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

Archive for the ‘Reaching the Lost’ Category

What’s The Difference?

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   Nehemiah 9:3 (NLT)

TEXT:  They remained standing in place for three hours while the Book of the Law of the Lord their God was read aloud to them. Then for three more hours they confessed their sins and worshiped the Lord their God.

OBSERVATION:   The Israelites came to themselves, realized their hopeless condition, recognized that God was the only one that could help them, and they turned to God. What’s so different about them – and us?

APPLICATION:   Just like the Israelites, I believe that we are plenty smart enough to recognize that we have no control of everything that is going on in this world in which we live. In fact, we should all recognize that we really don’t have full control of our own world – the surroundings in which we find ourselves every day. Yet, in our stubbornness we try to convince ourselves that there are many others out there much worse than us, so we can’t be that bad after all. Here are some things that I would suggest we stop to consider and pray about:

  • Our lost condition – I know, mom took you to church as a young child and she introduced you to the preacher. It sounded to you like he had everything under control, and he made it sound like God cares for you, so you have nothing to worry about! May I remind you friend, that the Word of God says that unless you have personally invited Jesus into your heart and life and believe on Him as your Lord  and Savior, you are personally headed for a sinners’ Hell;
  • No time for church, Bible study or prayer – Notice that the Israelites spent a quarter of a day (3 hours) hearing from God, through the reading of His Word, and another 3 hours in prayer and worship. This was a great sacrifice from their day of work and/or family, but they made it a priority. Do you find time in your day to read God’s Word, pray, and worship your Father? At the end of each day, try bending your head in reverence before God and tell Him how none of that was a priority to you. If you then feel OK and able to sleep, then you are not yet ready to totally commit yourself to God;
  • Humbleness – Whenever we stop, listen to God and seek God’s face with humbleness of heart, we will recognize God for who He is, and be willing to listen to Him regarding who we are and who He wants us to be. Friend of God, we are to be His duplicate here on earth, so read His Word and learn the mind of Christ so that you will understand the character of our Lord. People need the Lord, not us.

PRAYER:   O what a Savior! O what an example for us to follow! Thank You Lord for saving my soul, thank You Lord for making me whole, thank You Lord for giving to me, Thy great salvation, so rich and free! Thank You also dear God for providing examples of the Israelites as we read in today’s Scripture, for it serves as a wake-up call for us, for it opened our eyes to our weaknesses today, and led us to the cross to seek Your face in forgiveness. Lord, now use the words of Your servant to also touch the hearts of those that may read this devotional today. Speak to Your children Lord and draw them close to You. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with 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!

 

Is God Pleased?

Monday, 2016-07-25

Scripture

Bible Reference: Ezekiel 22:30–31

Bible Text:  30 “I looked for someone who might rebuild the wall of righteousness that guards the land. I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn’t have to destroy the land, but I found no one. 31 So now I will pour out my fury on them, consuming them with the fire of my anger. I will heap on their heads the full penalty for all their sins. I, the Sovereign LORD, have spoken!”

Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take

There was so much going on in the day of Ezekiel, that God was hopeful that He would find a good cell of churches or Godly people that would convince Him not to destroy those who promoted the evil of the day. This led me to question whether God might feel like we (the church) are doing enough in our day that He might feel like the sacrifice of His precious Son was worth it. I am encouraged when I hear of what churches are doing outside of their four walls, but this is often limited to very few. Unfortunately, most churches are so caught up in denominational-ism that they are not allowed, or unwilling to tarnish their beliefs by joining hands with another group for the good of the community. In God’s statement through Ezekiel, He was looking for some hope that His message was penetrating the hearts of the people. Nothing was said about which ordinances we adopted or how we decided to administer them. Friends, I believe that we get so caught up in the small things of our specific churches, that we forget there are people in our community who have not accepted the simple love of Jesus, so they are dying and going to Hell without ever being told otherwise. Often we acknowledge needs across the world, and we send missionaries thousands of miles away to minister in God’s name, but do we do enough in our own communities to satisfy the concern of God? Are we truly bridging the gap in our own communities for God? Will God find us faithful to the tasks He has laid out for us, and indeed save our land? If we are satisfied that we have reached our communities, then we need to make sure that our state and our country is also in order. We need to be willing to let God work through us at all levels, so that all will hear and believe, God being our helper!

Prayer

Lord thank you for placing us in our respective communities with lots still to be done. How will the people know, if we don’t go out and tell them, is the thought offered in another part of scripture, that I feel is so applicable to what is taught in this lesson today. Please help us to continue thinking outside of the box of selfish desires and outside of the four walls of our respective churches, so that the world will know who Jesus is. Please make us keenly aware of the needs of our communities more than any other mission efforts we may undertake. For as our hometown people know and believe, we can join hands to reach the state, country and the world. Thank You Lord for the opportunity to serve in Your army. Use us now to be Your instruments of change. In Jesus’ name, 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!

One Choice Determines Your Destiny!

The Bible – New Living Translation

Psalm 102:27–28

27 But you are always the same;

you will live forever.

28 The children of your people

will live in security.

Their children’s children

will thrive in your presence.”

 Thoughts:

As our kids are growing up we try to make sure they do well in school, and we prepare financially, and mentally, for them going on to college, to help prepare them for the best jobs, and therefore the best chance of making it in this challenging world. Similarly, in life, we are born a sinner, and because of a precious gift given by God, we have a choice of remaining a sinner (without Christ), or to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Savior. We may then live the rest of our lives savoring in that love, and subsequently look forward to a glorious day when we might be with Jesus in glory. You might ask, “but how do I get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ in these life decisions”. David reminds us in this Psalm that in spite of all that changes in this world, in fact all that changes in our generation compared to that of our forefathers, it is important to remember that Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and forever. For a moment, let us look at the death of our parents. The world looks on and they either raise their hands in celebration that the children of the deceased were taught the love of God, accepted that precious gift, and therefore have the security referenced in verse 28 above, or disappointedly they may nod their heads knowing that the children have opted to live their lives without regards for the Christ that their parent knew, and therefore has no hope of tomorrow. Friends, my God is an everlasting God that I can recommend to my child(ren) and give them the assurance of life eternally with Him. How can I do this? Because, in scripture I am assured by Jesus, when He said: “Because I live ye shall live also”. You see, Jesus has prepared a home for His children! Praise God, I have the assurance like David did, that this ‘home’ Jesus referred to is not just for Christians today, but for their children also, if they make the choice to personally accept Jesus and develop a life-long relationship with Him. No choice at all will leave you on the road to eternal destruction (Hell). Making a choice to accept Jesus as Lord, can give you the same comfort and assurance that your Christian forefathers may have had, if they knew Him. Super simple folk, but super important. I hope that you will use the contact information in the footnote and allow myself or someone else who loves you, to lead you to the cross of Jesus Christ TODAY! I would love to celebrate with you!

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, just as my friends make choices that help mark the destiny of their children’s future, I pray that they will seriously consider making a super important choice, as presented above that would mark the eternal destiny for their lives. Not knowing what might happen the next hour or minute, I selfishly ask that You impact their lives immediately after being reminded of this in this devotional, so that they may have opportunity to make this all important choice. Thank You for impressing this upon my life some 38 years. You know how this would hurt me to now that anyone would be left behind, especially anyone that I love, care for, work with, or have opportunity to minister to. This includes anyone meditating on this devotional today. Thank You Lord for the provision You made for us at Calvary. I look forward to the day You decide to call me home to be with You! I am thankful, but yet plead my requests of You, and I ask all this in Your wonderful and all-powerful name, Jesus, my Lord and Savior, 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.

Be Completely United

The Bible – The Good news Translation

1 Corinthians 1:10

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

Thoughts:

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

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

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

Prayer:

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

 

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

The Deep Unexplainable Love of God!

The Bible – The Message

Romans 11:33-36

 33–36         Have you ever come on anything quite like this extravagant generosity of God, this deep, deep wisdom? It’s way over our heads. We’ll never figure it out.

                Is there anyone around who can explain God?

                Anyone smart enough to tell him what to do?

                Anyone who has done him such a huge favor that God has to ask his advice?

                Everything comes from him;

                Everything happens through him;

                Everything ends up in him.

                Always glory! Always praise!

Yes. Yes. Yes!

 

Thoughts:

No doubt the Romans were having trouble understand this deep, amazing love of Jesus that Paul spoke about. Paul struggled to find words to explain this love, but he kind of recapped it by saying that God’s love is undeserved, because there is nothing that we have done that could ever qualify as a contribution towards God loving us in the amazing way that He does. This helped me to understand how non-Christians must feel and why we receive the blank looks when we try to share with them the unsearchable, underserved yet unshakable and everlasting love of our Father. I am convinced that no matter what we tell others about the Bible and all that Jesus said about love, or what Paul or Luke or John said, the thing that will impact them most, is when we tell them about how God’s love has impacted us. Too many of us are way too nervous about witnessing, because we are afraid that we may not be able to answer a Bible question correctly, or recite verses needed to show a lost one their need for the Savior. Friends, when I tell folk about the joys of marriage, and they see and understand how much I love my wife, then they believe what I said about marriage. So it is with witnessing. Although we might use a Bible story or character as an illustration when we share with someone about the love of God, it’s not until we share the impact God had in our lives that they truly start to listen and believe. Ever notice how you totally tune out a person when they tell us about a coworker who may be close to them, but we may not know the person or anything about them? However when they finally get to tell us about themselves, our attention is quickly focused on them? This is the best method of witnessing, I feel. Share what God has done for you, and that the same love of which you told, is also available to them. Remember, God does the saving, not us. Our responsibility is to share what God has done for us, so that others may know that the same ‘Gift’ is available to them.

Prayer:

Dear Jesus, what amazing love You have shown to me! The Love of God is truly amazing! Nothing, absolutely nothing have I done to deserve the love that You showed when You allowed wicked sinful people to beat You and hang You in disgrace on a cross just so that I might have a way to one day enter heaven’s gates and sit with You at God’s right hand. Thank You for claiming me as Your own. Please help me to always allow Your love to radiate through me in such a way that a non-Christian family member, friend or co-worker would have no doubt that the King of Glory resides within and that this love is something they desperately need. Lord, we (Christians) are absolutely worthless without You, and we have no need of being looked on as anything other than the image of our Father. Please have Your will and way in my life even today, and develop a peace in me over those things that would ordinarily give me deep concern. Please touch the heart of my friends that may read this devotional. May they find peace in You and experience that ‘love’ of which I have shared. Thine be the glory Lord! I ask this in Your holy and precious and loving name, AMEN!

 

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

Grace – Free and Undeserved

The Bible – New Living Translation

Romans 11:4-6

 And do you remember God’s reply? He said, “No, I have 7,000 others who have never bowed down to Baal!”(1 Kings 19:18)

It is the same today, for a few of the people of Israel have remained faithful because of God’s grace—his undeserved kindness in choosing them. And since it is through God’s kindness, then it is not by their good works. For in that case, God’s grace would not be what it really is—free and undeserved.

Thoughts:

I find it interesting how God draws certain things to our attention as we read His Word. I believe this has reiterated the point to me that without staying in His Word, how then will we hear from Him? My reason for the aforesaid, is that my initial reading of the highlighted verses left me wondering why God would have Paul include this Old Testament reference in his talk to the Roman believers and also in His Word for our edification? God quickly drew to my attention something to share with you in today’s devotional. Friends, who are we that God should have ever gotten our attention towards salvation? Now, before we get all holy and self-righteous in thinking that we never killed anyone, like Elijah was referring to in his initial question to God about the Jews, the Bible clearly states that God detests sin. He hates it. But friend, all the same, He valued us/loved us enough to look beyond our sin and rescue us from this life of sin. Yes, He convicted us of our sin and our need for a Savior? That’s where Paul is coming from in this passage, and that’s what we must be diligent to praise God about, and that’s what we must be careful in helping our lost family and friends to understand. God’s grace is beyond anything we can measure or understand. He sacrificed His one and only Son to die a cruel death on a cross so that we might be saved, even while we were deep in sin, uncaring and undeserving of such grace. We just can’t comprehend that kind of grace/love! But just as Paul share with his Roman counterparts, I must remind you today that God’s very nature is love and just as He once put the life of His Son on the line for us, His grace is still sufficient today. Please don’t give up on that lost loved one. To the one that may be reading this today that may never have made a decision to accept Christ as your personal Savior, please don’t think that you are beyond God’s love. The mere fact that you are reading this devotional is an indication that the Holy Spirit is working to show you His love and grace. Be obedient to His call on your life today, won’t you? Please feel free to contact me using the email address below to pray with you and help you in the vital decision.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I praise You today for Your wonderful and unparalleled grace. You loved me enough to speak to me right where I was, in sin, and convince me of the need for my Savior! Although we are tempted to think like Elijah did and question why You would save some folk even after knowing their awful past, I thank You for not being like us humans, for we often think like the world still, and tend to give up on folk because their future seem so hopeless to us. Oh my, where would we have been if You felt the same way about us? Praise God that Your ways are way beyond our very best efforts, for You loved us even while we were still wicked and undeserving. Thank You Lord Jesus for Your love and Your grace. Please help us to see through eyes filled with the grace of Jesus so that we may have a positive, Godly influence in the lives of those that need to accept You as Lord. As Your sons and daughters we need desperately to be more like our Father. Please continue to impress upon us the character and love of our Savior so that the world might see and know, without our hypocritical selves interfering, that they need You in their lives. I ask all this in the precious name of my Savior and Lord, Jesus the Christ, AMEN!

 

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

Too Busy

The Bible – The Message

 Romans 9:30-32

 …. All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And Israel, who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling.

 Thoughts:

Friends I know that we have our secular jobs, and many of us also have volunteered for jobs in the church, but are we capable of knowing when we are too busy to really see God at work in and around us? Paul, in addressing his fellow Jews, tried to bring to their attention that in his ministry to the gentiles (those who were despised by the Jews), he had discovered such an appreciation for God and His wonderful work/miracles, compared to what he saw in his own people, who appeared sold out to God. This sounds so much like us sometimes. It is known around churches that if you need someone to do something, ask a busy person. And although this means that you can often trust them to get the job done, what it also means is that you are giving them yet another ‘job’, and before you realize it, that person is coming to church thinking of it as just another job, like they are obligated to all other days of the week. Friends, I realize that it takes people to get the total job done around church, but when we lose sight of the reason for us going to church, to offer up praise and worship to our heavenly Father, then we have just personally taken on too much. We must find time in our busy lives for personal worship – time alone with God, and for corporate worship – time corporately with God and others of like faith. I believe that I coined a phrase that I encourage all those that I have opportunity to mentor, to use: instead of ever saying that you didn’t have time for something, always say it was not a priority! I especially encourage you to use this when you have neglected your time alone with God or your corporate worship time. In fact I encourage you to use this phrase in your conversation (prayer) with God as you talk to him about missed opportunities. It will help you to regain the priorities in your life! Keeping busy will keep us out of trouble, but if we are not careful, it could also keep us out of a sweet relationship with our heavenly Father. Why not step back and honestly evaluate your life today? Are you too busy?

Prayer:

Thank You Father for blessing us with talents that we may use for You in and around the local church. Please help us to know when we have enough to do, and especially when church work is preventing us from spending the time with You that we so badly need for our spiritual enrichment. Without You in the forefront of our day, we will reflect too much of this world to those who especially need to know You and see Your qualities in us. We were created to glorify You dear God. When we fail to do that because we are too busy, especially with ‘church jobs’ or as Paul said, “God projects”, then we ask that You please get our attention and pull us back to You. Most of us have family and loved ones who need the Lord, Father I pray that they may first of all see Jesus in everything that we do or say so that we may influence them to seek You and the wonder of Your grace, mercy and love. I ask all this in the wonderful name of Your Son, Jesus the Christ, my Lord and Savior, AMEN!

 

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

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