Transformed Relationships

Often times we will read about ways to, and often we are encouraged to, transform our lives into one that aligns with the will of God and in obedience of the Holy Spirit. Paul encourages us to meditate also on how these transformed lives will look to those that we connect with and call our friends. Perhaps you might be willing to join me in looking deeply into our personal relationships with others, and whether there is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work within us as we fellowship with each other. Paul gives great guidance to us, so let’s dig in…

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-04-14
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

Bible Reference: Romans 12:9-12
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous. 10 Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another. 11 Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.
12 Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble,[e] but commune with God at all times.

OBSERVATION: Often times we will read about ways to, and often we are encouraged to, transform our lives into one that aligns with the will of God and in obedience of the Holy Spirit. Paul encourages us to meditate also on how these transformed lives will look to those that we connect with and call our friends. Perhaps you might be willing to join me in looking deeply into our personal relationships with others, and whether there is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work within us as we fellowship with each other. Paul gives great guidance to us, so let’s dig in…

APPLICATION: Often times we struggle in relationships, both with family members and with friends. For there is jealousy between one another and envy and hard feelings that could quickly result, in fact, to the extent that we can’t stand to be in each other’s presence. Coworkers tend to be so competitive to reach for the top, or earn more commissions and/or recognition, so they step right over another employee, and may even do certain things to prevent that coworker from doing their best. Church members want to be in charge, or favored by the pastor, or perhaps they just can’t have their own way, so we see churches split or families leave the church and move on to another. I wonder if the result would be any different if we were to follow the advice of Paul in these two verses? Friends, Christians are to be deep into the Word at every opportunity, but not less frequently than daily, looking over God’s instructions to be sure that we live and love like Him. You see, God’s Word contains our template for love, it tells us about our Role Model, Jesus Christ. Our responsibility according to the Word, is to go and minister to the world so that all may know Jesus. Don’t you know that we are actually teaching them our evil ways when we act like the world, or like the above examples? Remember, our actions speak so loud that others will rarely hear what we are saying to them. I believe Paul is saying that we are not to be hypocritical. If we claim Jesus as Lord, then we are to live like Him and seek to squash all evil thoughts that Satan will buffet us with. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we will seek to act like Jesus. and in no way follow the path of least resistance that are led by Satan – whose aim is to kill, steal and destroy the work of God. Friends, Jesus is coming soon and we must live with that in mind. Don’t dare live like the devil and think you’ll have time to seek forgiveness when you hear that Jesus is coming down the street. The Bible says that we must live in a state of readiness, because Jesus in no way needs our permission that the coast is clear for Him to come and gather His bride (the church – us). This means that we are to live and love like Jesus demands of us today. Don’t delay, please?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the creator of love, the One who showed ultimate love, please forgive me for making a mockery of living and loving like You exampled for me. You showed me how to live, and I have totally blown it. Thank You for Your servant Paul, who has reminded us that we need to live and love in ways that others might recognize as an imitation of God. This is impossible to achieve, as long as we continue to give in to the ways of this world. Father, please give my readers and I strength to be true victors in living our lives according to the model You displayed. Please help us to stay so in tuned with Your Word that it will not only impact the words from our lips, but the desires of our heart and the actions of our whole being. Lord, sadly, we must confess that we have ‘Christian’ family and friends that are living in sin, because they are acting just like Satan, and in similar ways to the above examples given. Please use this devotional today to speak to the hearts of those claiming You as Lord. Please also speak to those who have not yet accepted You as Lord, for today is the day of salvation, and there is no better time than today for them to seek Your power and Your strength so that they too might live and love like You. Lord, this old world is getting in extremely poor shape morally, for folk are becoming more and more hardened to their sin. Please, I beg You, do a mighty work in Your people today. Begin with us, Christians. Get us straight first, so that we may be Your hands and Your feet on the ground seeking to impact the lives of those that don’t know You. These things I ask humbly in Your precious name and for Your sake, 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 highly recommend to you Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Praise God, He Doesn’t Give Up on Us!

Often we will try everything possible, and everything in our power to try and correct a situation over which we are losing control, or have lost control. Manasseh, a new young king, had a plan for how he would run his nation – until he got captured and lost all control, THEN he thought to call on ‘GOD’, the One who was so good to His dad and forefather (David). I encourage you to read the preceding verses as you meditate with me on these thoughts today. Like me, I believe that your eyes may be opened to think about the many things that we try first, before taking our failures to God for resolution.

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-03-17
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Chronicles 33:12-13
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: 12 From this position of complete powerlessness, Manasseh finally humbled himself and begged the forgiveness of the Eternal God of his fathers. 13 He heard Manasseh’s prayer and found it sincere; He returned Manasseh to the throne in Jerusalem. From that day forward, Manasseh never doubted that the Eternal was the True God.

OBSERVATION: Often we will try everything possible, and everything in our power to try and correct a situation over which we are losing control, or have lost control. Manasseh, a new young king, had a plan for how he would run his nation – until he got captured and lost all control, THEN he thought to call on ‘GOD’, the One who was so good to His dad and forefather (David). I encourage you to read the preceding verses as you meditate with me on these thoughts today. Like me, I believe that your eyes may be opened to think about the many things that we try first, before taking our failures to God for resolution.

APPLICATION: In our limited eyesight, and in our great big minds, we seem to always have a plan for how we would do things, if we were in control. It is extremely challenging for us to accept the status quo and just follow the successful paths of our predecessors, or what God directs us to in His Word. Manasseh came to power at age 12, so wouldn’t he know everything that his dad never figured out during his reign? Was he expected to feel important in being able to change things that his dad had put in place? Was there anyone quite as important, knowledgeable or powerful as he? Perhaps giving those who look up to you a chance to appreciate all that you are returning to ‘normal’ may help you feel wanted, respected and needed. But it is obvious that Manasseh neglected to see that there was one greater than himself. Perhaps he thought that he had no one to answer to when he placed his handmade idol in the temple of God, so that his people had something related to him (Manasseh) to worship – something that was tangible. Friends, you will find in our Scripture that God will only take so much, and no more. Manasseh soon found out that the God in whom his father trusted in, and depended on for his success, is the God who is in control of everything alive on this earth. He’s the one who sets the stage for who will reign our nations and what they will be allowed to do, or not do. Manasseh soon found out that he was wrong, and that he had crossed over the line of respecting the Creator of this world and its inhabitants; the Author of everything that will happen today and tomorrow; the Healer of all diseases; the Restorer of sight and all other senses that have been dulled by sin or harmed by mankind, plus, He is the only One who could restore our soul from our life of sin into the life of one following their Savior and Lord. Friends, there is no one else to turn to, only Jesus. Manasseh saw this, for during his time in captivity there was no one to rescue him. He was in a ‘pickle’ – much like we are today with diseases for which mankind has found no cure. It served no purpose for Manasseh to call on another king to save him, for he realized that only THE KING could save him. That’s precisely our position today dear ones. Only Jesus can save us. Because He is in charge, He may choose to save us from our worldly problems and leave us here to minister in His name, much like Manasseh did. However, He may also choose to use our circumstances to call us home to Himself where we will be free from the struggles of this world, where we could be in complete harmony with each other, and at peace at the feet of Jesus worshiping He and the Father for all eternity. However, should the latter be the case, He has forewarned us in His Word that only those who have been obedient to His Word and accepted Him as Lord and Savior, will be allowed in heaven. We have a very loving and powerful Savior, friends, but He is a just God and will do as He said He would. Have you taken Him at His word? Do you believe? Have you said ‘Yes Lord’ to His invitation to accept Him? If not, death will have a much different ending for you. Please read my Footnote and be sure to click on the link ‘To Know Jesus’, so you could be reminded of what He said, what He promised and what He will do for those who know Him. Remember, God created you, He proved His love for you on Calvary, and He is waiting with opened arms to accept you, should you choose to accept Him. He accepted Manasseh’s call for help to save him. Won’t you also do this today friend, I implore you!

PRAYER: Lord God, You showed Manasseh that You alone have the power to do all things, including the grace and power to forgive those who have tried to do life their own way and under their own rule. Lord, we acknowledge You as Lord over everything there is, especially over us – Your humble servants. We acknowledge You as King, for You are King of all kings and Lord of all Lords. You have set the example for forgiveness, so we ask You to fill us with that kind of love, humility and boldness so that we might forgive others. Thank You for never giving up on us Lord, for we need You every hour of every day. It is only You that we depend on and ask for Your continued strength, guidance and healing of all our diseases. Forgive us Lord where we fail to honor You and recognize Your power, and we humbly ask that You resume first place in every aspect of our lives, so that You may be glorified and lifted up through all that we do and in all that we are. 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!

Turn to God For Unconditional Love!

Thursday, 2020-02-27

Bible Reference: Titus 2:11–14
Translation: The Message (MSG)

Bible Text: God’s readiness to give and forgive is now public. Salvation’s available for everyone! We’re being shown how to turn our backs on a godless, indulgent life, and how to take on a God-filled, God-honoring life. This new life is starting right now, and is whetting our appetites for the glorious day when our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, appears. He offered himself as a sacrifice to free us from a dark, rebellious life into this good, pure life, making us a people he can be proud of, energetic in goodness.

OBSERVATION: Ever heard a spouse, or a girlfriend or boyfriend say to their partner “And you did that for me?” You know – they are in shock that someone loves them enough to make a sacrifice on their behalf, just because they love them? It tends to put a whole new level of trust in that person, and a strong belief in your relationship! Suddenly you realize that they must truly love you! In our scripture today, Paul wants Titus to center his message around the love that Jesus showed for all who heard him preach. A message still very relevant today dear friend!

APPLICATION:  it seems like Paul felt it was important for the ministry of Titus that no matter what he felt the people already knew about Jesus, that he should remind them again that there is no secret about how much God loves them, and about the awesome sacrifice Jesus made at Calvary to prove His love for them. I feel compelled to share with you today the same message given to Titus, for it seems like depression in our friends and family is worsening, and impacting even children today. Don’t you realize friend that no matter how undeserving you may feel, there is only one place where you can look, or depend on for unconditional, everlasting love? It’s not on the internet, not in the nightclubs or local bars, or those friends who find answers in all the wrong places. God is ready to forgive you, and give you eternal life, filled with His wonderful love that is beyond human understanding or description? Don’t you know that you can be saved from your life of sin and disregard of God and take on a blessed, God-filled and God-honoring life? Don’t you know that this new life can begin right now, even though it may only be a sampling of the glorious life you will enjoy with Jesus when you leave this world that is so saturated with sin? Don’t you know that in spite of your present tendency to be mean and unforgiving towards others, that God will make you into a person energized in goodness? Friends, the above is not just vain promises that this Brother is offering to entice you into a relationship with God, although I wish there would be such an enticement possible, but I have merely expanded on the actual scripture written by Paul under the leadership and direction of the Holy Spirit. Please consider allowing that same Holy Spirit to guide you in your decisions today friend!

PRAYER: Father, You are merciful and so forgiving. For while we were still sinners, You went to the cross of Calvary as a statement of Your love for us, and faced public shame and disgrace by the same folk that You would later forgive them of their sin. Unfortunately we are no better than most of them that tortured You that dark day, because in spite of Your love for us, yet we openly sin and disgrace Your precious name. Please consider once again forgiving us of our sin dear Lord. Please go to the extreme once again to melt our hardened hearts and convince us of our sin and our need for the Savior. Lord, I pray that You would have Your perfect way in our lives today and in the lives of those that we love. May this be the day of salvation for many who will read this devotional today, I pray this in the precious name of 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 highly recommend to you Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

What We Deserve

I know it would be easy to pray that God would give a Brother or Sister what they deserve, but would you dare pray that about yourself? We ask God for a lot of things, but as we meditate today, let us consider what things would be like, if God truly gave to us what we deserve.

Sunday, 2020-02-23

Bible Reference: 2 Chronicles 6:29-31
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text: 29 … if your people Israel pray about their troubles or sorrow, raising their hands toward this Temple, 30 then hear from heaven where you live, and forgive. Give your people what their actions deserve, for you alone know each human heart. 31 Then they will fear you and walk in your ways as long as they live in the land you gave to our ancestors.

OBSERVATION: I know it would be easy to pray that God would give a Brother or Sister what they deserve, but would you dare pray that about yourself? We ask God for a lot of things, but as we meditate today, let us consider what things would be like, if God truly gave to us what we deserve.

APPLICATION: I have a friend who, when asked how he’s doing, will always respond ‘better than I deserve’. That in itself is a very sobering statement, as the individual realizes that should God bless in accordance with what he may have done or said, he would be in big trouble. You know, similar to what we do as parents for our children, for we spoil them with way more than they deserve. Another example that might help us bring this idea to the forefront of our minds is: I have friends that will often make reference to the pastor and how he is not ‘feeding’ them richly from the Word of God. My first question is to ask how much did they pray for the pastor before the service? I will often receive a blank steer, to which I would respond ‘then you got as much from the sermon as you prayed for’. In our Scripture, Solomon prayed that his people would receive forgiveness when they prayed, but he also prayed that, in order for his people to be awaken and actually walk in the ways of the Lord, that they should receive what they deserve. Be reminded dear friends, that you might fool some of the people some of the time, but God knows your heart, and if He decides to bless in response to what He knows, that will not only include the good things that other friends see us do, but God could also reach into our thoughts and actions that others will never see. A real scenario in too many churches revolve around members who stop giving because a decision was made by the church leaders to go down a line of work that the giver disagreed with. I have good friends who will not attend certain services at church, because they are not in agreement with the servant sent to them by God, to minister to his people in our community. What if God blessed these friends in response to their actions against God? Friends, please don’t misunderstand me. I believe that what God did at Calvary, and what He continues to bless us with, is from a heart filled with love like we could never imagine. Do we always deserve it? Absolutely not. But our God is one who not only see our actions, hears our words spoken in love and in anger, but He also knows our very thoughts. Please join me in desiring to worship Him; honor Him in our praises and thanksgiving; and loving those that He created who could sometimes be just as evil-minded as we are. I believe that when we decide to depend on God alone, love Him with all our heart, and look forward in great anticipation to His return, then perhaps we could look beyond the pettiness of everyday strife, envy, revenge and hatred, so that we might fix our eyes on Jesus, our true and everlasting deliverer and author of our faith. Wouldn’t it be awesome for our Father to look at His creation in love, and see that we seek nothing more than to return our love to Him in all that we are and all that we say? God has prepared a home for us. Let us live like children of that heavenly kingdom, and not as its greatest adversary.

PRAYER: Thank You Father for creating us just like You. Thank You for giving us the freedom to live like You intended, even among a people who will try in every way to distract us from that perfect path. Lord, today many of us will decide whether to attend church or not. Many of us will be strong enough to respond in love to those that may deceitfully use us, while many will strike back in revenge and with intent to harm. While I want to pray like David that you might respond to us as we deserve, I also realize how serious that might be. Please open our eyes Lord, so that we might once again be reminded of Your love, Your power to forgive, and Your desire to bless us beyond anything we deserve. Please help us to desire that kind of love, and grant us the power to forgive and be strong in our faith. May others see Jesus in our character, our will, our words and especially in the way that we love others. May You be glorified in and through us 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 attend 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 Your Character Should Look Like – Because of God

This is an awesome passage today, in that it tells us what pleases our Father; Some major things that we should strive to avoid in our character; but most importantly, some things that we should be doing that really exemplifies and pleases Christ.

Friday, 2020-01-31

Bible Reference: Ephesians 4:30-32
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: 30 Don’t cause the Holy Spirit sorrow by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who marks you to be present on that day when salvation from sin will be complete. 31 Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ.

OBSERVATION: This is an awesome passage today, in that it tells us what pleases our Father; Some major things that we should strive to avoid in our character; but most importantly, some things that we should be doing that really exemplifies and pleases Christ.

APPLICATION: Many people look at the Bible as a Book of ‘don’ts’ for there is so much that we are told not to do. This could be the case for those who have a guilty conscience for all that they are doing that probably do not please our Maker. For I have found in several cases where, although we are told about our wrong doings, we can also find even stronger teachings on what we should be doing that would please God. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told the Ephesians, and I truly believe that his Words are still echoing to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ today, that there are some things that we do that are so contrary to the will of Christ, that it downright sorrows, or grieves the Holy Spirit. No doubt there are tons of guilty consciences hitting each reader by now, for that same sweet Holy Spirit speaks to us personally about what displeases Him. But let’s have a look at what Paul taught, and let’s particularly draw a parallel between what the Holy Spirit dislikes, vs what pleases God:
* Instead of being mean; bad-tempered; angry; quarreling, using harsh words; and displaying obvious dislike for others….
* Try instead to be kind to each other; tenderhearted; and forgiving one another;

Now, although Paul didn’t say that the first list of characteristics were not of Christ, he did say that the second list – especially forgiveness, was the image, or practice that imitates how God has forgiven us because we belong to Christ. Friends, we must always keep in mind that our natural, sinful selves will lead us towards the characteristics mentioned in the first bullet. A surrendered life, seeking to please the Master – Jesus Christ, will always seek to do the things mentioned in the second bullet. It may be a good idea to keep the two lists posted in a prominent place to remind us when we are acting ungodly and displeasing the Holy Spirit, so that we may quickly seek God’s help to overcome and change our evil ways. Being a child in the Algreen home, caused me to always strive to please my Algreen parents. Being a child of the King of all kings, should always cause you and I to strive towards pleasing Jesus Christ in every aspect of our lives. There’s a song that includes the words ‘they will know us by our love’, meaning that the world will recognize Christians by our love – the love and character of Jesus Christ. How are you perceived by others, Brother and Sister? Is it obvious to whom you belong, based on your actions and characteristics?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You set an awesome example for us to follow. So in reading this passage today, and hearing Paul teach on the characteristics that please the Holy Spirit, we can reflect back on Your Word and see example after example where You demonstrated these characteristics. Although the qualities on the ‘don’t’ list are all ones that You warned about in many of Your teachings, may we use this Scripture as a reminder of what pleases the Holy Spirit, and what grieves Him. Please touch Your children today so that we may make wise decisions in every aspect of our lives, especially in our character. May we please You by obeying Your teachings and Your example. In humbleness of heart and seeking to serve You obediently today, I ask these things in the worthy name of 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 highly recommend to you Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

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!

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 highly recommend to you Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Listen to God So that He may listen to you

God’s commands are condensed in the first part of our Scripture today. In the middle part Zechariah reflects on all the effort made to obey God’s commands, and in the latter part God finally issues His reaction to the lack of desire and commitment by mankind to honor Him – the giver and sustainer of life. Unfortunately, not a whole lot has changed over the years, so let us meditate on the heart of God and how He reacts to our hardened hearts and actions. Perhaps today God might be allowed to have His way in our lives.

Tuesday, 2019-08-20

Bible Reference: Zechariah 7:9-14
Translation: The Message (MSG)

Bible Text:  9-10 Well, the message hasn’t changed. God-of-the-Angel-Armies said then and says now: “‘treat one another justly. Love your neighbors. Be compassionate with each other. Don’t take advantage of widows, orphans, visitors, and the poor. Don’t plot and scheme against one another—that’s evil.’ 11–13 “But did your ancestors listen? No, they set their jaws in defiance. They shut their ears. They steeled themselves against God’s revelation and the Spirit-filled sermons preached by the earlier prophets by order of God-of-the-Angel-Armies. And God became angry, really angry, because he told them everything plainly and they wouldn’t listen to a word he said. 13–14 “So [this is what God-of-the-Angel-Armies said] if they won’t listen to me, I won’t listen to them. I scattered them to the four winds. They ended up strangers wherever they were.

OBSERVATION: God’s commands are condensed in the first part of our Scripture today. In the middle part Zechariah reflects on all the effort made to obey God’s commands, and in the latter part God finally issues His reaction to the lack of desire and commitment by mankind to honor Him – the giver and sustainer of life. Unfortunately, not a whole lot has changed over the years, so let us meditate on the heart of God and how He reacts to our hardened hearts and actions. Perhaps today God might be allowed to have His way in our lives.

APPLICATION:  I am fascinated how history repeats itself in spite of the lessons we should learn from our past. Much like Zechariah did when sharing the visions he was blessed with from God, our pastors today dig into God’s Word seeking what God might reveal to them that would bless and/or convict their parishioners. They share with us the consequences of disobedience by our ancestors, hoping that we would see the error of our ways, turn from our sin and obey God without the need for further consequences. A few sins were mentioned in verses 9 and 10, and not only do we still see these unfortunate sins recurring today, but they were also concerns that reoccurred in the New Testament. Several translations used the same verbiage in verse 11 that indicates to me that it is of grave concern to our Master. I believe that it truly concerns Him when He sees us plot and scheme against one another. When we look for ways to hurt one another. He announces this as pure evil and I believe this is something that we must not only be on guard for personally, but also look for ways to help each other fight against this awful sin. Let’s learn to pray for each other, that we would see the good in fellow humans and learn to celebrate it. Let us learn to pray for those who find it challenging to do life just like Jesus would have done it, or perhaps like He expects of us. I believe the biggest thing that got my attention in these verses today, is the consequences of disobedience. The Word says “if we don’t listen to (obey) God, He won’t listen to us” Oh my, oh my! Do you suppose that this is the reason we feel like we sometimes hit brick walls with our prayers, or feeling ignored by God? There’s an old spiritual that I learned later in life that I am reminded of as I meditated on these words today: “It’s me, it’s me oh Lord, Standing in the need of prayer“, it’s not my brother or my sister that I need to be most concerned about, but I need to get my act together first and take care of my personal cleansing before God first, before ever attempting to help a brother or sister where I easily, and glaringly, see obvious sin. I don’t know about you friend, but I need God to listen to me, so it is imperative that I listen to Him and obey Him. Will you commit to doing the same? It is so critical that we have believers who are actually getting through to God with our prayers – our needs and concerns. Let’s do our part in being obedient.

PRAYER: Dear God, please forgive us for so easily attempting to do Your job by zoning in on the wrongs of others, while overlooking the sin in our own lives. “It’s me, it’s me oh Lord, standing in the need of prayer – not my brother or my sister, but me….I need thee every hour of every day, for in my own strength I cannot overcome the evil pull of this life. Please touch the lives of each one that will read this devotional. Please impact our lives with a desire to surrender full control of our lives to You so that we all may be usable instruments for Your kingdom work here on this earth. I humbly ask these things in the wonderful, and strong name of 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 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!