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

Archive for the ‘Reflecting Christ’ Category

Your Characteristics Prove Whose You Are

Friday, 2016-09-16

Scripture

Bible Reference: Galatians 5:16–17

Bible Text: 16 So I say, let the Holy Spirit guide your lives. Then you won’t be doing what your sinful nature craves. 17 The sinful nature wants to do evil, which is just the opposite of what the Spirit wants. And the Spirit gives us desires that are the opposite of what the sinful nature desires. These two forces are constantly fighting each other, so you are not free to carry out your good intentions.

Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take

Paul himself struggled with doing the right thing, for he said that there is always a struggle going on, where he desires to do the right thing, but he naturally does the wrong thing. So when we read these verses today, let’s remember that this is not merely spiritual lingo that Paul thought would sound good to his readers, but he is speaking from experience. What I really love, is the way that Paul shows us how we will know when we are following our natural, sinful desire, or if we are following the will, and leadership of the Holy Spirit. Friends, we have to look at our actions:

If we are following our own sinful desires, then the following characteristics will be prevalent: *sexual immorality,    *impurity,     *lustful pleasures,     *idolatry,     *sorcery,     *hostility,     *quarreling,     *jealousy,     *outbursts of anger,     *selfish ambition,     *dissension,     *division,     *envy,     *drunkenness,     *wild parties, and     *other sins like these.     When you see these characteristics, the Bible says in verse 21: ‘…anyone living that sort of life will not inherit the Kingdom of God.’

If we follow the commands and will of God and allow the Holy Spirit to direct our lives, then we will see these characteristics shine through:   *love,      *joy,      *peace,      *patience,      *kindness,      *goodness,      *faithfulness,      *gentleness, and      *self-control. When you see these characteristics, the Bible says in verse 23: ‘There is no law against these things!’, meaning that you don’t have to look over your shoulders for anyone to get you, because you are doing what is right. These are fruits of the Spirit friend. This shows that you belong to God, and His Holy Spirit lives and operates in your life.

So the challenge today for each of us is to look at our actions and see where exactly we stand with the Lord. If something ain’t right friend, may I encourage you to communicate (pray) to your heavenly Father and ask for His help and direction? May each of us see the characteristics of the Jesus Christ shine bright in our lives today!

Prayer

Dear God, thank You for using Your servant Paul to share these words with his friends at the Galatian church and with us today. May we be honest in our evaluation of our actions today, and may we quickly recognize acts that reflect our old sinful self that indicate that we have strayed and allowed too much of this old world in. Lord, we sincerely  need You today. We want to be obedient servants, but we know that we can only do this with You ‘at the wheel of our lives’. Please keep us humble and obedient so that we may reflect the love of Christ in everything we do or say, so that others may be encouraged to surrender their lives to You. I ask these things in and through the precious name of Jesus, AMEN!

Footnote

If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or 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!

Evidence of Attachment or Detachment

THE HOLY BIBLE – John 15:15-8 The Message (MSG):     “I am the Vine, you are the branches. When you’re joined with me and I with you, the relation intimate and organic, the harvest is sure to be abundant. Separated, you can’t produce a thing. Anyone who separates from me is deadwood, gathered up and thrown on the bonfire. But if you make yourselves at home with me and my words are at home in you, you can be sure that whatever you ask will be listened to and acted upon. This is how my Father shows who he is—when you produce grapes, when you mature as my disciples.

THOUGHTS: Throughout Jesus’ ministry He made it very clear that He only spoke what was given to Him by His Father, and He only did what was instructed Him by God also. Because of this it was virtually impossible to separate the character and work of Jesus from that of God. Now friends, let me be quick to say that in no way am I minimizing the work and uniqueness of the Trinity, for we could never explain the awesome work and power of that unity. But another way of relaying my point is that, if Jesus had acted differently from the Father, and went off on His own saying anything that came to His mind, would we truly look at Him as being inseparable from the Father? Would it be clear to us that He was on the same mission as His Father, or would we perhaps think that He had a totally different ministry to that of God? As ‘children of the King’, do you suppose that friends see us as being on mission for Jesus, or a rebel on a selfish or self-seeking mission, off doing our own thing, and attributing our connection to the Father when we find it necessary to try and validate our work? Friends, there is life, and power, and vitality in staying connected to our Savior, for when we do, we will not need to prove whose we are, it will be very obvious because of our obedience – and in spite of controversy, there will be miraculous results that can only be attributed to the power of God. We are merely instruments of God – servants in the work He has assigned to us. But remember friends, when we are detached from that power source, we are merely human pretenders who are so disjointed from God, that it will quickly become evident that we are total fakes, or ‘deadwood’, fit only for the bonfire. For those readers who have accepted Jesus as Lord, I hope that You will join me in seeking the face of Jesus and attaching ourselves so effectively to Him, that no storm or hardship will sever our graft to the Vine, and that our daily strength, protection and guidance will truly come from the Vine – the Christian’s true source of life, so that we may be worthy branches suitable for bearing fruit for the kingdom. If we are truly His, let’s commit ourselves wholeheartedly so that we may be of value to our Lord.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I am so thankful that I serve a Savior who was obedient to our Father, that His words and His actions were those of the Father. Thank You for teaching us through Your humility; Your honesty; Your obedience; and Your love for Your Father, that You would never want to hurt Him by disobeying Him or trying to be independent of Him. Through accepting us as Your faithful servants; Your children; and Your followers, I believe that You have a strong desire for us to follow in Your footsteps and strive for obedience and total surrender to You, the ‘Vine’, so that You may nourish us (the branches) into usable vessels, worthy of being used to reach others for You (bearing fruit). Lord, it is very obvious that this sinful world in which we live, is in dire need of servants (branches) worthy of being used by You. Please inject us with a renewed desire to serve You wholeheartedly and to be so attached to You that Your love and power may flow freely through us. For those readers who will come across this and have not been introduced to the true ‘Vine’ yet, I pray that You will use this devotional to strongly impact them today. I humble ask all this in the precious name of Jesus, my true ‘Vine’ who brings everlasting peace, love and forgiveness to me daily, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.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!

Teach Me Lord!

The Bible – Good News Translation

Psalm 86:11

Teach me, Lord, what you want me to do,
and I will obey you faithfully; teach me to serve you with complete devotion.

Thoughts:

Friends this is pretty basic stuff today. In fact, so basic that I reflect back on what my wife and I tried to accomplish when our child was an child. We didn’t just leave her to do whatever she wanted to do or say, we guided her and taught her to be someone we could be proud of, but also someone who could get a job and be liked and honored on her job. Although there were many challenging times, yet she looked forward to the benefits of obeying her parents. In other words, like the Psalmist said in this verse, she did everything with complete devotion to us. Friends, as we look around us in astonishment at the crimes and unbelievable behavior of our general population, we no longer need to ask the reason why, because in this passage we are reminded that folk will act according to what they have been taught to do. In other words, those that have no regard for life or other humans, or the good of the land, were never taught by God the expected behavior of His children. So for those who know Christ, how might one be taught what to do? Friends, please begin by finding yourself a good Bible teaching church, and this is not for the purpose of getting your name on the church membership role, this is for the purpose of understanding your book of life instructions better (the Bible). You see, some pastors will go to great lengths, and is supported by church leaders who will go to great lengths, to pray for church members and visitors, and ensure that they understand what the Bible says about all aspects of life. In other words, they go to great lengths to help you understand what The Lord would have you do with your life, and how to live in harmony and obedience with the Word of God. Although you might learn a lot from a casual visit on an occasional Sunday morning, it is much like you found with your child, discipline and teaching was a daily thing. So yes, attend church so that you might learn more about what God wants you to do, based on His Word, but also take time each day to open the Word and read a few verses, with a mind to learn more about what God would have you understand from His Word, and how you might apply it in your life that day. I like to journal my thoughts. This is not required, but it helps me to better share my thoughts and prayers and hopefully better apply what I just read. As you learn various Godly principles and apply them to your life, you will be helping the cause of Christ by being faithful to what you feel He wants from you. We can change this world for the better one day at a time, and through one learned and applied principle at a time. We are the hands and feet of Jesus on the ground, let’s show the world that He exists and that He is evident in and through us.

Prayer:

Lord, I’m sorry that I have allowed so much of the world to impact my life. I am reminded that to serve You more faithfully, I must learn from Your Word daily and commit to serving You with all my heart. Please speak to Your servant and give me the wisdom and fortitude to do Your will and be obedient to Your commands. This old sinful world needs You. May they find enough of You in Your servants today that their lives may be impacted and lead to change in very positive and meaningful ways, is my humble prayer, in the precious name of my Lord and Savior, Jesus 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.

Be Completely United

The Bible – The Good news Translation

1 Corinthians 1:10

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

Thoughts:

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

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

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

Prayer:

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

 

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

You Have All That You Need

The Bible New Living Translation

1 Corinthians 1:79

7 Now you have every spiritual gift you need as you eagerly wait for the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. 8 He will keep you strong to the end so that you will be free from all blame on the day when our Lord Jesus Christ returns. 9 God will do this, for he is faithful to do what he says, and he has invited you into partnership with his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.

Thoughts:

I was reminded of my working career where, from time to time, I go off to conferences or training seminars to sharpen my skills and make me a better employee. These verses made me think about this, because when we surrendered our lives to the lordship of our Lord Jesus, we were given everything that we need to succeed as a Christian. So why do we go to church? Much like I said in my career, we go to church to receive that ‘tune up’, that personal accountability where we allow God’s Word to challenge our lives and show us what we need to do differently in order to be best aligned with His will. Furthermore, Paul reminded the Corinthians of the importance to be blameless when Christ returns. This is vitally important for two reasons: 1). We don’t know the day or the hour when Jesus Christ will return, so we need to be ready and watching at all times, and this must be in a blameless fashion if we are to join Him when He returns; and 2). We need to be holy as Christ is holy, so that we can be the proper representation of Him to our lost family and friends, while we are still on this earth. If we are not blameless before them, we will be considered hypercritical and undesirable to anyone else. The reassurance in these verses can be found in verse 8, for Paul reminds us that God will keep us strong to the end! Praise God that He watches out for us and directs us as needed so that we may remain strong in Him. Now all we need to do is to free ourselves of any rebellion and allow Him to do His mighty work in us. May it be so, God being our helper!

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, it is so very interesting to see how your people are the same today as they were in Paul’s day. We still tend to rebel at times and pretend like we have everything under control. Unfortunately, we know full well that we can do nothing without Your strength and Your guidance. Thank You for our pastors and church leaders who teach us Your Word and gently guide us into the path of righteousness so that we may stay aligned with Your Word, accountable to You, and a bold, honest example to our lost family and friends. Lord, may Your perfect will be made whole in my life today, and may Your presence be so bold in the lives of those that may read this devotional, and in the lives of those that we come into contact with. As Paul reminds us in this scripture this morning, You are faithful to what You have said in Your Word, so I rest in the comfort of Your loving arms and depend on Your guidance and perfect will to be accomplished in all things that I may be involved in today. I serve an awesome God in whom I rejoice today! Praising Him and asking for ongoing guidance in the precious and loving name of Jesus, my Savior, AMEN!

 

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

What Are You Known For?

The Bible – The Good News Translation

Romans 16:12-13

12 My greetings to Tryphaena and Tryphosa, who work in the Lord’s service, and to my dear friend Persis, who has done so much work for the Lord. 13 I send greetings to Rufus, that outstanding worker in the Lord’s service, and to his mother, who has always treated me like a son.

Thoughts:

I want us for a moment to think about a friend of the church that may have left town, and now writing a letter back to the pastor. As they try to tell the pastor what they remember about each one left behind they will reflect on some where they remember their name, and on others where that may not be the case. For those that they remember the name, it may be for good reason, because they may have gone out of their way to care about them. They may have called them by name, or they may have developed an even more intimate name for them. Some they recall from a courteous greeting or just a humble prayer for them. For some they may recall exactly where they sat every service, or the color of their hair or some other physical peculiarity. For some it may be the sweet Godly character that exuded from them every time they saw them, while other were causing trouble and always giving the leadership a ‘run for their money’. In verses 3-15 Paul relayed the individuals that stood out in the crowd, to him. Often at funerals we learn things about the deceased that you never knew, but to the individual giving the remarks, the character of the deceased was special in very memorable ways. I’ve said all that in preparation for a bold question to each one meditating on this devotional today: What are you known for? Ever heard someone describing you and they didn’t realize that you were near enough to hear them? Were you surprised, disappointed, angry, blessed, overwhelmed or encouraged? I believe another challenging question would be: If all of your friends arranged party to honor you, would your work friends by surprised by what your church friends have to say? How about vice versa, would your church friends and prayer partners and Bible study friends be surprised to hear about you from your work friends or fishing partners? What would God say about you? Friends, we are to live our lives in light of the gospel and in the righteousness of our Lord Jesus before everyone. God knows our every action and yes, even our thoughts. We can’t fool Him, so why should you fool others?

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I am thankful that You know our most intimate thoughts and our every action. We cannot fool You, so please convince us and convict us anytime that we try to fool anyone else. The way we live our lives, speaks volumes about who we are and whose we are. Being a part of Your royal family demands that we live our lives in the same character, with the same love, and in all sincerity like You. If we belong to You we should walk and talk like You. Help us Lord to be an example of You, especially before a lost and dying world who is longing to see the hands and feet of Jesus here on this earth. I ask this in faith believing that You can do all things, as directed by Your perfect will. I ask this in the name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord, AMEN!

 

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

Obedience to God’s Servants – Our Government Leaders

The Bible – The Good News Translation

Romans 13:1-2; 4b

 1 Everyone must obey the state authorities, because no authority exists without God’s permission, and the existing authorities have been put there by God. 2 Whoever opposes the existing authority opposes what God has ordered; and anyone who does so will bring judgment on himself.
4 …. they are God’s servants working for your own good

Thoughts:

This is probably one of the most challenging verses for us to follow, because we tend to look at the corruption and evil that goes on in government, and the laws that are put in place that especially seem to hurt Christians. It is obvious from the first 6 verses in Romans 13 that Paul encountered Christian brothers and sisters who thought very much the same as the way we tend to think today. I believe that anytime a law is instituted that works against our bottom line, we tend to send ‘hate vibes’ towards our senators, or authorities who had anything to do with the new law. In fact, at re-election time we have the availability to look into a candidate’s record and see exactly how they voted on certain items. Not a bad idea, but it also helps to build a wall of hatred and/or disrespect towards that person. I believe what Paul is teaching here actually goes very deep, because I believe he is telling us that if we are doing everything above board, then we have nothing to fear of our government leaders. I also believe that if we follow other Biblical references to pray for God’s direction as we vote, and yes Christians you must lead the pact in going out to vote, then our prayer, in faith, will play a part in having God’s man/woman elected. Further, I believe that if we had to publicly pray for our elected officials more than we complain about them, then perhaps God will intervene in their decision making and guide them into right decisions that will be pleasing to Him. Bottom line is that our officials are in place as God’s representatives/servants for our good (vs 4), and we are to obey them and support them so that God’s work might be accomplished through them. Friends remember, our initial instructions come from God, so our obedience, respect and prayerful support towards our leaders is a sign of obedience to God. Key points – prayer before voting; prayer while these folk are in power, as God’s servants, and our leaders; obedience and support of those servants of God for whom we are praying daily. Let’s get before God in prayer and ask Him to tender our hearts so that we can be obedient to Him in all things!

Prayer:

Lord, this is very challenging for us, so I humbly ask You to help us to get out of the ‘driver’s seat’ and allow You to control our government leaders/Your servants in place for our good. To do this I must first personally ask that You help me to totally surrender to You as my authority, because when I try to do your job I am showing lack of faith and trust in You. Please forgive me for that, and build my faith to a level where I can trust You in ALL things. Lord. I am embarrassed by some of the comments I hear from other Christian leaders about Your servants, please speak to these friends and co-laborers in Your work here on earth and help us all to submit to Your authority and will for our every concern, especially our government leaders. I must acknowledge that You are God over ALL things in our lives, not just the pieces that go our way and seem to benefit us personally. Please remind us of that when we tend to question those in authority. Needing Your help in such a powerful way, I humbly ask this in Your holy and most worthy name, Jesus my Lord, AMEN!

 

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

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