Awestruck By Your Story

I believe we will see from todays Bible story that it is more important to share our story about how Jesus Christ made a difference in our life, than to just hang with other believers and soak up more of His goodness. Hopefully this Scripture will force us to reflect on our goal in life, and redirect our efforts, if necessary, so that God may be glorified in and through us.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2021-05-09
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Mark 5:17-20
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 17 … the crowd began pleading with Jesus to go away and leave them alone! 18 So he got back into the boat. The man who had been possessed by the demons begged Jesus to let him go along. 19 But Jesus said no. “Go home to your friends,” he told him, “and tell them what wonderful things God has done for you; and how merciful he has been.”
20 So the man started off to visit the Ten Towns[a] of that region and began to tell everyone about the great things Jesus had done for him; and they were awestruck by his story.

APPLICATION: Jesus performed a miracle by freeing a man from the demons that possessed him. He was haunted and terrorized by the demons, but Jesus made the demons come out of him. Word of this miracle quickly got back to the neighboring towns, causing curiosity seekers to rush to the area to see what could possibly be going on. This upset the Pharisees, as this one act drew more attention than their years of teaching from the Scriptures, so they asked Jesus to leave. I know, you’ve heard stories just like this about a local church near you, right? Unfortunately, in this world we are led to believe that we must be the center of attraction, and that our acts of giving, teaching or preaching is enough to draw unbelievers to church. But notice in our story, the people were drawn to the works of the Creator – God. Perhaps for some, it was just their curiosity, but I believe that for others, it may have been because they had certain personal issues that they wished the Master would also remove from their lives. This reminds me so much about our churches and our groups of Believers today, for we seem to be very inward focused in our ministries and our witness to others. But friends, I believe that Jesus is saying to us, like He did to the healed man, don’t just hang around Me and the comfortable things of life, go to your family and friends and tell them what the Lord has done for you. Did you ever stop to think about how many lives could be touched by our ‘story of salvation’, compared to the endless sermons on various parts of the Bible? Sermons tend to show Believers the truth of God’s Word and help us know our Savior more intimately. Sharing our story with an unsaved friend helps them confirm that Jesus is real and that the same Jesus that touched our life and healed our illnesses and our sin, would definitely also listen to them. You see, we feel so comfortable around other believers because they are our brothers and sisters. But when an unbeliever tries to look at our group, can’t you see how they may feel inferior, imperfect or too impacted by sin for a Holy God to even consider touching their life? We can help them break down those walls by sharing our ‘story’ with them. For even though we may not have murdered anyone, or robbed a bank, yet we were steeped in sin when Jesus found us and saved us from all our iniquities. We were, just as they are now, and if Jesus saved us, we know that He could also save them. Who knows, your friends might be just as awestruck hearing how Jesus saved you, as the friends of the demoniac was when they heard his ‘story’!

PRAYER: Thank You Jesus for looking beyond our faults, our disobedience, our sin, our disrespect and our lack of love for our family and friends, and You acted on our cry for salvation. Only a God like You will go that far. But God, I pray that You will make such a change in our lives that unbelievers will stop and listen to our story of meeting, and being accepted by, the Creator of our universe. Thank You Lord for our pastors, church leaders and Sunday School teachers, but please touch the lives of every believer who reads this devotional today and impress upon each one the importance of them also sharing their personal story of faith in God, dependence on Him and His response to their prayers. May sharing this story bring positive reactions from unbelievers and cause them to look closer at the living Christ who can do ALL things. May Your kingdom come today as we be about Your work. 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!

Your Best Place To Be A Witness

While I admire believers who feel like they should always be in church, I often wonder what impact the church really has on its local community. Of course, the church is not a building where we meet to worship, it is totally comprised of the people that come together to worship the one and only Lord of the universe. However, after being reminded in this Scripture again today, I wonder if God looks any more favorable on church attendance, or on what the church does outside of the 4 walls where we meet. Please reread the Scripture and meditate with me, as God ministers to you and I.

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2021-04-29
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Mark 2:15-17
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: 15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

OBSERVATION: While I admire believers who feel like they should always be in church, I often wonder what impact the church really has on its local community. Of course, the church is not a building where we meet to worship, it is totally comprised of the people that come together to worship the one and only Lord of the universe. However, after being reminded in this Scripture again today, I wonder if God looks any more favorable on church attendance, or on what the church does outside of the 4 walls where we meet. Please reread the Scripture and meditate with me, as God ministers to you and I.

APPLICATION: I found it very interesting how Jesus chose unlikely people to follow Him – fishermen; tax collector; etc. Then there was also another surprise when He sat at the home of Levi, a tax collector, to dine with friends and associates of Levi. In fact, the Pharisees openly showed their dismay over seeing Jesus dine with such people. But let’s examine why this appears as a surprise to us. First of all, and probably the most likely cause, is that the Pharisees hung out with other Pharisees and did not associate with the Gentiles. They considered themselves above the normal citizen, because of their knowledge, power and position. Now moving to current-day Christians, why might this story surprise us? Well, in the world of Christendom, we are ‘supposed’ to hang with other Christians. We were taught that to hang with unbelievers, we might soon assume their worldly view of anything goes, no respect or love for others, among many other things. We are taught by the church that we are to attend every possible service held at the church. We are quickly scolded if we are seen in places where ‘Christians don’t go’! Anything wrong with this picture so far? Probably not, but will we have opportunity to witness to the unsaved in any of these ‘likely’ places? Probably not. But think about this: did Jesus sin by sitting and eating with the group at dinner that night? Is it a sin if we sat and ate with a room full of business executives who never attend church? I believe the answer is clearly ‘No’, for there were no commands of God that were dishonored or disobeyed. In fact, the opposite might be true. There were opportunities to be a witness to the unsaved, and wide-opened opportunities to share the love of Christ, and the Good News with a number of people eating with you. At a cocktail party for local businesses I remember coming across the head elder from my church. He had his glass in hand, just like the rest of us, but it was filled with refreshing Coca Cola. You see, he was ‘in the world’ through the normal course of business, but he was not ‘of the world’ by participating in the drinking of alcohol, per his personal beliefs. So in our Scripture today, I believe that God may be calling out to say ‘follow the example of my Son’, don’t set so many rules that you are crippled in being a living witness for our Lord to those who have not chosen to follow Him yet. Of course this comes with many cautions. If you are a recovering alcoholic, please don’t place yourself right smack in the middle of a party where alcohol is served. If you have been the subject of human smuggling and/or human slavery, don’t place yourself in the middle of a group that will refresh those fears and hurts. I believe that God would have us use common sense about how far to go, and to find the right opportunities for meeting with folk that He is actively working on already. Seek God first, and all this will come to you by His Holy Spirit. We may often come across to the world as Mr or Mrs ‘Goodie Too Shoes’ if we feel we are too good to join a friend in certain activities at certain places other than the church, but when you are guided by the Holy Spirit, His work will be accomplished through you – even in those places.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You know first hand how trapped we are in this wicked world. We receive emails and texts, but we have to first discern if they are legitimate or if they are merely traps to sabotage our electronic world. Satan is actively trying to trap us also in our daily lives, and we must always have our guard up. Please Lord, give us the wisdom to know the things You would have us do, and the places You would have us visit, for the meetings You have scheduled for us to influence an unbeliever for the Kingdom. Please help us to always be open to the direction ordered by the Holy Spirit and help us to always stay strong in our faith, so that the world will see Jesus, and not the weakness and failures of our own selves. May our mission always be about the One that we love, adore and serve, and may Your work be accomplished through us so that mankind may be drawn to You, and where You may be glorified. 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!

Wasted Opportunities

God has gifted us in so many wonderful ways! Yes, even those who feel like they have no talent to offer for His glory, or perhaps no money to give towards His ministries, or no encouragement to pass along to another hurting soul. But have you stopped to consider that God may have given you precisely what you need for the circumstances in which you will find yourself? Let’s consider the Word today and remind ourselves of what we are doing with what we have been gifted with. Consider your gifts as an investment from God, use them diligently to bring great returns for Him and His kingdom!

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-04-03
WRITTEN AT: O’Brien, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 25:23; 26; 30
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: 23 “The master said, ‘Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!’
26 “But the master replied, ‘You wicked and lazy servant!…..
30 Now throw this useless servant into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’

OBSERVATION: God has gifted us in so many wonderful ways! Yes, even those who feel like they have no talent to offer for His glory, or perhaps no money to give towards His ministries, or no encouragement to pass along to another hurting soul. But have you stopped to consider that God may have given you precisely what you need for the circumstances in which you will find yourself? Let’s consider the Word today and remind ourselves of what we are doing with what we have been gifted with. Consider your gifts as an investment from God, use them diligently to bring great returns for Him and His kingdom!

APPLICATION: After reading the theme of today’s devotional, what did your mind go on? Was it a missed opportunity at work? Or perhaps something at church? Or even something with one of your kids, or your spouse? Hopefully as you read the Scripture, you smiled with pride as you recalled hearing similar words as those used by Jesus in verse 23. No doubt there would have been a gut-wrenching feeling if you ever heard similar words as those used by Jesus in verse 26. No matter what your first thoughts were, I am hoping that the Word of God will remind us today that God has showered many gifts upon His children, and I believe that He wants to see us all reach a stage in life where He might encourage us with the same words that we read in verse 23. For you see, we are His creation, and He never created ’junk’. We are made in His likeness, and He is totally perfect in every way. God has a place already prepared for us in Heaven, so I believe that He would dread ever having to tell us (His created ones made just like Himself) ‘go away, for you have been a useless servant’. So what then shall our role be in properly responding to all that God has given us? I believe we should start with being very careful with the excuses we come up with. Notice that the last servant had many excuses as to why he didn’t properly invest the money/talent given to him, and notice in verses 24 and 25 that all of the excuses pertained to someone else – the master. I have served on Pastor Search Committees, as well as Nominating Committees. In each case our teams have totally bathed the volunteer or pastoral needs of the church in many moments of prayer, so when we began asking individuals, we felt like God was lead us to that individual to fill a particular position. While some were anxious to use their talents, many found excuse after excuse why they couldn’t, especially in the area of ability. Friends I have learned over the years that God is desperately looking for our availability, so that He might work miraculously through us to fulfill the needs of His ministry. The power of the almighty working through us is way more valuable to the kingdom than anything we could do of our own wisdom or learning from mankind. For only God can touch hearts and change lives from the hold of Satan, to one that is lead by the Holy Spirit. We must simply be willing to see God, through His transforming power, change individuals For His glory. I believe that my responsibility today is to encourage you to listen closely to the Master. He has gifted you to do things that are not suited for me, and He is waiting for you to tell Him when you are ready to proceed with the work He has prepared for you. Each of us have a choice, and most of us are tempted by the evil one to always look at the work of the Lord negatively. Please don’t let Satan win you over. You have a God who loves you and who wants to see you rejoice in His accomplishments because of our usefulness here on earth.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord Jesus for Your mercies on me! Thank You Father that one of your obedient servants knelt by my side at an altar and showed me the way to heaven. There are many that I may come into contact with today that may have that same need. Please help me to never develop excuses for anything You might direct of me, for You can do ALL things. Thank You for investing in me the talents and desire to serve others with a view of accepting You as their Savior. May I always give in to Your direction and allow Your words to be delivered through my lips, so that Your personalized message for Your children will be accurately delivered in the spirit that You desire. Lord, please also anoint my readers so that these words that I share from You might bring forth fruit for the kingdom. For it’s in Your name alone that I ask these things. 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 Miraculous Good News!

This message was addressed to all world leaders that reported to the him, from a king who could not get a handle on the power of God Almighty. King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream, but after trying every other source available to him for an interpretation of his dream, and only upon hearing from a stubborn young man (Daniel) that he had imprisoned, but who trusted and believed in God for his wisdom, did the king clearly receive an interpretation of his dream – a miracle in his eyes! The news was worthy of sharing with everyone!

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-11-15
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Daniel 4:1-3
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT:  ….May peace and prosperity be yours! I am pleased to be able to tell you about all the signs and miracles the Most High God has done for me. 3 How great are His signs; how powerful are His miracles! His kingdom will endure forever; His reign will last from generation to generation.

OBSERVATION: This message was addressed to all world leaders that reported to the him, from a king who could not get a handle on the power of God Almighty. King Nebuchadnezzar had a disturbing dream, but after trying every other source available to him for an interpretation of his dream, and only upon hearing from a stubborn young man (Daniel) that he had imprisoned, but who trusted and believed in God for his wisdom, did the king clearly receive an interpretation of his dream – a miracle in his eyes! The news was worthy of sharing with everyone!

APPLICATION: It was very clear that it was God who gave the king the interpretation, for Daniel was just a humble man imprisoned by King Nebuchadnezzar for refusing to obey his orders, and instead standing firm in his faith. Before I challenge us to look inward and compare our witness with that of Daniel, let’s first look at the initial encounter the king had with Daniel. The king had ordered all the strong, wise and promising men be brought into his palace for indoctrination into the riches of royalty, but for the sake of servant leadership. The food, the lifestyle, the workouts and of course the ways of the king. Daniel was chosen as one of the special men fitting the kings description, but the first thing Daniel had to deal with was the food, for it was quite different from the diet he was directed by Scripture to follow. There is an old proverb ‘when in Rome, do as the Romans do’, but Daniel was not willing to compromise his walk with God – even in his diet. Surely most individuals would have been afraid to speak up about the rich food being offered to them in the king’s palace, but under the inspiration of the God that he served, Daniel asked for a compromise by the guards. I wonder if right from the very start, the king may have been impressed by this young man with principles that he was not willing to compromise? What do we do? All within our power to save our lives and promote ourselves in our jobs or in the environment in which we find ourselves, correct? You know, it may please the boss for a moment, when we compromise our ‘stand’ on a subject to agree with him or her, but imagine what must really be going through the mind of the boss? Perhaps something like: he/she really has no firm principles. They will surrender to my will as soon as I speak, or especially after I throw a few dollar signs in front of them. But what does this type of behavior say to God about your relationship with Him? You often count on God, especially when times are rough. But can He depend on you, and especially on the commitment you made to Him? In Daniel we see similar behavior to that of Joseph, who also interpreted dreams. Neither were push-overs. What might you be considered in the eyes of those who have authority over you? Can they proudly tell the world about a man, or a woman, who is truly faithful to their Lord and, although respectful, will not cross over that fine line of what they believe to be their God-given responsibility and choice?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for all that You did, and continue to do for me. Lord I am so ashamed that I am not as bold in my witness and testimony as I should be in sonship. I pray that just as Nebuchadnezzar came to his senses and saw the power of God through his humble servant Daniel, that I too might be awakened to Your awesome power and Your mighty works all around me. Please Lord, speak to each reader. May your Word become alive in our lives, and may others know that Jesus Christ is alive and well because they see His wondrous works in and through us. AMEN!

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

Eye Witnesses

If innocent and trying to defend yourself in a traffic case or in any court battle, you will always look for and appreciate good eye witnesses. Conversely, if you are guilty, then you would hope that the defense does not have an eye witness to bring to the courts. God said through Peter that even though neighbors may accuse you, they will have no choice but to give a witness to God for your honorable and trustworthy behavior. Today’s Scripture leads us to recall what might cause us to be worthy of such honor from our neighbors. Stay with me!

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-10-30
WRITTEN AT: Vicksburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 PETER 2:11-12
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: 11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.[i]

OBSERVATION: If innocent and trying to defend yourself in a traffic case or in any court battle, you will always look for and appreciate good eye witnesses. Conversely, if you are guilty, then you would hope that the defense does not have an eye witness to bring to the courts. God said through Peter that even though neighbors may accuse you, they will have no choice but to give a witness to God for your honorable and trustworthy behavior. Today’s Scripture leads us to recall what might cause us to be worthy of such honor from our neighbors. Stay with me!

APPLICATION: I had someone once use me in an illustration along the lines of today’s subject. They said that we should be of sufficient good character, that if our spouse or best friend was given accusatory information on us, they would, without a full investigation, refute the accusations based on their first-hand knowledge of our character. I wonder how many close friends we might have where we could be that confident about their character? There are several pointers given to us by Peter that we should bear in mind as we ponder what others might see in us:
a). We are temporary residents and foreigners here on earth – Isn’t that an interesting concept, especially considering how determined we are to work ourselves silly to make sure that we are financially fit for retirement? How much is enough? A little bit more is needed, right? Often it is for this reason that we see so many die prematurely, because of the stress placed on themselves. It is also something that leads so many into illegitimate jobs and risks so that they could supercharge their income and expedite their road to retirement. When considering how much is needed to carry you through retirement, how many years do you account for? That’s right, you have no idea. However, Peter warned us to make our short number of years here count for the Master. Don’t waste it following the residents who have no plan at all;
b). Keep away from worldly desires and pressures – for the world will try hard to win you over to their evil desires and way of life. Establish borders for yourself and decide before hand how far you will go in pleasing your fellow man, especially when your actions might encroach on your beliefs about what God expects of you. I was approached late one evening by some young men who wanted to borrow my boat so they could pull off a drug heist. Sure, I could have paid off my boat and probably taken a grand vacation from the few hours that I loaned out my boat, but was it worth more than my commitment to God to stay true to Him? If I gave in once, then my character would have been placed into question and everyone outside of that transaction would have lost faith in what I actually stood for in life. Who or what was guiding my path? God, or just another deal that I might not refuse?
Oh that God would be my everlasting guide, protection and deliver, so that He would always know in whom I believe. May others see Jesus whenever they look into my character and my life, and may they stand firm as eye witnesses for me and the man of God that I strive to be, with God’s help. May this prick the hearts of those who have not fully surrendered their lives to Jesus, and may your hearts be softened as you meditate on this devotional, so that you might also stand firm in your faith, and your stand for the Master. Others have an opinion of you. May they be an eye witness of your good works and your godly influence on them.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for loving us and thinking so much of Your creation that You sent Your Son Jesus to provide the means for our salvation. We are made new in Jesus, and we are cleansed of all the dirt that this world has stained us with. We know that You are fully aware of our spiritual condition, but we ask that You continue to work miraculously in us so that the world might also know in whom we believe. May they be drawn to You through their dealings with us, and may their surrender to the God that we serve and long to be with. 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!

Fed Up With Disregard for Jesus – Sin

Based on your Christian upbringing, your own Christian convictions and your understanding of God’s Word, what is it that really upsets you in what you see happening in our world today? How do you deal with it? What do you do about it? It has always been said that silence indicates consent, or agreement with the masses! I encourage you to read the chapter containing today’s focus verses and note how many times Paul was relocated from one place to another by his friends in order to protect his life, because he would not simply sit by and accept the sin that was evident. What about you friends?

Saturday, 2020-02-08

Bible Reference: Acts 17:15-16
Translation: New Century Version (NCV)

Bible Text: 15 The people leading Paul went with him to Athens. Then they carried a message from Paul back to Silas and Timothy for them to come to him as soon as they could.
16 While Paul was waiting for Silas and Timothy in Athens, he was troubled because he saw that the city was full of idols.

OBSERVATION: Based on your Christian upbringing, your own Christian convictions and your understanding of God’s Word, what is it that really upsets you in what you see happening in our world today? How do you deal with it? What do you do about it? It has always been said that silence indicates consent, or agreement with the masses! I encourage you to read the chapter containing today’s focus verses and note how many times Paul was relocated from one place to another by his friends in order to protect his life, because he would not simply sit by and accept the sin that was evident. What about you friends?

APPLICATION:  Do you run to God for his direction about the sin that you see all around you? Do you often show your opposition to the sin, or do you support those committing the sin? Do you seek God’s help and direction in showing those affected by these things that there is a better way – a way that leads to eternity with Jesus? Paul was convicted that Jesus was the only way, and that sin was sin. So he kept facing opposition from the world, yet in vs 2 we read that Paul went into the synagogue and taught about Jesus; again in vs 10 and yet again in vs 17 we read where he did the same thing after being relocated for his own safety. Would you agree with me that Paul saw a lot going on in these cities that, based on his understanding of God’s Word, he disagreed with? Would you also agree that it is evident that he was not prepared to ‘pass the buck’, but instead willing to put his neck on the line over and over again for what he knew was wrong, and to teach what he knew was right? What about you, my friend, are you willing to follow in Paul’s example? There is no question about whether things are bad enough around us, for daily we hear about the evil going on. We may not see idols everywhere, but friends when we see our friends not interested in worshiping with other believers because of other ‘idols’ in their life, should we not be concerned? ‘Idols’ is something that takes the place of God in our lives. Whenever something else takes priority over our time with God, especially on a continual basis, then I dare say that ‘something’ has become an idol in your life. God has not called us to be judge and jury, but friends it is obvious to see where ‘idols’ pop up in our own lives, and in the lives of our family and friends. It should make us question where our priority is. Like Paul, we must constantly be looking inward to see where our hearts and priorities are, and we must be willing to preach the principles of God to our friends and neighbors. We must not let Satan be the victor in our world, when we are so aware of our loving Savior and all that He sacrificed for such undeserving sinners such as ourselves. I would dare say that not many of us could be found guilty of openly spreading the gospel today, especially in areas where we know that the state has forbidden it, and unfortunately these areas are becoming way too numerous today. Jesus is coming soon friends, we must not let our friends die and go to Hell. We must live our lives in the light of eternity, and witness/teach/preach with the same intensity as Paul did. Where’s your heart dear friend? Trying to please everyone around you, or determined to carry as many as possible to heaven with you. When Jesus comes to take us home with Him, only one thing will matter – ‘is your heart right with God?’. Do you know Him friend? Do all those that you rub shoulders with, know Him? If not, work diligently till Jesus returns to help them find the way.

PRAYER: In the name of Jesus, and for Your glory, I humbly ask that You forgive me of my laxity in being a bold witness of the One who went to the cross to prove His love for me. No other love can compare to the love that You showed just for me, Heavenly Father, and I thank You sincerely for that. Please instill in me the urgency of the hour in which I live, so that I may concentrate my heart, my mind and my witness on the things that really matter – You and Your kingdom. Please touch the hearts of the folk that might meditate on this devotional today, and penetrate their hearts with the same urgency of that which I have pleaded. May we devote ourselves to winning this world for You, is my humble prayer, all for Your sake and Your glory, AMEN!

The Results of Disrespecting God

This is probably a subject that many readers will ignore, because in your own minds you are confident that you never disrespect God! However, just for the challenge, let us pause for a few moments today and see what God may have to say to us through His Word.

Tuesday, 2019-11-05

Bible Reference: 2 Samuel 12:13-14
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 13 Then David said to Nathan, “I have sinned against the Lord.” Nathan said to David, “The Lord will forgive you, even for this sin. You will not die. 14 But you did things that made the Lord’s enemies lose their respect for him, so your new baby son will die.”

OBSERVATION: This is probably a subject that many readers will ignore, because in your own minds you are confident that you never disrespect God! However, just for the challenge, let us pause for a few moments today and see what God may have to say to us through His Word.

APPLICATION: Unless we truly meditate on what Nathan said to David, we could each jump on our high horses and dismiss this warning from God, by convincing ourselves that we never disrespect God. One Bible version states that David gave cause for the enemies of God to mock Him, while yet another version said that he gave reason for the enemies of God to blaspheme God. For those who may not be familiar with this story, we are told that although David used all kinds of secrecy tactics to hide his murder of Uriah, because of his sin with Uriah’s wife. Yet, much to David’s surprise, God directed Nathan to confront David about his sin and to detail the consequences for his sin. But notice that the emphasis of Nathan’s confrontation was not on how much David must have hurt Uriah’s family, or how selfish it was for David – a king who could have gotten anything, or anyone he wanted in the country under his reign – yet he stole Uriah’s wife. Notice how most people in the country probably had no clue that David and Bathsheba had an affair, for David never went to her home – but God knew. Notice how David used his army general to have Uriah killed in battle, and no one would probably have ever known that David was behind the murder – but God knew. But I want you to particularly notice that Nathan’s emphasis in his whole encounter with David was on the point of how his actions affected the image of the God – the very God that David served. Friends, I believe that many things happen in our lives and we do quite well at keeping it hidden from family, friends and the rest of the world. But when we stand in God’s presence and claim that we are what God expects of us, while deep inside there are lingering guilt about actions we have done that is totally opposed to God’s perfect will, should we not ponder what God must be thinking of us? Often, much to our surprise, when our sin occurred, there were probably some who looked on and pondered, ‘so is this what Jesus would do?’ For as a representative of God, our words and our actions remind people of God, or do they? The Word of God says that David’s sin caused those who were enemies of God to disrespect Him even more than they did before. Do you want to stand before God on Judgment Day and be guilty of something like that? Do you want to walk around knowing that you can’t face God each day in all honesty, because you are living in sin? Do you sometimes feel like a wolf in sheep’s clothing? The Word says that those who know my voice will obey my commands. Is that you my friend? Or do you know His voice and still act just like you want to? Please join me in committing to stop disrespecting our Father, and instead, learn to obey His voice and His teaching so that others will see Jesus very clearly in all that we are.

PRAYER: Loving Father, please touch the hearts of Your children today. If we say that we belong to You, please give us the boldness to live like we do. We are as a transparent glass in the the eyes of the world. They need, and they are often looking for the Savior of the world. Oh that they may have to look no further than us, as they share in our lives and watch our character every day. Oh that they may see Christ in me, is my ultimate plea today oh God. Please touch the hearts of each one reading this devotional today that they may also commit afresh to being a bold witness for You dear God. AMEN!

In Overwhelming Appreciation to God

David, a king who had won many victories in battle, helped many who could not help themselves, yet He stood before God Almighty as One who could make him or break him, bless him or curse him. David stood there in awe recognizing that God is no respecter of persons, and that He alone is God. Oh that we might recognize Jesus today because He makes Himself evident in our presence and through our life.

Friday, 2019-11-01

Bible Reference: 2 Samuel 7:18-22
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: 18 Then David went into the Tabernacle and sat before the Lord and prayed, “O Lord God, why have you showered your blessings on such an insignificant person as I am? 19 And now, in addition to everything else, you speak of giving me an eternal dynasty! Such generosity is far beyond any human standard! O Lord God! 20 What can I say? For you know what I am like! 21 You are doing all these things just because you promised to and because you want to! 22 How great you are, Lord God! We have never heard of any other God like you. And there is no other God.

OBSERVATION: David, a king who had won many victories in battle, helped many who could not help themselves, yet He stood before God Almighty as One who could make him or break him, bless him or curse him. David stood there in awe recognizing that God is no respecter of persons, and that He alone is God. Oh that we might recognize Jesus today because He makes Himself evident in our presence and through our life.

APPLICATION: It is a very humbling experience whenever we are recognized by a person in authority over us, or if we found favor in their eyes because of something we did or said. Think of your boss, for example. Imagine if you were at a staff meeting at work and was recognized for something that you may have done – something that you considered as part of your normal job description. And imagine if the owner of the company stood to present the recognition personally? Can you see how David may have felt? Perhaps unworthy, because he only did what he felt instructed by God to do; perhaps humbled, because God could have chosen any other deserving priest or temple worker to bless in awesome ways; perhaps overwhelmed, because God had already blessed him immeasurably in so many unbelievable ways. Friends, I believe that a huge takeaway that should bless our souls in this story today, is that God sees, and He knows our actions, our words, our intent and our very hearts, and He will not let us get away with sin, nor will He fail to recognize and bless us for our faithful obedience to Him. David was a great warrior, but he was also obedient to God and depended on God for all decisions. What about you fellow follower of Christ? Is God convinced that you’re on His side, dependent on His directions, and led by His almighty hand? Have you surrendered your family to Him? Notice where David was also in awe about God’s promise to rule over his family in future generations also? Like David said in verse 22, there is no God like His God. I am convinced of the same, there is no God like my God! How about you, friend? Do you know Him intimately and commune with Him daily? Is God at liberty to live in your life and work through you in every phase of life?

PRAYER: Lord God, who am I that a King should love me enough to die for me, and open the doors of heaven for me? Unworthy though I may feel that I am, praise God that You love me as Your very own son! For no praise of my own, I pray that Your greatness may be seen and recognized through everything that I do or say today and every day until You call me home to glory with You. Please tender the hearts of all those who will read this devotional, so that they too may catch a glimpse of Heaven; their glorious and wonderful Savior; and our soon coming King. You are more wonderful than anything we could ever imagine. May this also be evident through Your precious children today! AMEN!

Who Do You Think You’re Fooling?

It happens all too often. Our actions, and the foolishness coming from our lips, has such an impact on those that we associate with each day, that people are confused and uncertain about where we will spend eternity. For what they are seeing is the fruit of what has been produced from ones filled with love, blessings, and a Christ-like character, or they are hearing the same from you as any other non-believer. As we meditate on this today, let’s concentrate on what the world sees in us.

Monday, 2019-09-09

Bible Reference: Matthew 12:33-37
Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Bible Text:  33 A good tree produces only good fruit, and a bad tree produces bad fruit. You can tell what a tree is like by the fruit it produces. 34 You are a bunch of evil snakes, so how can you say anything good? Your words show what is in your hearts. 35 Good people bring good things out of their hearts, but evil people bring evil things out of their hearts. 36 I promise you that on the Day of Judgment, everyone will have to account for every careless word they have spoken. 37 On that day they will be told that they are either innocent or guilty because of the things they have said.

OBSERVATION: It happens all too often. Our actions, and the foolishness coming from our lips, has such an impact on those that we associate with each day, that people are confused and uncertain about where we will spend eternity. For what they are seeing is the fruit of what has been produced from ones filled with love, blessings, and a Christ-like character, or they are hearing the same from you as any other non-believer. As we meditate on this today, let’s concentrate on what the world sees in us.

APPLICATION:  I am intrigued by the different ways that people act, depending on the audience, and in some cases the location. Think about the church member who acts prim and proper while on church property, yet so different in another setting that their friends hardly recognize them. Far-fetched you might say? Recently I saw an individual who was advertising their faith through the words on the tee shirt they were wearing, yet their actions were those of an unbeliever. It was embarrassing to me, so I can’t imagine what it must have been to God, for He said in His Word that He wants us to be holy, just as He is holy. In fact, He is expecting us to imitate His Son, who came to earth and lived among mankind. Friends I believe that often we must remind ourselves that at one point in our lives we may have done certain actions, or spoken in certain ways, but now that we have God’s Holy Spirit dwelling inside of us, and now that we know about what God expects from us through His written Word, we just don’t live like that anymore. Jesus basically told the Pharisees that what’s inside, is bound to be exposed through the things we say and in the ways that we act. Don’t you know that people we come into contact with are bound to be confused when we proclaim our faith in Christ, yet our actions reflect anything but the love of our Savior? Friends, living life according to God’s instructions in a world led and controlled by Satan, is almost impossible for us to do on our own. We need Jesus each and every day to guide our path and protect our thoughts and words, if we are going to be like Him. At the beginning of each day, consider asking for God’s guidance, direction and power to help you be more like Him during the day, while being so exposed to the things of this world. Then at the end of each day as you reflect on your day, be sure to analyze whether friends may have witnessed enough evidence to find you guilty of being a Christ follower. No one to fool in this evaluation, because God sees and knows all things and He could help you honestly evaluate, and help you rediscover His love and His power to help you live life pleasing to Him. To the unbeliever who would like to partake in this God-directed life, please read the information in my ‘Footnote’ for help in finding Jesus. Alternately, I would be thrilled to tell you more about my Savior, so feel free to contact me.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for the freedoms that You give us. These often get us in trouble, because we often do our own thing instead of begging You for power, grace and mercy to live in a ‘foreign’ land as saints of Your awesome kingdom. We can only succeed in our Christian walk by depending heavily on You to guide us, protect us, and strengthen our will to be more inclined to Your ways. We need You each and every day to help us in this daunting task oh Lord. Please touch the lives of those who may not know you, yet they may stop by to read this devotional. Please draw them unto yourself. I ask all this in the strong and holy name of Jesus, AMEN!

Step Up To The Plate and Tell Your Story!

Saul lived a very dramatic life. He was known for persecuting and killing Christians of his day. However, in our Scripture today we can see where God completely turned this man’s life around. In fact, there was such a change that it involved Saul’s name being changed to Paul in order to identify the drastic change in the man himself. This kind of change may cause some to stay out of the public’s eye, because it would be so challenging for anyone to believe their story. But this was not the case for Paul, for he was overjoyed and wanted the world to know his story!

Tuesday, 2019-05-27

Bible Reference: Acts 22:7-11
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: As I fell to the ground I heard a voice say, ‘Saul, Saul . . . why are you persecuting me?’ “I answered, ‘Who are you, my Lord?’ “He said to me, ‘I am Jesus, the Victorious. I am the one you are persecuting.’ “Those who were with me saw the brilliant light, but they didn’t hear the voice of the one who spoke to me. 10 “So I asked, ‘Lord, what am I to do?’ “And the Lord said to me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told about all that you are destined to do.’ 11 “Because of the dazzling glory of the light, I couldn’t see—I was left blind. So they had to lead me by the hand the rest of the way into Damascus.

OBSERVATION: Saul lived a very dramatic life. He was known for persecuting and killing Christians of his day. However, in our Scripture today we can see where God completely turned this man’s life around. In fact, there was such a change that it involved Saul’s name being changed to Paul in order to identify the drastic change in the man himself. This kind of change may cause some to stay out of the public’s eye, because it would be so challenging for anyone to believe their story. But this was not the case for Paul, for he was overjoyed and wanted the world to know his story!

APPLICATION: There are several miraculous things about this experience shared by Paul:

  • It was Personal – Paul didn’t share a story with the group arresting him about a friend of his, or a story he had read in ancient transcripts, he shared his story;
  • Recognized it was God speaking – Paul’s first response to the voice he heard was “Who are you, Lord?” When God gets our attention, we know that it is divine, holy and very personal;
  • It was transformational – Paul, a persecutor of Christians and a destroyer of churches, immediately recognized it was God, and instead of cursing God, as he had been doing, he asked for further instructions!
  • It was shared without regard to the place or occasion – Paul didn’t wait until he was in the synagogue, or among fellow believers, or until it was church time. In fact, this seemed like a very odd time to share his testimony, but Paul shared his story anyway!

I believe that the whole purpose of Paul sharing his story was: that he not only wanted his captors’ eyes to be opened to the fact that he was a fellow Roman citizen, but also that they might hear, understand and come to know the God that touched, and ministered through, Paul. He was a true evangelist, both in the pulpit and out of it. Like Paul, we have a ‘story’ that we should share with folk. Often in conversations we step up to the plate and tell a story about an incident in our lives that we believe is far greater than anything said so far by anyone else. Imagine the quiet that would fill the room if, in the middle of discussions about sports, or hunting or family, we would jump in and share our story about our conversion? This is basically what happened here! Among all the confusion and excitement of calming the crowds and making an arrest, Paul asked for a moment to share his story. Wow! Friends, God can use us for His glory in any circumstance that He chooses, if we let Him. But it will only be impactful if we share our story for His ultimate glory and not ours. So why don’t we do that more often friend? We need to do this as often as we can, because we have no promise of a future moment with that individual or group that we are meeting with. Don’t be shy or afraid, God will never lead you into a situation that He will not help you through! Allow Him to do His great work through you! Be bold, yet humble in allowing all the praise to flow straight up to your Master and Lord.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, in Your precious and holy name, I come humbly before You to first say thank You for getting my attention back in 1976 and leading me to accept You as Lord of my life. Thankfully, You have since lead me through many situations and given me ample opportunities to share Your saving power with many people. Please forgive me for lost opportunities, and give me wisdom, humility, boldness and power to share my story with many more folk in all walks of life, so that others might see the glow of Your presence in and through me, and subsequently want to also accept You as Lord. Father God, it is only through Your continued grace that the wicked and lost of this earth can come to know a holy and righteous God, so I ask that You touch lives that I interface with today so that in something that I might say or do, You might impact their lives for Your ultimate glory. I ask all this in the name above all names, the King of all kings, Your one and only Son, JESUS. AMEN!