|Luke 3:7-9 (MSG)|
|7-9 When crowds of people came out for baptism because it was the popular thing to do, John exploded: “Brood of snakes! What do you think you’re doing slithering down here to the river? Do you think a little water on your snakeskins is going to deflect God’s judgment? It’s your life that must change, not your skin. And don’t think you can pull rank by claiming Abraham as ‘father.’ Being a child of Abraham is neither here nor there—children of Abraham are a dime a dozen. God can make children from stones if he wants. What counts is your life. Is it green and blossoming? Because if it’s deadwood, it goes on the fire.”|
|It was becoming quite a popular thing for people to go down to the river and be baptized by John the Baptist, and John quickly recognized that it was becoming quite the popular thing for folk to do in following the crowd. John felt an obligation to Jesus Christ to make sure that this was not becoming a popularity thing but rather one that followed the teachings of Jesus. We will explore how applicable this is to us today….|
|As a very young child, my daughter saw a friend baptized, and for weeks afterwards she tried to convince her mom and I on why she should be baptized. I believe that there may be lots of younger people that want the attention of parents, Bible School teachers and friends, or they may run to the pastor without fully understanding the purpose of baptism. There are others that are willing to take this step as a way to get mom, spouse, or perhaps a friend who had been witnessing to them, off their back. In our Scripture reading today we can see how John addressed this, and I’m sure we could follow his example on how to handle similar questions by others. However, we must feel comfortable sharing this in our own words. May I encourage you to click on the Scripture link above and read what Paul taught on this? The main emphasis is that the prospective candidate can clearly tell you how they were Spiritually saved, and also how Jesus has changed their way of living, because now they are about to show witness to the church at large and the world, that there has been a mega change in their life since inviting Jesus to be their Lord and Savior. The candidate must know clearly that baptism has no saving grace, but is scriptural because it demonstrates to the world an inward decision that you made at some point in your life. Friends, in following the commands of Jesus, I pray that you will demonstrate a full understanding of what He demands of you in His Word and not just follow the crowd as the popular thing to do, otherwise God may send another ‘John’ to rebuke you, like he did in this scripture. I encourage you to be brave in declaring to the world that you are a child of the King and that you don’t mind anyone knowing that. Being ashamed of the Lord here on earth might be reason for Jesus to disclaim you before His Father, according to His words in Scripture. If you haven’t surrendered your life to Jesus, then baptism is a mockery to the church and you are telling the world a lie. However, baptism is encouraged for those who have sincerely surrendered their heart and life to Jesus.|
|Lord Jesus, You know how much we love baptismal services, because as a church, we celebrate with the candidates the decisions that have been made, and the miraculous change that God has made in their lives! It re-enforces the necessity for the church and personal evangelism. It confirms Your work dear Lord, because only You could truly touch and change broken and sinful lives. May we continue to be about Your work oh Lord, and may You continue to touch the hearts of those that are in need of a Savior. We long to celebrate baptism often as a means of celebrating the wondrous works of our Lord. To You we give hearts filled with glory, honor and praise for all that You do in the center of our family, friends and loved ones. AMEN!|
|There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!|
Archive for the ‘Heart Knowledge’ Category
Bible Reference: Mark 4:23–25
Bible Text: 23 “Are you listening to this? Really listening? 24–25 “Listen carefully to what I am saying—and be wary of the shrewd advice that tells you how to get ahead in the world on your own. Giving, not getting, is the way. Generosity begets generosity. Stinginess impoverishes.”
Bible Translation: The Message (MSG)
In verse 23 Jesus re-emphasizes what He said in verse 9 – “Are you listening?”. I believe that Jesus would have the same concern today, for we can fill our churches if we throw in a meal, or if we were giving away something to everyone that attended. Some fill their churches by preaching only the positive aspects of the gospel, and not challenging their congregations with the plain truth about hell and the grave. Friends, the Word of God is widely known as the ‘Good News’, however there are consequences for sin. Satan is constantly trying to steer folk in his direction and away from God. So whenever you feel like you have failed in your invitation to have your neighbor attend church with you, please be reminded that you are probably fighting against the evil one who is trying to keep his grip on one of his followers. It is unfortunate, but churches often fill up when there is a disaster. So I am convinced that many believe there is a God, however He is only called on as needed, much like we do with the gas station. Friends, Jesus told these parables so that His listeners would be reminded of the importance of knowing the Savior of this world intimately, that you would give Him full control of your life, and that you would live in total obedience to the Word of God. Evidence of you having received the gift of salvation will reflect in your willingness to give more than your natural desire to receive. May I encourage you to evaluate your life, or better still try asking God to evaluate your life and show you if you are more of a receiver than a giver? There has been no mention of money, so please don’t ever use that as a crutch on why you can’t give. Just give, as God has given to you – perhaps a helping hand; a prayer; a phone call; a hug or a word of encouragement. These will be worth more than money to a lonely person or one who is hurting. These characteristics will reflect Jesus more than anything you can buy at the store.
Father, You gave Your very own Son for our good, yet we seem so selfish with what little we own here on this earth. Please help us to give sacrificially as You did, and may others see Your character in every aspect of our life. Lord, please draw the lost unto You this day, and if You can use us in the process, may we be willing servants, all for Your ultimate glory, AMEN!
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!
THE HOLY BIBLE (The Message – Hebrews 8:10-12): This new plan I’m making with Israel isn’t going to be written on paper, isn’t going to be chiseled in stone; This time I’m writing out the plan in them, carving it on the lining of their hearts. I’ll be their God, they’ll be my people. They won’t go to school to learn about me, or buy a book called God in Five Easy Lessons. They’ll all get to know me firsthand, the little and the big, the small and the great. They’ll get to know me by being kindly forgiven, with the slate of their sins forever wiped clean.
THOUGHTS: I believe that we have all recognized that hiring the person who was perfect in college may not always be as valuable to us as an employee who was a good student and have some work experience, or just lots of common sense – practical and able to apply all that they have learned! It seems like this principle came from some of our earliest ancestors, because in this scripture today God declared that merely having His commands available in print, or even shared by His priests, would not necessarily get to the heart of man and result in obedience, like God desired. With the wisdom and power of our God, He instead instilled His Word upon the hearts of the Israelites. Something that is impressed upon our hearts will be remembered all during our lifetime and, with the power of God, will be practiced throughout our decision-making processes and recognized in our life-principles. Now I believe you might ask how you would receive such an endowment of knowledge. Friends, please never forget that we serve the same God that already proved himself by doing this exact same thing for the Israelites, and I have no doubt that He can do it again for you. In fact, we serve the same awesome God that did many other miracles for His children throughout the Bible, so our faith and our belief system is reinforced in many different ways, as we consider asking God to impress His commands upon our hearts. I believe that those things that are impressed upon our hearts form the core of our decision making, so I would challenge you to look deep inside of your innermost beings and see how prevalent God is. Remember, this is reflected in the things you say, the things you do and the decisions you make. Is it obvious that God is at the center of your very being, like He should be? If you’re not proud of your outward self, then I encourage you to draw closer to God and ask Him to draw closer to you. Others must see Jesus in and through us for them to be impacted by us for the kingdom’s sake. God will only work through clean earthly vessels who have invited Him into their lives! Do You know Him in this very personal way friend? If there is any doubt, please read through the ‘Footnote’ and especially follow the link ‘To Know Jesus’. Button this up today so you can be assured of your eternal destiny!
PRAYER: Thank You Father for not giving up on the Israelites, and going the extra step to impress Your Word upon their hearts. Thank You for the assurance that You could do the same thing for me today, in spite of the chaos and worldly efforts to fight against You and Your loving cause for humanity. I would humble ask that You fill me with so much of Yourself that it would be clear in my decision-making and the stands that I take, that You are in control and leading my every word and action. I don’t believe I am alone in needing this kind of leadership Lord, so I plead with You to also touch my readers today so that they too might be drawn to You and desire full leadership by Your sweet Holy Spirit. Use us Lord for Your kingdom work here on earth so that others might be drawn to You and desire life totally led by Your Holy Spirit. We will be careful to praise You as we see lives impacted and drawn to You Father, and I ask all this, in faith, in the precious name of Jesus, 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 read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely 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, Sebring, FL! 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!