An Attitude of Appreciation

As children, we are often taught to show our appreciation for things given to us, by saying ‘thank you’! As adults, we often try to repay one kindness with another of some sort. But God blesses us each day with gifts of varying types, so how do we show our appreciation to Him? Perhaps today’s Scripture may open our eyes and enlighten our hearts to new ways that demands our praise and our worship. God Almighty is our Provider!

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2021-08-06
WRITTEN AT: Hattiesburg, MS

SCRIPTURE FROM: Luke 7:44-47
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: 44 Then he turned to the woman and said to Simon, “Look at this woman kneeling here. When I entered your home, you didn’t offer me water to wash the dust from my feet, but she has washed them with her tears and wiped them with her hair.45 You didn’t greet me with a kiss, but from the time I first came in, she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You neglected the courtesy of olive oil to anoint my head, but she has anointed my feet with rare perfume.
47 “I tell you, her sins—and they are many—have been forgiven, so she has shown me much love….

APPLICATION: Although our Scripture seems longer than normal, it is packed with a challenge from our Savior about what He sees as appreciation from His children. I believe that each week when we meet in church services, we always make sure that we’re dressed properly, we have our Bible with us, and that our favorite preacher will be in the pulpit that day at church. We arrive at church and we carefully examine all the new fashions on display by attendees, and we pay close attention to who will come over and greet us. Most of the time we will participate in the worship songs, if they are appealing to our ears, and we anxiously wait for the preacher’s ‘entertainment’. We are the first out, so we could avoid the traffic in exiting the property, and it also allows us first dibs at the local restaurant. If the pastor requests a visit to our home, it must be cleared in advance to allow us time to make our home presentable. Sounds pretty typical, right? But how well will you handle variances? What if the local drunk barges in while the pastor is visiting? What if a known prostitute walks right up to a front row seat in your sanctuary? Will you need help staying composed? How do you suppose Jesus would handle either of the aforementioned examples? Friends, these are scenarios that we could possibly face any, or every day. Our response will be based on what’s in our heart. If Simon’s heart was overflowing with the love of God, I believe He would have welcomed anyone who came to worship his Lord, or wash His feet, instead of being critical of who the person is, or from what background they may have come from. She’s a sinner, but so was Simon before He found Jesus. Well guess what? That’s exactly the same case with you and I. God sacrificed His only Son for us – even while we were still sinners, so what are we willing to endure? How appreciative should we be to a generous and sacrificial God? My friend, we don’t have time to look around and judge others, we have a full time job getting ourselves ready for the Kingdom and staying in a shape of readiness each and every day. When we call ourselves ‘Christian’ or a ‘follower of Christ’, it means that we vow to live here on earth just like He did. We will obey His commands and follow His example, so that we may look just like Him. Jesus accepted the prostitute just as she was, doesn’t that mean that we should do the same? In other Scriptures, Jesus said that He came to minister to, and save, the broken and the vilest sinner. If we are truly determined to follow His example, then we too must be willing to accept the vilest sinner. When our hearts are humbled to this degree, I believe that we will then live in appreciation of all that our Lord has become to us, and we will then look forward to personal worship to our King, and for His love and appreciation for us as a church. Search deep inside my friend, and reexamine the reasons for seeking God out each day. Recognize His goodness, then you will praise Him in all honesty for His goodness. Allow me to encourage you to especially love those who seek after our Lord, for they are our Brothers and our Sisters!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Jesus lovingly welcomed the prostitute and accepted her gifts of worship. We must be willing to do the same to sinners of all professions. All are equal in the eyes of the One who created them!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I’m ashamed to say today, but as I look over the roster of my church, I would place certain members at the top, some at the middle and others at the very bottom of my list of ‘great’ members. But I believe that You showed us in our Scripture today that You created all of us, and You love each of us equally. Please help us to be as neutral as You are in loving all Your children, and please help us to welcome sinners into our midst with open arms as we sing praises to the One who created them. Help us to look at our times of worship with one purpose in mind – to glorify our King! I believe that when we concentrate on You, our eyes are distracted from others around us that we tend to criticize and pull down. Please help us to love others like You did, and to be more like You in every way, every day! AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. 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 Greatest Commandment

Although the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus, they asked a very logical question. Jesus’ response is still applicable to us today, so let’s see how we’re doing with the two commandments Jesus considered most important.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2021-03-21
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 22:36-40
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: 
Pharisees: 36 Teacher, of all the laws, which commandment is the greatest?Jesus (quoting Scripture): 37 “Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.”[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is nearly as important, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[d] 40 The rest of the law, and all the teachings of the prophets, are but variations on these themes.

OBSERVATION: Although the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus, they asked a very logical question. Jesus’ response is still applicable to us today, so let’s see how we’re doing with the two commandments Jesus considered most important.

APPLICATION: It seems natural for us to worry more about the most important laws, or the most critical infractions we want to avoid. Take speeding for example: In the US we know that we could get away with doing no more than 5 miles over the speed limit, so we will often break the law, but by no more than 5mph, so we don’t get a ticket. Isn’t it the same with God’s laws? It seems ok to take a few pencils or paperclips home from work, but not $100, even though both are stealing. It seems OK to tell a lie, but we wouldn’t ever consider murder, although both are sins. Notice how Jesus set an example for us in quoting Scripture when responding to questions from those trying to test us. He did it to Satan when tempted by him in the desert, and he responds similarly now to the Pharisees. Why is that? Personal opinions are dime a dozen, for everyone has at least one! However, when we quote ‘thus says the Lord’, we are allowing God’s Word to answer why we believe the way we do. I found it interesting that Jesus chose not only the two commandments that epitomize God’s love and His wish for His children, but also the two commandments that all others are based on. In other words, if we get these two right, and if we exceed expectations in response to these two, then no one should have reason to judge us of missing the mark with the other commandments. To love the Lord: With all our heart – is to devote the very core of our being (our heart) to loving our Creator and our Lord; With all our soul – is to love God from the deepest parts of our being, knowing that no one deserves our love more than He does; With all our mind – is to know that our love for God is unconditional, meaning that we will love Him no matter what is going on in life, because our mind is fixed on Him. On the second most important commandment, Jesus tells us that it is equally important as the first, for a child of God who loves His Maker, will also love all that He made. To dislike our neighbor is like saying that God messed up in creating them. Of course they will be different to us in many ways, but in loving them, we soon learn to love the variety of people and things that God created. This widens our spectrum of appreciation for our Creative God. As we love our (different) neighbor, we become better prepared to approach nonbelievers who need Jesus. Remember, God made them, so we should love them! Please note that this is not just a nice story about God getting on to the Pharisees. I believe that He is still saying the same thing to you and I today: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind – and your neighbor as you love yourself; for this is God’s greatest wish for you today!

PRAYER: Each day that I read Your Word, I am looking for what’s most important for me that day, from my gracious God. Thank You Lord, for making it plain to me today that I am to love You above everything else, and that I am to love my friends, my relatives and my neighbors as much as I love myself. Lord, please teach my readers and I to love like You love us each and every day. For others need to see Jesus – Your love, Your mercy and Your gracious concern for everyone. They need to see You, and not the wickedness of our earthly beings. May others see You and believe. 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!

Love Like Your Father in Heaven

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER: You tell us in Your Word that Your burden is light, and I believe that includes the command that if we love one another, even those that seemingly hate us, that You will make the results amicable to everyone involved. Please help deter us from making another excuse why we should not love like You first, and always loved us. We have no godly reason to hate anyone you created, after all they put up with us, so why shouldn’t we make an effort to just do what You command, knowing that You will do all good things for our benefit. Thank You for loving us precious Lord, for You loved us even when we were unlovable by the world. Please melt our hearts of pride, prejudice and judgment, so that we may love You unconditionally, and in turn, love everyone You created to spend life on earth with us. May it be obvious to the lost that only Jesus could truly love like they experience from us, for it’s You we glorify and give praise to for all good things accomplished through us. I love You Lord! AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog 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!

Describe Your Love For Him

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, how can we say thanks for the things You have done for us? How can we love You near as much as You love us? How can we give to our Master who has everything? Yet You have prepared a place for us to spend eternity with You and Your Father! Praise God that in spite of our inadequacies yet You love us anyway, and You have given us life itself to enjoy while here on earth. Thank You for who You are, and for all You do and show to us precious Father. May we show love and appreciation to You in every way and as frequently as our hearts could imagine. In Jesus’ name, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog 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!

No Greater Love

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

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

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

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

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

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

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, what a privilege to know that we serve a God who loves us in spite of who we are, and in spite of all the circumstances that may be impacting the world around us. The greatest love ever demonstrated was the sacrifice You made at Calvary so that we may have life eternally in heaven with You. Thank You Father, thank You Lord Jesus for loving us so much. May that assurance bring peace and contentment to each of Your children, in every circumstance of life. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog 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!

‘Absolutely Nothing’ Can Come Between Us

In a day when we read about a spouse being dropped off to the hospital to receive help due to a serious, infectious disease, and the spouse dies and is buried without loved one being able to say their goodbyes in person, yet we can meditate on this Scripture and see where God is assuring us through His servant, Paul, that regardless of what might happen here on earth, there is absolutely nothing that could separate those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, from the love, security and everlasting communion with the Father and the Son! Praise God for that assurance and that comfort!

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2020-04-05
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

Bible Reference: Romans 8:31-35
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: 31 So what should we say about all of this? If God is on our side, then tell me: whom should we fear? 32 If He did not spare His own Son, but handed Him over on our account, then don’t you think that He will graciously give us all things with Him? 33 Can anyone be so bold as to level a charge against God’s chosen? Especially since God’s “not guilty” verdict is already declared. 34 Who has the authority to condemn? Jesus the Anointed who died, but more importantly, conquered death when He was raised to sit at the right hand of God where He pleads on our behalf. 35 So who can separate us? What can come between us and the love of God’s Anointed? Can troubles, hardships, persecution, hunger, poverty, danger, or even death? The answer is, absolutely nothing.

OBSERVATION: In a day when we read about a spouse being dropped off to the hospital to receive help due to a serious, infectious disease, and the spouse dies and is buried without loved one being able to say their goodbyes in person, yet we can meditate on this Scripture and see where God is assuring us through His servant, Paul, that regardless of what might happen here on earth, there is absolutely nothing that could separate those who have accepted Jesus as their Savior, from the love, security and everlasting communion with the Father and the Son! Praise God for that assurance and that comfort!

APPLICATION: We’ve heard friends say before that they are such a wicked person, having done so much evil in their day, that a holy, loving, caring and sacrificial Father would never love them. Considering their earthly father, we might quickly agree with them, because mankind is so unforgiving deep inside. But friends, do you see the difference in how mankind tends to classify such a person, versus what Jesus said in His Word – that with Christ, absolutely nothing will separate us from the love of the Father! Can’t you see that as sinners so far removed from our perfect God, that all we ever deserved from anyone is a sentence of death and eternal damnation. Instead, in our Scripture today we are reminded that for those who seek God and accept Him as their loving Savior and Lord, will one day stand at heaven’s portals and rejoice in hearing the Master of this universe, our Lord and Savior, our God, welcome us into His domain as ‘saints’ or ‘children of God’! Oh what a day that will be, dear friends! Now, in these verses under review today we are reminded by Paul in his addressing the same question to the church at Rome, that the love God speaks of is unconditional, and according to John 3:16, it is available to all who call on His name through His Son Jesus, for they will be saved, and is loved with His everlasting and unconditional love! The ‘human’ in us causes us to question, but what if ……. happens, or what if I mess up, or what if another Christian points a finger at something we weren’t perfect at? Friends, Paul (under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and for the benefit of the saints) cleared this up for us in the later part of the verses quoted above – there is nothing that can change this love that Christ has for us – nothing. Remember, His love is unconditional! We may let things or people disrupt our harmony and/or relationship with God, but absolutely nothing will place a wedge between us and the love of our Savior! He’s just that kind of God! Praise the name of the Jesus, my Lord! So what’s preventing you from approaching God, seeking forgiveness of your sin and dedicating your life wholly and solely to Him? There is no greater love than this friend? Please use the contact information at the end of this devotional to let me know if there is anything I can pray with you about, or help you work through so that you can make this vital move in your life! This is THE most important decision in a person’s life!

PRAYER: Dear Jesus, thank you for accepting me as Your child, in spite of the imperfect man that existed before my decision to accept You. I am overwhelmed by Your love and Your grace You display in loving me even as I work through the things of this old wicked world. As reminded by Paul in these verses this morning, I am deeply appreciative of the love You have for me, and the security of that love that, although battered by many things of this world and of Satan himself, yet to be reminded that nothing can separate Your love for me! Wow! This is love that we can hardly comprehend, but I believe Your Word and accept that love graciously. Please touch the hearts and lives of my friends that defer their decision to accept You as Lord, because they just can’t wrap their arms around this kind of love. Please help them to understand that in accepting You as they Master and Lord, You will help them work through, and overcome, their imperfections as Your child. Thank You for loving even me dear Lord! Bless each reader with Your power this day, for I humbly ask in Your precious and holy name, 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 Heart In Which To Perform Your Job

In our Scripture today we read, with keen interest, the instructions that King Jehoshaphat gave to the judges that he appointed. I wonder if similar words are found in today’s induction ceremonies of our judges? But more than this, my heart was touched to think about those who serve in places of leadership in our churches. What about you fellow believer and leader in your own church, do you, or would you take an oath to serve under similar instruction to that offered by King Jehoshaphat? Take time to meditate on this today dear friends.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-03-04
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

Bible Reference: 2 Chronicles 19:9
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text: These were his instructions to them: “You must always act in the fear of the Lord, with faithfulness and an undivided heart.

OBSERVATION: In our Scripture today we read, with keen interest, the instructions that King Jehoshaphat gave to the judges that he appointed. I wonder if similar words are found in today’s induction ceremonies of our judges? But more than this, my heart was touched to think about those who serve in places of leadership in our churches. What about you fellow believer and leader in your own church, do you, or would you take an oath to serve under similar instruction to that offered by King Jehoshaphat? Take time to meditate on this today dear friends.

APPLICATION: I often print out the content of verses where God speaks to my soul, and I would pin those verses at places where I’m bound to look on them several times a day. This is one of those verses that would be an ideal to have stuck to your home PC monitor and/or at work, as a constant reminder from God about how to best complete your job, while honoring Him in the process. Friends, with God directing us and leading the way for us, how can we go wrong? How can we not be in His perfect will? Will this always be easy? No, but in verse 11 the king instructed the Levites to ‘Take courage as you fulfill your duties, and may the Lord be with those who do what is right.’ I am convinced that when we do right and always seek God’s direction for our decisions, we can know that God is by our side, giving us full support, encouragement and ultimate confidence. My greatest desire is to see our church leaders always look to God, and seek His heart for the ministry to which He has called them. I believe that when church leaders make their decisions and perform their responsibilities, they will have a greater desire to do God’s work without hesitation, knowing that they are pleasing Him, and that they are in the center of His perfect will for His church. When we do that, I believe that individually we will be blessed beyond comprehension or anything we could imagine. Let’s always remember, it’s God’s work; it’s His kingdom that we aim to attain; and it’s His blessings that we desire more than anything else. So let us learn to seek Him, obey Him and always praise Him for His love and His perfect will for our lives and the life of His church. God being my helper, I will always do the best job that I can do in everything assigned or attempted, for His ultimate glory, honor and praise! Consider joining me in this vow, so the world can see what its like to have ‘real’ Christian leaders in authority over them, and consequently find every reason to praise God for it!

PRAYER: Lord, thank You for Your precious Word. Our world is so filled with hatred, greed and selfishness, that I believe Your followers want to see in their church leaders, those who are chosen by You, ordained by You and blessed by You to fulfill the honest work of Your kingdom, in the fear of the Lord. Oh that Your church might become the place where troubled souls run to for refuge, and where leaders are wholeheartedly seeking and following Your will. Please protect Your church from the harm of being a stumbling block to those feeling led to be Your follower. May it always be obvious that Your house is a place of prayer, a place of worship, and a place where love abounds. May this encourage attendees to want this type of characteristic in their own homes and families. AMEN!

We Are Worth Dying For!

Paul tried to tell the church leaders at Ephesus how important their job was, and he not only based that importance on his dedication and hard work, but he also explained that the value of the church to God was such that He was willing to have His Son die for it. Many of my readers are probably workers in the church, or involved in ministry in one way or another. How seriously are you taking that work? Ever have to sacrifice for those whom you are serving in God’s church?

Wednesday, 2020-02-19

Bible Reference: Acts 20:28
Translation:  Amplified Bible (AMP)

Bible Text: 28 Take care and be on guard for yourselves and for the whole flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you as overseers, to shepherd (tend, feed, guide) the church of God which He bought with His own blood.

OBSERVATION: Paul tried to tell the church leaders at Ephesus how important their job was, and he not only based that importance on his dedication and hard work, but he also explained that the value of the church to God was such that He was willing to have His Son die for it. Many of my readers are probably workers in the church, or involved in ministry in one way or another. How seriously are you taking that work? Ever have to sacrifice for those whom you are serving in God’s church?

APPLICATION: Paul was passionate about the ministry and had traveled to many places sharing the story of Jesus with all who would listen. It is apparent from this Scripture that Paul felt very responsible for the work that he started, and as he shared with the leaders being charged with continuing the work, we could easily tell that it was difficult for Paul to pass along this responsibility. However, I was reminded of a current day parallel to what Paul faced. Think about a new mom who is about to leave her child at the daycare for the first time. There is usually a lot of concern that the daycare workers would know what to expect from this new infant, and there would be detailed steps for them to follow, to make sure that the child is well taken care of after the mother goes on to work. The mother is looking for very caring attention, with responses that would assure her that her child is being left with professionals who would take the same care with the newborn as the mother would do. I love the extra commentary added by the Amplified Bible, for it helps us to really understand the heart of Paul for the church. So of course this made me think about the church today. God uses the foolishness of preaching and the worship of His people to draw men to Himself. Then He turns to His caretakers in the church – the pastor, elders and other church leaders and teachers, and He says like He did through Paul: Now take care of these dear children. Love on them; meet their needs; teach them my Word; correct them spiritually and lovingly, as needed; and don’t think twice about it, because I want you to remember how much I loved the church. And if you want to live just like me, then I believe you will want to love the church and do everything you can for it, just like I did. How obligated are you feeling about all that you do for the church? Don’t we often feel that way? But if we loved the church like Jesus did/does, should there be a feeling of obligation; stress; ungratefulness; with no return to us for all we do and/or give? I believe that this Scripture should open our eyes to do all that we could for the church – all of it’s members, because we love the church just like Jesus does. We’re His followers, His imitators, and undeserved recipients of His love. Why shouldn’t we love the church unconditionally? This will result in Christ-Followers having a desire to be just like their Master. Is He your Master and Lord dear friend? Please read through my Footnote and visit the links that I have included, perhaps the information will be helpful for you as you seek to respond to Jesus after reading this Scripture and my blog today.

PRAYER: Oh to be like Jesus, is all that I ask of Him. To do His will, as reminded by Paul in this Scripture today, will not only bless my readers and myself, but as we react from the impact of God’s Word in our lives, others will come to know Him and want to serve Him faithfully in all that they do. Please speak to the hearts of Your children again today dear Lord. May we shine forth in our work for You without any feeling of obligation or remorse. May You be glorified in Your church today Lord, and may we complete the work You have assigned for us to do. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to attend my home church. 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!

When We Choose Who We Will Hurt

When you read the subject, I bet that your mind went on someone that ‘chose’ to hurt you, or on someone you may have ‘chosen’ to hurt. However, in our verses today we could see where the very ones that Jesus chose to help, or perhaps He May have helped their loved ones, or their neighbors, yet a certain hatred developed in their hearts and minds, that resulted in a passion to destroy Jesus. How is that? Why would anyone choose to go after, or hurt someone who is strictly doing good in their midst? As we meditate on this thought today, let’s not look at our neighbor’s attitude/intentions/actions but our very own. Do we sometimes hurt those who strive to love us?

Wednesday, 2019-12-04

Bible Reference: John 18:38-40
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 38 ……… As silence filled the room, Pilate went back out to where the Jewish leaders were waiting and said to them, “He’s not guilty. I couldn’t even find one fault with him.[ab] 39 Now, you do know that we have a custom that I release one prisoner every year at Passover—shall I release your king—the king of the Jews?”[ac]
40 They shouted out over and over, “No, not him! Give us Barabbas!”[ad] (Now Barabbas was a robber and a troublemaker.)

OBSERVATION: When you read the subject, I bet that your mind went on someone that ‘chose’ to hurt you, or on someone you may have ‘chosen’ to hurt. However, in our verses today we could see where the very ones that Jesus chose to help, or perhaps He May have helped their loved ones, or their neighbors, yet a certain hatred developed in their hearts and minds, that resulted in a passion to destroy Jesus. How is that? Why would anyone choose to go after, or hurt someone who is strictly doing good in their midst? As we meditate on this thought today, let’s not look at our neighbor’s attitude/intentions/actions but our very own. Do we sometimes hurt those who strive to love us?

APPLICATION: A vital part of the church that I attend, is a great team of retired missionaries. From time to time they share about persecution they experienced on the field in various foreign countries, and they pray in earnest for friends who are still on the mission field and being terribly persecuted. Some are locked in containers for days at a time, because they showed the love of God to friends who wanted to know Jesus, and/or seeking after His love and compassion. We know of missionaries currently in foreign lands that live from day to day in fear of their very lives, yet they go on sharing Truth with these people because of their love and commitment to their Father. But that’s what happens in foreign lands, isn’t it? Can you stop and think of any scenarios in your own country? What if I remind you that in my very own country, prayer was taken our of our schools, because we didn’t want religion imposed on our kids. Years later we could look at the statistics and see how, without the truth of God’s Word to guide our teachers and our kids, we are frequently and deeply saddened over the increased crime rate, including children shooting other children right in their own schools. Children – our loved ones – being shot at, killed, and sometimes doing the shooting themselves. It’s horrendous, and we are so saddened when we hear of yet another news report on incidents from our school system. Even in small towns we are having to deal with extreme crimes where loved ones are being shot. But friends, it is so obvious that when our folk are objecting to the church being the church in all of our community, our young people are only left with guidance from desperately wicked individuals who will harm you because they don’t like where you live, what you wear, or the beautiful smile on your face. Why have we not learned from the wickedness of the Jews in our Bible verses today? They preferred to have a wicked criminal released, rather than the Savior of the world who showed nothing but love to relatives, or even to the very individuals who were falsely accusing Him. May I suggest to those who know Jesus, that we all strive to live like Jesus did? Let us learn, or ask God for His strength, to love those who always show love to us, but also let us be bold enough to love everyone else the way that Jesus loved us. Jesus willingly went to the cross as an expression of love for us, even though we were mere sinners. As we seek to live like Jesus did, we will yearn to love like He did. In the Garden where He was arrested, he healed the ear of one who was attempting to arrest Him. On the cross He blessed and forgave those who led Him to the cross. Can you do that friend? Perhaps not, but I know a man who can! I also know that this same Jesus has the power to bless each reader with grace, with an extra measure of love and with boldness to love, in spite of the attitude taken by your accusers to despitefully use and abuse you. Seek a closer walk with Jesus dear friend, and allow Him to pour His love on you so that you might love others! When this happens, you will have no reason to seek revenge, hurt or attack in any form.

PRAYER: Lord, please forgive us for our tendencies to seek after self gratification, even at the expense of hurting others. That was never displayed by You, or taught to us by You. Please forgive us for allowing Satan to steer us into the evil deeds that he is known for. We are ashamed dear Lord, because in our aim to live like You and in obedience to Your commands, we should daily seek Your face and allow You to steer us aright. It is so true that our lives reflect what we ask You for. Guide us to all Truth so that we may be true examples of You in every form while here on the earth. May You always receive praise and honor because of whose we are and because of Your reflection in everything we say and do. AMEN!

God Will Take Care of You!

No matter what may be the worry, or the concern, or the shortfall today, my God will take care of you! Concerns are many, but it is evident from our Scripture that God will take care of us, even when life seems impossible to us. Stop and meditate with me on this thought today dear friends. I believe that you will be blessed, and encouraged to praise the Lord who has it all under His careful control!

Friday, 2019-08-29

Bible Reference: 1 Kings 17:2-4
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  2 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 3 “Go to the east and hide by Kerith Brook, near where it enters the Jordan River. 4 Drink from the brook and eat what the ravens bring you, for I have commanded them to bring you food.”

OBSERVATION: No matter what may be the worry, or the concern, or the shortfall today, my God will take care of you! Concerns are many, but it is evident from our Scripture that God will take care of us, even when life seems impossible to us. Stop and meditate with me on this thought today dear friends. I believe that you will be blessed, and encouraged to praise the Lord who has it all under His careful control!

APPLICATION:  I Love that old gospel song: “Be not dismayed …. God Will Take Care of You“! On reading these verses this morning I was reminded that for all those times that we feel so worn, or so distraught about life’s circumstances – perhaps the loss of a loved one that leaves us wondering how on earth can we possibly go on without them; or perhaps because of financial woes that make us feel so trapped into thinking that we work to satisfy bills only; or perhaps unemployment that makes us look inward and question our own personal worth; no matter the circumstance, we tend to wonder ‘Why me, Lord’ and then question how can we possibly overcome our particular circumstance. Friends, I wish you would take time to read the whole passage linked in the scripture reference, because you will see the reason why God sent Elijah to the Jordan River bank to hang out in the first place, then you will also see what other miracles God performed to take care of Elijah, even beyond this feeding miracle at the Jordan River. Whether Elijah realized it or not, he was at a crossroads to where he may not have survived the drought if God had not intervened and taken care of him. I rejoiced in seeing how God worked through Elijah later on to bring a young man back to life, because it made me realize the importance of not giving up on God, and instead allowing Him to work on us, in us, and through us for the purpose of His greater accomplishments – for the kingdom, and at a time pleasing to God. Friends, our ways are not God’s ways, so we are called on to be faithful and sure in our faith, knowing that what He works out in and through us will serve to benefit Him and bless us tremendously. So may I encourage you dear friend to stand firm in your faith, depend on God, and open yourself to the wondrous things He will do through You. Please know that your personal circumstances may look totally different to what God has in store for you. Trust Him, wait on Him and allow Him to be God in your life. Know that when You place your faith, trust, and total life in His hands, He WILL Take Care of You!

PRAYER: To the loving, caring, awesome God that I serve; thank You Father for watching over me, taking care of me, and guiding my footsteps each and every day. Because I am still alive, I know that Your work is still in progress and I trust in You for whatever You would have me do. Please have Your will and way. Please continue to take care of me, and especially on those days when life seems impossible to me, or the future seems so questionable. Lord, there are many who will stop by to read this devotional today, please reinforce to them how much You care for them, and remind them of the enormous love that You have for them. Lord, I ask these thinks in faith, and in the precious name of Jesus, Your Son and my Savior, AMEN!