Love Like Your Father in Heaven

While we are not so picky about who we wind up hating, we have a more definite plot about who we love. If they show kindness to us, or if they’re nice to us, we will be nice to them, and we may eventually even love them. But is that what Jesus taught or practiced? Twice in the few verses we are meditating on today, Jesus encourages us to act, or love, like our Father in Heaven. Let’s spend some time with God today and evaluate our response to this command, and try to improve our response to Jesus on this.

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2021-01-15
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 5:43-48
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: 43 You have heard people say, “Love your neighbors and hate your enemies.” 44 But I tell you to love your enemies and pray for anyone who mistreats you. 45 Then you will be acting like your Father in heaven. He makes the sun rise on both good and bad people. And he sends rain for the ones who do right and for the ones who do wrong. 46 If you love only those people who love you, will God reward you for that? Even tax collectors[k] love their friends. 47 If you greet only your friends, what’s so great about that? Don’t even unbelievers do that? 48 But you must always act like your Father in heaven

OBSERVATION: While we are not so picky about who we wind up hating, we have a more definite plot about who we love. If they show kindness to us, or if they’re nice to us, we will be nice to them, and we may eventually even love them. But is that what Jesus taught or practiced? Twice in the few verses we are meditating on today, Jesus encourages us to act, or love, like our Father in Heaven. Let’s spend some time with God today and evaluate our response to this command, and try to improve our response to Jesus on this.

APPLICATION: In High School, we were taught to try and avoid the word ‘get’ in our conversation, as any other word that takes its place will often sound much better and more proper. Sounds funny, although it would be a great practical experience to also try and avoid the word ‘but’ from our conversation, for it often provides the beginning of a good excuse we devise for not obeying an order! For example, if we seriously decided that we would follow Jesus’ command to act like our Father and love even those who hate us, can’t you imagine the ‘but’s’ in our response? But Lord, You know how evil they are; But Lord, I would be setting myself up for a lot of hurt; But Lord, I’m not sure that even You could love that person; etc, etc. So let’s try and understand why Jesus may have taught His disciples to be obedient to such a command:
1. They’re His children – Imagine you talking to a group of friends about your child. Won’t you want them to love your child just like you do? Won’t you want them to act kindly towards your child?
2. They have His nature – You will probably say that you have encountered many who seem more like Satan, but I would encourage you to read the Word of God and see if It ever refers to a child of Satan’s. God created us all in His own image. Because we were given a free, independent will, we tend to be led by the things and people around us, and not necessarily by the One who created us. Living by the world’s standards will cause us to live according to it’s leader – Satan. A life surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ will encourage us to live like our Master and Lord;
3. They are drawn to a relationship with Him – How so, you might ask. I would suggest that you ask any criminal if they felt, or knew they were doing wrong when they committed a crime. Some have said ‘The devil made me do it’, while others have said ‘I hated that person so much that I would probably have done worse if someone didn’t stop me’. You see, God made us to desire Him. When we stump our foot in the sand and insist on doing otherwise, God pricks our conscience and shows us that we are doing wrong, and should be ashamed of our choices.
Friends, to hate God’s creation is like saying that He messed up and didn’t create a child fashioned after Himself. We all have excuses that Satan implants in our minds as to why we shouldn’t love a particular person. The Word of God plainly demands us to love even those who hate us, or despitefully abuse us. There is no exception offered by God, and as His child trying to live by His design, we must never create an exception of our own. ‘Love one another, even as I have loved you’ – that’s God’s command to us today.

PRAYER: You tell us in Your Word that Your burden is light, and I believe that includes the command that if we love one another, even those that seemingly hate us, that You will make the results amicable to everyone involved. Please help deter us from making another excuse why we should not love like You first, and always loved us. We have no godly reason to hate anyone you created, after all they put up with us, so why shouldn’t we make an effort to just do what You command, knowing that You will do all good things for our benefit. Thank You for loving us precious Lord, for You loved us even when we were unlovable by the world. Please melt our hearts of pride, prejudice and judgment, so that we may love You unconditionally, and in turn, love everyone You created to spend life on earth with us. May it be obvious to the lost that only Jesus could truly love like they experience from us, for it’s You we glorify and give praise to for all good things accomplished through us. I love You 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. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Christmas Gift Ideas

At Christmas time we seem to easily find room in our hearts to be kind to others. In our verses today Paul reminds us of what all God did for us, and how that should lead us to do the same for others. So as we meditate on this today, may it stir up within us many ideas on how we might bless others at Christmas!

Friday, 2020-12-08

Bible Reference: Colossians 3:12-14
Translation: Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 12 God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. 13 Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. 14 Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. 

OBSERVATION: At Christmas time we seem to easily find room in our hearts to be kind to others. In our verses today Paul reminds us of what all God did for us, and how that should lead us to do the same for others. So as we meditate on this today, may it stir up within us many ideas on how we might bless others at Christmas!

APPLICATION: Most children are probably looking forward to Christmas because of the gifts they have asked for, and expect to receive. As adults, Paul has reminded us of the gracious gifts that are ours, in being a child of the most high God! Here are some of the gifts mentioned by Paul: 1). God has made us His holy people – imagine that – steeped in sin and very much a part of Satan’s army, yet when we felt the call on our life by Jesus, and surrendered our life to Him, we were adopted into the sonship of the Most Holy God! That is beyond comprehension, and could only be imagined through faith in the truth of God’s Holy Word; 2). God loves us – ‘Love’ is an awesome word that we use, and even abuse in our lifetime, but it takes on such a special meaning when the holy Son of God loves a child that has been so blatant in sin, and asked for His forgiveness. Oh that we may find it in our hearts to love like that this Christmas! But because of all that God blessed us with, here are some gifts that we may give to others, knowing that He will continue pouring out His gracious love to us: Show mercy towards others; Be kind to others; Be humble towards others; Be gentle to others; Be patient with others; Don’t be angry with others; Forgive others; and LOVE others. Friends, the best news of all about these godly gifts, compared to our usual gift giving, is that there will be no increase in credit card bills whatsoever!  So why not read over this devotional again as Christmas draws closer, and concentrate on all the gody gifts that you can extend to family and friends. Be instrumental in teaching them God’s ways and His teachings through your example this Christmas! Others just may see that you have a heart like that of Jesus, because you showed that you cared for them!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Christmas, and the precious gift of Your Son! Thank You for teaching us about the many precious gifts that You bless us with, and then through your servant Paul, teaching us how we might extend to others the many gifts that You have showered on us. Please help us to make someone’s Christmas special this year, simply by showering them with the character of Your Son, and the godly gifts mentioned in our Scripture today. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

The Joy Of Seeing Others Grow!

I believe that churches (Christians in our churches) today are missing out on excellent opportunities to encourage, or as the Word says ‘spur one another on to good works’, therefore it seems like church attendees walk out the back door quicker than we could welcome new ones through the front door. John shared with his good friend Gaius that his (John’s) heart was blessed and encouraged whenever he received encouraging words back about his (Gaius’) spiritual growth. As we meditate on God’s Word today, I trust that you will think with me about whether we do enough to encourage one another towards greater spiritual growth.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2020-11-22
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 3 John 1:4
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT:  It is the greatest joy of my life to hear that my children are consistently living their lives in the ways of truth!

OBSERVATION: I believe that churches (Christians in our churches) today are missing out on excellent opportunities to encourage, or as the Word says ‘spur one another on to good works’, therefore it seems like church attendees walk out the back door quicker than we could welcome new ones through the front door. John shared with his good friend Gaius that his (John’s) heart was blessed and encouraged whenever he received encouraging words back about his (Gaius’) spiritual growth. As we meditate on God’s Word today, I trust that you will think with me about whether we do enough to encourage one another towards greater spiritual growth.

APPLICATION: I love my church, and I can’t imagine life without the church, so please know that I am approaching this topic from that standpoint. Throughout my Christian life I have been heavily involved in the life of the church, including some key leadership positions. In my younger days, I actually found that I was drawn more into the sermon while I served as a sound technician, than I would have done in just sitting in the pew listening. In some roles, I did quite a bit of visitation, but it was often to the sick, or to members upset with someone at church. As I reflect, I don’t remember calling someone to encourage them in the spiritual growth evidenced in their life, nor called to compliment a teacher or a preacher for the good job they had done. However, I have been in their place, and often wondered if anyone heard or cared about what I taught. I believe that often Satan will use those moments of doubt to ’egg’ us on towards thinking that we are wasting our time in what we do ‘in Jesus’ name’. I know that people don’t go to church, or get saved, so that they might receive praise or recognition from other members. But I do know that what John is teaching us here in his ministry to Gaius, serves an important purpose in encouraging others in their service to their Lord. However, I feel like Christians as a whole must be encouraged in their walk with the Lord. Let’s find something constructive and encouraging to say to each one. Many times our words of encouragement to them will minister to them as much as the sermon did. Often they are looking for someone who cares that they are present, so simple things like how their smile or their warm presence made you think of the warmth and presence of Jesus. Just simple things like that will encourage someone to hang in there and remain faithful. Also, we use our phone for many different things these days. Why not consider using it for the simple purpose of calling someone just to let them know that you care about them. Imagine the lost feeling of being in hospital, or being home sick, or just falling away from attending church and not hearing from anyone. Did it really matter to anyone that you were there at one time? Of course you will feel like no one missed you, nor did they ever care about you. I believe the best thing we can do to help one another through this life dear friends, is to let them know that you care about them. Way too often we sit back and sulk instead of reaching out to encourage others. As we bless others, God will bless us. Just as you are so very proud of your children, we too become very connected to those whose lives we have touched or helped in some way, especially those we may have helped guide, or lead them, to the Lord. I believe that God will help us bless others if we ask for His help and His guidance.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You have been good to us and we are so appreciative of the love You have shown for us in so many wonderful ways. Thank You Lord for all those You have allowed us to cross paths with. Our lives have been enriched by their encouragement, and they have often energized us into service for You Lord. Please work diligently in our lives so that we may look for ways to encourage others towards love and good works. Just as John’s ministry to Gaius had a long lasting impact on his life, I believe that our words and actions will also serve to enrich and encourage those in our circle of influence. Help us never to assume that they are strong and don’t need a word of encouragement, for they are human just like we are. Please help us to love like You loved us. 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. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Here’s What Love Means

In any form of relationship I believe it would be impossible to please the other party by doing your own thing, without regards for what they might love to see you do. No doubt marriages fall apart when a partner has no regards for their spouse, or show any interest in things they may like to do together. So imagine what happens in the church when folk act like this. John saw that relationships were being fractured because of selfish endeavors, so he thought to emphasize what ‘love’ truly means. Let’s try applying his God ordained meaning of this important life-action as we study the Word today.

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-11-21
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 John 1:5-6
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: I am writing to remind you, dear friends,[c] that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

OBSERVATION: In any form of relationship I believe it would be impossible to please the other party by doing your own thing, without regards for what they might love to see you do. No doubt marriages fall apart when a partner has no regards for their spouse, or show any interest in things they may like to do together. So imagine what happens in the church when folk act like this. John saw that relationships were being fractured because of selfish endeavors, so he thought to emphasize what ‘love’ truly means. Let’s try applying his God ordained meaning of this important life-action as we study the Word today.

APPLICATION: In many cases it is easier to think about the outcomes when a rule, or as in this case – a command, is not followed. For example, if we don’t love others as God commanded, then we may tend to hate them, meaning that we will do everything within our power to destroy them or cause them to fail. This hatred may come in various forms: lying about them; envious of their job position; jealous of their financial success; intimidated by their educational achievements; disrespect of their church-held positions; – just to name a few. Friends if any of these things are burning up inside of you, it will be virtually impossible to love an individual. So let’s look closer at what John directs us to in the true meaning of ‘Love’:
-> Do what God has commanded you to do – In other words, who is your master? If you love Me, you will obey my commandments – Jesus said this in John 14:15. So if you instead do whatever you please, without regard for Jesus Christ, is He truly your ‘Lord’ and Savior? I believe ‘Lord’ means that you have agreed to allow Jesus to Lord, or rule over you. If you persist in still doing your ‘own thing’ in life, then I would suggest that you revisit the cross and see if you truly gave God authority over your life;
-> Remember, God commanded us to love one another – Obviously John saw that the church was in disarray caused by many of the above mentioned actions, so he saw the need to remind them of what God taught His church. You see, God loved the world so much, yes those who loved Him and those that didn’t, that He permitted His only Son to die on Calvary, so that those who believe on Him, might be assured of eternal life in heaven. He loved enough to sacrifice everything He had so that we might reap the benefits of knowing Jesus as Lord. Friends, if we are to follow Him in the way we love others, would there ever be a reason for anyone to challenge us again like John did, about our obedience to God’s commands? I dare say no, what say ye?

PRAYER: Precious Lord, thank You for loving us, even when we were unlovable. Thank You for providing us the assurance of our salvation. Thank You for being our constant guide and deliverer from all evil around us. Lord, we want to be like You, but there is a serious uphill battle as we fight against the evil one while still here on earth. This causes us to act in ways that surely must not be pleasing to You Lord, so we humbly ask for Your strength, Your guidance and an extra dose of Your love that we might share with others. Please Lord, impact our conscious in such a way that we will turn from our wicked ways and obediently follow Your ways and Your commands. 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. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Love Like God Loves

There are many illustrations that can be used to help us understand that we become like those we hang around. We will find ourselves speaking like them and we will respond very much like them to situations that might arise. The same is true, if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you accept Him as Lord, and you spend time with Him, you will learn from the only perfect and righteous One, and you will start to follow His commands and the principles that He lived out in His life. This includes loving others in much the same way as He loves you. Are you anywhere close, dear friends?

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-11-18
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 John 4:7-8; 20-21
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better. But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God—for God is love.
20 If anyone says “I love God,” but keeps on hating his brother, he is a liar; for if he doesn’t love his brother who is right there in front of him, how can he love God whom he has never seen? 21 And God himself has said that one must love not only God but his brother too.

OBSERVATION: There are many illustrations that can be used to help us understand that we become like those we hang around. We will find ourselves speaking like them and we will respond very much like them to situations that might arise. The same is true, if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you accept Him as Lord, and you spend time with Him, you will learn from the only perfect and righteous One, and you will start to follow His commands and the principles that He lived out in His life. This includes loving others in much the same way as He loves you. Are you anywhere close, dear friends?

APPLICATION: In learning from the perfect Savior, our conscience is severely impacted when we choose to stray away from His teachings and practices, and follow our old habits and way of life. John teaches that the very nature of God is ‘love’. In fact the word ‘Love’ is a name that our God is known by, for the Bible teaches that God is love. So what might be wrong with the picture where a ‘Christian’ – a child of God saved thru acceptance of His precious Son, acts like the devil and hates like him too? How would that picture fit into our Scripture teaching today? It would be classified as one described by John in verse 8 – he doesn’t know God; or in verse 20 – he is a liar by claiming his sonship with Jesus Christ. So what might it look like if we were to love like Jesus? Remember, He met with sinners – people that were looked down on by his very disciples. On the contrary, don’t we tend to mix with people just like us, and often in line with our income range? Don’t we tend to stay on our side of town and away from the poor, hungry and destitute? Remember, Jesus stopped a parade where He was being honored, so that He could meet a lame man sitting along the path of the parade. On the contrary, don’t we tend to ignore the poor man begging for food or money at the very corner where we must stop for a red light? Don’t we drive speedily along, even if a poor man is limping along a lonely road? Dear friends, if we are truly going to love like Jesus, wouldn’t we imitate those noble acts like Bible writers shared with us about Jesus? John felt so strongly about this that he wanted us to question our relationship with Jesus if we are not loving others like He did. So if we know Him, and we learn from Him as we study His Word, won’t we love like Him? Won’t we act like Him? Won’t we care for others like He did – even if it’s in an area of town where we were warned to stay away from? Even if it’s the dirty old man who sits by the road and beg? Even if it’s the lady that spread lies about you to everyone at work, or to all your close friends? Surely it’s time for us to use the Word of God to speak truth into our lives. Let it wash us from the habits we developed from our time in the world, and direct our path to imitate Jesus. Oh that we would be guided by our Master to live and love just like Him!

PRAYER: Loving Jesus, You are all-knowing, so I’m sure that You must hurt when You see all that Your kids are doing here on earth. We are led way too easily by the life we used to live, and without ever minding the impact that Your life, Your love and Your perfect ways have had on us. Many are studying Your Word, so being constantly reminded of Your love and Your character, yet we hate; we despise our neighbors because they believe differently on certain aspects of life; we pass by hungry and destitute people and depend on the other person to help them; we are afraid to get our hands dirty, even if it means helping a shut-in or a helpless elderly person. Lord, we are a ’sorry’ people, and we desperately need You, the only perfect One, to embed into us righteousness and grace so that we may look more like Jesus in the eyes of the one who never met You. May You be glorified because of the difference You make in our lives precious 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. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Evidence Of Your Love

For my readers who are happily married, as I am, we might hear the words occasionally ‘well, show me that you love me by….’! As adult children, we might also hear a parent say that if we truly love them we would….! As a Christian, we are examined by the world, as if through a glass door, for others want to place our love for one another under a microscope and decide if we are truly a Christian. Meditate with me as we examine how John tries to clarify this principle and show us how we might pass the examination.

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-11-17
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 John 3:16-18
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: 16 We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That’s why we must give our lives for each other. 17 If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God. 18 Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.

OBSERVATION: For my readers who are happily married, as I am, we might hear the words occasionally ‘well, show me that you love me by….’! As adult children, we might also hear a parent say that if we truly love them we would….! As a Christian, we are examined by the world, as if through a glass door, for others want to place our love for one another under a microscope and decide if we are truly a Christian. Meditate with me as we examine how John tries to clarify this principle and show us how we might pass the examination.

APPLICATION: Try to imagine how, as a teenager, you tried to evaluate whether a guy, or girl, may have loved you and/or was serious about you. I’m sure that you also would probably have looked for the ways that they showed love to you, especially through every little action they took! This powerful word ‘love’, is something examined by everyone at one time or another in our lives, and often our evaluation will result in more love from us, or perhaps less love, if we feel like the other person is trying to distance themselves from us. But this powerful word, that has far-reaching effects, began as the primary focus of who God is. He created us, knowing that with a mind of our own, we would sometimes practice love for Him and each other, while at other times display dislike towards each other. Throughout the Bible, God demonstrated His love for us, and showed us which things bring pleasure to Him and which things truly upset Him. In spite of all that I have shared already, I believe that God knew that mankind would naturally tend to think selfishly and only try to please his fellow man for his own benefit. God knew that seeking to show love to those in need, and towards our Creator, might fall way to the bottom of our priority list. But God was determined to give mankind a means of turning from his sin, surrender himself to the Almighty, and eventually follow God’s plan for his life. So God allowed His righteous, and only Son to be born. He also allowed that Son to die on a cruel cross so that through His death and resurrection, eternal life might become possible to all who would surrender to Him. This demonstration of love was extended in spite of mankind showing nothing but hate towards the God who created us. In John’s reflection on this awesome sacrificial love, he said that we too must be willing to follow God’s example by loving even those who despite fully use us, or despise us. In fact, we should love them enough that we would also be willing to arrive at a point of sacrificing our lives for their good – their benefit, if necessary. John felt like this might evidence the love that should reside deep inside our heart for a fellow Christian. In my working career, I was evaluated each year on how I was doing compared to expectations. If God was to evaluate you at this time, on your level of love for His sons and daughters, do you suppose He might find any exceptions for you to work on? John said that talking about love is not enough, we must show love for others whether we feel they deserve it, or not.

PRAYER: Oh Lord God, You defined the word ‘love’ by showing us first hand how we should love one another. You demonstrated love perfectly for us, yet we try to add so many conditions to it. I pray that You might once again touch the heart of each reader so that the love You placed in us through creation, may be stirred up and resurrected to a new level. May others recognize You by the love they see demonstrated in us. May we rid ourselves of selfish desires and instead look for ways to love those around us, whether we think they deserve it or not. In 1 Corinthians 13 we are taught that love never fails. Because the King of love resides inside of us, I pray that our love for others will always be evident. 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. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Men – Careful Not To Hinder Answers to Your Prayers

Preserving our right to pray, and the assurance of having our prayers answered, are probably two of the most sacred things that a Christian has to hang on to until we meet with Jesus face to face. However, God warns through His servant Peter that men/husbands stand the chance of hindering answers to their prayers if they don’t treat their wives right. Now men, that really places a strong emphasis on our marital responsibilities. Let’s think about this for a few minutes today, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-11-02
WRITTEN AT: Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Peter 3:7
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: You husbands must be careful of your wives, being thoughtful of their needs and honoring them as the weaker sex. Remember that you and your wife are partners in receiving God’s blessings, and if you don’t treat her as you should, your prayers will not get ready answers.

OBSERVATION: Preserving our right to pray, and the assurance of having our prayers answered, are probably two of the most sacred things that a Christian has to hang on to until we meet with Jesus face to face. However, God warns through His servant Peter that men/husbands stand the chance of hindering answers to their prayers if they don’t treat their wives right. Now men, that really places a strong emphasis on our marital responsibilities. Let’s think about this for a few minutes today, under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.

APPLICATION: Ever been warned by your parent that something would be withheld if you didn’t treat your sibling right? I was brought up as the eldest of five children, so whenever things got a bit testy around us, mom would warn us of possible consequences! So as I think about our loving God threatening me with the words in verse 7, I tend to especially stop what I’m doing and pay attention. Prayer is spoken of in many areas of the Bible, and there have been some amazing answers to prayer throughout the Bible and even among Christendom today. Moses prayed and water came forward from a rock. He prayed again and the waters of the Red Sea were stopped so that the Israelite army, that he was leading, could march safely across and be saved from the oncoming Egyptian army. Peter was sinking into the water when he cried out for the help of Jesus, and with an out-stretched hand, Jesus kept Peter safe. Jesus healed the sick and even brought the dead back to life, because of the prayers of His children. As a Christian, no doubt that you have also prayed to God for some very desperate things that you felt you would lose, if not for the intervention of the Lord God. So child of God, can you even imagine being told that your prayers would be hindered unless you ……..? But stop and think for a moment how important the family is to God. He created Eve from the rib of Adam. He placed them in the Garden of Eden to live happily and at peace with one another. There have been many created since our first ancestors, and there have been numerous couples brought together and blessed with Holy Matrimony, because God wanted to see His miraculous work go on. God knew that men would need women and they would enjoy life together in spite of their differences. Now imagine how disappointed God must get when He sees us trying to destroy that union. In the marriage ceremony, there are some important words spoken by a minister of the Gospel – those whom God has put together, let no man pull asunder. So how do you imagine God must feel when a husband abuses his wife, or cheats on her, or has no respect for her? I was reminded by a pastor that it is God’s child that the husband is mistreating. How do you respond when you hear of your child being abused by a man? We are told in God’s Word that He can do ALL things. But imagine Him scolding you one morning as you pray, and telling you: ‘Yes I can answer that prayer, but because you have not loved my daughter, and because you are not treating her with love and respect, I will withhold my response until further notice’. Will that help you reconcile your differences and resume a right relationship with your wife, for Jesus’ sake? Jesus loves the little children – both wives and husbands. Can we learn to love each other in similar fashion to what our Father displays to us?

PRAYER: Thank You Lord Jesus for the wonderful women You have placed in my life, and the adoration they have shown to me. My heart’s desire is to love You more, and also to be so dedicated to following Your will, that it will be glaring to others that Your Holy Spirit is given full reign in my life. Please help me to also treat Your daughter this way, for I would humbly plead with You to always direct and correct me before allowing me to treat her less than royally. So many in this world today have decided to just cohabitate instead of following Your will to unite in marriage, while many others simply give up and seek divorce. Loving and cooperating families are becoming fewer, resulting in children also growing up without a stand for commitment. Please dear Lord, begin with Your men that You have set aside to lead our families. May we be more committed to the task and may we go out of our way to love our wives like You intended. 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. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Describe Your Love For Him

In reading how David meticulously told God how he loved Him, I hope that this might cause us to think about doing the same. I believe we struggle in doing this with earthly friends, spouse included, so I could only imagine what a challenge this would pose for us to stop and describe to God how much, and in what ways we love Him! Let’s meditate on the love of God today, and on how we might describe our love for Him.

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-10-05
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL.

Bible Reference: Psalm 123:1-2
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: O God-Enthroned in heaven, I worship and adore you!
The way I love you is like the way a servant wants to please his master, the way a maid waits for the orders of her mistress. We look to you, our God, with passionate longing to please you and discover more of your mercy and grace

OBSERVATION: In reading how David meticulously told God how he loved Him, I hope that this might cause us to think about doing the same. I believe we struggle in doing this with earthly friends, spouse included, so I could only imagine what a challenge this would pose for us to stop and describe to God how much, and in what ways we love Him! Let’s meditate on the love of God today, and on how we might describe our love for Him..

APPLICATION: I’ve seen this done at church, where the congregation was asked to give descriptive words of how they know that God loves them, and why they love God. Very often this comes with a lot of Biblical terms, churchy words, and words that you might hear from the pulpit, or over Christian radio. But I wonder how much more personal this might be if it was just you and God. If there were no devices, and no distractions, but you became overwhelmed with the thought of how powerful God is; how loving He is; how forgiving He is; and that God brought you to a point where you realized that He is an awesome God who loves you – individually, more than anything else in the world. What would you have to say to Him in return? Remember, it’s just you and God present and He wants to hear your heart. What would you say? Perhaps you’ve seen Him in the Word as you meditated on it today; perhaps in a song; perhaps in the beauty of the outdoors; perhaps a beautiful animal – one of His wonders, just ran in front of you; or perhaps your mind reflected back on the love of God, and/or how He touched you during a recent life event. Friends, our God is ever present, and I believe He is just waiting for us to praise Him for His amazing greatness, if only we will separate ourselves from the busyness of life and allow our hearts and minds to connect with our Creator. Allow these words of David to reinvigorate your heart, soul and mind and cause you to focus on your Maker. He is so worthy of our praise friends!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, how can we say thanks for the things You have done for us? How can we love You near as much as You love us? How can we give to our Master who has everything? Yet You have prepared a place for us to spend eternity with You and Your Father! Praise God that in spite of our inadequacies yet You love us anyway, and You have given us life itself to enjoy while here on earth. Thank You for who You are, and for all You do and show to us precious Father. May we show love and appreciation to You in every way and as frequently as our hearts could imagine. In Jesus’ name, 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. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

No Greater Love

In leaving his beloved Ephesians, Paul shared that in spite of everything he had dealt with throughout his letter, and while on site with them, he was really hoping that they would remember the sincere love of Jesus Christ that filled his heart before coming to visit with them, filled him while with them and even as he left them. Can’t you imagine that this sort of love will help you to overcome insults and ridicule, and to look at life’s circumstances in a much more meaningful way? Can you see how a love like this will make your life worth living?

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-09-28
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

Bible Reference: Ephesians 3:18-20
Translation: Easy To Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 18 … I pray that you and all God’s holy people will have the power to understand the greatness of Christ’s love—how wide, how long, how high, and how deep that love is. 19 Christ’s love is greater than anyone can ever know, but I pray that you will be able to know that love. Then you can be filled with everything God has for you. 20 With God’s power working in us, he can do much, much more than anything we can ask or think of.

OBSERVATION: In leaving his beloved Ephesians, Paul shared that in spite of everything he had dealt with throughout his letter, and while on site with them, he was really hoping that they would remember the sincere love of Jesus Christ that filled his heart before coming to visit with them, filled him while with them and even as he left them. Can’t you imagine that this sort of love will help you to overcome insults and ridicule, and to look at life’s circumstances in a much more meaningful way? Can you see how a love like this will make your life worth living?

APPLICATION: Like me, you may remember being spanked by your parents while being told that they were only doing that because they loved you!! That was extremely hard to understand as a child, because we thought that love equated to giving us everything good that we asked or hoped for!! Even as adults, I’m not so sure that we have really grasped the unconditional love of Jesus for us. What could you find to say to a mother that could convince her that God loves her unconditionally, even while she buries her son or daughter, or even a grandchild? What could a preacher find to say after preaching Hell and damnation to a congregation of believers, and then try to follow that by reassuring them that Jesus loves them more than anything else in this world? Consider a husband who has been struggling for years to find the right woman to make him happy, but in spite of all efforts, nothing ever materialized. Or a wife who seems to be fighting one relationship after another, but can’t seem to find love, or happiness, in anything she does, or anyone that she meets. Unfortunately, it seems like even if we start our day in God’s Word and assure ourselves of His precious love for us, it is extremely challenging for us to stay strong in the faith, especially after we are beat up on during the day. In fact, it often seems like the whole world is against us. However friends, let me encourage you to read the verses again, and particularly look for the conditions given for God’s amazing love. In finding none, I can only encourage you to stand firm in your faith and never doubt the love of God. Whether in very positive news, or very negative news – God still loves you! Whether you are on ‘cloud nine’ with very positive and encouraging things happening in your life, or quite to the contrary – remember that God still loves you! Whether things are going way better than you could ever have expected under today’s circumstances, or whether it feels like the bottom has fallen out and no one is in control today – know that God loves you unconditionally and that He is always in charge of His universe, especially you and I. Why sweat it friends? Know that God has every little thing under His complete control and that He will always look after His precious children and everything that affects us.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, what a privilege to know that we serve a God who loves us in spite of who we are, and in spite of all the circumstances that may be impacting the world around us. The greatest love ever demonstrated was the sacrifice You made at Calvary so that we may have life eternally in heaven with You. Thank You Father, thank You Lord Jesus for loving us so much. May that assurance bring peace and contentment to each of Your children, in every circumstance of life. 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. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

What God Wants

If we reflect on why we perform some of the rituals that we do in our churches, we may need to look no further than back to what our ancestors did. But along the way, we should be careful to reflect on whether God was pleased with what His people did in an effort to please Him. Our Scripture today shows us how displeased God was with the Israelites because they chose to ignore His commands and do their own thing. Do you feel like you are doing any better than that today?

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2020-08-06
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Jeremiah 7:21-23
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 21 The Lord, the God of Israel says: Away with your offerings and sacrifices! 22 It wasn’t offerings and sacrifices I wanted from your fathers when I led them out of Egypt. That was not the point of my command. 23 But what I told them was: Obey me, and I will be your God and you shall be my people; only do as I say, and all shall be well!

OBSERVATION: If we reflect on why we perform some of the rituals that we do in our churches, we may need to look no further than back to what our ancestors did. But along the way, we should be careful to reflect on whether God was pleased with what His people did in an effort to please Him. Our Scripture today shows us how displeased God was with the Israelites because they chose to ignore His commands and do their own thing. Do you feel like you are doing any better than that today?

APPLICATION: I bet that one of the worse pet peeves of parenting is, hearing our children respond to us ‘but I thought…..’. You told them to complete a certain chore, and you wanted it done a certain way. However, it was not completed to your satisfaction. Regrettably the child will respond ‘but dad, I thought ……’ And we know that means that they thought they knew a better way! For those who have been a student of the Bible for very long, you have probably found, like I have, that God has done an awesome job at providing instruction for every area of life in His precious Word. However, way too many times we try all of our own ideas before finally conceding to the Bible to see what it has to say. Generally it’s after we have messed up, that we concede and turn to God for help! Friends, our personal ways are filled with selfish ideas about what might please self. But notice how simple God’s commands to the Israelites were: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people’. Very simple, but recognize the value in this short command. God performed miracle after miracle to change the mindset of Pharaoh, to willingly let God’s people go. The Israelites were present and impacted by all that our God miraculously did, so they had proof of His awesome power. They knew that He was in control of this earth and that nothing is impossible with Him. However, as they journeyed, and when things got tough, they immediately resorted to their old habits and to their former gods. Are we any different today? I believe that God not only said these words through His servant Jeremiah for the good of the Israelites, but I believe that He truly wants us to understand this today, that all He wants from us, is that we obey Him. In fact, this is confirmed in John 14:15-16 where Jesus reiterates that if we love Him, we will obey Him and His commands. Friends, when we truly love someone, we will make every effort to do what they want. God showed us how much He loves us. How far are we willing to go to prove our love for God?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, You gave Your very own Son so that we might be saved and enjoy eternity with You in Heaven. There is no greater love! As we look for ways to say thank You Jesus, we realize that You have already told us how we might show our love for You – simply obey You and the commands You have set out in Your Word. Because of Your love for us, I am convinced that every command given for us to follow were given in love, and for our own good. But Lord, we are so stubborn and selfish, so please tender our hearts once again today so that we may willingly obey and desire to please You in all that we do or say. Please fill us with so much of Your love, that it will overflow in everything we do and it will stand behind every decision we make, so that You will be glorified. Thank You Jesus for first loving us. May our obedience to Your commands show the extent of our love for You, today and every day. 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. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!