Always Faithful

I believe that one of the greatest reasons for divorces, might be because of an unfaithful spouse. When we hear of our spouse being unfaithful, unfortunately the worse comes out in us and regardless of what we promised in our wedding vows, we cannot find it within ourselves to forgive, and move on with our marriage. Perhaps you have heard of Christians feeling this way about God also, just as our Scripture alludes to. So let us prepare our hearts for this in light of what the Word of God says.

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-09-07
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Timothy 2:13
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 13 Even when we are too weak to have any faith left, he remains faithful to us and will help us, for he cannot disown us who are part of himself, and he will always carry out his promises to us.

OBSERVATION: I believe that one of the greatest reasons for divorces, might be because of an unfaithful spouse. When we hear of our spouse being unfaithful, unfortunately the worse comes out in us and regardless of what we promised in our wedding vows, we cannot find it within ourselves to forgive, and move on with our marriage. Perhaps you have heard of Christians feeling this way about God also, just as our Scripture alludes to. So let us prepare our hearts for this in light of what the Word of God says.

APPLICATION: We talked about marriages that fail because of unfaithfulness, but there are numerous other scenarios where we also choose to refuse forgiving others. Think about an employer who hired you into a vigorous training program for the eventual position of president. You worked hard, and for many long hours, at the sacrifice of your family, only to one day arrive at work and find a new person sitting in the president’s office. You are later informed that they came in very unexpectedly and applied for the position, and given their impeccable record and achievements, they are well qualified and deserving to lead the company on into the future. Ouch! What’s the first thing you will do? You got it, you will quickly write up your resignation letter and make your exit ASAP. The company was not faithful to you, so why should you remain faithful to them. Another analogy is that you were deeply involved in church work, and you had an excellent team working with you to develop the best ministry for your town that had a huge number of unsaved folk. It seemed to be working well, and you constantly led your team into awesome times of praise and thanksgiving for the work that God’s was doing. So you purchased land to build a bigger, better and more modern facility in which to teach and train the hundreds of people coming your way because of your ministry. Suddenly, your financial secretary came to your office one day to announce that the church was running out of money to meet its payroll and budget. In an emergency meeting with your leadership team, you discover that your church is in trouble financially. What happened to God, did He walk out on you? After weeks of wrestling with this, you are challenged by one of your leaders who warned that they felt you had walked out on God almost a year ago when you allowed the increasing number of attendees to assure you that you must be on the right track. Friends, pastors have committed suicide or left the church over things like this. God’s church must be run by God, and not man. No matter how good you may feel your man (pastor) is. But Paul tells us in this Scripture today that although you may have become unfaithful to God, He will never, ever, become unfaithful to you. Like the story of this pastor, there comes a time when you know that you have stepped out of God’s presence and decided to do life on your own, or as in the case of this pastor, you decided you had everything going your way and therefore did not need to bother God any further about your growth program. Stop – whose church did you say? Praise God that He allows the ignorance of mankind, and the silliness of preaching, to be used to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ to all mankind. However, we must always remember the position that we fill in the church is that of servant-hood, for God alone saves mankind; He alone grows the church; He alone touches hearts and heals the sick. As His servants, we simply stand back and follow His commands. Let’s never lose sight of our true position in the church. God’s in charge, and we are the pions who simply ask for His guidance so that we may obediently follow His will for His church. And remember, God’s faithfulness is not only in the church, but in everything where He has promised to be our Lord. I sincerely believe that if we remain faithful to God, and if we will do what He commands, then He will direct us in all aspects of our lives and relationships.

PRAYER: Dearest Lord Jesus, we are thankful that You are faithful in everything that You have promised. Please direct Your children so that we never step out of line, or try to assume Your role in our lives. Let us be content in following exactly whatever You command and go wherever You lead. Please be with our church leaders and prompt them to follow You in every aspect of Your church, so that our communities will see Christ in the church and they will therefore develop a desire to know You. May they never be blocked from seeing You because of us standing in the way. 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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!

Just A Touch From The Master

Jesus was on a mission headed towards the home of Jairus to meet the need reported to Him by a very frightened dad. While enroute, there was a large crowd following, and they pressed in on Jesus’ personal space because they didn’t want to miss anything that He did. By this time, many had heard so much about the power of Jesus, that they were willing to do things such as merely getting close enough to touch His clothing, such as noted in the verses today. This was a true act of faith! Do we have that kind of faith?

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-08-15
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

Bible Reference: Luke 8:45-48
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: 45 “Who touched me?” Jesus asked. Everyone denied it, and Peter said, “Master, so many are crowding against you. . . . ” 46 But Jesus told him, “No, it was someone who deliberately touched me, for I felt healing power go out from me.” 47 When the woman realized that Jesus knew, she began to tremble and fell to her knees before him and told why she had touched him and that now she was well. 48 “Daughter,” he said to her, “your faith has healed you. Go in peace.”

OBSERVATION: Jesus was on a mission headed towards the home of Jairus to meet the need reported to Him by a very frightened dad. While enroute, there was a large crowd following, and they pressed in on Jesus’ personal space because they didn’t want to miss anything that He did. By this time, many had heard so much about the power of Jesus, that they were willing to do things such as merely getting close enough to touch His clothing, such as noted in the verses today. This was a true act of faith! Do we have that kind of faith?

APPLICATION: In this Scripture today, I believe that Jesus is prompting us to reflect on how we might go about ‘touching the hem of His garment’ in our world today. Think about it friends, we often think of a ‘touch from God’ when we’re sick – beyond what we feel our doctor could handle, or about to face surgery, or lost a loved one, or can’t see ourselves through financial struggles, or when things at work seems impossible, but how do we touch the ‘hem of Jesus’ garment’, like this woman did? Well, let’s reread the verses again and remind ourselves of how this woman received help/healing. In verse 48 Jesus actually tells the woman what actually healed her. It was her faith! She knew where healing would come from, so in spite of all odds, she was determined to find the Master who had already healed through just a simple word. I believe this lady knew Jesus, knew of His awesome power and compassion on those in need, and I feel pretty sure that she probably knew the miracles He had already performed. Do you suppose she left her home that day with a good luck charm hoping that these rumors she had heard about Jesus could also possibly touch her life, if she was lucky? Do you suppose that the thought may have crossed her mind that she perhaps could stay at home in her bed and if Jesus wanted to, He would heal her? Let me share with you what my thoughts are: I believe this lady knew Jesus personally, and I believe she had lots of faith – enough to believe that Jesus could do for her everything that she had heard about Him ever doing for anyone else. However, I believe she wanted a close-up experience with her Master. Seeing that Jesus was thronged by so many people, she felt like she could never get His personal attention, but she knew that if she could only manage to get close enough to touch Him or any part of His clothing, she would be healed. Friends, that’s a lot of faith! That’s like us having faith to call on Him in our time of need, or asking our church elders to pray over you with oil, as spoken of in the New Testament. May I remind you again today that Our God’s Not Dead, Nor Has He Lost His Power To Heal! I have a friend who has an army of friends praying with her for the touch of the Master on her husband lying ill, to the point of death, from COVID. God is still in the prayer-answering business, as He cares as much about us as He has ever cared for one of His children. We serve an awesome God that hears the cries of His children. If He’s your God today friend, call on Him in your time of need. Celebrate Him when You remember His goodness and recognize His miracle working hand.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we are so amazed by Your awesome power, and often wonder why You would consider even us for Your miraculous work. Please teach us the wonder of faith and the unlimited power of our wonderful God. May we always come to the Savior for salvation; the Healer with our illnesses and to our Eternal God with our desire for eternity in Heaven with You. Thank You for loving us so much dear God, our Heavenly Father! 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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!

Describe How BIG Or Awesome Your God Is

If you were preparing your heart to meet with someone, to encourage them, and to really share the power and the width and the breadth of your God, where would you begin? When you prepare yourself to kneel at the feet of Jesus and place your petitions before Him, how convinced are you that He could handle your needs? In verse 31 of this same chapter, Isaiah shares the following: But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-05-27
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

Bible Reference: Isaiah 40:12–14
Translation: Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 12 Who measured the oceans in the palm of his hand? Who used his hand to measure the sky? Who used a bowl to measure all the dust of the earth? Who used scales to measure the mountains and hills? 13 Who could know the Lord’s mind? Who could be his teacher or give him advice? 14 Did the Lord ask for anyone’s help? Did anyone teach him to be fair? Did anyone teach him knowledge? Did anyone teach him to be wise?

OBSERVATION: If you were preparing your heart to meet with someone, to encourage them, and to really share the power and the width and the breadth of your God, where would you begin?  When you prepare yourself to kneel at the feet of Jesus and place your petitions before Him, how convinced are you that He could handle your needs? In verse 31 of this same chapter, Isaiah shares the following: But those who trust in the Lord will become strong again. They will be like eagles that grow new feathers. They will run and not get weak. They will walk and not get tired.

APPLICATION: Friends, this scripture today is intended to remind us that no matter how burdened we are about circumstances, or about our needs, or about our finances, or how needy we or our family members really are, we have a great BIG awesome God who has successfully managed to handle a whole lot more than any ‘mountain’ we may be facing today! There are over 100,000 deaths in the USA from Covid, many are worried as to who will be next. Many of us have relatives in the hospital and we are beside ourselves worrying about how remaining families might survive if that hospitalized individual is never discharged alive. But let me encourage you to stop for a moment, dear friend, and look at the examples given by Isaiah in verses 12-14 above. Let it really sink in, and convince yourself once again of the supernatural God who loves you, who cares for you, who ‘goes to bat’ every day for you, and be reminded that there is nothing too big for Him. Furthermore, I pray that each of you will ask God to illumine your heart and your mind, so that you may be reminded of all that He has done for you already in life; that He loves you individually; and that more than anything God is so looking forward to having you join Him in glory someday soon. Friend of God, I believe that when you are able to look beyond your current problems and challenges, and see the outstretched, loving hands of Jesus ready to welcome you home for all eternity, then you will be able to trust Him in full confidence with everything that is currently before you! You see, no matter what Satan may try to tell us, or frighten us with today, we KNOW in whom we have believed, and we KNOW whose we are, and we KNOW who hold every tomorrow in place for us! We are children of the King and regardless of our current situation, our long range plan outweighs everything we might experience here on earth, because nothing is greater than the love of our Savior for His dear children. So don’t hold back friend, take your needs before God and be ready to praise Him as you evidence His hand at work in miraculous ways. Share that confidence with those who have no hope! Be ready to give good examples of how awesome Your God has been to you, and all that you have to look forward to! He’s just  t h a t  BIG, dear friend!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we bow before You in adoration of who You are, and for all You have done for us. Though so unworthy, still I’m a child of the King! Praise be to my almighty, all-powerful, ever-loving, incredibly great BIG God! Please continue to bless Your kids again today, especially since we have been reminded of your outstanding power and the magnitude of Your awesome love. Oh that we may see Your power at work in the lives of those that we touch today! We will be eternally grateful dear God, for we ask these things in faith, and through the powerful name of our almighty 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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!

Love Never Gives Up On People

In one of my Bible translations, the word ‘Love’ in verse 5 of this chapter, was closer defined as the ‘love of God within us’. That helped me look at this chapter in a whole new light, because too often we use the word ‘love’ as it pertains to our spouse, verses the way that we like everyone else. I believe that this opening sentence gives us a bright new way to look at the way that we ‘love’ others, for it tells us that the love of God should shine through us without fail, regardless of how miserable or unloving the other person is. Join me as we think about this today.

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-05-23
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 13:7-8
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT:  Love never gives up on people. It never stops trusting, never loses hope, and never quits. Love will never end. But all those gifts will come to an end—even the gift of prophecy, the gift of speaking in different kinds of languages, and the gift of knowledge. 

OBSERVATION: In one of my Bible translations, the word ‘Love’ in verse 5 of this chapter, was closer defined as the ‘love of God within us’. That helped me look at this chapter in a whole new light, because too often we use the word ‘love’ as it pertains to our spouse, verses the way that we like everyone else. I believe that this opening sentence gives us a bright new way to look at the way that we ‘love’ others, for it tells us that the love of God should shine through us without fail, regardless of how miserable or unloving the other person is. Join me as we think about this today.

APPLICATION: In these verses Paul is reminding the Corinthian church, and believers today, that we are to always believe in the good things of another person that we are challenged to deal with. It’s sad, but way too often we tend to ‘write another person off’ when they don’t act like we do, or talk like we do, or even at times look like we do. And this is especially true if that person crossed the line of trying to correct us or offer advice to us, or disagree with us! Solomon went as far as saying in Proverbs 10:12 that love covers a multitude of sins. Surely as children of God, we are always endeavoring to love our fellow man, so would it not be natural for us to try and work through our differences, because of that love? Perhaps we are guilty of what the Corinthians were doing – they tried to sidetrack the issue by concentrating on some of the other gifts of the Spirit. However, Paul corrected them and helped them understand that the other gifts were given to help us survive the current time, but the one they should be concentrating on, is the one that will last for all times – love. With that in mind, my heart was challenged to think how different our world would be if we dealt with every situation through the lens of ’love’ for one another. So let’s look at a few examples of how this might impact our world: (1) Let’s suppose that our spouse made us very upset, and their action made us so mad that we wanted to walk out on them. But we were quickly reminded by God of His love that lives inside of us, and that we should respond in a way that Jesus, who loves all people, would respond. Do you foresee us calming down and trying to respond in godly love, in spite of our human anger? Don’t you see how that would get is through that rough time? (2) Let’s suppose that our child was expelled from school because of cursing and disrespect for their teacher and most students. We convinced ourselves that our neighbor was right in saying that we raised our child in love and to always give respect for the authorities, so of course we need to impress that neighbor by following through with a large discussion with the teacher and principal of that school and give them a piece of our mind! However, during your devotional time that morning you were reminded of what Paul said in 1 Corinthians 13 about the love of God that resides in you and how you, in return should always demonstrate that love for others. But the question remains, how do you settle this issue and come out on top at your child’s school? Friends, through this period of Covid 19 lockdown, I have been amazed by all the many ways that folk have learned to adjust in their daily lives. Churches have continued to serve their parishioners, banks have continued to serve their customers, children have continued their schooling, etc, etc. I have every reason to believe that if we love, like Jesus first loved us, then we will seek ways to show love in every circumstance of life, even those that seem impossible to us and have raised our blood pressure because of how upset we may have gotten. Folks, all things are possible with the God we love, but we need to get away from our selfish and sinful vendettas and seek the face of God to help us resolve matters in love for each other, and in a way that will be pleasing to God. This is only possible with the child of God, because of His grace, His power and His help. If you have not invited Him to be Lord of your life, then I would encourage you to read through my Footnote and especially drill down on the link ‘To Know Jesus’. Seek Him today while He may be found, dear friends. You can receive the same help offered to believers who obediently seek God in every circumstance of life.

PRAYER: Lord, it is evident that when we take the reins from You and try to do life alone – in our own way, we will follow the example of the world and respond to life’s challenges in ways that pleases the enemy, instead of You. Please be patient with us as You constantly remind us of whose we are. May we take our stance in full obedience to Your leading and in a way that You will be please with and honored. We need You involved in every aspect of our lives, especially the decisions we make and the actions that we take when posed with one more temptation set up by Satan. I am a child of God, and I want to please You in every way and in all things. My readers and I would be eternally thankful for Your guidance, especially when we are tempted to lose it with other humans. Oh that we may be good representatives in every walk of life, with Your help, strength and guidance. 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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!

The Definition of ‘Love’

It would seem appropriate that Webster and other dictionary writers would have simply put as their definition for ‘Love’: See 1 Corinthians 13 in the written Word of God. Let’s take time today to really allow the beginning verses of this chapter to soak in and clarify, or remind us, of the meaning of a word we use and abuse a lot.

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-05-22
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 13:4
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: Love is large and incredibly patient.[f] Love is gentle and consistently kind to all. It refuses to be jealous[g] when blessing comes to someone else. Love does not brag about one’s achievements nor inflate its own importance.

OBSERVATION: It would seem appropriate that Webster and other dictionary writers would have simply put as their definition for ‘Love’: See 1 Corinthians 13 in the written Word of God. Let’s take time today to really allow the beginning verses of this chapter to soak in and clarify, or remind us, of the meaning of a word we use and abuse a lot.

APPLICATION: Notice that at weddings where the focus of the whole ceremony, and the whole idea of what brought a couple together, is the subject of ‘Love’. Of particular interest is the ‘go-to’ place for pastors when trying to reiterate the key word that will hold marriages together. I have not been to a ceremony where the best dictionary is taken out to help define ‘love’, but instead the Bible is always used, as the pastor aims to find the most authoritative description of this important word. Because we have so many ways that we use the word ‘love’, it becomes a challenge to really share with a couple what we are actually feel about the subject. You see, in the Bible, there are 5 different words to better define what we are saying in reference to ‘love’, but they can’t be used in a marriage ceremony, because we don’t use these words in our current vocabulary: Ahab; Agapao; Agape; Phileo; and Philadelphia. However, we know from experience that we assume several things when we think of love and we have to be very careful with that. Think about the following: a). If someone gives us an unexpected gift, whether monetary or something else of value – we may tend to think that they really love us; b). If someone really looks out for us and tries to protect us from harm, we may tend to think they love us; c). If someone is always saying nice things to us or about us, we may tend to think that they really love us; etc, etc. However, let me encourage you to read the entire chapter of 1 Corinthians 13 and be reminded of what God has to say about the subject of ‘love’. He used Paul to teach this lesson to the church in Corinth, and He had it included in the Bible so that all those that followed – you and I, could understand what true love is. In just the first 4 verses, Paul shared that he could talk all day long and even in many languages, but if he did it without love in his heart, he would merely be speaking empty words. Paul probably saw where many of his parishioners were good talkers, and they may have even done like we tend to do today, where we may say to a Brother or Sister that we love them, so he wanted them to know that they needed to speak from a heart of love. I would carefully challenge us with the same thought, and I particularly ask God to give me that kind of love and grace to speak from an honest and contrite heart. Paul also wanted to make it plain that even if he may have been gifted with great knowledge and of prophecy, but was void of love for his brethren, he gained nothing at all. God knew that we would get caught up on monetary gifts, so He had Paul address this also. Paul even took it as far as giving sacrificially, even of himself, but he clarified that if he went even that far, and did not do it in love, then he would gain nothing. Friends, I pray that as we meditate on this thought today, that our lives would be impacted by what Paul had to say in the Scripture, and in what God taught us throughout His Word. God showed us what love is, when He permitted His only Son to be sacrificed on a criminal’s cross for our good. I pray that we would learn to love with that kind of passion. Then perhaps, we might understand the true meaning of Love and be able to practice it without a sense of selfish gain.

PRAYER: Oh that we would be able to love folk that may have said something to us or about us that we didn’t appreciate. Oh that we might truly learn the type love that God showed at Calvary – unselfish and sacrificial. Lord, You have shown in Your Word that unless we love with all our heart, our efforts are useless. What the world needs now, is love. May the greatest love ever shown, be portrayed through us as we deal with others today. This is my humble plea for self and for all my readers today, oh 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 might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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 Identification With Christ

It is reported from various survey experts that there is little difference in the number of divorces, and abortions among God’s church, as in the world. WHAT??? Could this record possibly be right? Why? How could this be? Paul found that his church members argued and had cliques among themselves, just like the world itself has. But as we meditate on these verses today, let’s concentrate on the reason Paul found for this.

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-05-18
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 11:17-19
TRANSLATION: English Standard Version (ESV)

BIBLE TEXT: 17 But in the following instructions I do not commend you, because when you come together it is not for the better but for the worse. 18 For, in the first place, when you come together as a church, I hear that there are divisions among you. And I believe it in part,[e] 19 for there must be factions among you in order that those who are genuine among you may be recognized

OBSERVATION: It is reported from various survey experts that there is little difference in the number of divorces, and abortions among God’s church, as in the world. WHAT??? Could this record possibly be right? Why? How could this be? Paul found that his church members argued and had cliques among themselves, just like the world itself has. But as we meditate on these verses today, let’s concentrate on the reason Paul found for this.

APPLICATION: Paul said that if it was not that factions arose in the church, how else might we know that sincere children of God exists. Wow! What a thought! But as I meditated on this, unfortunately I came across other actions that tend to flush out the real vs the pretend Christians. Ever notice how things like gossip, favoritism, prejudices and a strong desire for leadership, is just as prevalent in the church today as we might find at our workplaces, social clubs or elsewhere in the world? So even though we see Paul’s explanation for this, I wonder what you, my readers and my friends might think of the problem? Having been actively involved in church work for many years, I know first hand that there are so many things that affect the progress of God’s church, but I never looked at it quite like Paul described. Let’s look at a few challenges that seem to hinder the work of the Lord in His ministry, and see what would happen if God’s children would truly be loyal to their King and be His warriors in prayer and in growth as a Christian. Paul mentioned cliques, and unfortunately these are just as prevalent today. But what if a child of God stood up to the group and refused to continue in the group unless he was able to include whoever he wanted to, or what if that Christian felt open to correction by a member of the clique for what was said, or inferred about another church member? What about gossip? Wouldn’t it be awesome if someone told you news about someone else and you asked them to join you as you met with that person to discuss the matter? Another popular challenge of Christians is to place their pastors and church leaders under a microscope instead of acknowledging them as a fellow human being and praying diligently for them and the role they are called to fulfill for the Master. The results of our prayers are always evident. When someone complains about the job done by a pastor or teacher, I believe you will find it interesting if you ask them how did they pray for the pastor before he taught or preached. I have found that most times people will neglect praying for the glory of God to shine through their pastor as he brings the Word at church that day, yet they complain when they get nothing from the sermon. Is that not what they prayed for – nothing? Friends, I realize that none of us are perfect, nor can we expect perfection here on earth, but I wonder how often God looks on us and stands proud of His child who stood firm in their faith and trusted God for the challenges at hand instead of complaining or whining about it. I had a situation once in life where someone stopped me in my tracks from talking about a team of employees, and told me that these employees were saying the same things about me. That had a lasting impression on me, and has helped me many times when tempted to go along with slander, or whining or complaining or spreading lies. I believe that it is time for God’s children to stand firm for the One in whom they believe. Let Jesus be Lord of all – every situation, or not Lord at all. We represent an awesome God. Let’s not misrepresent Him, or what He stands for.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I pray that we might stop long enough today to think through our relationship with You. I’m sure that we will quickly humble ourselves before You as we recognize our downfalls and our shortcomings. Lord, it seems like we are weak in so many areas of our lives, and we realize that we could only gain the needed strength from You. In much †he same way as we tend to judge others, they are also watching us under a microscope. Lord, I truly want them to see You in me – in every action and every word that I speak. I pray that You will see Your children who are serious about their relationship with You shine through in every aspect of life. Please help us not to be a stumbling block to anyone looking for Jesus. We need You precious Lord, please be our guide and our deliverer in every aspect of life today. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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!

Why Do You Do It?

In this life we tend to stand tall and announce our rights, and we tend to live out our rights, often without regard to the impact our actions might have on others. As we meditate on these words from Paul, I would suggest that you think about a time when you were guilty of such actions, and if you have been a perfect angel, think about a time when you witnessed another Christian who thought they were exercising their own rights, without regards for you or anyone else around them. Our thoughts for today are: Why do we act like that? and who does it wind up hurting?

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-05-15
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 10:31-33
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: 31 Whether you eat or drink, live your life in a way that glorifies and honors God. 32 And make sure you’re not offending Jews or Greeks or any part of God’s assembly over your personal preferences33 Follow my example, for I try to please everyone in all things, rather than putting my liberty first. I sincerely attempt to do anything I can so that others may be saved.

OBSERVATION: In this life we tend to stand tall and announce our rights, and we tend to live out our rights, often without regard to the impact our actions might have on others. As we meditate on these words from Paul, I would suggest that you think about a time when you were guilty of such actions, and if you have been a perfect angel, think about a time when you witnessed another Christian who thought they were exercising their own rights, without regards for you or anyone else around them. Our thoughts for today are: Why do we act like that? and who does it wind up hurting?

APPLICATION: Lord, You were beaten and treated like a criminal, even though you didn’t have to endure any such treatment, for You are God. You hung embarrassingly on a criminal’s cross, even though You had the power to call a legion of angels to rescue You. These are just two ways that you chose to endure, so that others might be rescued from the pits of Hell and instead be redirected to heaven with You and the Father. Because of Your Word, we know that You stand for everything and anything that convinces a sinner of their lost condition. In our Scripture today we read about how Paul acted in the same way as you. Yet we allow the demons of Satan to infringe on our relationship with You and provoke us into actions that are not Christlike. Unfortunately, and regrettably, I remember as a young man I did exactly that which Paul was preaching against. I had relatives who, because of their faith, chose not to eat certain meats or seafood, yet I chose to eat whatever I felt like while in their presence. Fortunately they were strong in their faith and their determination, so they seemed to have ignored my ignorance and immaturity. But I wonder what else Christians and/or churches do today that Paul may have seen the need to correct? We have so much separation because of the day we worship, the foods that we eat, the way that we baptize, the way that we observe communion, and the frequency that we are saved, that I’m sure that unbelievers must be looking in with the thought that they might decide to join God’s army here on earth if they could ever get their act together and appear like they are serving the one true God. Paul offered that we follow him as he follows Christ. Can we truly say that today and still have such a mixed bag of beliefs? Why do we get so hung up on the things that we believe and practice? I know that God wants us to know the Truth, trust in the Truth and imitate the Truth in every aspect of life, but do we need to pull down another church in order to build ours up? Can we not preach/teach the Word of God and let the chips fall where they may? I am convinced that the practices that cause division and distracts the unsaved, are those things that man has allowed to come between us. The Word of God is true, it is powerful, and it can save mankind. Please join me in seeking to make it known to mankind, not the extras that we learn from denominationalism, seminaries or additional books. Let’s share Christ and Christ alone, so that others might be saved. Hell is ugly, and unless we show heaven just as Jesus did, it will also look ugly to the unsaved because of the confusion and division we practice, teach and/or preach. We are Christ’s ambassadors, so let’s show only His good and His teachings to the world, not our own nor those of our church or denomination.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for all that You provided so that we might have the promise of salvation and the excitement of uniting with You and the Father in Heaven one day! Please work on us – Your stubborn, selfish children who want their own way and who try to add our own twist to what You have clearly taught in Your Word. People need the Lord, and I believe that they are distracted in that journey when they see how badly we do in practicing what You taught, and imitating the One who died for us. Lord, we want Your kingdom to come and Your will to be done, on earth, in our lives, in our churches and in front of those who have yet to accept You as Lord. Please rule and reign through Your children more than ever before, for I believe that Your eminent return is near and I want my readers, my family and my friends to see You in my life and accept You as their Savior. All honor and praise to the lamb that was slain – Jesus, my Savior and 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 might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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 A Glorious Hope!

I have heard some of the saddest, hopeless and most terrifying statements during this temporary shutdown of almost everything on this earth, because of Covid 19. I won’t dare make light of it, for some individuals were impacted in unimaginable ways. However, in my study of God’s Word this morning, I continued my study in Job and was trying to comprehend all that he endured – until I came to the above verses that Job proclaimed to his friends. Oh that we could use these same words during our times of disaster, and when it seems like Satan only has us (individually) to pick on this month. Yes, we’re in the middle of a pandemic friends, but oh what a glorious hope that we have!

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2020-05-07
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Job 19:25-27
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 25 “But as for me, I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he will stand upon the earth at last. 26 And I know that after this body has decayed, this body shall see God![a] 27 Then he will be on my side! Yes, I shall see him, not as a stranger, but as a friend! What a glorious hope!

OBSERVATION: I have heard some of the saddest, hopeless and most terrifying statements during this temporary shutdown of almost everything on this earth, because of Covid 19. I won’t dare make light of it, for some individuals were impacted in unimaginable ways. However, in my study of God’s Word this morning, I continued my study in Job and was trying to comprehend all that he endured – until I came to the above verses that Job proclaimed to his friends. Oh that we could use these same words during our times of disaster, and when it seems like Satan only has us (individually) to pick on this month. Yes, we’re in the middle of a pandemic friends, but oh what a glorious hope that we have!

APPLICATION: In our Scripture today we are shown that for the child of God, no matter what may come our way, we have a glorious hope that one day soon our Savior will return to take His bride/the church/you and I, back to glory with Him! Now I realize that those words are fairly easy to say when others are hurting, or dealing with many of life’s ups and downs, but we all must be prepared to imitate Job? This man had everything taken away from him as a test of his faith. God, in a conversation with Satan, referred to Job as a man without sin. There was one thing and/or loved one taken from Job one right after the other. Yes, he was human, for he became very depressed over all that was happening to him. Friends came and tried to offer help, but nothing seemed to help. Then in this chapter, it seemed like Job must have remembered who he belonged to. He realized that no matter what transpires here on this earth, and no matter how much of our lives are impacted, a child of God has a glorious hope to look forward to. For one day, and I don’t believe that it will be very long, all Christians will rejoice at the feet of our Savior and sing unlimited praises to Him as we glory in the presence of He and the Father! No doubt some of you reading this devotional are going through some pretty rough times, and you may even be angry at me for being insensitive enough to write these words at this time. Friends, I am merely following a reading plan that takes me through the entire Bible, so I am convinced that the timing of me studying this passage was ordained by God right from the time I established my reading plan. You see, He is all-powerful and all-knowing so He knew exactly what I would need on this very day, at this very time. He knew I would share this with those who also need these words TODAY. Let me encourage you to listen to the Word of God, and be encouraged to know that no matter what comes your way while still here on earth, you have a glorious hope in knowing that one day you will rejoice with Him in glory! For the unbeliever that God ordained to read this blog today, please know that God has a plan for you. Please know that you also could be encouraged by the hope that’s embedded in this message today. But please allow me to be candid with you, this hope is for the child of God – the one who has accepted Him as Lord and Savior. If you are encouraged by this hope that belongs to the believer, please carefully read my Footnote and especially click on, and read, the link ‘To Know Jesus’. The door has not been closed yet for the unbelievers to approach the throne of grace for salvation, but according to the Scriptures, know that today is the day of salvation, for you are not assured of one minute past the moment that you read this. Know Jesus today my precious friends, and know that glorious hope that is ours in Christ Jesus.

PRAYER: Thank You dear Lord for the assurance of salvation given to those who have invited You into their heart. Thank You Lord that we could sing and rejoice over the same statement that Job made many years ago – we have a glorious hope in knowing to whom we belong, and to our final home of peace when we are taken out of this world. Please Lord, be compassionate to the unbeliever who may be reading this today and unsure of whether they should accept You as Lord. Please soften their heart and draw them unto Yourself. Please help them to make that decision to which You have drawn them to. We look forward to that glorious day when we shall see You face-to-face. Please help us to keep our eyes fixed on You and not the temporary challenges brought on by Satan in the world in which we now live. 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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!

Who Will Make Up The Kingdom of God?

I believe that many who we know and love, will quickly sit with us and explain how they know that they would be accepted into God’s kingdom. However, Paul was addressing a church that had started accepting so many practices of its day and considering it acceptable to the church. Perhaps even acceptable to a loving God. As we meditate on this Scripture today I would ask that you compare this to what we are seeing today. Our responsibility is to examine what God expects of His people and what will be acceptable to Him.

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-05-04
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 6:9-11
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: Don’t you realize that those who do wrong will not inherit the Kingdom of God? Don’t fool yourselves. Those who indulge in sexual sin, or who worship idols, or commit adultery, or are male prostitutes, or practice homosexuality, 10 or are thieves, or greedy people, or drunkards, or are abusive, or cheat people—none of these will inherit the Kingdom of God. 11 Some of you were once like that. But you were cleansed; you were made holy; you were made right with God by calling on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God.

OBSERVATION: I believe that many who we know and love, will quickly sit with us and explain how they know that they would be accepted into God’s kingdom. However, Paul was addressing a church that had started accepting so many practices of its day and considering it acceptable to the church. Perhaps even acceptable to a loving God. As we meditate on this Scripture today I would ask that you compare this to what we are seeing today. Our responsibility is to examine what God expects of His people and what will be acceptable to Him.

APPLICATION: In talking with various family, friends and loved ones, we could easily be drawn into various ways of looking at life situations, which may often be viewed by God as ‘sin’. You see, when we look at television, we are introduced to what the world accepts as ‘normal’ and acceptable. At work, we are guided by laws that the world classifies as ‘normal’. So, of course, we go to church and expect similar activity that we see in our world, and so we try to find ways to twist biblical truth, to make our twisted minds feel like their actions may be acceptable to God. However, history shows that the ‘world’ has changed, but only to the extent that it is impacting our personal space and challenging our personal views. I found it very interesting that part of my reading from the Word this morning came from the book of Job. One of Job’s friends, in responding to Job’s list of reasons why he felt picked on, feeling downhearted and forsaken by God, said to Job: ‘Your sins are telling your mouth what to say’ (Job 15:5). Think about that in the light of what Paul was facing in our scripture today, and in light of what we face every day with the sins of those close to us. Can you be bold and forthcoming like Paul? Don’t you know that you can only do that when you are certain that your life is squeaky clean? Can you say like Paul did in one of his other letters ‘Follow me, as I follow Christ’? I believe that it’s only then that we could possible help a brother or a sister recognize the sin they are involved in, and overcome that sin with the help of the Great I Am. Yes Paul preached this sermon to the church of Corinth, but don’t think for a moment that God only wanted this included in His Word so we could know what type of people made up that church at Corinth. God knew full well that our churches today, and our circle of family and friends would be made up of similar folk to those addressed by Paul. I am convinced that God placed everything strategically in His Word that He wants us to benefit from today. The words were inspired by God and given to the respective authors. He wanted the words penned so that we would always have a perfect reference point – a place to see what God thought about the same situation we need answers on today. Friends, I don’t believe any of this will reveal anything new for you, for God has already been working on your conscience about whatever it is in your life that He doesn’t approve of. Please be obedient to the voice of God today. No need to tear me apart for anything I might be guilty of. Be obedient to the Word of God and how it applies to your life. Don’t twist its meaning into whatever you need it to say, but rather seek God and His righteousness so that you might be welcomed into the Kingdom of God when He calls you out of this world.

PRAYER: In Job 15:14, Job was questioned by his friend: ‘Who is man that he could be pure and clean before a holy God’. Yet You designed us to be like You, dear Lord. So often we feel like we are so unworthy, yet we know that You are worthy of our praise, and that we could do all things through Christ who strengthen us. So we are reminded that life is all about You. Please help us to always seek Your presence, always sing praises to our awesome God, and always seek guidance from Your Word about decisions we are faced with at the moment. Bottom line is, that we were placed here on earth by Your mighty hand, and until You call us home to glory, we remain here fully dependent on Your strength, Your guidance and Your protection. Please help us to live with our eyes fixed on You and our practices shaped by Your teachings and Your guidance. May we be worthy of Your Holy Spirit working through us to bless others and draw them to the 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

A Stronger Faith

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2020-04-23
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

Bible Reference: 2 Peter 1:4-8
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: … by that same mighty power he has given us all the other rich and wonderful blessings he promised; for instance, the promise to save us from the lust and rottenness all around us, and to give us his own character.   But to obtain these gifts, you need more than faith; you must also work hard to be good, and even that is not enough. For then you must learn to know God better and discover what he wants you to do. Next, learn to put aside your own desires so that you will become patient and godly, gladly letting God have his way with you. This will make possible the next step, which is for you to enjoy other people and to like them, and finally you will grow to love them deeply. The more you go on in this way, the more you will grow strong spiritually and become fruitful and useful to our Lord Jesus Christ.

OBSERVATION: It is obvious from this Scripture that mankind can live at peace with our God, if we turn our selfish, sinful selves away from the worldly desires and commit to serving the God who created us, and loves us beyond anything we could imagine. He even has a home prepared already for those who have accepted Him as Lord, so we really have so much to be thankful for here on earth now, and something to look forward to In Heaven! Peace on earth, and even more peace in Heaven, as we graduate from this world to the next. Let’s examine our faith today as we meditate together.

APPLICATION: We are reminded that God has showered His rich and wonderful blessings on us and He is doing everything possible to form us more and more into His character. However, there is work for us to do, so that He might have freedom to work in our lives, and mold us into His likeness. I believe these additional qualities help us to be devoted to our calling and gives God opportunity to respond in marvelous ways to help us attain His ultimate plan for us. Can you imagine us accomplishing anything by just sitting back and allowing someone to do it for us? Don’t you know that the more we are involved in something, the more that we ‘buy-in’ on the idea and the more committed we are to the end result? So let’s look closely at some of the things we are told to work on:

  1. We need more faith – Remember, Jesus told Peter about his lack of faith when he took his eyes off the Master.  Remember that James said that our good deeds and our actions will prove our faith. Friends, if we say we have it, then our lives should reflect it!
  2. We must work hard to be good – moral excellence
  3. We must be studious in knowing more about God – get in the Word for yourself. Get to know as much as possible about the Savior who gave up His very life so that you might live eternally with the Father!
  4. We must ‘dig deep’ and discover what God wants us to do – The only way to be obedient to the will of God is to go before Him in daily prayer and study His Word for all that He will guide us to do.
  5. We must put aside our own desires and be more subjective to God’s will for our lives – Often you will find that the worldly things that you want to do is opposed to what you might discern that the Word of God wants you to do. Be willing to put aside your personal agenda so that you might be totally obedient to God.
  6. Enjoy other people and grow to love them deeply – When the love of God is deeply entrenched in you, then you will begin to love His people. When you grow to desire all that God desires, your love for others will grow as deep as God’s love for them. Remember how much He loves them? He sacrificed everything for their eternal welfare! Glory to God for loving us that much!!

Our reward: We will grow stronger spiritually AND become fruitful and useful for our Lord!
Is it worth it all? I desire to commit fully to all that God teaches and directs me to do, including all of the above. I hope that you will do the same!!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for showing me the way to the Father, and thank You for sacrificing Your very life so that I might have the only avenue opened for me to one day see You in heaven. I pray that my readers, my family and my friends might find this same peace today! Please continue to direct our path so that we might grow in our faith; in the knowledge of Your Word; and with unhindered obedience of Your will for our lives. 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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!