But Lord?

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   Acts 9:11-16 (MSG)

TEXT:  11-12 “Get up and go over to Straight Avenue. Ask at the house of Judas for a man from Tarsus. His name is Saul. He’s there praying. He has just had a dream in which he saw a man named Ananias enter the house and lay hands on him so he could see again.”

13-14 Ananias protested, “Master, you can’t be serious. Everybody’s talking about this man and the terrible things he’s been doing, his reign of terror against your people in Jerusalem! And now he’s shown up here with papers from the Chief Priest that give him license to do the same to us.”

15-16 But the Master said, “Don’t argue. Go! I have picked him as my personal representative to non-Jews and kings and Jews. And now I’m about to show him what he’s in for—the hard suffering that goes with this job.”

OBSERVATION:   Interesting how God shocks His servants with challenges, that they feel, are so outlandish! Moses was shocked, and found excuses when asked to take charge of the Israelites. Having never seen or heard of rain, Noah was shocked to receive orders to build a huge boat up on dry land. In our Scripture today, Ananias is being asked to go and minister to a murderer of Christians. One who had always fought Christianity and all that it stood for. Although God was the one telling Ananias to ‘Go’, Ananias was sure there must be some mistake, and he had to be sure that was cleared up before he agreed to do anything. Aren’t we just as quick in coming up with excuses why we can’t or shouldn’t do certain parts of ministry today?

APPLICATION:   Do you remember the anxiety the first time that you were asked to read a few verses of Scripture, or pray aloud in public? Did the fear of that happening, keep you from attending certain services, or from sitting near the front? Did that fear worsen when you were asked to go and visit a shut-in or a hospitalized member of the church? Ever felt led of God to visit a friend who was not a believer, hoping that you would find the opportunity to witness to that person, but at the last minute you got ‘cold feet’ and started to find multiple excuses why you couldn’t go? If any of these things bring back vivid memories, then you may have had a mild Ananias experience. I say ‘mild’, because in the case of Ananias, he was being asked to go and lay hands on one of the biggest threats in his time. We would hate to think about being near to a mass murderer, even if given the opportunity to witness to them, but it was a well known fact that Saul was out to eliminate those who might minister for the Lord Jesus, and Ananias was one of those. Wouldn’t that be the same as placing the ‘bait’ right at the feet of the ‘lion’? Friends, I believe that this Scripture shows us several facets of God’s amazing plan. Who else would be more effective in speaking to the folk that opposed God, than one of their own? Who else would show the power of God to save even the vilest of sinners, as in the case of Saul? Who else could better show a life transformed by the blood of Jesus, like Paul did? In listening to the news every day of our lives, we hear of so many forms of evil that, in most cases, we cringe at it happening very close to many of our home towns. God has called us to proclaim His Word and to be His witnesses at home and abroad. Stop finding excuses and saying “But Lord…..”, for He knows the plans He has for you. Don’t disappoint Him by trying to correct or remind the King of all kings and Lord of all lords, that you may know something that He may have overlooked. Let me remind you again what He said back to Ananias, ‘Just GO’. Let’s learn to be more obedient friend.

PRAYER:   Unfortunately, I believe that we are just as doubtful today, even after seeing the after results of Your demands on several unsuspecting servants in Your Word. There is no doubt that You hold the world in Your hands and that it moves at Your command. The same is true for the individuals that You alone created. Lord, please have mercy on us and continue to strengthen us with the help of the Holy Spirit, to obediently follow Your commands and Your will for us, especially in using us to touch the lives of others, especially those who seem so unlikely to us. Lord, may Your perfect will be achieved in and through Your saints today, even me Lord. AMEN!

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

 

Distractions in Ministry

Post Date:

Monday, 2017-07-24
SCRIPTURE

From:

Luke 9:61-62 (TLB)

Text:

 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will come, but first let me ask permission of those at home.”62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
OBSERVATION:
The verses hyperlinked above actually shares two accounts where individuals that God had called into ministry found excuses why they couldn’t assume the task at that time. Not a whole lot different to what we do today, but I believe God would have us be reminded again how He feels about this.
APPLICATION:
In a first glance, or reading of this Scripture, we probably look at our pastors and wonder why they might question the call of Christ on their lives, or procrastinate following  the call after clearly hearing God calling them into service. Friends, most churches have election of officers and teachers each year, and I believe I would be safe in saying that nominating teams have probably heard every excuse possible when asking an individual to serve. In the section of Scripture we are looking at today, we see where one needed to bury his father before he could assume the call of Christ. In the second instance the other one needed to check with his family first to make sure they could manage without him. While we will also look at our excuses, think for a minute who it was that called these two individuals – Jesus, the very Son of God. Did He personally know their hearts and all about the possible excuses they could have given Him? Of course He did. But by sharing these things with us, it help us to also consider the excuses that we tend to give when asked to join the ministry team at our respective churches. I believe that three of the most popular excuses used today are: 1). I feel so unqualified to teach; 2). I cannot speak well in a classroom setting; and 3). I live such a busy lifestyle that I couldn’t possible take on one more thing. Friends, don’t you think that it is God that gave you the gifts to do His work and the time to do it? Don’t you know that God is well aware of your qualifications and gifts and that He has you handpicked to accomplish a task you are being asked to accomplish? A Nominating Team or Pastor who may asked you to fill a position at church has probably bathed the matter in deep prayer, so I feel like when we make excuses why we can’t fulfil the request, we are actually complaining to God. Let me suggest that if you feel that time might be the issue, try responding that you can’t make that a priority in your life right now. Jesus could have found many excuses and could have called many angels to His rescue when beaten and led to the cross, but He accepted His unfortunate task as a priority – just for you and I. God is not looking at your abilities, because where you are lacking He fills that void so that He might be glorified. All He wants is your availability.
PRAYER:
Dear God, please forgive us for the excuses we make to not use the many gifts that You have blessed us with. Thank You for not giving up on us, as easily as we give up on trying to serve You. Oh Lord, may we be obedient to Your call on our life. May we be a living sacrifice, willing to always testify to Your calling in our personal witness to others and to help make Your work in our local church complete. You have truly blessed us beyond anything we deserve, may we learn to bless You through our availability and willingness to serve in local ministries, so that the world might know You and believe in You. God being our helper, our enabler and guide. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE:
There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Get Away With The Lord

Post Date:

Tuesday, 2017-04-04
SCRIPTURE

From:

Exodus 34:23-24 (NIV)

Text:

23 Three times a year all your men are to appear before the Sovereign Lord, the God of Israel. 24 I will drive out nations before you and enlarge your territory, and no one will covet your land when you go up three times each year to appear before the Lord your God.
OBSERVATION:
This is an interesting meeting Moses had with the Lord. After the last similar meeting, Moses returned to his people, and became so angry at finding them worshiping idols again, that he threw down the stones upon which God had written the Ten Commandments. God had Moses write the Commandments on the stones this time, but He also ordered Moses to gather the men together and meet with Him (God) three times per year while they attended festivals. It sounds like God wants time together with His leaders!
APPLICATION:
At a time when it is extremely challenging to get men out to church on the weekends, and especially at midweek prayer and Bible study, we were able to take a group from our church to a Bible based, Spirit led, prayer conference for approximately two full days. These days were filled with the Word of God, as Scripture was given to each participant; songs prompted by the Holy Spirit; and prayer from the heart of each attendee, as prompted by God. No agenda, just waiting before the Lord and obeying the leading of His Holy Spirit. What might seem amazing to many, is that the crowd doubled in size the second year! What a sweet, Holy Ghost filled, time with the Lord! We returned to our church fired up, renewed and ready for the Lord to continue His work in and through us. This helped me to identify with what God was telling Moses to do. I wonder, if your pastor organized a get-away at your church: How many men would sacrifice vacation time to go and spend devoted time with the Lord? How many wives or girlfriends would encourage husbands or boyfriends to please go and participate? How many employers would welcome the time off for employees that they suspect would return and pray for the success of their business? Friends, I wonder how many gods we place before the God of this universe when we can’t find time for church services over the weekend or a discipleship class during the week? We tend to blame it on ‘time’, but may I recommend that you use the word ‘priority’ when explaining why you couldn’t participate/attend? Especially use that word when praying to God at the end of each day. Imagine: Lord Jesus, please forgive me for not making it a priority to hear from You through reading Your Word today? Lord, please forgive me that I made it a priority to take my family to the beach today/took my wife shopping today/went to have lunch with old friends today; played golf today…. but didn’t make it a priority to take my family to church. Can we, in all good conscience, add to the end of those excuses: ‘but bless me anyway and guide the thoughts of my troubled son this week’??? Friends, I believe that we are either all for God, or we’re not. I know that we can’t be at every single church gathering, but sincerely before God, we must be ready to answer His question on the priority of our day/time. Please consider taking time away to draw close to God, so that He might draw close to you. I don’t believe that there could be one thing more strengthening for your relationship with God, which will also enrich your relationship with your family and coworkers.
PRAYER:
Lord God, please forgive us for the many excuses we come up with regarding our priorities. Too often You are placed at the bottom of the list, or as a last resort. This must be turned around if we ever expect to draw close to You, or encourage/convince an unbeliever. Please give us strength, boldness and self-determination to serve You wholeheartedly and without excuses. You gave up Your life for us, how much more can we do in return? Give Your children boldness and commitment today I sincerely plead dear God, AMEN!
FOOTNOTE:
There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Would You Like To Get Well?

Post Date:

Tuesday, 2017-02-07
SCRIPTURE

From:

John 5:5–9 (TLB)

Text:

One of the men lying there had been sick for thirty-eight years. When Jesus saw him and knew how long he had been ill, he asked him, Would you like to get well?”
“I can’t,” the sick man said, “for I have no one to help me into the pool at the movement of the water. While I am trying to get there, someone else always gets in ahead of me.”
Jesus told him, “Stand up, roll up your sleeping mat and go on home!”
Instantly, the man was healed! He rolled up the mat and began walking!

OBSERVATION:
This is part of the story that speaks about the crippled man who laid along the colonnades of the Pool at Bethesda, together with others who were blind, lame, or paralyzed. This particular man had been lame for 38 years and part of his reason for being at the pool was to beg arms of those who would come to bathe in the pool, for he had to hope for getting better, since he was unable to get off his bed and be the first to rush into the pool for healing when the waters started moving. Most other miracles performed in the New Testament resulted from folk begging, or touching or calling out to Jesus for healing, but this one was quite different. For in response to Jesus’ question, the man gave the long answer, and shared the hopelessness of his situation that not only prevented him from moving to gain his independence, but also hindered him from taking the necessary step that would bring about his wellness – his healing. Little did he know that he was in the presence of the greatest Healer, the very one who created Him and provided for him each and every day! The man didn’t know Jesus, nor did he know of His healing power, so he merely gave Jesus his sob story, instead of anxiously reaching out to Jesus for healing.
APPLICATION:
I wonder how many of us could stop, think, and come up with a parallel between the lame man at the pool-side, compared to our own story and/or actions? How many of us get so caught up in our own sad stories that we overlook the hand that is extended to help us navigate this rough life and overcome the obstacles that seem to block us at every turn? Are we one to take that lemon and enjoy some lemonade, instead of whining and complaining about its tangy, sour, bitter, acid-filled taste that is good for nothing? What must others be saying about us when they see us coming? Complainer; whiner; discourager; faithless; imitator of Satan; or a curse? Or might we be seen as one with all of the opposite attributes and filled with the Spirit of God? Can we answer a direct question if the Master walked into our presence and asked about our needs? Do we truly have the faith to honor the commands of the God that we serve, and actually attempt to stand up; roll up our mat; and walk away, when told to do so? Or are we too content in our whining and complaining? I have a friend who is blind from birth, and I have never seen a more positive person. He is able to make blind jokes to help folk like me who feel sorry for him. He has gone on with his life, even with his handicap, and is succeeding and excelling in many, many ways. An evangelist who is badly handicapped by MS once asked in his sermon after telling his story: “so what’s your problem healthy friend, why are you sitting back saying you can’t?” Friends, I believe that Jesus is very aware of our limitations, but He also said in His Word ‘that’s OK, for in your weakness and inabilities, I will be more easily recognized for the awesome work that I will do through you’. Jesus made us just as we are, for His glory. Would you say that He is glorified by the way that we have accepted His masterpiece?
PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, please be merciful to me, a sinner saved by the grace of my awesome Savior. For I often feel sorry for myself, or feel incapable of speaking to others, or feel unworthy of the calling that You have placed on my life. I don’t believe I’m alone in feeling this way Lord, for our churches are not filled and I still see many in our neighborhoods who are still lost in their sin. Please help us to be the hands and feet of Jesus, and please help us to be obedient to You in everything we do or say, for only what’s done for Jesus will last, and will be worth it all, when we see You face-to-face. The man in our story today was lame and he couldn’t… We also have many excuses as to why we can’t be Your followers, Your disciple, and Your witness to our lost friends and family. Please forgive us Lord, and fill us once again with Your power, Your encouragement and Your boldness. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE:
There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’.  If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

What’s Your Excuse?

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

Today’s Bible Reference: Luke 9:59–62
Today’s Bible Text: 59 He said to another person, “Come, follow me.” The man agreed, but he said, “Lord, first let me return home and bury my father.” 60 But Jesus told him, “Let the spiritually dead bury their own dead! Your duty is to go and preach about the Kingdom of God.” 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will follow you, but first let me say good-bye to my family.” 62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who puts a hand to the plow and then looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
The Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take Away: There’s probably a sermon in the initial command from Jesus; in each of the excuses given by the men He addressed; and also in the responses given back by Jesus. I want to reflect for a moment on the challenge Jesus faced when He knew that He was destined for the cross. No excuses, but instead, just His willingness to do the will of the Father. Now, before we beat up on the excuses used here by the men in this story, I wonder what excuses we give Jesus every day for prioritizing Him out of our daily schedule. Oh how it must hurt Him when His own children admits day after day that He was not a priority in their lives. Instead of digging into God’s Word we _________. Instead of bowing our knees before our Holy God and talking to Him about the challenges we were expecting yesterday, we took our chances, and saw pitiful results. Instead of giving God credit for our blessings, a chance to witness to our neighbor, instead we bragged about how good we are and how we planned for that moment of success, or we may have even attributed our success to good luck. Friends, did we do enough and say enough to encourage a sinner to follow us to the cross of Calvary to meet Jesus? Let me be daring and remind you that someone is watching you. They thought that they heard you were a Christian, so they believe they are safe in following in your footsteps, hoping that you would lead them to Jesus. How did you do yesterday? Are there any changes that you need to make today to help ensure that your closeness to the cross and to the Master will be a bold witness to someone who needs Jesus? It’s not a thing of pretense, for Jesus knows your heart, and your friends will quickly identify the intent of your heart based on your character. Let’s act today in preparation for meeting face-to-face with the Master tonight. Hopefully we can meet with Jesus unashamedly, and with no excuses!

Prayer: It is unfortunate dear Lord that we are still as full of excuses as these men that you challenged in this scripture today. Even after all that You did for us at Calvary, and even after all that You do for us each and every day. Please forgive us Lord. There are no really legitimate excuses. We admit that we have allowed this old world with its many time constraints, to take priority in our lives, and we have therefore pushed You aside and will try to satisfy our broken relationship with You through excuse after excuse. Please forgive us, and refill us with the joy of our salvation. Please remind us of the awesome God that we serve, adore and love. May we draw close to You today, is my prayer of faith and commitment, AMEN!

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

2016