably not be what God is looking for. We are all called to ‘go into all the world and proclaim the name of Jesus Christ as the only saving grace from our sins’. If you truly want to understand that person from another culture, ask if you could join him for a day, so that you might walk in his shoes and understand the challenges that he faces each day.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for Jesus, our Redeemer, Savior and Friend. Thank You for His demonstration of humility in meeting the needs of people from all walks of life. I’m not sure how we got separated from that and have formed such exclusive groups that often do not include all of society, but Lord You have opened my eyes and reminded me of the need to reach the whole world for Your kingdom’s sake. Please give us wisdom and boldness to tear down those walls of division and rejection. You are known for Your love; encouragement; humbleness; caring; and everlasting hope, among many other attributes. Please help us to be imitators of You, and spread these same attributes to all people, without any walls, so that the world might know You and see You lived out in our lives every day. Thank You Lord Jesus! AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog 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!

Make Good Use of Your Time

Unbelievers reading today’s devotional will probably try to think of ways to confuse a Christian as they test them on their ‘faith’. Christians may sometimes wonder ‘what’s the big deal about pretending to be something that others want you to be?’. Jesus said that if we have been touched by the God, we should be ready at all times to give an account of all that He did for us. Let’s examine what Paul was really teaching us in today’s Scripture.

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-05-08
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Colossians 4:5-6
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: Walk in the wisdom of God as you live before the unbelievers, and make it your duty to make him known. Let every word you speak be drenched with grace and tempered with truth and clarity. For then you will be prepared to give a respectful answer to anyone who asks about your faith.

APPLICATION: What do others see in you during their encounters with you? Yes, they will probably see you without pretense, for you always try to live by the motto ‘what you see, is what you get’! I believe that if we were preparing a timeline that would show the influences in our lives, there may be specific mention of parents; siblings – especially older siblings; grandparents and other older family members such as aunts and uncles; school teachers; Sunday School teachers; pastors and other church leaders; spouse or boyfriend/girlfriend; employers; special coworkers; friends – good, bad or indifferent; and of course, Jesus. To ensure that I take no one for granted, I understand that some readers would not include one or more of these people into their timeline, and some will be able to add others that I have not thought of. It would be a great exercise to add under each person, what attributes you feel they added to your life! In our Scripture Paul is teaching us from his present stand, not only as a prisoner, but from his personal experiences and as a messenger of the Gospel. Let’s remember that his former name was Saul – a persecutor of the Christians. So right away we are confident that He speaks to us from a life of varied experiences. Paul also knew that during his time as a prisoner, other prisoners could have looked at him as just another criminal, or for the qualities that they saw in him. He recommended that we (Christians) make a goal for ourselves: ‘to make our Lord known to all that we come into contact with’. To do this, our whole perspective on others will change, for we will see them as valuable in God’s eyes – whether they are a prisoner, a criminal, a dad who abandoned his children or a person who is constantly conjuring up evil thoughts about attacking God’s kids. Paul also gave us great advice about how we are to speak – especially with unbelievers:
-> First, let our words be drenched with grace. Only God can fill our hearts with grace. So from a heart filled with the power and humbleness of our Lord Jesus, carefully speak words filled, or drenched with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit;
-> Words tempered with truth and clarity – no need to try and impress the unbeliever. Let Jesus complete His work through you. Keep it simple, filled with only the facts – truth. Make sure that the hearer not only hears you, but understands what you are sharing with them. As a Christian, you may have developed quite a vocabulary of ‘church’ lingo that an unbeliever may simply not understand. Make sure that you and your hearer is on the same page and understand each other as you speak. To speak volumes with someone and they didn’t understand what you said, is an unfortunate waste of your time, and most unfortunate in neglecting to share the Gospel truth;
Friends, others will surely want to know why you are different and why you believe the way you do. Using the above tips from Paul, he warned us to be ready to share as the opportunity presents itself. Wouldn’t it be neat if today God gave you the opportunity to share why you believe the way that you do, and why God is so important in your life? Be ready, dear friend!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, You know exactly what today will bring forth, You know the people we will meet and even their heart’s condition. Please prepare my readers and I so that we may share Your love, Your character, and Your saving grace effortlessly with those we meet. Please place them in our path today, and give us peace and wisdom to share what You would have them hear in order to make a decision to accept You as Lord and Savior of their lives. Please bless Your children today and all that will be accomplished in Your name. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Our Mission

Ask a pastor what his mission is, and he will probably have a personal mission for his ministry, plus he will probably refer you to the mission of the church in which he is serving. Should this be any different for the normal Christian? Jesus said that His mission was to share God’s message to people wherever He went. I believe that as followers of Jesus Christ, our mission should be similar to His, but let’s allow the Holy Spirit to direct us on this as we study the Word today.

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2021-04-27
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Mark 1:38-39
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT: 38 Jesus answered, “We should go to another place. We can go to other towns around here, and I can tell God’s message to those people too. That is why I came.” 39 So Jesus traveled everywhere in Galilee. He spoke in the synagogues, and he forced demons out of people.

OBSERVATION: Ask a pastor what his mission is, and he will probably have a personal mission for his ministry, plus he will probably refer you to the mission of the church in which he is serving. Should this be any different for the normal Christian? Jesus said that His mission was to share God’s message to people wherever He went. I believe that as followers of Jesus Christ, our mission should be similar to His, but let’s allow the Holy Spirit to direct us on this as we study the Word today.

APPLICATION: Jesus commanded us to go into all the world and preach the Gospel. I know, you saw the word ‘preach’ and immediately transferred that command to the shoulders of your pastor, right? But you don’t travel the world, so surely Jesus wasn’t ordering you to take His message ‘to the world’, right? Isn’t it amazing how easily we could shrug off our responsibility as believers and followers of our Lord Jesus? I was totally drawn to the words of our Lord as I read verse 38 above. Jesus was unhappy just sitting around chatting with His disciples while people very near by were living without the message of the Father. In fact, His very mission was to tell the message of His Father. That’s why He came. It made me stop and ponder what my personal mission might be. Why am I here? I believe we could look at this through the various phases of our lives. For example:
-> As a dad: Why are you there in the home? What’s your mission in sharing Christ with your kids, and in reenergizing your spouse in her walk with the Lord?
-> As a church leader: What’s your mission to be the best leader for God in His church? Hopefully it’s more than just another title, or a position where you might tell the pastor what you think!
-> As an employee: Proving your reason for being on the job will make the difference between your success and failure. Failing to take the name of Jesus with you on the job will present itself as a failure in God’s eyes, as He intended for you to take His message to the world – don’t exclude places like your workplace.
Friends, when we make it our mission to take the name of Jesus with us wherever we find ourselves, we not only obey the commands of God, but our witness to unbelievers in unlikely places will go a long ways towards introducing our Lord to the unsaved. Jesus told His disciples that’s what He came for. What do you suppose you came for? I trust that you will make it your mission to take the name of Jesus with you – everywhere you go!

PRAYER: Gracious Lord, thank You for showing us how evangelism was a high priority to You. The disciples were told that the reason You came was to share the message of the Father. I am convinced that in our effort to be more like You every day and in every way, we too must be ready and willing to share, and extremely concerned that the world would know about our Father. Please Lord, give us the desire to share the joy of the Lord that lives inside of us; the wisdom to know when to share; the knowledge of all that we should share; and the boldness to share our story with the world around us. People still need the Lord. Oh that we might be instrumental in sharing our experience, our intimacy and our love for our Lord. After all, that’s what we’re here for! AMEN

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Telling Others About Jesus

I’m sure that you immediately thought about your pastor, or a popular evangelist, or a priest, in response to the subject of today’s devotional. Actually, in some translations the word ‘preaching’ is used in lieu of ‘telling of the Good News’, so you would have been close in your assumptions! But notice that nowhere in the text is it mentioned that Paul had just introduced himself in the first few words of verse 1. But for today, I would like for you to apply your name as the principal speaker of these words, and consider how you are telling others about Jesus. Hopefully this will make an interesting meditation for you today!

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-09-14
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Titus 1:1-3
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT:  ….. I was sent to help God’s chosen people have faith and understand the truth that produces a life of devotion to God. This faith and knowledge make us sure that we have eternal life. God promised that life to us before time began—and God does not lie. At the right time, God let the world know about that life. He did this through the telling of the Good News message, and he trusted me with that work. I told people that message because God our Savior commanded me to.

OBSERVATION: I’m sure that you immediately thought about your pastor, or a popular evangelist, or a priest, in response to the subject of today’s devotional. Actually, in some translations the word ‘preaching’ is used in lieu of ‘telling of the Good News’, so you would have been close in your assumptions! But notice that nowhere in the text is it mentioned that Paul had just introduced himself in the first few words of verse 1. But for today, I would like for you to apply your name as the principal speaker of these words, and consider how you are telling others about Jesus. Hopefully this will make an interesting meditation for you today!

APPLICATION: God made a drastic change in the life of Saul, and the ‘new man’ Paul began an awesome work for the Kingdom! In today’s Scripture, Paul tells about his mentoring of another faithful servant, Titus. However while introducing himself, he gave us his credentials, and also told us about how God has used him so far. As I meditated on this, I believe the Holy Spirit prompted me to reflect on the miraculous change that God had to make in my life when He got my attention as a man of the world and drew me unto Himself. Yes, I believe He wanted to see that I was redeemed by the blood of His precious Son so that I would qualify for eternal life with Him, but I also believe that He had a mission for me, and I don’t believe that His changes are altogether resolved yet, because I am still alive and finding opportunities all the time. No doubt, many of you have gone through this transformation process, just as I did. So I believe that you might identify with where I’m coming from with my self-inspection regarding the Word today. Some of you may be a Bible teacher, or a church leader, or even an evangelist, but try assuming that you are introducing yourself and you follow your introduction with the Scripture quoted from Titus 1 above. Please try to especially read slowly when you continue with the words that ‘God trusted me with that work’. Would you be content facing God today and telling Him how you feel you have done with His work? I know you might not be the preacher, but you have a story my friend. You met the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, the Great I Am, the Alpha and Omega – the Beginning and the End, the Creator of heaven, earth and each of us. In fact, I bet you are so excited about your Savior, that you would never think of seeing anyone you know, or encounter, miss the opportunity to meeting Jesus. So yes, I believe that you are very capable of completing the work that God entrusted you with, especially with His guidance, wisdom and almighty power. What are you waiting for my friend? For the unbelieving reader who have not been approached by a shy Christian, please read my Footnote and especially the links behind the link ‘To Know Jesus’. Feel free to contact me with any questions that remain in your mind. I want you to know my Lord – today, for you are precious in His sight!

PRAYER: Lord God, You created us and said it was good. You sent Your Son as a substitute for the sin of those who accept Him as Lord of their life. We have so much to be thankful for, and to share with others. Thank You for entrusting us with Your work. May we be found faithful to all that You have placed before us and called us to do. We need your mighty touch on our lives so that we may humbly accept the work You have set out before us. Please have Your will and way in our lives, so that the lost will see the Light and know You personally. Oh that You may be lifted up and praised today, is my humble prayer. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Right With God

No doubt, there are others who struggle with confidence in their faith, because God sure got my attention when I meditated on this scripture today! I believe it is evident that verse 24 simply states that we need to believe in God and His awesome, infinite power in much the same way that Abraham did. But we all know how challenging that is. When something happens that seem impossible to overcome, at least in our eyes, we go into distress mode and shut down, or we go ballistic. Let’s stop and really meditate on the love, power and grace of our awesome God. His Son put His life on the line for our righteousness. Let’s recognize that and savor the thought of such a sacrifice today.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-03-25
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

Bible Reference: Romans 4:20-25
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text: 20 Abraham never wavered in believing God’s promise. In fact, his faith grew stronger, and in this he brought glory to God. 21 He was fully convinced that God is able to do whatever he promises. 22 And because of Abraham’s faith, God counted him as righteous. 23 And when God counted him as righteous, it wasn’t just for Abraham’s benefit. It was recorded 24 for our benefit, too, assuring us that God will also count us as righteous if we believe in him, the one who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. 25 He was handed over to die because of our sins, and he was raised to life to make us right with God.

OBSERVATION: No doubt, there are others who struggle with confidence in their faith, because God sure got my attention when I meditated on this scripture today! I believe it is evident that verse 24 simply states that we need to believe in God and His awesome, infinite power in much the same way that Abraham did. But we all know how challenging that is. When something happens that seem impossible to overcome, at least in our eyes, we go into distress mode and shut down, or we go ballistic. Let’s stop and really meditate on the love, power and grace of our awesome God. His Son put His life on the line for our righteousness. Let’s recognize that and savor the thought of such a sacrifice today.

APPLICATION: I believe that if you ask most folk on the street if they believe in God, they will say: ‘but of course – that’s the only explanation for all that we see around us’. So what is the difference between that kind of faith, and the kind referred to by Paul? This might explain – there was a gentleman who had confidence that he could easily walk a tight rope across the Niagara Falls, but one day he said that he would push a wheelbarrow across on the tight rope – with a person inside of it. There were a lot more people than normal who showed up to watch this new feat. A reporter walked around asking folk, who had seen him do similar feats in the past, if they believed the man was capable of this particular feat. Most of them reply positively, but when asked if they would volunteer to ride in the wheelbarrow, there were a lot fewer who would agree! So did they really have faith that the man could successfully accomplish his challenge? To a degree perhaps, but they weren’t willing to put their life on the line for it! We have so much in our favor to support our faith in God, for there are so many examples in the Bible on the evidence of faith and all that it produced. Read the story of Abraham and how, in spite of being a childless father, yet he became the father of many nations because of his ‘faith’. Moses stood at the edge of the Red Sea with thousands of followers behind him and when, through faith, he followed God’s instructions, he and his people saw a way paved for them where there was no other way. There are many more examples of faith in action friends. There is no need to doubt, just listen to God and ‘BELIEVE’! I believe that many of us are living an unfulfilled life without faith. Let me explain – if we are doubting in your faith in God, how could we possibly show others the true wisdom, love and faith of the God that we serve? We must be firm in our faith in order to convince others that our faith, and our God, is real. Having this kind of faith is not just happen-chance, we must draw close to God and allow Him to draw close to us. We must exhibit our faith in God and allow Him to prove Himself to us. Let’s be consistent in meditating on His Word, and speaking with Him regularly. Let’s build and maintain a relationship with God so that we may know Him and trust Him in a personal way. When witnessing to a friend, our testimony is more valuable than gold. They may doubt what we share with them from the Old Testament, but when we tell them about what God has done in our life, how could they possibly question or doubt? So let me encourage you to meditate on those times where you have seen God at work in your life, then use them as memorials that you can reflect back on any time Satan comes knocking with his evil and deceptive ways. Also use these memorials when you speak with a friend about accepting the Lord, for those are personal times you encountered with the Lord – as real as the testimonies spoken of in the Bible, they would be from a personal experience. This will strengthen your faith friend, and it will serve to strengthen the faith of your friends as you witness to them. As always, please ask God to miraculously work in and through you as you go out to be His witness.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, there is so much evidence of Your existence, and Your handiwork, and Your mighty power – yet we doubt. Please forgive us for our lack of faith. I believe that it is impossible to win others to the kingdom, if we have trouble believing, or have little faith, in the One whom we are promoting. So Father, I come before You not telling You anything that is new to You, but simply asking that You might fill me with the confidence of Your mighty power, Your awesome love and Your miraculous works. I pray that You may work on my most inner being to help me gain the faith that I need to be a better witness for You, especially to those in my circles who are dying and going to Hell because they may not have seen real evidence of a ‘real Christian’. Please help me to turn this around in my life, and as my friends meditate on this devotional today, I pray that You may invoke Your Holy Spirit to be very active in their minds so that they too may speak to You about the needs in their lives. Please bear with, and help, us to overcome the weaknesses in our lives. Give is strength to practice our faith and lean on You like never before. This is my humble and heartfelt prayer that I ask in Your precious name, Lord Jesus, AMEN!

Paul’s Story Vs Our Story

Monday, 2020-02-24

Bible Reference: Acts 22:7-11
Translation: New Century Version (NCV)

Bible Text: I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?’ I asked, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ The voice said, ‘I am Jesus from Nazareth whom you are persecuting.’ Those who were with me did not understand the voice, but they saw the light. 10 I said, ‘What shall I do, Lord?’ The Lord answered, ‘Get up and go to Damascus. There you will be told about all the things I have planned for you to do.’

OBSERVATION: Like Paul, we have a ‘story’ that we should share with folk. Often in conversations we step up to the plate and tell a story about an incident in our lives that we believe is far greater than anything said so far by anyone else. Imagine the quiet that would fill the room if, in the middle of discussions about sports, or hunting or family, we jump in and share our story about our conversion? This is basically what happened with Paul!

APPLICATION: There are several miraculous things about this experience shared by Paul:
~ It was Personal – Paul didn’t share a story with the group arresting him about a friend of his, or a story he had read in ancient transcripts, he shared his story;
~ Recognized it was God speaking – Paul’s first response to the voice he heard was “Who are you, Lord?” When God gets our attention, we know that it is divine, holy and very personal;
~ It was transformational – Paul, a persecutor of Christians and a destroyer of churches, immediately recognized it was God, and instead of cursing God, as he had been doing, he asked for further instructions!
~ It was shared without regard to the place or occasion – Paul didn’t wait until he was in the synagogue, or among fellow believers, or until it was church time. In fact, this seemed like a very odd time to share his testimony, but Paul shared his story anyway!

I believe that the whole purpose of Paul sharing his story was that his captors’ eyes would not only be opened to the fact that he was a fellow Roman citizen, but also that they might hear, understand and come to know the God that touched, and ministered through, Paul. He was a true evangelist, both in the pulpit and out of it. Among all the confusion and excitement of calming the crowds and making an arrest, Paul asked for a moment to share his story. Wow! Friends, God can use us for His glory in any circumstance that He chooses, if we let Him. But it will only be impactful if we share our story for His ultimate glory and not ours. So why do you suppose that we don’t do that more often, friend? We need to do this as often as we can, because we have no promise of a future moment with that individual or group that we are meeting with. Don’t be shy or afraid, God will never lead you into a situation that He will not help you through! Allow Him to do His great work through you!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in Your precious and holy name, I come humbly before You to first say thank You for getting my attention back in 1976 and leading me to accept You as Lord of my life. Thankfully, You have since lead me through many situations and given me ample opportunities to share Your saving power with many people. Please forgive me for lost opportunities, and give me wisdom, humility, boldness and power to share my story with many more folk in all walks of life, so that others might see the glow of Your presence in and through me, and subsequently want to also accept You as Lord. Father God, it is only through Your continued grace that the wicked and lost of this earth can come to know a holy and righteous God, so I ask that You touch lives that I interface with today so that in something that I might say or do, You might impact their lives for Your ultimate glory. I ask all this in the name above all names, King of all kings, Your one and only Son, JESUS. AMEN!

How To Get From Here to There

For someone asking for directions to a friends house on the other side of town, you might tell them from personal experience, you might write down turn by turn directions, or you might give them the proper physical address so they could use their GPS. There may be some who, after being inspired by the Holy Spirit, may ask for directions on how to become a follower of Christ. Can you give them the same detailed instructions?

Saturday, 2019-10-26

Bible Reference: John 6:43-44
Translation: Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text:  43 But Jesus said, “Stop complaining to each other. 44 The Father is the one who sent me, and he is the one who brings people to me. I will raise them up on the last day. Anyone the Father does not bring to me cannot come to me.

OBSERVATION: For someone asking for directions to a friends house on the other side of town, you might tell them from personal experience, you might write down turn by turn directions, or you might give them the proper physical address so they could use their GPS. There may be some who, after being inspired by the Holy Spirit, may ask for directions on how to become a follower of Christ. Can you give them the same detailed instructions?

APPLICATION:  Many who were following Jesus and listening to His teaching just didn’t get it. In fact, in this very chapter we read about many turning away because they just wasn’t sure that Jesus was the ‘real thing’. Friends, are either of these first two statements any different than what we see today? I don’t think so. Just imagine, there are folk that attend our churches today that are there because mom or dad insisted that they attend; or perhaps a man is attending because his wife came from a church background and insisted that he come to church with her. But let me encourage you by saying much like Jesus described and announced to His followers in this scripture, there are many ‘true’ or ‘real’ Christians that we know and fellowship with, who have been touched by the mighty hand of God – the same God that sent Jesus – our Redeemer, Mediator and Savior. These folk have committed their lives to the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ in total surrender. To better understand the imagery of what Jesus is teaching here, I want you to think for a moment of the number of folk that you walk up to, or work/play alongside each day. Are you committed to them? No, you happened to have entered into their space because of normal circumstances. Now, let’s imagine that you have been invited by the White House staff to appear before the president of the United States. Would there be a difference in how you prepare yourself with how you will appear in his space? I’m sure there will be! Now think for a moment that something has occurred in your life where you feel certain that the Holy Spirit of God is urging you to accept an invitation to attend church this weekend, or perhaps to accept that luncheon request from an old Christian friend who’s been inviting you for a while now. Let’s assume that at either of these meetings the truth of God’s Word is shared and an invitation given to you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Having been urged by the Holy Spirit, do you suppose that you would have a very strong desire to accept, based on how everything came together? Friend, may I suggest to you that you look beyond situations that many might call coincidences, or mere luck? May I suggest that you recognize the hand of God when He touches your life; penetrates your heart with His divine presence; and calls you to a decision to follow Him? To all who surrender; to all who believes on Him; to all who commits to His invitation and call; to them He offers life eternal, just like He said in verse 44 – “He will raise you up” to be with Him and the Father on Resurrection Day! I am anxiously looking forward to that day friend, I hope that you will be obedient to His call today and prepare yourself for the awesome meeting with Jesus. The promise of Heaven is reserved for those who know and have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Others will be presented with quite the opposite experience – hell and damnation. The choice we make today, in response to the call of the Father, determines our final destination. Please don’t disappoint me, nor my heavenly Father.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your invitation to to one day join You in heaven. Who is man that You should care enough for us to make such a provision? Thank You for loving Your children enough to speak with us one-on-one and for providing us the sacrificial means for the forgiveness of our sin and our subsequent entry into heaven. Thank You for Jesus! I have friends and family who have rejected Your call on their life, or they are perhaps of the wrong impression that their sinful lives are ‘good enough’ to see them into heaven. Lord, have mercy on them. Please tender the hearts of the stubborn and unconcerned today. May they recognize Your voice and adhere to Your calling today, before it is eternally too late for them to do so. All these things I ask humbly, and in the powerful name of Jesus, my Savior, AMEN!

Calling Those Who Know They Are Sinners

Going into a hospital a doctor will find sick people and know that’s where he/she belongs. Jesus emphasised that He came especially for those who know they are sinners – because they are really in need of a Savior. So if we are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, we will most lightly be ministering more outside of the church than inside the sanctity of the four walls of our church buildings. How do you do with that Christian Brother/Sister?

Monday, 2019-05-06

Bible Reference: Mark 2:15-17
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text: Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?” When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

OBSERVATION: Going into a hospital a doctor will find sick people and know that’s where he/she belongs. Jesus emphasised that He came especially for those who know they are sinners – because they are really in need of a Savior. So if we are to follow in Jesus’ footsteps, we will most lightly be ministering more outside of the church than inside the sanctity of the four walls of our church buildings. How do you do with that Christian Brother/Sister?

APPLICATION: It’s really easy for Christians to hang out with Christians – because we have so much in common, and we feel comfortable that no one will question us, if seen associating with folk of the same belief. Praise God, Jesus was different in this respect. He shows us that if we are to reach the unsaved, and if we are to truly show God’s love to all people, then we had better make ourselves friendly to all. When we look down our noses at folk, we must remember that they have a very hard time looking up to us and accepting anything that we may have to say to them. Jesus came so that sinners might recognize their need for a Savior and feel welcomed in coming to Him for forgiveness of their sins. As Christians, we are to be Christ followers and therefore follow the lead that He displayed while here on this earth. How are we doing? Do we show love to the sometimes unlovable? Are we humble enough to sit and listen to the deep struggles and concerns of someone that may be deep in sin? Unless we do this, how will they know Jesus?

PRAYER: Father, I pray that You will open my heart today and make me aware of those around me that need You as Savior. Make me very aware that although they may not look like me, or they may not follow the same guidelines of living that I follow, and they may not even attend, or perhaps never attended, church, please help me to see them and You see them. Please allow me to present myself in way that they will see Your love, acceptance and willingness to listen and help them to overcome their shortcomings and see a better way – a way that leads to Jesus! Help me to set my selfish desires and ideals aside so that You may shine through me today! Help to never forget that You reached far down to lift me up from my sin and in my time of deepest need. There is none like You Heavenly Father. Please help me be obedient to Your will in doing Your work, so that others may know and believe. AMEN!

Lives that Reflect God’s Good News!

The order of events shows that Jesus showed up to be baptized by His forerunner, John the Baptist; He was then ordered to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan; then He returned to begin His earthly ministry of sharing the best news ever – God’s Good News of the home He has prepared for His saints to settle in one day with He and His precious Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. There is nothing that would match this good news when shared with people of this earth!

Thursday, 2019-04-11

Bible Reference: Mark 1:14-15
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text: 14 Later on, after John was arrested, Jesus went into Galilee, where He preached God’s Good News. 15 “The time promised by God has come at last!” he announced. “The Kingdom of God is near! Repent of your sins and believe the Good News!”

OBSERVATION: The order of events shows that Jesus showed up to be baptized by His forerunner, John the Baptist; He was then ordered to the wilderness to be tempted by Satan; then He returned to begin His earthly ministry of sharing the best news ever – God’s Good News of the home He has prepared for His saints to settle in one day with He and His precious Son, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. There is nothing that would match this good news when shared with people of this earth!

APPLICATION: This great news that Jesus shared with the people of Galilee, is still the greatest news that we can share with the world today, friends! Pastors do this from our pulpits, teachers do this through Bible studies and/or Sunday School and those who have that assurance of salvation – Christians, we share this each and every day through our words and through our actions. Ever stopped to ponder what message you are unconsciously getting across to those you work with or associate with every day? Unfortunately the unsaved have chosen to reject the Bible and its teachings, but they are constantly looking for a life, or a witness, that appears happy and successful to them, so that they may seek the source of that joy. And that’s where Christians come in, it’s not how often we attend church, or how good we are at quoting parts of the Bible. Friends, they are looking for changed lives – ones that stand out and are sincerely living a life that imitates everything they have heard about Jesus. I believe that our takeaway from this Scripture today is that the Good News must still go out to the unsaved today, if they are ever expected to know and believe on Jesus. Are we conveying that message through the lives we live? May our words be reflective of the Good News of Jesus Christ that we live our lives by, so that the world might know.

PRAYER: Spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ and the salvation of those that believe on Him, was of super importance to Jesus. If we are to live like Him, then we must follow in His footsteps and fulfill the ministry of the saints to share the love of Jesus and the saving grace that comes form Him alone. The world needs this, but how will they know unless we tell them? Lord, please direct Your children today. As you share the Good News, may we follow in doing the same today. Amen!