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

Archive for the ‘Works’ Category

No Substitute For Faith

The Holy Bible

For if you are trying to make yourselves right with God by keeping the law, you have been cut off from Christ! You have fallen away from God’s grace. But we who live by the Spirit eagerly wait to receive by faith the righteousness God has promised to us. For when we place our faith in Christ Jesus, there is no benefit in being circumcised or being uncircumcised. What is important is faith expressing itself in love.

(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Galatians 5:4-6)

Thoughts:

Paul found a real challenge among his people where, although the people/his churches accepted his preaching, understood it and followed in accepting Jesus as Lord, yet it was challenging for them to accept this gift of grace without the need and/or support of their old religious practices, such as circumcision. Do we find that happening today in our churches? The challenge I see today friends, is that way too often we become so ‘religious’ or ‘church attendance’ minded, that we lose sight of what God truly did for us at Calvary. In fact, we have so many programs going on at our churches that folk could come in and join us in worship services, then follow into any number of other studies or groups, and before you know it they will be considered ‘one of us’. I’m afraid that folk can easily convince themselves that they are a Christian, because they follow so much of the traditional church programs and practices. In fact, I believe that our very own kids – growing up in a Christian home, attending regular and frequent church services and/or activities, could very well feel like they too are a Christian, without ever encountering Christ through a personal decision and an ongoing relationship with Him. Paul emphasized that anytime we take our eyes off Jesus, and/or co-dependent on anything additional, then essentially our faith in God becomes suspect. Unless we leave this study less than encouraged, I must quickly tell you that I am a strong advocate of the local church. However, if you attend church all of your life and never surrender your life to Jesus Christ and accepted Him as Your Lord and Savior, then your lifetime of church attendance is in vain, because you are destined for eternal damnation in Hell. God has relayed this through His Word very clearly. There is only one way that leads to eternity with Christ. If you are not clear on the time period and place where you made this commitment, then I would encourage you to follow the direction offered in my footnote. I am praying for someone to make this decision today – before it is eternally too late.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I thank You for saving my soul back in 1976. As folk meditate on this devotional today, I pray that they will be prompted by Your Holy Spirit to make any necessary decisions to insure that their lives are in order, should You call them home today. Thank You for making the way available to us! Now my prayer is that no one will ignore the prompting of Your Holy Spirit as You minister to them today. May all the angels in heaven have reason to rejoice today over the one that might make a commitment to follow You, is my humble plea that I ask in the name of Jesus, my Lord, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Too Busy

The Bible – The Message

 Romans 9:30-32

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

 Thoughts:

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

Prayer:

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

 

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

Be One Who Fellowships with Believers

A Quality of a Mature, Reproducing Disciple of Jesus Christ

 

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Hebrews 10:24–25, Ephesians 2:19-22

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

  1. Hebrews 10:24-25 ~ Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.
  2. Ephesians 2:19-22 ~ That’s plain enough, isn’t it? You’re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. You’re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. He’s using us all—irrespective of how we got here—in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now he’s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after day—a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

  1. I see two things in these two verses that speak to my heart this morning:
    1. Motivate One Another – Often we are so busy talking to our friends about someone that I find this idea of ‘Motivating One Another to Acts of Love and Good Works’ to be such an excellent, life-changing idea. Not only will that help me to do something positive and constructive, but it will be extremely difficult for me to backbite, or belittle someone that I am trying hard to motivate in the manner described here.
    2. Encourage One Another – If someone (another disciple) was to come alongside me and encourage/motivate me in a manner described above, especially when I was feeling down and out and out of touch with the body of Christ, I believe that it would get me back on the right track. I believe that one reason the writer chose to recognize the point about neglecting to meet together is because when we are out of fellowship with other Christians, we find it difficult to meet together with them for worship. Instead of us jumping to conclusions about why they are not in church, perhaps if we chose to encourage them and motivate them to a healthy relationship with God and His people then they might see that our hearts are in the right place and that we truly want to see them on fire for God.
  2. Some of us came to Christ from very different, sometimes very opposite backgrounds. In these verses we are taught that God is using us all in building the kingdom. Wow, this is so powerful! When we consider that God is using us, and He is using that brother or sister that we work alongside of in Sunday School, or at Fall Festival or at any function, to fit together into building His temple, why would we not do all within our power to get along with that person, and to motivate that person into love and good works? In our marriage we would do this in order to build a strong and stable marriage, all the more we should be doing this on a daily basis to build a strong and stable kingdom and to show a lost world that we are Christians by our love and good works.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father, this idea of Fellowshipping with Believers (other brothers and sisters who have the same Father – Jesus Christ) has taken on a whole new perspective as I was reminded about the content of these scripture verses. Please help me to dedicate myself daily to motivate my brother and my sister to acts of love and good works, and to encourage them to never neglect the opportunities we have to meet together in Your name. Thank You for reminding me that Your kingdom is much bigger than just me, so it is extremely important that I fit together with all those that have this common purpose and commitment. I acknowledge that I often have a desire to fellowship with other believers, please help me to take that desire to a whole new level as I look more to their needs and to encourage them in their walk for Christ. Father, I want to be just like You, and You were often accused for fellowshipping with those that were sometimes frowned upon by the self proclaimed ‘righteous’ of that day. Please help me to fellowship with any who You would direct me to for love, motivation and encouragement. Please send other disciples to my side, as You often do, to help keep me strong and on the right track for being effective in Your ministry.

Benefits of Worship and Obedience

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Psalm 112

OBSERVATION

Psalm 112:1-9 ~ … The LORD blesses everyone who worships him and gladly obeys his teachings. Their descendants will have great power in the land, because the LORD blesses all who do right. They will get rich and prosper and will always be remembered for their fairness. They will be so kind and merciful and good, that they will be a light in the dark for others who do the right thing. Life will go well for those who freely lend and are honest in business. They won’t ever be troubled, and the kind things they do will never be forgotten. Bad news won’t bother them; they have decided to trust the LORD. They are dependable and not afraid, and they will live to see their enemies defeated. They will always be remembered and greatly praised, because they were kind and freely gave to the poor.

APPLICATION

I have included a lot more scripture verses than usual today because I was so touched by it. God is so moved and blessed by our worship and obedience to Him that He used David to show us that there are many benefits to us:

  • Our children will be given great power, because God blesses all who do right;
  • We will get rich and will prosper and will always be remembered, because of our fairness;
  • We will be so kind, merciful and good, that we will be an example or role model for those who endeavor to do the right thing;
  • As we freely lend and be honest in business, we will see life go well for us;
  • We won’t ever be troubled;
  • The kind things that we do will never be forgotten;
  • Bad news won’t bother us, because we are so determined to trust the Lord in all things;
  • We are dependable (so we should be some of the best employees!);
  • We will not be afraid;
  • We will live to see our enemies defeated (although I hope that we will never have enemies!);
  • We will always be remembered and greatly praised, because we were kind and always freely gave to the poor.

Wow, wow, wow! What more can we ask for? What more can we expect? If you are like me I believe that we will say, “But I just want to worship my Lord and obey His Word”, and we will have the best goal in life, but these verses are placed to let us know that there are definite benefits to doing just that! Now put that in perspective and ask why we would deserve this kind of love and I believe that, like me, you will conclude that it is the grace of God that saves us, not anything that we might do, otherwise we might selfishly boast. God is awesome, let’s devote ourselves to worshipping Him and obeying His commands, and in turn be blessed by Him beyond all that we could imagine or expect!

PRAYER

Father, I am committed to worshipping You and obeying Your Word. I acknowledge that this will require much devotion and commitment from me and much help from You to help me keep my focus and devotion to what You teach in Your Word. I know that I will have to depend on You daily, thank You for being there for me. I am so appreciative that You would love even me to the extent of blessing me in all these ways if only I will do what I am suppose to do. Thank You Jesus!

What It Means To Know God

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Jeremiah 22

OBSERVATION

Jeremiah 22:15-16 ~ ….Your father was satisfied to have food and drink. He did what was right and fair, so everything went well for him. He helped those who were poor and needy, so everything went well for him. That is what it means to know God,” says the Lord.

APPLICATION

I believe that a few wise words of Jeremiah the prophet were placed in God’s Word for the purpose of drawing our attention to what it means to truly know God. These things are:

  • Be satisfied with what we have – God cares so much for even the sparrow, I could only imagine how special we are to Him seeing that He made us in His image and His likeness, and gave us the understanding to know how much He truly cares for us.
  • Do what is right and fair – I believe that God expects us to treat one another with love and respect, just as He does in our case. Jesus taught us through His example that we should call sin, “sin”, but that we should always love the sinner, who is a creation of the Almighty God.
  • Help those who are poor and needy – following this description of Josiah, a king of Judah whose sons were not following in his footsteps, that everything went well for him because he helped the poor and needy. Unfortunately, today so many are trying to grab what they can so they try to take advantage of a giving society and/or government, however there are many who are truly poor and needy living very close to each of us and we must do all we can to do what is important in the little time that God has given to each of us here on this earth, so let’s put aside the evils of this world and try to reach the heart of God, His poor and needy children.

PRAYER

In doing these things I am told in this passage that not only will everything go well for me, but that I will actually be displaying what it means to know God. It is so important that I use my life wisely and to always strive to please God in all that I do. I pray that I will be made very aware of the needs around me, and that I will strive to follow the will of my Master each and every day through:

  • Being satisfied with what I have been, and being blessed with each day;
  • Making every effort to follow the will of God and do what is right and fair in every circumstance; and
  • Helping those who are poor and needy in every way that I can.

In doing these things, others will see and believe that God exists and still works through His servants even today. May others come to know You Lord as You become visible to them through me. Make me a blessing to someone today!

The People God is Pleased With

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Isaiah 66

OBSERVATION

Isaiah 66:1-2 ~ This is what the Lord says: “Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. So do you think you can build a house for me? Do I need a place to rest? My hand made all things. All things are here because I made them,” says the Lord. “These are the people I am pleased with: those who are not proud or stubborn and who fear my word.

APPLICATION

The first part of these verses really caught my attention, because I feel like we are so busy having church, doing things for the church, keeping up the buildings and grounds, and doing, doing, doing, until we often leave out the time that is necessary to study God’s Word and draw close to Him in our personal relationship. While I love the verse in James that speak of faith without works, I believe that God reminded me through His prophet Isaiah in these verses that there is nothing more important than my personal relationship with Him and living my life in a manner that pleases Him. To put this in perspective, I believe that we should surrender our lives to Christ and allow Him to be Lord of our lives. We should then stay in God’s Word so that we may get to know Him better and seek after what it takes to please Him every day. God is the only one that did it right, for He lived a perfect life, therefore we should seek to model our lives after Him. As we come to know Him better, we will automatically be of service to and help others, like He did when He was here in human form. But I believe that we must be extra careful to not let our desire to help others overshadow our constant need for growing more like Jesus every day. His Word is filled with ‘nuggets’ that will show us our human weaknesses and teach us His ways.

PRAYER

Teach me Your ways oh God, so that I may live in harmony with Your will for my life. I pray that while here on this earth You will give me strength and wisdom to live my life in a manner pleasing to You. From Your Word this morning, I realize that I need to be certain that I am humble and therefore not proud or stubborn, and that I will live in the fear of God and in the knowledge and subsequent obedience to Your Word. You are my God, please help me to live like Your son.

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