Celebrate Jesus!

As I read this passage I believe that God reminded me of how careful we must be in getting distracted from the Main Thing, just as John was distracted. Notice how John was ready to bow at the feet of the angel and worship him because of all the awesome things he saw and heard around him, in his dream? Now notice how, for us at this very special time of the year, such little attention is given to Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas. Wouldn’t You think that perhaps an angel should stop us in our rush and haste to spend our very last dollar on gifts that has nothing at all to do with Jesus, and remind us of where our attention should be centered?

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-12-25
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Revelation 19:9-10
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: Then the angel said to me, “Write these words: Wonderfully blessed are those who are invited to feast at the wedding celebration of the Lamb!” And then he said to me, “These are the true words of God.”
10 At this I fell facedown at the angel’s feet to worship him, but he stopped me and said, “Don’t do this! For I am only a fellow servant with you and one of your brothers and sisters who cling to what Jesus testifies. Worship God. The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.”[e]

OBSERVATION: As I read this passage I believe that God reminded me of how careful we must be in getting distracted from the Main Thing, just as John was distracted. Notice how John was ready to bow at the feet of the angel and worship him because of all the awesome things he saw and heard around him, in his dream? Now notice how, for us at this very special time of the year, such little attention is given to Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate at Christmas. Wouldn’t You think that perhaps an angel should stop us in our rush and haste to spend our very last dollar on gifts that has nothing at all to do with Jesus, and remind us of where our attention should be centered?

APPLICATION: What if, in the middle of your shopping this Christmas, an angel tapped you on the shoulder and insisted that you return home and stop worrying about what the world promotes around Christmas time? Do doubt over recent weeks you have been frantic in shopping for the best deals, worrying about what you will give this family member or that particular friend who most people find it impossible to please. You probably fought the crowds to purchase food enough for several families, as you think about Christmas dinner for your own family, and you may have even worried about when you might have a small party in these days of social distancing and COVID spread, so that you might look at least equally as good as your friend, who always have great parties at Christmas. But in the middle of one of these activities, suppose you heard a message from God that reminded you of this being the birthday of a KingThe King of all kings. You might be reminded that the Shepherds left their sheep and went as they were, with all that they had while tending sheep, and traveled a long distance at the beckon of a star, to worship this newborn and to recognize the gift that God sent to us that first Christmas. It is at that point that you become real confused, as if an angel stood before you and asked you to explain how, what you are doing correlates with what the Shepherds did. They didn’t worship the host of heavenly angels, because they knew it was about the One whom the angels sang about. They didn’t praise the star for taking them in the right direction, because it took them to the bedside of the newborn King. They didn’t go off course to see if any stores were opened, because they knew that giving of themselves was way more important than anything artificial or bought, that they could take in their hands. The angel stopped John from paying homage to him, because he was like John, a worshipper and a servant. If the angel stopped us and redirected our thoughts towards the reason for the season, Jesus Christ, what do you suppose he might suggest that we do? Perhaps like the Shepherds, give ourselves completely to our Lord? The Shepherds also worshipped the newborn King, perhaps the angel might suggest that we consider putting everything else aside and concentrate on Jesus, worship Him as our King and devote the day to Him? Perhaps our Christmas should revolve around giving of ourselves, and not the things that we purchase to demonstrate how much we care. John was told by the angel that Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. I believe the angel would remind us this holiday season that Jesus is the spirit of Christmas!

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for sending Your Son as a baby, so that we might ultimately have a Savior who would save us of our sin, and redeem us, fit for heaven for all eternity. This may have been a year filled with signs and wonders, but Lord, we need to hear from You again, much like Your messenger spoke to John in our Scripture today. Please help us to keep our eyes fixed on You as we celebrate Your birth. In spite of our sacrifices for gifts that may or may not be of value to those we love, I pray that You will help us to keep our hearts and minds fixed on You, the greatest gift ever given by Your Father to mankind. Happy Birthday Jesus! Please accept my humble gift of myself as a token of my love for my Savior and King. May the hearts of my readers also be touched by You this Christmas, so that You may be lifted up and praised like never before. 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!

His Name

It’s pretty miraculous how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. The prophets foretold; a virgin girl (Mary) was selected by God and approached by angels to conceive the baby; a simple, humble man who was engaged to Mary was approached to play the part of an earthly father to care for his espoused wife Mary; The most humble of people were selected to be the first to visit with baby Jesus – the shepherds. On and on the story went about one miracle after another that resulted in the Savior of the world being brought into the world as man’s Savior. This is what Christmas is all about, friends!

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-12-19
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

Bible Reference: Matthew 1:21-23
Translation: Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 21 She will give birth to a son. You will name him Jesus. Give him that name because he will save his people from their sins.” 22 All this happened to make clear the full meaning of what the Lord said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will be pregnant and will give birth to a son. They will name him Immanuel.” (Immanuel means “God with us.”)

OBSERVATION: It’s pretty miraculous how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. The prophets foretold; a virgin girl (Mary) was selected by God and approached by angels to conceive the baby; a simple, humble man who was engaged to Mary was approached to play the role of an earthly father to care for his espoused wife, Mary; The most humble of people, the shepherds, were selected to be the first to visit with baby Jesus. On and on the story goes, with one miracle after the other, all resulting in the Savior of the world being brought into the world as man’s eternal hope. This is what Christmas is all about, friends!

APPLICATION: As declared in my ‘Observation’, God went to great extents to bring His precious Son into the world, and throughout the Bible we read about all that He did while here on earth, and the whole purpose of His life here on earth. Of course we also know the ultimate reason that Jesus came, because we remember His death every year at Good Friday, and we remember His resurrection at Easter. The big question for each of us as we meditate on the extraordinary names of Jesus is: ’what are we known as?’ To our face, we may be called by our nickname. When our parents are upset with us, they may call us by our full legal name. Based on our habits and our character, we may be known as a thief, or a criminal, or a kind person, or a caring person, a hypocrite, or hopefully a man/woman after God’s own heart. Why all of these names? Because it identifies our character when someone is speaking to a friend and they make reference to us. Notice from the names, that while one name will drive that person away from you, one might interest them in knowing you, or at least speaking with you. Just from the name selected for you! Although folk will easily identify us based on the words we speak and with the tone used, but I pray that the actions they experience with you will convince them of whose you are. May the Jesus, born in a humble stable and lived on earth as the living Son of God, be evident in your character today and every day. Stay closely in tuned with Him through the Word of God and in daily communication (prayer) with Him, so that you may be ‘topped off’ each day with even more of Jesus. Keep it fresh and exciting friend!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I thank You for coming to earth as a baby, so that you would complete the purpose of the Father in providing everlasting hope for us. For there is no other way for us to see the gates of heaven without first accepting You as our Savior. You were introduced to us very early in the Bible, and many of us have accepted You as our Savior and Lord, so that we might celebrate with You one day in heaven! As we are reminded once again this Christmas of the hope that you bring, may we learn to truly celebrate even now, so that one day soon we will be comfortable in celebrating before our Father in heaven. Please touch the hearts of those who have not accepted You as Lord yet. May this be the first Christmas that they will truly be aware of the One whose birthday we celebrate! 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 Gift

As we near Christmas, we might question ourselves on whether we purchased the best gift possible for the one(s) that we love. But what if you were living away from town and all the stores, what might you give for Christmas? Perhaps, like Paul, we should stop and ponder what might be the greatest gift ever given to us! It might help us to stop the complaining about how little we have but instead about how much we are loved.

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-12-18
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Timothy 1:15-17
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 15 How true it is, and how I long that everyone should know it, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—and I was the greatest of them all. 16 But God had mercy on me so that Christ Jesus could use me as an example to show everyone how patient he is with even the worst sinners, so that others will realize that they, too, can have everlasting life. 17 Glory and honor to God forever and ever. He is the King of the ages, the unseen one who never dies; he alone is God, and full of wisdom. Amen.

OBSERVATION: As we near Christmas, we might question ourselves on whether we purchased the best gift possible for the one(s) that we love. But what if you were living away from town and all the stores, what might you give for Christmas? Perhaps, like Paul, we should stop and ponder what might be the greatest gift ever given to us! It might help us to stop the complaining about how little we have but instead about how much we are loved.

APPLICATION: We often think of gifts at Christmas time. Those given and those received over the years. There were some Christmases where we may have been disappointed, because we didn’t receive quite the gift that we expected. But were there years that you received an awesome gift, although you weren’t expecting anything at all? Imagine this for a moment today: Saul had murdered many Christians, and had done everything imaginable to disrupt the work of God through His church. What gift would you give him? No doubt some of the very men and women that Saul persecuted, were hard core workers in the church, and possibly local pastors trying their best to share the love of Jesus Christ with the unsaved. Yet when God was ready to promote the work of His church, He didn’t choose one of the local pastors, but instead, the man that terrorized them and their ministries. Why? Why? Why? I’m sure this must have been asked multiple times while Paul began his earthly ministry under the leadership of the Holy Spirit. But can you imagine how humbled Paul was, to have avoided the pit of Hell for all the evil he committed, and instead be promoted as one of God’s key ministers? It is easy to see that this kind of love came from a level never experienced before. This was a unique love that Paul would have felt; one that the local church would have possibly questioned, but yet marveled at; a love that only God was capable of giving to an opposer of the faith; a love that you and I could look back on and better understand how God also forgave us of our sin; a love that helps us better understand how God could have permitted His only Son to hang on a murderer’s cross and die for the salvation of sinners – those that mankind would have hated or put to death. This expression of love by our awesome God, to someone that seemed so undeserving, should open our hearts and minds this Christmas season and help us to remember that there is no gift that we could give to a loved one, that compares to the tremendous gift given for our salvation, and our ultimate security in knowing that heaven is our final home – with our Savior. So let’s learn from this that instead of being quick to criticize, find fault in, dislike or even hate someone for their actions, that we should be like God in giving the greatest, unexpected gift possible, by seeking ways to forgive them and love them better, and eternally. We may have never murdered, nor fought against Christians, but like Paul, we were steeped in sin and far from God, yet He allowed His Son to die a cruel death so that we may know Him and know about His love for us. Know that you are no better than Saul was – a sinner. Know that God is the same today as He was for Saul/Paul, He loves us enough that He would turn our lives completed around and place us on a track destined for Heaven. Now that’s a ‘GIFT’ my friend! Accept it this Christmas and meet my God!

PRAYER: I am most thankful for the greatest gift ever given, one that is out of this world, and one that will last eternally – thank You Jesus! Paul told us about this gift, and many other Bible scholars have also celebrated this precious gift. It is challenging to imagine that God loved even us so much that He gave His all so that we may live with Him in heaven for all eternity. Thank You Lord for recognizing the value in Paul, and I thank You for looking on us as Your precious sons and daughters, in spite of our ugliness in sin here on earth. I’m forgiven and I praise God for His wonderful mercies and grace towards me. Please Lord, speak again today to my family and friends, especially those who will read this devotional. Draw them unto Yourself and fill them with the eternal hope of being in heaven one day soon with You. 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!

Christmas Gift Ideas

At Christmas time we seem to easily find room in our hearts to be kind to others. In our verses today Paul reminds us of what all God did for us, and how that should lead us to do the same for others. So as we meditate on this today, may it stir up within us many ideas on how we might bless others at Christmas!

Friday, 2020-12-08

Bible Reference: Colossians 3:12-14
Translation: Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 12 God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. 13 Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. 14 Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. 

OBSERVATION: At Christmas time we seem to easily find room in our hearts to be kind to others. In our verses today Paul reminds us of what all God did for us, and how that should lead us to do the same for others. So as we meditate on this today, may it stir up within us many ideas on how we might bless others at Christmas!

APPLICATION: Most children are probably looking forward to Christmas because of the gifts they have asked for, and expect to receive. As adults, Paul has reminded us of the gracious gifts that are ours, in being a child of the most high God! Here are some of the gifts mentioned by Paul: 1). God has made us His holy people – imagine that – steeped in sin and very much a part of Satan’s army, yet when we felt the call on our life by Jesus, and surrendered our life to Him, we were adopted into the sonship of the Most Holy God! That is beyond comprehension, and could only be imagined through faith in the truth of God’s Holy Word; 2). God loves us – ‘Love’ is an awesome word that we use, and even abuse in our lifetime, but it takes on such a special meaning when the holy Son of God loves a child that has been so blatant in sin, and asked for His forgiveness. Oh that we may find it in our hearts to love like that this Christmas! But because of all that God blessed us with, here are some gifts that we may give to others, knowing that He will continue pouring out His gracious love to us: Show mercy towards others; Be kind to others; Be humble towards others; Be gentle to others; Be patient with others; Don’t be angry with others; Forgive others; and LOVE others. Friends, the best news of all about these godly gifts, compared to our usual gift giving, is that there will be no increase in credit card bills whatsoever!  So why not read over this devotional again as Christmas draws closer, and concentrate on all the gody gifts that you can extend to family and friends. Be instrumental in teaching them God’s ways and His teachings through your example this Christmas! Others just may see that you have a heart like that of Jesus, because you showed that you cared for them!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Christmas, and the precious gift of Your Son! Thank You for teaching us about the many precious gifts that You bless us with, and then through your servant Paul, teaching us how we might extend to others the many gifts that You have showered on us. Please help us to make someone’s Christmas special this year, simply by showering them with the character of Your Son, and the godly gifts mentioned in our Scripture today. 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!

Light Up The World

In the Word of God, Jesus was referred to as ‘The Light’. Those who know Jesus and seek to live like He exampled for us, must also live as the ‘Light’ to those around them. Let’s meditate on what this might look like, and whether we are anywhere close to being a ‘Light’ that may guide others.

Tuesday, 2018-12-25

Bible Reference: Matthew 5:14-16
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: “Your lives light up the world. Let others see your light from a distance, for how can you hide a city that stands on a hilltop? And who would light a lamp and then hide it in an obscure place? Instead, it’s placed where everyone in the house can benefit from its light. So don’t hide your light!]Let it shine brightly before others, so that the commendable things you do will shine as light upon them, and then they will give their praise to your Father in heaven.”

OBSERVATION: In the Word of God, Jesus was referred to as ‘The Light’. Those who know Jesus and seek to live like He exampled for us, must also live as the ‘Light’ to those around them. Let’s meditate on what this might look like, and whether we are anywhere close to being a ‘Light’ that may guide others.

APPLICATION: There are so many examples of being a light in this world. In my younger days I owned a boat, and sometimes travelled at night to help a minister return home to the mainland from an island church that he may have ministered at that day. Across the harbor was a light that indicated the location of the dock to which I was traveling. On several occasions that light was out, so you could only imagine what a plunder, and danger, it was to find that dock on a dark, cold night, and avoid hitting other boaters returning from that dock. In similar fashion, the Bible says that we are to follow the example of Jesus and be a light in this ‘dark’ world in which we live. But how exactly may that be accomplish this, you might ask. Friends, I believe that when we are looked upon as true children of God, then others are recognizing the Fruits of the Spirit in us. Until this is achieved, or earned, others will look at us as hypocrites, or in worst shape than they are spiritually. So why do I look at this as ‘Light’ to a lost and fallen world? Let me encourage you to think about traveling down a long dark road. Think about the bumps and bruises you have already suffered from the inability to see where you are going, and what is standing in your way as obstructions. But suddenly you hear a voice calling you to follow them off to the right, however you can’t even see them, or where they are headed. Off to your left you see the form of a person beckoning you to follow them, and they are surrounded by light, and off in the distance you could see a well lit building, that you are convinced they are heading to. I believe that your decision has been made for you, for you are looking for relief from the darkness that has plagued you in your travel. The same is true with our everyday lives, friends. For people of the world, are looking for a way to improve/enhance/brighten their challenging walk here on earth. Why follow off to the right for more of the same? But to follow one on the road to the left (as in my above example), they must have seen evidence in your life that you have been with the Light of the World and that you know where you are going. If you have not experienced The Light, then it is impossible to reflect that light for others to follow. God knew that the world was filled with the darkness of sin, and had no Light form to run to and be guided by, so He sent His Son, Jesus, born as a baby so that we could identify with Him. May we truly be the Light of the World – The Light that represents God Himself, this Christmas and celebrate it like never before. For Jesus, the Light of the World, was miraculously born with every intention of saving us from the darkness of sin, and opening the gates of heaven for all who believe in Him, to rule and reign in our lives. Merry Christmas friends! Go now and be a LIGHT to the world!

PRAYER: Light brought into a dark room spells ‘Relief’ and saves us from hurting ourselves because of the absence of light. Thank You Father for rescuing us from the darkness of sin in this old wicked world, by sending us the ‘LIGHT’ needed to overcome darkness/sin. Because of that Light, we can now boast of eternal life with the Creator of this universe – with God, the Father; God, the Son; and God, the Holy Spirit. Now oh Lord, may we go and be Light to all those around us who walk in darkness. May they see Your beauty, Your glory and Your everlasting peace, in every aspect of our lives who claim You as Lord. AMEN!

Lives Filled With Good Works

God sent us His precious, one and only Son, to show us what good works He would demonstrate to us while here on earth. He then gave each of us opportunity to accept Jesus as our Lord, and to become His ‘sheep’, who would look to their leader for leadership and mentorship. As His sons and daughters, we too have been created for good works that our Master has prepared just for us. Let us contemplate those good works and how we might respond to the work God has laid out for us!

Saturday, 2018-12-22

Bible Reference: Ephesians 2:10
Translation: GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

Bible Text:  10 God has made us what we are. He has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has prepared for us to do.

OBSERVATION: God sent us His precious, one and only Son, to show us what good works He would demonstrate to us while here on earth. He then gave each of us opportunity to accept Jesus as our Lord, and to become His ‘sheep’, who would look to their leader for leadership and mentorship. As His sons and daughters, we too have been created for good works that our Master has prepared just for us. Let us contemplate those good works and how we might respond to the work God has laid out for us!

APPLICATION: Christmas would not be merry if we didn’t, or don’t, know the end of the story. In like manner, our efforts to be kind, loving, supportive, and God-like, would be of no value unless we stop to reflect on: all that God has already done for us; all that He has promised to us while here on earth; and the home He has prepared for us in Glory! Friends, as we reflect on the miracles of Jesus Christ, and as we reflect on the many times that He has answered our prayers, even though so unworthy of His mighty works, who are we to go into this Christmas season expecting anything, or thinking that we deserve anything? You know, when we consider all the ‘gifts’ given to us, especially this year, could we not turn this Christmas into a second Thanksgiving Day this year? However, notice again what our focal verse says. It reveals what God expects from us, for it says that He expects us to live life in a state of readiness to do the good works that He has already prepared for us. Now let me say that I don’t believe that you will awaken each day and find your list of God-things to do on your kitchen counter. Rather, I believe that your surrendered life will be led by the One you have surrendered to, and that He will lead you into circumstances where you will just open the flood gates of heaven, and allow God to become real in the lives of those you encounter. Not sure about you friend, but there is no way that I could prepare my daily schedule knowing full well who I will encounter and what their needs might be. So I am convinced that our relationship with Jesus Christ must be one of trust and dependence on Him. In fact, we might start each day with the words of an old chorus: ‘wherever You lead, I’ll go’, because unless we are led by Him, we will wind up getting together with friends to jive around and chat about things of mutual interest; unless we are led by our Lord, we will mix with those who tickle our fancies, and bless us in some way. It is so important for us to remember that if God has already prepared the things for us to do, then we must look to Him for His orders, His direction and His leadership. I believe that each of our families will be blessed beyond measure this Christmas, if we are obedient to the things already planned for us by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Oh that He may rule and reign in us, and through us, this Christmas!

PRAYER: Lord God, please show me what You have ordained for me to do over the next few days, and please give me the humility, strength, wisdom and desire to be obedient to Your will. I believe that I can safely say that my readers and I would like nothing more than to humbly obey Your will for our lives. Please tender our hearts and make us especially sensitive to Your direction as we seek to be Your hands and feet in the lives of others this Christmas. May it be obvious to those we come into contact with, that the baby we especially honor this time of the year, is also the King who rules all other kings, and Lord of all who seek to know Him more intimately. AMEN!

Ultimate Obedience

All the characters in the Christmas story are just outstanding, but let’s focus on Joseph today. Like any of us, Joseph was able to think of many reasons why he should not follow through with his betrothal to Mary, but in an awesome act of faith, Joseph followed through in obedience to the message from God through the angel. Let us place ourselves in Joseph’s shoes and ponder what we might do in a similar circumstance, considering our current level of faith!

Friday, 2018-12-21

Bible Reference: Matthew 1:20-25
Translation: The Voice Translation (Voice)

Bible Text: 20 Now when Joseph had decided to act on his instincts, a messenger of the Lord came to him in a dream. Messenger of the Lord said: Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to wed Mary and bring her into your home and family as your wife. She did not sneak off and sleep with someone else—rather, she conceived the baby she now carries through the miraculous wonder-working of the Holy Spirit. 21 She will have a son, and you will name Him Jesus, which means “the Lord saves,” because this Jesus is the person who will save all of His people from sin.
24 Joseph woke up from his dream and did exactly what the messenger had told him to do: he married Mary and brought her into his home as his wife 25 (though he did not consummate their marriage until after her son was born). And when the baby was born, Joseph named Him Jesus, Savior.

OBSERVATION: All the characters in the Christmas story are just outstanding, but let’s focus on Joseph today. Like any of us, Joseph was able to think of many reasons why he should not follow through with his betrothal to Mary, but in an awesome act of faith, Joseph followed through in obedience to the message from God through the angel. Let us place ourselves in Joseph’s shoes and ponder what we might do in a similar circumstance, considering our current level of faith!

APPLICATION:  Kids learn at a very early age that if you really want to get to another kid, just mention something bad about their mom. As adults we become very tender anytime we hear something derogatory about almost any close relative, whether spouse; child; sibling or parents. So as I meditated on this very common passage of scripture that we hear almost every Christmas, I tried to imagine what Joseph must have been thinking when, in spite of him having no sexual relations with Mary, yet he found that the woman he was about to marry was already pregnant. I’m sure his mind must have travelled along the road of infidelity on Mary’s part, and the mockery that he would receive from family and friends. Like us, Joseph had already made plans in his mind how he was going to handle the break-off of the engagement so that there would not be a negative impact on Mary. However, I believe that as Joseph pondered these things in his heart, he must have really been hoping that there would be some miraculous explanation about this whole earth-shattering event in his life, for I believe that love is just that way, it hears bad things, but expects clarification to help an individual make good on his/her commitment to one another. But here comes the kicker, hope came in a very unexpected, and yes, miraculous way, for an angel appeared to Joseph as he slept and dreamed. However the message was very clear. In fact, so much so, that there is no doubt expressed in the Word of God! Joseph simply followed the instructions given to him by the angel. He married his awesome bride, and from every indication, he took care of her as if the baby was his very own flesh and blood. This is an awesome story of obedience to the Holy Spirit, friends. Yes, we can surmise what may have happened if Joseph decided to ignore God, but I sincerely believe that God works very much the same today. When he speaks to us, there is often doubting on our part, or trying to conjure up a plan to escape His plan, but since we are His servants, who should be constantly asking for His guidance and understanding of His will for our lives, we should carefully listen. Therefore, when it becomes evident to us, we simply obey and thank God for it. The obedience of Mary and Joseph led to the fulfilment of prophecy, and to being used by God to birth into this world the Savior, who would ultimately prove to be the very Son of God and redeemer of all who trust Him as their Lord and Savior. Friends, the obedience talked about here led to something BIG, I mean HUGE! Imagine what miracles can be wrought through you and me if only we will humble ourselves in obedience to the King of kings! We may look at the challenges of reaching our family and friends for the Lord as virtually impossible in our eyes, but compared to the miracle of a virgin girl becoming conceived without sexual relations by a man makes our challenges somewhat lame in comparison. Being led by God to witness to, and encourage, a lost friend may sound impossible to us because we are so convinced that we know the negativity of the person so well, but the same God who got through to Joseph, can also redirect our doubtful minds and lead us and the friend we are directed to, towards total obedience. Are you prepared to imitate the obedience and faith of Joseph this Christmas? God has a plan, and you and I could very well be in the very middle of it, if only we will surrender our will to the Master.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, You are truly in control of this whole universe, and especially in control of Your children seeking Your will for their very next move. As in the case of Joseph, I pray that we will look beyond the possibilities of our natural eyes, and instead rest our very selves at the control of our Savior during this time of the year when most folk stop to reflect on the newborn Christ-child as being the very meaning and reason for Christmas. Lord, may joy bells ring out loudly this Christmas as our family and friends find peace in the grace and power of the new-born King, Jesus, our Lord and the Savior of the world! AMEN!

A Gift You Should Give Your Children

Christmas seems to be all about gift giving, in remembrance of the greatest GIFT ever given for us – our Lord Jesus! But ‘gifts’ come in many forms, and today we want to meditate on the greatest gift that we could pass on to our children, or to those who know us. Come, meditate with me as we look into the Word of God.

Friday, 2018-12-14

Bible Reference: Isaiah 38:18-19
Translation: Amplified Bible (AMP)

Bible Text: 18 “For Sheol cannot praise or thank You, Death cannot praise You and rejoice in You; Those who go down to the pit cannot hope for Your faithfulness. 19 “It is the living who give praise and thanks to You, as I do today; A father tells his sons about Your faithfulness.

OBSERVATION: Christmas seems to be all about gift giving, in remembrance of the greatest GIFT ever given for us – our Lord Jesus! But ‘gifts’ come in many forms, and today we want to meditate on the greatest gift that we could pass on to our children, or to those who know us. Come, meditate with me as we look into the Word of God.

APPLICATION: With Christmas quickly approaching, I believe that most of us are probably trying to narrow down what we will possibly give that child of ours, who seems to have everything already. No doubt there are others that we are just as concerned about getting just the right gift for as well, and we will often go into debt just to get the right gift that they might appreciate. But wait just a minute friend. Can you remember the best gift you ever received from a grandparent? How about a parent, or spouse or child of yours? I can think of certain acts of love; certain words of praise; certain very special family times, like the night dad told his kids about the call of God on his life that led to his salvation that day; certain family times of Bible reading; certain times that, as a family, we called on God for healing for each other, like when my dad was being treated for ulcers, when in fact he had experienced a heart attack. Friends, our Scripture is telling us that we may no longer hear about these things from grandma or grandpa, or dad, because just as declared in verse 18 above, they may have passed on from this world. So how then will our children know these things? Let me suggest that we make some family traditions of our own. I don’t believe that we would spoil the ‘fun’ times of what our kids have found in Christmas trees, gifts, santa claus, and the likes of a worldly Christmas, but in verse 19 we are being counseled to share our ‘God’ experiences with our children. I trust that we all will make time to share with each other during our Christmas celebrations this year.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You have been so gracious to us;  so loving; so kind; so forgiving; and such a provider of glorious gifts that creates a sense of anxious expectation about Your return to take us up to glory! Lord, please give us opportunity to share these gifts with our family this Christmas, and oh that we may have opportunities to also share Your love with others that we come into contact with. This may be the greatest gift we give this Christmas, and it may be more special to the recipient than anything they will find under the tree. Make us bold in our approach, but humble and loving as we remind ourselves of our unworthiness before such a righteous and awesome God. Blessed be the name of the Lord! AMEN!

Trust That God is With Us This Christmas

We can’t expect God to bless us, protect us, heal us or provide for us, if we don’t trust Him or believe fully in Him! Let’s meditate on this today as we contend with the busyness of Christmas and prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s birth!

Tuesday, 2018-12-11

Bible Reference: Isaiah 7:9-16
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: Samaria is the capital of Ephraim alone, and King Pekah’s power will not increase. You don’t believe me? If you want me to protect you, you must learn to believe what I say.” 10 Not long after this, the Lord sent this further message to King Ahaz: 11 “Ask me for a sign, Ahaz, to prove that I will indeed crush your enemies as I have said. Ask anything you like, in heaven or on earth.” 12 But the king refused. “No,” he said, “I’ll not bother the Lord with anything like that.” 13 Then Isaiah said: O House of David, you aren’t satisfied to exhaust my patience; you exhaust the Lord’s as well! 14 All right then, the Lord himself will choose the signa child shall be born to a virgin! And she shall call him Immanuel (meaning, “God is with us”). 15-16 By the time this child is weaned and knows right from wrong, the two kings you fear so much—the kings of Israel and Syria – will both be dead.

OBSERVATION: We can’t expect God to bless us, protect us, heal us or provide for us, if we don’t trust Him or believe fully in Him! Let’s meditate on this today as we contend with the busyness of Christmas and prepare our hearts for the celebration of Christ’s birth!

APPLICATION: Verse 14 is a verse that we hear used a lot around Christmas time in Christian circles, but as represented in other recent devotionals, I believe it is so important for us individually to take time and read the whole context from which these popular verses are found. Today’s scripture is a wonderful example. Like us, King Ahaz thought that some things were just too trivial to bother God with, even though it was God Himself who told Ahaz to test Him. I love what the Lord said to Ahaz in the latter part of verse 9, and I know that it very much applies to me and very possibly also applies to you. In my own words, and based on my understanding, I believe that God said to Ahaz, and is saying to us: How do you expect me to protect you, or, how do you expect me to heal you or bless you, if you don’t learn to believe in, and trust me? Friends, there is so much truth in those powerful words by the Master! Will our child ever release themselves from a high wall and jump into our arms, if they have not learned to trust us? I don’t think so! In my hyperlink to today’s scripture, I included the whole chapter, because I want you to take time to read and understand that God had given Ahaz comfort in knowing that He would take care of the opposing leaders, and He even wanted to give him a timeline that it would occur. However, God knew that Ahaz doubted what he was told, so He told Ahaz to test Him just to gain trust in knowing that He is true to His word. The timing of this event then allowed God to elaborate on the miraculous birth of His Son, Jesus. Friends, once again we are assured that our Father has a plan for His children, just like He had for Ahaz. However, we must know Him so well that we are willing to trust Him and believe what He says to us through His Word; through visions; and through His mighty warriors who deliver His messages to us each week. Wouldn’t it be ‘MERRY’, if this Christmas this concept might ‘click’ in our minds and cause us to totally place our faith and our trust in our Savior? We can’t expect God to bless us and protect us if we don’t trust Him or believe fully in Him!

PRAYER: Your Word never ceases to amaze me Oh God! To read the context from which we have traditionally heard parts of the Christmas story, and still find new truths that really speak to our hearts, we can only say ‘Wow’ what a Savior! What an awesome God! Lord Jesus, we just want to worship You, praise You and honor Your blessed name for the key role You have played in our plan of salvation. God had a plan to comfort king Ahaz, and I am convinced that His plan to comfort, protect and save us, is even more awesome! Thank you Heavenly Father! Please continue to open our hearts and fill us with Your grace and Your awesome love that You have shown to us, so that we may, in turn, be a blessing to others in every way possible this Christmas season and throughout each day of the upcoming New Year. With every fiber of our being, we again say ‘thank You Father’ for Your amazing love to us in so many ways! AMEN!

Reflect His Caring Heart

At Christmas time we seem to easily find room in our hearts to be kind to others. In our verses today Paul reminds us of what all God did for us, and how that should lead us to do the same for others. So as we meditate on this today, may it stir up within us many ideas on how we might bless others at Christmas!

Friday, 2018-12-07

Bible Reference: Colossians 3:12-14
Translation: Easy-To-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 12 God has chosen you and made you his holy people. He loves you. So your new life should be like this: Show mercy to others. Be kind, humble, gentle, and patient. 13 Don’t be angry with each other, but forgive each other. If you feel someone has wronged you, forgive them. Forgive others because the Lord forgave you. 14 Together with these things, the most important part of your new life is to love each other. Love is what holds everything together in perfect unity. 

OBSERVATION: At Christmas time we seem to easily find room in our hearts to be kind to others. In our verses today Paul reminds us of what all God did for us, and how that should lead us to do the same for others. So as we meditate on this today, may it stir up within us many ideas on how we might bless others at Christmas!

APPLICATION: Most children are probably looking forward to Christmas because of the gifts they have asked for, and expect to receive. As adults, Paul has reminded us of the gracious gifts that are ours, in being a child of the most high God! Here are some of the gifts mentioned by Paul: 1). God has made us His holy people – imagine that – steeped in sin and very much a part of Satan’s army, yet when we felt the call on our life by Jesus, and surrendered our life to Him, we were adopted into the sonship of the Most Holy God! That is beyond comprehension, and could only be imagined through faith in the truth of God’s Holy Word; 2). God loves us – ‘Love’ is an awesome word that we use, and even abuse in our lifetime, but it takes on such a special meaning when the holy Son of God loves a child that has been so blatant in sin, and asked for His forgiveness. Oh that we may find it in our hearts to love like that this Christmas! But here are some gifts that we may give to others, in return for His gracious love to us: Show mercy towards others; Be kind to others; Be humble towards others; Be gentle to others; Be patient with others; Don’t be angry with others; Forgive others; and LOVE others. Friends, the best news of all about these godly gifts, is that there will be no increase in credit card bills whatsoever!  So why not read over this devotional again as Christmas draws closer, and concentrate on all the gody gifts that you can extend to family and friends. Be instrumental in teaching them God’s ways and His teachings through your example this Christmas! Others may just see that you have a heart like that of Jesus, because you care for others!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Christmas! Thank You for teaching us about the many precious gifts that You bless us with, and through your servant Paul, teaching us how we might extend to others the many gifts that You have showered on us. Please help us to make someone’s Christmas special this year, by showering them with the character of Your Son, and the godly gifts mentioned above. AMEN!