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

Archive for the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ Category

Proof, No Proof

Saturday, 2019-01-05

Bible Reference: Matthew 3:8, 10
Translation: Amplified Bible (AMP)

Bible Text: So produce fruit that is consistent with repentance [demonstrating new behavior that proves a change of heart, and a conscious decision to turn away from sin]; ……. 10 And already the axe [of God’s judgment] is [gswinging toward the root of the trees; therefore every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

OBSERVATION: I was reminded of a television show – ‘Deal, No Deal’ as I meditated on these verses today. I know, don’t mix television with the precious Word of God, right? But Paul was so infuriated by the boldness of the Pharisees and Sadducees to show up at the river for baptism, that he took time to warn them of what a saved life looks like, vs one that is not. We should never have to tell anyone that we’re saved – it should be evident in our lives.

APPLICATION: In our Scripture today, Matthew relates that John the Baptist had been baptizing a lot of people. So one could only imagine that if they had not been baptized, then something must really be wrong with them. In the case of the religious leaders, John could tell that, to the crowd, they could easily have passed as ‘worthy of baptism’ because of their kinship to Abraham. However friends, is this not a good reminder for us? Some church attendees might tell you that their father was a pastor back in some church many years ago, so they are sure that they have a reserved place in heaven. Some might point to their regular attendance at your church for several decades, and all of the money that they gave for certain projects, so surely they are right ‘up there’ with the best of saints in your church. But the interesting thing that John points out to the religious leaders is that a repentant heart is what really matters. Some of you might wonder what exactly that would consist of, but I believe that this particular version of the Bible spells that out for you, for a repentant heart demonstrates a new behavior – meaning that it’s different to the behavior you once demonstrated in your life. Now your new behavior clearly comes from a heart that has been impacted and changed by its original designer and maker, Jesus Christ! Further, this changed heart will also show evidence of a conscious decision to stay away from sin. This includes your efforts to stay away from the people and places that once caused you to sin. Persistent study of God’s Word is critical, so that you could have a clear message from Him about what He consider ‘sin’, even though it might look like holiness to others. These changed attitudes, actions, thoughts and words are called ‘fruit’ by John, because He wanted us to understand that a tree, or a heart, built on the good things of Christ, will produce fruit/actions/words/attitudes that resemble the One who is feeding your tree/heart. Therefore, when there is no evidence that you are allowing God to ‘feed’ you, John declared that you will not survive, or reach eternity with Christ. Friends, as we live out everything that God has buried deep into our hearts, He will receive glory from those blessed by those ‘fruit’ that we produce. When we are merely following the crowd, or living a life of traditional church attendance, or imitating what other Christians do, and we have not sought personal forgiveness from God, and received a repentant, or changed heart – one just like His, then like the Pharisees and Sadducees, we are living on a slippery slope – one that can only lead all the way down to Hell. A New Year is a perfect time to seek a new heart – a repentant and changed heart that reflects the Master who you’ve invited to be your Lord. Please consider reading on to the Footnote for more information on how you might go about this transformation. Perhaps 2019 might be the year that you might seek baptism – a genuine one that celebrates a truly repentant heart!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for salvation, and thank You for the message expressed through baptism. Please touch the hearts of all those that will read this devotional, especially those who imitate a Christian life, but have not accepted the One who gives a repentant heart so that we might take on His attributes and bear His fruit. True Christianity comes from a repentant heart, one filled with Jesus Christ. Bearing ‘fruit’, can only happen if the True Vine (Jesus) has taken up residence inside of us. Lord, for each reader today, I pray that it may be so. 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!

How Would One Describe You?

Wednesday, 2016-08-10

Scripture

Bible Reference: 1 Thessalonians 1:8–10

Bible Text: 8 And now the word of the Lord is ringing out from you to people everywhere, even beyond Macedonia and Achaia, for wherever we go we find people telling us about your faith in God. We don’t need to tell them about it, 9 for they keep talking about the wonderful welcome you gave us and how you turned away from idols to serve the living and true God. 10 And they speak of how you are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven—Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. He is the one who has rescued us from the terrors of the coming judgment.

Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take

I’ve heard people referred to as: ‘That grumpy old man’; ‘That such a sweet old lady’; ‘He is a no-nonsense man’; ‘She has the sweetest smile’; ‘He is a true man of God’; and lots of other such phrases. I’ve heard churches referred to as: ‘All they’re after is your money’; ‘They’re all noise, but no action’; ‘They are the holier-than-thou crowd’; ‘They just can’t identify with the people who live all around them’; etc. I’m sure you can add many other things that you have heard also, but I believe that I have made my point. When last have you heard someone, especially an unsaved person without a vested interest in the person or the church, describe them using similar terms as Paul heard in his contacts about his friends at Thessalonica? When last have you been able to describe a person or a church as being in the very likeness of Jesus Christ, and anxious for His return? What would we need to change in our own lives to make sure that the world sees Jesus in our words and in our actions? The ‘church’ is an accumulation of ‘us’ friends, so anytime we can’t refer to the church in very positive, Godly terms, then we are acknowledging that we need the hand of God more actively involved in our lives. Are you there yet friends? Are you ready to lay aside the pride; greed; prejudice and selfish desires; so that God might truly begin a good work in you? I am convinced that when we humble ourselves and let God be God, then He will work in the lives that we touch, and He may even feel at home doing this through His servants like you and I. Wouldn’t that be glorious to see God take full control of our lives and full control of our churches! Wouldn’t that be something like a small coal that burns so intensely that it heats up and ignites a fire in everything around it! Perhaps then our communities and our cities and our state might recognize the church as being an extension of the hand of God! I really want to see that happen, and I want to be a part of it! How about you friend?

Prayer

Dear God, thank You for working a miracle in my life by helping me to look beyond the appeal of this world, to the greater appeal of eternity in heaven with my Creator and Lord. Many reading this blog today have also accepted Your gift of salvation and are in the same boat as I am. After reading these verses today, I am not totally convinced that our lives are a true, honest reflection of You though, so I want to plead with You to continue working on us until You see total dedication to the ways of God, so that we might be beacons in our community of the greatest and brightest Light, the Light of the world, Your Son, Jesus Christ. Lord, I want the unsaved to look on us and see nothing but Jesus. May they see it so brightly that their hearts will be stirred towards accepting You as their Lord also. May You be honored through us today, and known because of our interaction with someone today. For I ask these things all for Your glory, honor and praise, AMEN!

Footnote

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

Reasons Why The ‘World’ Don’t See Jesus

The Bible – New Living Translation

1 Corinthians 3:3

3 for you are still controlled by your sinful nature. You are jealous of one another and quarrel with each other. Doesn’t that prove you are controlled by your sinful nature? Aren’t you living like people of the world?

Thoughts:

Sometimes I look around at failing churches and I wonder, Why? Sometimes I see our pastors stressed out and I wonder, Why? And then sometimes I look at regular church attendees who suddenly stop coming to church, and I wonder, Why? God used this passage of scripture this morning to open my eyes to the reasons why, and it’s written in plain English right within the content of these verses for us to see. When we act in any of the above ways, it proves that:
          *   We are still controlled by our sinful nature;
          *   We are often jealous of one another and quarrel with each other; and
          *   We are still living like people of the world.
Now before our pride kicks in, and we get our noses too high in the air and begin thanking God for helping us to not be like that described above, I want to suggest that we invite God to dig deep into our inner selves and allow Him to open our hearts and our minds so that there will be no misgivings about our spiritual well being. You see, we are all a long ways away from the ideals established for us by Jesus himself. No matter how godly we may think we are, we must still seek God’s mercy and His constant eye on us, constantly guiding us and giving us wisdom to always respond to things outside of the ‘norm’ established in this world, in fact, we need to constantly respond the way that Jesus did, or the way that we discern from His Word that He would want us to respond. Friends, this will require us being in constant communication with God. I’m afraid that most of us are so full of this world that our only response will naturally look like a ‘worldly’ response. Conversely, if we would fill ourselves with Jesus Christ and His teachings, we would be more apt to respond like He would. Where do you stand Brother? Do You truly fill yourself with the knowledge and teachings of Jesus Christ, sister, so that your normal, quick, right-out-of-the-box response would be one that Jesus is pleased with? If I might suggest, let us humble ourselves before Christ and allow Him to use and lead us to speak and act like Him in our every day dealings with others. Let’s learn to be so filled with the Spirit of God that His character might spill over into all that we are and all that we say.

Prayer:

Father, may the church be the church. I pray that when Christians are encountered by the ‘world’ that they will immediately see the difference in us and not a hypercritical view of Christendom. The ‘world’ truly needs You Lord Jesus, please help us to not be a stumbling block to their needs being met by You. I humbly ask this in Your precious and holy name dear Lord, AMEN!

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

 

Be Completely United

The Bible – The Good news Translation

1 Corinthians 1:10

10 By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my brothers and sisters, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose.

Thoughts:

I bet that as you read the above verse you may have thought that it was something that I came up with concerning your church, or perhaps telling you gossip from my church, right? I agree with you friends, however this is obviously one of those verses that Christians today throw over their shoulders and let it go on to apply to the church on the next block for whom it was truly written!! In our secular jobs we often remark that the most challenging part of our job is dealing with the people/staff. I would imagine that for our pastors the most challenging part of leading a small, or a large church is the same – dealing with the folk who cause upheaval that could quickly lead to division. Paul addressed two important areas that we should consider as we think about what we might do to prevent division:

  1. To agree in what you say – I believe that if we did like one pastor suggested when he said “Let the main thing be the main thing” then we would quickly refocus our minds, and subsequently our conversation, to the mighty works of God among the congregation; the Word of God that speaks to us in powerful ways today, as it did in the days we read about in the Word; the blessings that God has bestowed on us instead of the small aches and pains that we might feel; the great teachers that God has provided to share knowledge with us instead of the small insignificant, humanly faults they may have; and the heartfelt desire to see our family members saved; and
  2. Be completely united – Do you know what happens in marriages when a husband and wife cannot be completely united in one thought and purpose? Don’t you imagine that the same thing would happen if we bring that type of behavior into the church? Independent thinking is important friend, but in a heart of compassion and love and caring about the good of others, we must learn to be understanding, appreciative and patient in what others have to say also. We are not all at the same maturity level, so sometimes we will find that someone else may have a different idea about a topic than we do. They may not be wrong – in fact they may be trying to say the same things as you are saying, just using different terminology. We must learn to not only talk, but also to listen, and try to appreciate the heart of the person speaking.

I heard a preacher approach this subject recently and he advised that should a third party be brought up in a conversation you are having with another church member, stop the conversation until such time that the other party could join you in the conversation! Great advice to avoid the issues that Paul was addressing with the Corinthian church, and to help with the unity of our churches today! These are tips on how we can help keep unity in our church today, are you willing to do your part friend? Let’s ask God for the strength to do His will, even in our relationships with others who should know better!

Prayer:

Lord, thank You for Your patience with Your people as we try to get along here on this earth and live in such a way that we would be a witness of You to our lost family and friends. Lord, please remind us often that we will never impact the lost when we act just like them. If we are different, and if we belong to the King of Love, the King of compassion and the King of all Kings then it is time for us to leave the things of this world behind and center our hearts and minds on You, and not our personal desires and selfish ways. More of You in this old world will force out the ways of Satan that has become so prevalent, even among Christians. Please have Your will in my life dear Lord, and may my friends also see the need for a similar prayer today, is my humble plea, that I ask in the precious name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, AMEN!

 

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

You Have All That You Need

The Bible New Living Translation

1 Corinthians 1:79

7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thoughts:

I was reminded of my working career where, from time to time, I go off to conferences or training seminars to sharpen my skills and make me a better employee. These verses made me think about this, because when we surrendered our lives to the lordship of our Lord Jesus, we were given everything that we need to succeed as a Christian. So why do we go to church? Much like I said in my career, we go to church to receive that ‘tune up’, that personal accountability where we allow God’s Word to challenge our lives and show us what we need to do differently in order to be best aligned with His will. Furthermore, Paul reminded the Corinthians of the importance to be blameless when Christ returns. This is vitally important for two reasons: 1). We don’t know the day or the hour when Jesus Christ will return, so we need to be ready and watching at all times, and this must be in a blameless fashion if we are to join Him when He returns; and 2). We need to be holy as Christ is holy, so that we can be the proper representation of Him to our lost family and friends, while we are still on this earth. If we are not blameless before them, we will be considered hypercritical and undesirable to anyone else. The reassurance in these verses can be found in verse 8, for Paul reminds us that God will keep us strong to the end! Praise God that He watches out for us and directs us as needed so that we may remain strong in Him. Now all we need to do is to free ourselves of any rebellion and allow Him to do His mighty work in us. May it be so, God being our helper!

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, it is so very interesting to see how your people are the same today as they were in Paul’s day. We still tend to rebel at times and pretend like we have everything under control. Unfortunately, we know full well that we can do nothing without Your strength and Your guidance. Thank You for our pastors and church leaders who teach us Your Word and gently guide us into the path of righteousness so that we may stay aligned with Your Word, accountable to You, and a bold, honest example to our lost family and friends. Lord, may Your perfect will be made whole in my life today, and may Your presence be so bold in the lives of those that may read this devotional, and in the lives of those that we come into contact with. As Paul reminds us in this scripture this morning, You are faithful to what You have said in Your Word, so I rest in the comfort of Your loving arms and depend on Your guidance and perfect will to be accomplished in all things that I may be involved in today. I serve an awesome God in whom I rejoice today! Praising Him and asking for ongoing guidance in the precious and loving name of Jesus, my Savior, AMEN!

 

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

Obedience to God’s Servants – Our Government Leaders

The Bible – The Good News Translation

Romans 13:1-2; 4b

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

Thoughts:

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

Prayer:

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

 

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

Sincere Godly Love, One for Another

The Bible – The Good News Translation

 Romans 12:9-10

 9 Love must be completely sincere. Hate what is evil, hold on to what is good. 1 0 Love one another warmly as Christian brothers and sisters, and be eager to show respect for one another.

Thoughts:

In a world where family members are jealous of each other and can’t stand to be in each other’s presence; where coworkers are so competitive to reach the top or earn more commission and/or recognition, that they step right over another employee, and may even do certain things to keep them from doing their best; where church members want to be in charge or favored by the pastor or 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 above examples? Remember, our actions speak so loud that others will really not 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 squish all the evil thoughts we might receive that make us act and rationalize to cause the above issues. 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. Paul has reminded me that I need to live and love in ways that others might recognize and want to know You personally. This is difficult to do when I surrender to living and loving like the world. Father, please give me strength to be a victor in living my life according to the model You displayed. Please help me to stay so in tuned with Your Word that it will not only impact the words from my lips, but the desires of my heart and the actions of my whole being. Lord, sadly, I have ‘Christian’ family and friends that I know who are living in sin, because they are acting just like 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!

 

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

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