What Should You Do?

After saying the above to a crowd gathered in the wilderness waiting to be baptized, John the Baptist was still asked by three different groups what they should do. Perhaps you might be asking the same question, so I wanted to share this with you in hopes that we all might be energized into letting our lights shine for our Lord all over this earth, and that our witness will produce fruit for the Kingdom.

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2021-01-11
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Luke 3:8-9
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God….
Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever the roots of the trees. Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”

OBSERVATION: After saying the above to a crowd gathered in the wilderness waiting to be baptized, John the Baptist was still asked by three different groups what they should do. Perhaps you might be asking the same question, so I wanted to share this with you in hopes that we all might be energized into letting our lights shine for our Lord all over this earth, and that our witness will produce fruit for the Kingdom.

APPLICATION: We studied this in our Sunday School class on Sunday and I was so touched by the work of John the Baptist, I thought I would share it with you! We see in many teachings by Jesus, that He taught in parables. Often this was a good way of relating something that His hearers associated with, and it helped them immediately understand what He was teaching. It seems like John also shared this message in a light that the crowd would understand, for they may have had farming experience and therefore accustomed to the idea of fruit bearing trees. But since some of the groups in the crowd needed further explanation, I thought you might also benefit from the additional information that John shared:
The crowd asked as a whole in vs 10, ‘What should we do (to prove that we have repented from our sins)?’ New Christians today might also ask the same question. So John responded in vs 11 that they should look for opportunities to help others. This sounds elementary, as folk may tend to think that they have always done this. But I believe that the moment we become Christ followers, we tend to think, act and give, like Jesus did. You see, He stopped along His path and helped blind folk, and crippled folk, and He even fed the 5,000 just from a lad’s lunch. He didn’t look for every excuse in the book as to why He couldn’t help, but rather He pulled out all the stops and helped over and beyond anything they could ever imagine. As children of God, it should be our aim to excel in our efforts to help those in need. If we recognize a need, then obviously God wants us to do something about the need. Let’s love others enough to try and satisfy their needs;
– In vs 12 the Tax Collectors asked ‘Teacher what should we do?’ I wonder if God didn’t just prick their conscience into believing that there must be something more they could do than what was told to the crowd in general, and they were right. For God knew that they were charging more than the prescribed taxes, so they could pad their pockets, and the Tax Collectors knew deep inside that they were overcharging the poor people. Some countries call this ‘Under the table, or silent bribery’. This is not right in the eyes of God, and if we are to be His imitators, then we should not tolerate bribery, nor should it ever be necessary. Let our yea be yea and our nay be nay, is the way it is described elsewhere in the Bible. Bribes should never be necessary;
– In vs 14, the soldiers asked ‘What should we do?’ Perhaps we can’t identify with the issue here, but John knew that there were some issues with the soldiers using uncalled for actions in trying to receive additional pay. John warned them to be content. I wonder, to what extent do we go when trying to force our employer’s hand for more money? As a child of the King, let’s be content in our pay, until our Lord touches the heart of employers to increase our wages. God knows what we need, let’s trust Him for all we need.
Friends, we must be careful when we teach the Word of God. Teaching it in a way that makes good sense to us, may not make it understandable for others. Try to understand your audience, and use examples that they will identify with. Make sure that they understand, even if you have to do like John and break it down for various sectors of your audience. If you preached the Word, or taught it, and you went over the heads of your audience, your words may have been in vain. Simple does it! And use examples or illustrations that they will identify with. Don’t beat around the bush, be like John and teach it like God prods you to do. It is the Word of God that you are teaching and preaching, not your glorified words that will only return void, even if it made you sound real smart.

PRAYER: Thank You for awesome example You have given us to follow dear Lord. Please embolden us to spread Your Word in ways that hearers will understand, and that Your Holy Spirit will speak through. May the lost be found, may the poor feel loved from the gifts we share with them, and may the crooked be made straight as others follow our example – a mirror of what You taught to us in Your Word. May Your Kingdom come oh Lord, and Your will be done. We have nothing more important to gain in our lives, so please lead us to teach and preach the Word of God in ways that will help our hearers to understand and apply It to their lives, so that You may be glorified on earth and in Heaven. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, 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!

A Vessel Used By God

There are certain books that you might pick up and the story is so interesting that it becomes challenging for you to stop reading and put the book down for a while. The same is true with some teachers and preachers. Is it because one is more educated than the other, or one has been trained to assemble a sermon with certain form? I believe that if you are a preacher or teacher, you will definitely benefit from Paul’s lesson found in our Scripture today, but I also believe that it will train listeners to also look for the influence of the Holy Spirit on what is being said. Think about this with me today dear friend!

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-04-28
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 2:1-5
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: My brothers and sisters, I did not pose as an expert with all the answers. I did not pretend to explain the mystery of God with eloquent speech and human wisdom. I claimed to know nothing with certainty other than the reality that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Liberating King, who was crucified on our behalf. I was moved to utter despair during my time with you. I would find myself trembling in dread and fear. The sermons I preached were not delivered with the kind of persuasive elegance some have come to expect, but they were effective because I relied on God’s Spirit to demonstrate God’s power. If this were not so, your faith would be based on human wisdom and not the power of God.

OBSERVATION: There are certain books that you might pick up and the story is so interesting that it becomes challenging for you to stop reading and put the book down for a while. The same is true with some teachers and preachers. Is it because one is more educated than the other, or one has been trained to assemble a sermon with certain form? I believe that if you are a preacher or teacher, you will definitely benefit from Paul’s lesson found in our Scripture today, but I also believe that it will train listeners to also look for the influence of the Holy Spirit on what is being said. Think about this with me today dear friend!

APPLICATION: I’m sure that like me, you have attended a Sunday School class and been bored out of your mind, only to arrive home and hear your spouse brag about all that they got out of the lesson that day. The same holds true with a church service. You may have been blessed beyond expectation, only to hear a friend complain about how ‘dry’ and ‘dull’ the preacher was, or how the music was too loud to enjoy and how they couldn’t stay awake during the sermon. Friends, when the Holy Spirit is at work, and has a message for one or more individuals, He could speak through an inexperienced, spoiled young man, or through a seasoned, old, dull man, and the Spirit’s word will fall on fertile ground. In our Scripture today, Paul deliberately held back on his fancy words and trying to overly impress those he was ministering to, for he knew that it was more important to plead with God to accomplish His work, even if He did it through him. Paul sounded very much like any of us, for he said that he was often fearful to stand before this crowd, and find the right words to convince them of their faithful Father. I have attempted to share the Word in a public/church setting before, and I could easily appreciate what Paul was saying. Much like this blog, some of you might read what I share some days and you may sit back and wonder where is this brother coming from? Friends, without bragging at all, I can tell you that on many occasions I have struggled to complete a day’s devotional, but because I asked God for His direction, I went ahead and posted it. Only to hear from one or more readers that they were drawn closer to God, or blessed immensely by the blog that day. Only God! There are days that God will fill me with so many thoughts that I could hardly type it fast enough. However, there are some days that God seems to give it to me in pieces. Often I share a lot of personal examples/experiences to help you understand what’s on my mind when I write the blog. Please don’t take this as bragging in any way, but seek God and ask Him to help you see what’s in store for you as you read His Word, and my thoughts. Perhaps He will use something to truly speak to your heart also and grow you in your faith. Please pray for me that I will stay on target and allow the Holy Spirit to speak boldly through me, so that you might hear from Him each day. Although I pray that God will always use me in this way, I want you to hear from Him, even though I may be shown as the author of the blog. It’s not until that happens that you will truly be blessed!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, just as Paul was used as a vessel for You to speak to the church at Corinth, I pray that it will be evident every day from the words read in my blog, that You are using me as a vessel to speak with myself and my readers. I also pray that You will use those who teach and those who preach, so that Your Word might go forth in season and out of season to those in need of hearing Your Word. Many are searching for a word from the Master during these trying times. I pray that their time will be well spent in reading what You have to share through Nuggets From God’s Word. May they see Jesus, and hear all about Your love, Your forgiveness. and Your direction for their lives. May I, in humility, avoid selfish feelings and relaying selfish thoughts, but instead wait on You and always allow You to speak through the words that I pen. Please touch our church leaders, teachers and preachers in the same way Lord, for people need the Lord, and not to learn more about any of us. AMEN.

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, 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 Reason We Preach and Teach

Some do it for money, some for prestige, and others do it because of their ancestors being in the ministry, but the Word of God clearly tells us what God expects from our preaching and our teaching. We will look more fully into this, but I wonder if we are wasting our time if we preach or teach for any other reason? Think about this as you study this scripture and speak with God about it, will you?

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   Colossians 1:27-29 (TPT)

TEXT: 27 Living within you is the Christ who floods you with the expectation of glory! This mystery of Christ, embedded within us, becomes a heavenly treasure chest of hope filled with the riches of glory for his people, and God wants everyone to know it!  28–29 Christ is our message! We preach to awaken hearts and bring every person into the full understanding of truth. It has become my inspiration and passion in ministry to labor with a tireless intensity, with his power flowing through me, to present to every believer the revelation of being his perfect one in Jesus Christ.

OBSERVATION:   Some do it for money, some for prestige, and others do it because of their ancestors being in the ministry, but the Word of God clearly tells us what God expects from our preaching and our teaching. We will look more fully into this, but I wonder if we are wasting our time if we preach or teach for any other reason? Think about this as you study this scripture and speak with God about it, will you?

APPLICATION:   In schools, I believe that we teach with expectations of seeing our kids graduate with best possible grades, and therefore able to obtain good jobs to support themselves and their families, plus make this world a better place to live in. Paul gave us the reason that we preach and teach, so that we ensure that we keep our whole ministry focused on the ultimate goal. Friends, this advice will apply to each and every believer, for whether we carry the title of ‘preacher’ or ‘teacher’, we are reminded of what we should be looking for in a church, in a teaching class, or better still – portraying in our lives. In verse 28 we are told that Christ is the reason and the message that we preach/teach. However, for this to have its fullest impact on others, notice that Paul shared that this whole purpose has become his inspiration and his passion. In other words, if its inside of you to start with, then it will be revealed and evident in everything that you preach or teach. Notice also that Paul wanted to teach with intensity and such purpose that believers would desire a closer and more intimate walk with their Master. In other words, Paul was not looking for a name for himself, although that’s exactly what happened, but he spent his life ministering so that others might see Jesus and be drawn to Him, so that God would be glorified through His people as they surrendered their lives to Him. I believe that ministry requires the most unselfish person to declare its benefits, otherwise we may tend to leave the impression that its because of us, or something we said, or we could do, that would lead them to the Savior. I believe the best that we could do is to obediently lead the lost to Christ and leave them at His feet, for it is He that will save them, and His Word that will direct their paths and mature them to a point where they also will preach and teach Jesus! So in recap, let us conclude that we are merely a messenger, a servant, a sinner saved only by God’s grace, and all we could do is to share His glory with our friends. Keep self out of the equation as we try to connect unbelievers with the only One who could save them and deliver them from Satan’s doom. Let’s learn to let go, and let God have His way with His children, for their good and His glory!

PRAYER:   Lord Jesus, Your Word declares that we are to live as You lived, and today we are reminded that we are to preach and/or teach in a way that would help others to see Jesus and know Him personally. Please help us to remove self out of the way, so that there are no hindrances for the child that Jesus is drawing to Himself. We are Your instruments Lord, use us for Your work that leads to Your glory. May Your kingdom come on earth, as it is in heaven. 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 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 Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

 

The Simplicity of Preaching

I believe that Paul wanted the Corinthian church, and Christ followers today, to know that whatever we may undertake in our community efforts or even in our churches, it is the simple wisdom that comes from preaching and teaching the Word of God that draws mankind to God. I hope that as we meditate on this verse today, we will be reminded that we are only the humble servants of the One that can save, our Lord Jesus Christ, the awesome Son of God.

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   1 Corinthians 1:21 (TPT)

TEXT:  21 … in his wisdom, God designed that all the world’s wisdom would be insufficient to lead people to the discovery of himself. He took great delight in baffling the wisdom of the world by using the simplicity of preaching the story of the cross in order to save those who believe it.

OBSERVATION:   I believe that Paul wanted the Corinthian church, and Christ followers today, to know that whatever we may undertake in our community efforts or even in our churches, it is the simple wisdom that comes from preaching and teaching the Word of God that draws mankind to God. I hope that as we meditate on this verse today, we will be reminded that we are only the humble servants of the One that can save, our Lord Jesus Christ, the awesome Son of God. 

APPLICATION:   In these verses I am led to believe that Paul is referring to two primary results that will come from preaching: (1) It is designed by God to reach the unsaved, because He will work through the preaching of His Word to save those who will believe; and (2) It will baffle the wise that something so simple could do something that the wisest man cannot do. Friends, I believe that this is one of those things that can be considered very literal for several reasons. When the Word is preached by a seminary graduate to seminary graduates, it is challenging for the simple minded person looking for a word from the Lord. When the Word is declared based on man’s interpretation and not that directed by the Holy Spirit, I believe that it misses the whole point raised in this verse. The Word of God was written under the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and unless it is taught and preached or blogged under the same Holy Spirit, our efforts are in vain. Our responsibility as agents or servants of God is to explain, preach, teach and relay the God given simplicity of His Word so that it may yield results for the kingdom. People are much more impressed and touched by God when the Holy Spirit speaks to their mind and spirit through His Word, than they are with the level of education of the person delivering the Word. So friends, the word that I believe God wants us to hear today, is that we give close attention to the man of God that is in tune with God, and not as much with the one who got the best education and depends on it possibly without a close walk with God.

PRAYER:   Lord, we are very concerned about sharing Your Word in ways that we feel led by You and that will not return to You void. Beginning with me, please open my eyes that I may see, glimpses of You in every word that I read; open my ears that I may hear whispers of truth You have for me and for those who read my blog. Please glorify Yourself in every word, and in every ‘Amen’ You may hear from my readers. Please touch hearts today as this word is broadcast over the internet. Draw unbelievers to Yourself as they hear about Your goodness and the simplicity of Your gospel. 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 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 Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

 

How To Handle Praise

It is natural for us to give praise to others who have done a good job, because it serves to encourage them. It is also good for us to thank them for doing a good job. On the receiving end, it is often embarrassing to the one who did the job, because they would rather see God receive the praise. Let’s look at this dilemma and see how we believe God prefers to see this done.

Post Date:

Monday, 2017-10-23
SCRIPTURE

From:

Proverbs 27:21 (NCV)

Text:

21 A hot furnace tests silver and gold,
    and people are tested by the praise they receive.
OBSERVATION:
It is natural for us to give praise to others who have done a good job, because it serves to encourage them. It is also good for us to thank them for doing a good job. On the receiving end, it is often embarrassing to the one who did the job, because they would rather see God receive the praise. Let’s look at this dilemma and see how we believe God prefers to see this done.
APPLICATION:
I believe that we must always seek God’s face when we are searching for biblical material to use in our teaching or preaching. The reason for this is that we want to be obedient to God, in seeking His will for that particular class or congregation. For we could find things to say that would make them feel good about themselves, but only God knows what they need to touch their hearts and their current, private situation. So then, having been directed by God, or through research in various documents or websites, is it really fair to soak up the praises of our listeners without sharing with them our source of information? The best advice that I have heard on this, came just recently when a gentleman said that each evening after he has spoken to, or taught, an audience, he commits all praise to his Father. I like that, for our speaker was blessed by us thanking him and sharing our praises with him, but knowing where the real praise belongs, he passes it on to God! Friends, I would love to think that as a teacher/preacher/writer, we depend wholly and solely on the Holy Spirit to guide our thoughts so that they may speak to someone who needs to hear from Jesus – either for healing, restoration, or just to feel loved and secured by Him. Please don’t be selfish in withholding all the praise from Him as it was given to you! To those on the giving end of praise, please pray for your teachers, preachers and leaders that they may be used by the Holy Spirit to speak words of encouragement and instruction to you, then as they succeed, please thank God for speaking to you through His servant, and for answering your prayers..
PRAYER:
Lord, please help us to minimize pride in our lives by habitually passing along all praise received, to You, the originator of all knowledge and wisdom. We are but instruments in Your hands dear Father, use us for Your glory. 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 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!

The Way To Know Truth

Jesus knew that His audience were questioning, or doubting, what He said, do He gave them a sure way of always knowing, or recognizing the truth. It seems like today we are more opinionated than ever, so I’m sure there was good reason that God authorized this discourse to be included in His Word. Let’s examine that closely and try to apply it to our lives…

Post Date:

Saturday, 2017-10-21
SCRIPTURE

From:

John 7:16-18 (GNT)

Text:

16 Jesus answered, “What I teach is not my own teaching, but it comes from God, who sent me. 17 Whoever is willing to do what God wants will know whether what I teach comes from God or whether I speak on my own authority. 18 Those who speak on their own authority are trying to gain glory for themselves. But he who wants glory for the one who sent him is honest, and there is nothing false in him.
OBSERVATION:
Jesus knew that His audience were questioning, or doubting, what He said, do He gave them a sure way of always knowing, or recognizing the truth. It seems like today we are more opinionated than ever, so I’m sure there was good reason that God authorized this discourse to be included in His Word. Let’s examine that closely and try to apply it to our lives…
APPLICATION:
I believe there are two types of people that sit in our church congregations each weekend, and that they were represented at the location where Jesus spoke, as  mentioned in this Scripture. Think about this and consider where you stand, and if this is your ultimate goal in life:

  1. Sincere Church Attender: – You started praying for the Holy Spirit to work in the weekend services a few days before. You awoke the morning of, and you prayed earnestly for those that would attend, that they would be open to the Word of God and the wooing of the Holy Spirit. You also prayed for the pastor who would deliver the Word of God. You arrived early and prayerfully watched and prayed for each on as they entered the sanctuary. With your Bible opened, as the pastor delivers the Word you are following closely and making margin notes as the Holy Spirit speaks to you.
  2. Casual or Obligatory Attender – You’ve always attended church because you enjoy meeting people and seeing all the newest styles. Additionally, you get to hear the Bible read at least once per week. You often wish that you could find your own Bible to take to church with you so that you could try and find those scripture verses the pastor reads from. Hopefully one day!

I believe that each of us probably fit into one of the above groups. Perhaps choose the group that you feel best describes you, then try and honestly answer the point that Jesus made in the Scripture today. Those who listen to and obey the commands and will of God are more lightly to listen to, understand, discern truth and obey the teaching they hear coming from God, or the individual standing in front of them. Do you feel like all things are equal in the above two groups? Of course there is one other group, and that’s the group that never has a desire to attend church or only attends for special occasions. Friends, may I encourage you to do a self examination today, asking God to point out where you might improve in your relationship with Him. In the right relationship, you will automatically acquire the desire to be with other children of God, and possible discern truth. Without the right relationship with God, your friends and family will know that you are faking it and merely going through the motions. You will only be able to help others, if you have the real thing living and operating inside of you. This is a personal decision you must make between you and our Maker. Others will see the difference, but they can’t save you or make it all right for you.

PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, we are convinced of the importance to know You personally, and be in a right relationship with You. Without this, it is impossible for us to clearly understand Your Word or be in a close and intimate relationship with You. Lord, we want others to see Jesus operating in our lives so that they also may have a desire to accept You as Lord. May we be obedient to Your Word, so that we may clearly understand what we are being taught, and that it comes directly from You! 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 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!

Careful To Keep Christ FIRST

In spite of John repeatedly saying that he was only the forerunner of Christ, his disciples and followers really got attached to him and trusted his ministry. So much so, that when Jesus came along – the One that John had spoken about often, John’s disciples got a little ‘bent out of shape’ and jealous of the following He was quickly getting. I am convinced that this still happens today, so let’s really examine this scripture…..

Post Date:

Wednesday, 2017-10-04
SCRIPTURE

From:

John 3:24-26 (MSG)

Text:

 John’s disciples got into an argument with the establishment Jews over the nature of baptism. They came to John and said, “Rabbi, you know the one who was with you on the other side of the Jordan? The one you authorized with your witness? Well, he’s now competing with us. He’s baptizing, too, and everyone’s going to him instead of us.”
OBSERVATION:
In spite of John repeatedly saying that he was only the forerunner of Christ, his disciples and followers really got attached to him and trusted his ministry. So much so, that when Jesus came along – the One that John had spoken about often, John’s disciples got a little ‘bent out of shape’ and jealous of the following He was quickly getting. I am convinced that this still happens today, so let’s really examine this scripture…..
APPLICATION:
I have a friend pastor who received so many compliments over a new suit that he sported one Sunday, that he vowed never to wear it again in the pulpit, because he was convinced that more folk looked intently at what he was wearing than listening intently to what he said! At the time, we thought it was a little comical, but he was dead serious. That story compares to another pastor who posted on his pulpit the words “Oh that they see Jesus”. Friends, I don’t know that we think about this often enough, but the man who stands in front of us each week and shares the Word of God, is merely an instrument of God. We have a dire responsibility to pray for our pastor, that he would set self aside, and be open with unhindered attention to what God would say through him to us. Pastors know a lot about their parishioners, because we place a lot of faith in them and share our hearts and our concerns with them often. However, they have no wisdom or authority to ‘fix’ us. Only God knows the heart of man, and since we are His design, only He can mend a broken heart; open the eyes of the blind; and lead one from the ways of this world to the lifesaving, eternal benefits of eternity with Him in glory. Do we love our pastor? Without a doubt, and with all of our heart, but remember that he is much like John, for he is the forerunner of the soon coming, glorious Son of God, Jesus the Christ. Let us therefore love those that pastor us and teach us the truths of our glorious Savior, but let us really please them by loving their Master, their Savior and their glorious Lord who we must claim for our own so that we may one day join our pastors at the foot of the cross singing praises to our Lord!
PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, thank You for blessing us with great pastors, who have a lot of patience with us and show incredible love to us through their respective ministries here on earth. Please help us to honor them by looking to You, the Author and Finisher of our faith, and the One that they have chosen to preach and share every week. They’re our coaches, leading us towards the finish line where we will spend eternity with You, praise to Your wonderful and magnificent 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 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!

The Penalty For Disobedience

Friday, 2016-07-15

Scripture

Bible Reference: Ezekiel 3:17–19

Bible Text:  17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.

Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take

I believe that way too often we find so many excuses and reasons to not do the work of God, that we tend to doubt if it was really Him who directed us to do the work in the first place. We talk ourselves out of the things we one-time thought that God may have called us to do. Friends, you will note from the above verses that Ezekiel was not only instructed what to do, but he was given the penalties up front for both himself and the people he was supposed to minister to, if he didn’t fulfill his assignment. What? Not only will I be punished for my disobedience, but the kindhearted people that I am instructed to minister to? Wow, that has put a whole new dimension on the impact of disobedience. All along, I thought that I might suffer if I chose to do ‘my own thing’ out of deliberate disobedience, but never gave a second thought that I was also bringing damnation on those I would have ministered to. However, think carefully about this friends. If you were given the foresight into the day and the hour that a disaster would hit, wouldn’t you and those around you punish, if you chose to keep that news bottled up inside of you? I believe that God is warning us, as He did Ezekiel, that there is coming a day when Jesus will return for His children – those who have accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior. Being filled with that knowledge and not sharing that to a point of trying to convince your family, friends or coworkers, would that not show that we are uncaring, unconcerned, unaffected by their lost condition and really don’t care if they go to Hell or not? Does that not  leave room for God to say, as He did with Ezekiel, that He will hold us responsible for the death (eternal death – Hell bound) of those individuals who were depending on us being obedient to God? Why not address this with the Master when you pray today? This really spreads to all walks of life friend. If asked to preach, teach, witness or evangelize and you do everything but your assignment, aren’t you guilty of disobedience?

Prayer

Dear God, You went to the cross willingly for us, even though You had the power to reverse that. Jesus, You showed love for us by doing Your Father’s will, knowing that this act alone would bring eternal life to Your children who would follow in obedience. Although You knew that all would not accept Your offer of love, yet You followed the commands of Your Father in total obedience. As Your children, wanting to please You in every way, we need to follow Your example of obedience. You made it clear to Ezekiel that both he and the people he was instructed to minister to, would suffer if he disobeyed. Lord, please touch the hearts of your children once again today, beginning with me, and help us to accept our responsibility seriously. We’re talking pretty serious stuff here – eternal life vs everlasting death. We know what we want, and what we desire for our family and friends, now help us to do Your will in total obedience under Your awesome strength, guidance and wisdom. In the powerful 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 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 Complete Picture

THE HOLY BIBLE (Contemporary English Version – 2 Timothy 4:1-4): When Christ Jesus comes as king, he will be the judge of everyone, whether they are living or dead. So with God and Christ as witnesses, I command you 2 to preach God’s message. Do it willingly, even if it isn’t the popular thing to do. You must correct people and point out their sins. But also cheer them up, and when you instruct them, always be patient. 3 The time is coming when people won’t listen to good teaching. Instead, they will look for teachers who will please them by telling them only what they are itching to hear. 4 They will turn from the truth and eagerly listen to senseless stories.

THOUGHTS: Paul offered a warning and a strong word of advice to Timothy about the urgency of preaching the Word of God, and to do it in spite of opposition or disinterest of the people to whom he would preach. He not only indicated the disinterest of the people, but also went on to say why they would appear to be like that. Friends, I believe that God got my attention to this and caused me to apply this to my life today. So I want to share my thoughts with you. I believe that we have some excellent pastors/shepherds today and I am convinced that we have some excellent teachers of the Word. I believe that some of these preach and teach from the depths of their heart as touched by God while in His Word. However, these men are mere humans and they will be tempted to please the crowds, and this may even extend to the pulpit where they might try to be politically correct in order to soften the impact of the Word of God to those who are living in opposition to Its teaching. There are some who preach only the good, the positive, the uplifting parts of the Bible, and this pleases the people, but it is NOT the whole teaching of the Word of God. From personal experience I can tell you that there was a time in my life where I just couldn’t see the importance of the Old Testament because of all the gory war and slaughter that is told in many of Its pages. However, today my study time involves time in both Testaments, and while I am still amazed at how fortunate we are compared to the strong actions by God in the Old Testament, yet I realize that lessons are taught throughout, and often meld with teachings by Jesus in the New Testament. I believe that the very portions that pastors refuse to teach on, could often be the portions needed by the church, but could perhaps ‘sting’ a lot because of the present spiritual condition of many in the church. Pastors are blessed with an awesome responsibility ordained by God to shepherd His flock. Being disobedient to any part of His commands are as bad as disobeying the whole. I pray that none will be guilty of this when they stand before Christ. Now for the flip side of this, vs 3 indicates that people will naturally resort to listening to a pastor or teacher who tells them what they want to hear. The good stuff, the encouraging words, the positive things, and one who never ‘beats up on them’ by pointing out their disobedience to God’s Word. I believe you might agree that these types of pastors are filling stadiums with people who could ‘put up’ with that type of teaching, right? Friends, please be aware of this when trying to decide on a church home. Please be sure that the ‘whole’ Word of God is taught. God speaks to us through the teaching/preaching /words of His Book of Instructions. When we don’t hear all of it, we are incomplete in our full understanding of the Word. Pray for your pastors and teachers that they would not feel pressured in any way to not disclose the full Word of God.

PRAYER: Thank You for Your inspired Word dear God. Thank You for all the reasons You wanted us to learn about the ups and downs of our ancestors, as well as the wonderful message of Your resurrection from the dead and the beauty of our future home, Heaven! I realize that our lives are much like this, where there are pieces that we would just rather not talk about, but things that are so uplifting and glorious, especially after we allowed You into our lives. However, to know us today without getting an appreciation for our past is not portraying the full picture of who we really are. Please help us to never be ashamed of any piece of Your message in the Bible, for I believe that it was placed there for our edification and understanding of the good things that followed. Our pastors and teachers are really pressured by us to ‘dance around’ certain teachings, but Father, we want to be complete in our understanding of Your Word and the intentions of Your heart for us. Please vitalize our pastors and teachers with an encouraging word today so that they may be reenergized and encouraged to teach and preach the whole, unadulterated Word of God for truth and good works. Because Your Word is a light unto my path, I must know the right path and the wrong path, so please continue to point out my wrongs and my incorrect path when I stray. Please bless us with good church leaders who serve You and teach Your principles. We continue to need You each and every day Lord, so I am asking again today for Your ongoing love and direction, for I ask all this in the 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 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!