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

Archive for the ‘Fruit of the Spirit’ Category

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.

Peace With God!

God’s Word Says….

Romans 5:1-5 (GNT)

Now that we have been put right with God through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2He has brought us by faith into this experience of God’s grace, in which we now live. And so we boast of the hope we have of sharing God’s glory! 3We also boast of our troubles, because we know that trouble produces endurance, 4endurance brings God’s approval, and his approval creates hope. 5This hope does not disappoint us, for God has poured out his love into our hearts by means of the Holy Spirit, who is God’s gift to us.

My Thoughts…..

These verses are so packed with good stuff, that it would take a long discourse to celebrate it all. For just a short devotional, I wanted to share a few words with you that I highlighted: a). “Put Right” – please notice that it didn’t say earned, or resulted from any good deed we did. We are put right because of our faith in God. I would highly recommend that we each examine ourselves and recall the day and place that we surrendered our heart to Jesus and placed our faith in Him alone. This is the ONLY WAY friend to be put right with God. b). “Peace” – when we have been ‘put right’ with God there will be an unexplained peace in our lives – peace in, and with God! c). “God’s grace” – can you even imagine that a sinner, filled with enmity towards God, could ever be allowed into His Grace. Friend, this is through ultimate, unselfish, immeasurable love of the Father for His children. I pray that you are experiencing that ‘Grace’ today! d). “The Hope” – as children of God we can boast of that ‘Hope’ that is ours to one day be with Jesus in glory at the right hand of the Father! Praise the name of Jesus! e). “Endurance” – it is so easy to praise the Lord when everything is going good for us, but often we struggle with this characteristic, especially when it seems like the world is against us. I was excited to note that this type of ‘endurance’ or ‘patience’ actually brings “God’s Approval” and this alone is worth the struggles and challenges we endure here on this earth. f). “His love” and “His Gift” – Think about this real good friend: because of our sin God had to send His Son to redeem us. Yet, when we accept Him as Lord, He pours out His love through the precious gift of His Holy Spirit. Wow, who has ever known such a love as that?

Challenge……

Don’t know about you friend, but there is much to celebrate in these verses today! My greatest caution to you is that you not fall into the temptation of wanting to do good, thinking that because you are not an evil person, then you must be a Christian. Friend, to enjoy the peace of God, you must be one of His children. To become a child of His involves a deliberate step by you. For you must humble yourself before Jesus and ask His forgiveness of your sin, and to accept you as His dearly beloved son/daughter. The life that follows is one of peace with God – everlasting peace! Jesus loves you a lot friend! Won’t you consider accepting Him as your Lord and Savior today? Please feel free to drop me a note by email if there is anything I can pray with you about. Jesus loves you, and so do I, friend!

Prayer……

Lord Jesus, thank You for providing the ultimate for us – the ways and means for us to know You as our Lord and Savior, and the promise of eternal life with You in heaven! You are awesome dear God! As I celebrate this today, I am concerned for several of my family members who do not reflect evidence of having accepted You as Lord. Father, I pray that Your Holy Spirit will convict them today, and that they would make a decision for You. I pray asking all this in Your wonderful and majestic name, Jesus my Lord, AMEN!

Action…..

In response to God leading You through this devotional today, please get with a Bible teaching Pastor you may know and allow him to guide you. Otherwise feel free to reply to my post online, or you may email me directly at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. I will gladly add you to my prayer list, and/or respond to your request(s) ASAP.

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