Worthy Of Being A Follower of Christ

This is probably a challenging Scripture to understand, but I believe that God wants us to understand the difference between knowing Christ, and the willingness and commitment of following Him. The disciples were ‘Followers of Jesus Christ’, are you?

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2021-02-04
WRITTEN AT: Avon Park, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 10:37-39
TRANSLATION: New Century Version (NCV)

BIBLE TEXT: 37 “Those who love their father or mother more than they love me are not worthy to be my followers. Those who love their son or daughter more than they love me are not worthy to be my followers. 38 Whoever is not willing to carry the cross and follow me is not worthy of me. 39 Those who try to hold on to their lives will give up true life. Those who give up their lives for me will hold on to true life.

OBSERVATION: This is probably a challenging Scripture to understand, but I believe that God wants us to understand the difference between knowing Christ, and the willingness and commitment of following Him. The disciples were ‘Followers of Jesus Christ’, are you?

APPLICATION: Jesus, being the perfect Son of God, found the perfect illustrations to help us understand His teachings. There are twelve apostles commonly referred to in the New Testament, and there were numerous disciples who followed the teachings of Jesus Christ but never had a personal face-to-face encounter with Him. Christians today may often use the words Christian and Followers of Christ interchangeably, but there is a difference. I may have accepted Jesus Christ as my Savior, but have little desire to follow His example in everyday living or speech. The Bible teaches us that I would still be considered a Christian. My pastor, for example, may have accepted Jesus as Lord, but he may have gone on to also follow the teachings and example of Jesus in his everyday life. He, therefore, is a disciple, or follow of Jesus Christ. Friends, I believe that Jesus wants us to know that if we commit to not only knowing He is Lord, but also commit to follow in His footsteps and in obedience to His teachings, then I believe that we become usable vessels that He will use while we follow. Allow me to give you an example of verse 38. I served under a pastor who asked us to carry a cross with us 24/7 for a week. This was a wooden cross, about 3/4” thick and measured about 10” x 8”. No one checked me into a sanatorium, but there were some serious looks when folk visited my office, or if I had the cross with me when attending a business meeting. That may sound extreme to many readers, but imagine how much gentler that was than us doing some of the extreme things that Jesus did in His ministry while here on earth? That same pastor often chided about a whole family who stayed home from church to care for a mother who came down with a cold! Instead of declining an invitation to join friends at the beach on Sunday, because it is your day of worship, many will use the excuse that it’s the only day they have to do such recreation. Imagine the witness to those friends if we insisted in sticking to our commitment to be in God’s house for every opportunity of worship, because it may be our last opportunity? I feel like we allow our various situations to drive our decisions, rather than our commitment to follow Christ. A visiting relative might cause us to stay home with them, versus us inviting them to join us in our usual commitment to attend church. This is a very tough passage of Scripture, for it tells me that I must decide who has priority in my life. God or my parents? God or my daughter? God or my personal obligations (employment, church, social, etc). For if God is first in our lives, and we have committed to serve Him faithfully until the very end of time, then we will follow Him wherever and whenever He leads us. To whom, or what are you committed, or obligated? I pray that you will join me in striving to follow Jesus every day in every way.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You willingly went to the cross and was mocked, spit upon, tortured, and crucified, even though You had the power to bypass all that and walk away. As Your followers, I believe that we should be ready to say like You did ‘Not my will, Oh Lord, but thine’. Ashamedly I must admit that it is always easier to go along with the crowd, instead of responding in the center of Your will for our lives. Please give us strength and a renewed boldness to stand firm in the powerful name of Jesus Christ, our Savior and our Lord, for all time and until You return to take us home to glory. May others be influenced for Jesus Christ as they see us make decisions and show our commitment to 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!

God is able to Orchestrate Everything For Our Good!

As we approach the end of the year and begin thinking back to all that has taken place in our lives in 2020, unfortunately others may hear us moaning about the ups and downs of COVID or the hardships brought on because of that dreaded virus. However, there could be a much brighter view if we review the year based on our Scripture today. Join me for a time of reflection on the mercies of our awesome God!

Wednesday, 2020-12-27

Bible Reference: Romans 8:27-28
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: 27 Don’t you know that He who pursues and explores the human heart intimately knows the Spirit’s mind because He pleads to God for His saints to align their lives with the will of God? 28 We are confident that God is able to orchestrate everything to work toward something good and beautiful when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan.

OBSERVATION: As we approach the end of the year and begin thinking back to all that has taken place in our lives in 2020, unfortunately others may hear us moaning about the ups and downs of COVID or the hardships brought on because of that dreaded virus. However, there could be a much brighter view if we review the year based on our Scripture today. Join me for a time of reflection on the mercies of our awesome God!

APPLICATION: For some, who may have won the lotto, or been immensely blessed in many ways, it may be easy to reflect on how good God is, and the many ways in which He has blessed. But there are some who may have experienced great life events, that may have involved losing a loved one; or medical challenges that may have almost caused separation from life to death for a precious family member; or losing a house or a car because of devastating financial burdens; or any number of things that you may have wished were more ‘normal’ or in line with others. However, if we look at the year in light of what today’s Scripture is teaching us, how might we answer this question of ‘blessings’ more appropriately, or how might we understand more clearly how God’s hand was right plumb in the middle of our circumstances? Friends, the Word of God says that our Savior is ‘pursuing and exploring our heart’ and petitioning the Father on our behalf that we may stay aligned with His will for our lives. Is it any wonder why we reflect on circumstances and wonder why we chose to take a certain road home in lieu of another, after hearing of the awful accident around the time of our travel home? Or that we chose to go to the hospital for expert medical help, instead of playing doctor and treating our chest pains with aspirin? Or that we chose to share our testimony with our best friend, at a time that God was already working out His salvation plan in her life? Friends, for each of these examples we may easily brush them off as just being something you would have done anyway, or we may call them coincidence or good luck, but please notice again from the Scripture that neither of these words are used – not even in this modern translation of the Bible. There is nothing haphazard about God’s plan, or about His actions in working out His plan in our lives. Remember, we are His workmanship, and for those who have accepted Him as Lord, we are His prized possession on loan only to this world for just a little while longer. So let’s look for, and expect to see His love and His caring touch work through us in miraculous ways. Verse 28 is a commonly recited verse, but I pray that it takes on a more enriched meaning for you as you are reminded of these verses today. I love the way that the Voice has translated the condition in verse 28: ‘when we love Him and accept His invitation to live according to His plan’. So friends, whether you reflect on 2020, or look towards 2021, try creating a sense of accountability with God on whether you could honestly say that you have loved Him sincerely, and you have accepted His plan for your life. Learn to praise Him unconditionally for everything that has transpired in your life, even if something devastated you at the time, because you know that He has worked it out with the Father for your good!

PRAYER: Lord You are so good to us! You amaze us with Your love and Your goodness, so much so that we may tend to question ‘why me Lord?’. Thank You for the lessons taught in these special verses today, for we are reminded of Your unconditional love for us, and how You love us enough that You keep us constantly before the Father, for our good. Help us Lord to keep this awesome reminder in mind, especially when things don’t appear to be going our way. May we be encouraged to share that special love with those that we come into contact with today. AMEN!

Guidance on Asking, Seeking and Knocking

I believe that these verses must be looked at in light of all that Jesus covered in the earlier part of His sermon. In 6:33 Jesus taught that we are to seek the Kingdom of God above everything else, and live righteously, then God will give us what we need. So with that in mind, what do you suppose we would ask for, knowing our inadequacies and shortcomings? What will we seek after, knowing the wide expanse that separates us from the perfection of Christ, and why would we be knocking, but to enter into the presence of the Holy Son of God?

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-11-23
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

Bible Reference: Matthew 7:7–8
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text: 7 “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

OBSERVATION: I believe that these verses must be looked at in light of all that Jesus covered in the earlier part of His sermon. In 6:33 Jesus taught that we are to seek the Kingdom of God above everything else, and live righteously, then God will give us what we need. So with that in mind, what do you suppose we would ask for, knowing our inadequacies and shortcomings? What will we seek after, knowing the wide expanse that separates us from the perfection of Christ, and why would we be knocking, but to enter into the presence of the Holy Son of God?

APPLICATION: We have just observed what God might be saying to us in this Scripture today, but how do we apply this to our everyday life? First of all, are we consistent in our asking? Do we even find time to pray, other than when we are in crisis mode? Our method of asking, or petitioning God is through ‘prayer’, yet most churches will tell you that it’s one of the worst attended services. I much prefer hearing people ask me to pray with them, than for them. For I am assured that they have some ‘skin in the game’ and have merely asked me to join them in prayer. Otherwise if they want me to pray for them, I might think that they don’t have time to pray, even though they know they need prayer, and have therefore asked me to pray for them. Jesus is telling us to ‘ask’, not to have someone ask for us. Jesus is also asking us to keep on asking, keep on seeking and keep on knocking. This tells me that we are to be persistent in doing these things. I once met a young person working at a prominent restaurant, and I asked how they landed the job. Persistence was the word, for they showed restaurant management that they were so interested in the job that they would keep on visiting the establishment, keep on asking for a job, etc. Guess what? He landed the job and looked extremely happy in his job. Now in the teachings of Jesus I believe that we have no doubt as to what we are to ask for or seek after, for we are to be a people who seeks after righteousness and have a deep desire to live like children of the King, therefore we will ask in line with our righteous desires and within the scope of God’s will. When you keep on knocking, you are acknowledging to God that you are once again at His feet pleading His perfect will for your life, with a deep desire to serve Him in complete righteousness. Jesus said that when we do these things, that He will not only hear our prayers, but He will meet our needs. Friends, we have so much that we ask God for, let’s aim at making those requests known to Him for the single purpose of making us, or the person we are praying for, more righteous in God’s sight, and that they, or you, may be drawn closer to God and His kingdom.

PRAYER: Lord, please continue to humble us to always and continuously seek Your face; ask for Your holy and generous hand of mercy and generosity upon our lives, so that we may be worked on and made right with You in every way. Lord, may we be consistent in knocking to ask for an audience with You on a frequent basis. May we be bold enough to join others in prayer so that we may encourage them and help them in their walk with You. Lord, please renew a great work in us today so that we may be more like You in every way, and may this attract the unsaved to desire intimacy with You. We must ask in full alignment with Your will dear Lord, because we acknowledge Your Lordship and Your sovereignty. Thank You precious Lord for accepting me as Your child. May I always live like a child of the King! 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!

What Your Character Should Look Like – Because of God

This is an awesome passage today, in that it tells us what pleases our Father; Some major things that we should strive to avoid in our character; but most importantly, some things that we should be doing that really exemplifies and pleases Christ.

Friday, 2020-01-31

Bible Reference: Ephesians 4:30-32
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: 30 Don’t cause the Holy Spirit sorrow by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who marks you to be present on that day when salvation from sin will be complete. 31 Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ.

OBSERVATION: This is an awesome passage today, in that it tells us what pleases our Father; Some major things that we should strive to avoid in our character; but most importantly, some things that we should be doing that really exemplifies and pleases Christ.

APPLICATION: Many people look at the Bible as a Book of ‘don’ts’ for there is so much that we are told not to do. This could be the case for those who have a guilty conscience for all that they are doing that probably do not please our Maker. For I have found in several cases where, although we are told about our wrong doings, we can also find even stronger teachings on what we should be doing that would please God. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told the Ephesians, and I truly believe that his Words are still echoing to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ today, that there are some things that we do that are so contrary to the will of Christ, that it downright sorrows, or grieves the Holy Spirit. No doubt there are tons of guilty consciences hitting each reader by now, for that same sweet Holy Spirit speaks to us personally about what displeases Him. But let’s have a look at what Paul taught, and let’s particularly draw a parallel between what the Holy Spirit dislikes, vs what pleases God:
* Instead of being mean; bad-tempered; angry; quarreling, using harsh words; and displaying obvious dislike for others….
* Try instead to be kind to each other; tenderhearted; and forgiving one another;

Now, although Paul didn’t say that the first list of characteristics were not of Christ, he did say that the second list – especially forgiveness, was the image, or practice that imitates how God has forgiven us because we belong to Christ. Friends, we must always keep in mind that our natural, sinful selves will lead us towards the characteristics mentioned in the first bullet. A surrendered life, seeking to please the Master – Jesus Christ, will always seek to do the things mentioned in the second bullet. It may be a good idea to keep the two lists posted in a prominent place to remind us when we are acting ungodly and displeasing the Holy Spirit, so that we may quickly seek God’s help to overcome and change our evil ways. Being a child in the Algreen home, caused me to always strive to please my Algreen parents. Being a child of the King of all kings, should always cause you and I to strive towards pleasing Jesus Christ in every aspect of our lives. There’s a song that includes the words ‘they will know us by our love’, meaning that the world will recognize Christians by our love – the love and character of Jesus Christ. How are you perceived by others, Brother and Sister? Is it obvious to whom you belong, based on your actions and characteristics?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You set an awesome example for us to follow. So in reading this passage today, and hearing Paul teach on the characteristics that please the Holy Spirit, we can reflect back on Your Word and see example after example where You demonstrated these characteristics. Although the qualities on the ‘don’t’ list are all ones that You warned about in many of Your teachings, may we use this Scripture as a reminder of what pleases the Holy Spirit, and what grieves Him. Please touch Your children today so that we may make wise decisions in every aspect of our lives, especially in our character. May we please You by obeying Your teachings and Your example. In humbleness of heart and seeking to serve You obediently today, I ask these things in the worthy name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord, AMEN!

Confident In Prayer

David went before the Lord in prayer, not as a stranger, but as one who had already aligned himself with the laws and will of God. Because of this, he went confidently before God, KNOWING that God would answer his prayers. As we turn our thoughts towards the encouraging words by David, let’s meditate on our own personal relationship with the Almighty. We need Him to listen to our heart’s cry every day.

Wednesday, 2020-01-29

Bible Reference: Psalm 17:3-6
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text: You have tested my thoughts and examined my heart in the night.
    You have scrutinized me and found nothing wrong.
    I am determined not to sin in what I say.
I have followed your commands,
    which keep me from following cruel and evil people.
My steps have stayed on your path;
    I have not wavered from following you.
I am praying to you because I know you will answer, O God.
    Bend down and listen as I pray.

OBSERVATION: David went before the Lord in prayer, not as a stranger, but as one who had already aligned himself with the laws and will of God. Because of this, he went confidently before God, KNOWING that God would answer his prayers. As we turn our thoughts towards the encouraging words by David, let’s meditate on our own personal relationship with the Almighty. We need Him to listen to our heart’s cry every day.

APPLICATION: Oh to have the heart, determination and will of David! Too often we barge into conversations with God, demanding our own way and expecting God to respond like a puppet would, to all of our wishes and demands. But what if God truly responded to us exactly in the same way that we think things should go? What an awful mess that would be, friends! I believe our attitude for prayer must be one of honor and gratitude for who God truly is. Then there is Scripture that guides us into the remaining attributes of prayer, for in 2 Chronicles 7:14 we are told that if we are truly known as His children, in fact, if we are called by His name, and if we get off our ‘high horses’ and humble ourselves and pray with every intention and determination to turn from our wicked and sinful ways, then He would hear from the Father and heal us and all those around us (our land). Friends, this is not rocket science, nor is it unreasonable, for which of you will walk up to a total stranger and ask for anything substantial with full confidence that they would reach into their treasury of physical assets and just start handing them over to you? May I suggest to you that although my Savior knows each of us intimately and, while I am convinced that He will hear our cry, I believe that He is wanting most of all to know that our heart is totally in tuned with Him, and that He has the liberty to work freely in our lives. Friends, if you are not seeking God’s face as your own personal Savior and Lord, then no matter what your other needs are today, you must settle the ownership question first – you must be born again – new birth in Jesus Christ. This requires a conversation (prayer) with the Master, where you would surrender yourself to Him, and invite Him to rule and reign in Your life. There is no greater need of mankind today friend, and there is nothing more important, for what if you gained the whole world through your own efforts and finances, but yet have no hope of tomorrow, or a Savior who loves you more than anyone else in this world, and who is looking forward to your arrival in heaven one day. Jesus is the key to heaven friend, know Him and know total peace for today and always. I would be tickled to death to introduce my Lord to you! Drop me a note using the contact information below. I might also suggest that you click on the link below ‘To Know Jesus’ and there you will find scriptural references on what you might do to have eternal life. I look forward to meeting you in the most exciting worship service ever – at the feet of Jesus when we graduate to heaven!! Oh, what a day that will be!!

PRAYER: Lord You are good, and Your mercies are everlasting. You have opened the means of us communicating with You and seeking Your face. You have shown us the way to Your throne and ultimately to the glories of heaven with You and Your Father! What a blessed people we are! Lord, I am concerned about my friends that might read this devotional and brush off the truths of Your Word. There may be some that will seek Your hand for all they may need or want, but who may ignore the fact of first knowing You intimately. Please soften the hearts of the hardened, and please touch the hearts that simply read and choose to ignore a relationship with You. Thank You Lord for being available to us, and for loving us enough to demonstrate it through the sacrifice You made on Calvary. I am eternally thankful, and I desperately want to see all my readers, friends and family accept You as Lord, so that we may one day rejoice together around Your eternal throne. I commend them to You Lord. Thank You dear Lord Jesus! AMEN!

Because of Our Personal Faithfulness, God will….

Some of us may stand proud before God and brag about our faithfulness, while others will stand at a distance with heads lowered in shame because of our lack of commitment and faithfulness to our God. Our Scripture today tells of God’s faithfulness to David and his ancestors that followed, because of David’s commitment and loyalty to His God. Let us reflect on what we anticipate hearing from God, because of our own faithfulness, or lack thereof.

Monday, 2019-12-08

Bible Reference: 1 Kings 15:1-5
Translation: New Century Version (NCV)

Bible Text: Abijam became king of Judah during the eighteenth year Jeroboam son of Nebat was king of Israel. Abijam ruled in Jerusalem for three years. His mother was Maacah daughter of Abishalom. He did all the same sins his father before him had done. Abijam was not faithful to the Lord his God as David, his great-grandfather, had been. Because the Lord loved David, the Lord gave him a kingdom in Jerusalem and allowed him to have a son to be king after him. The Lord also kept Jerusalem safe. David always did what the Lord said was right and obeyed his commands all his life, except the one time when David sinned against Uriah the Hittite.

OBSERVATION: Some of us may stand proud before God and brag about our faithfulness, while others will stand at a distance with heads lowered in shame because of our lack of commitment and faithfulness to our God. Our Scripture today tells of God’s faithfulness to David and his ancestors that followed, because of David’s commitment and loyalty to His God. Let us reflect on what we anticipate hearing from God, because of our own faithfulness, or lack thereof.

APPLICATION: Isn’t it interesting to consider the excuses that we make for missing the mark that we know God has established for us? It might be in the words we speak, where we quickly adapt to the ways and wishes of the crowd, but find it so impossible to try and speak words of Truth taught to us in the Word of God? I will be the first to tell you that I am not good in remembering Bible verses. However. In my grandmother’s last years of life here on earth when her sight diminished, she completed her daily devotional time with God by sharing back with Him, Bible verses that she had memorized over her lifetime. So can we memorize God’s Word? Of course we can! Consider also the things that we memorize from the world. How many jokes can you sit and tell at once time? How many stories from you childhood can you still share with friends? How often do you sit and share what you heard from friends (gossip)! So is it a matter of remembering God’s Word, or is it due to the lack of time that we spend in the Word, compared to the time spent around the television or with the unsaved? And what about our actions? When last have you stood firm for what you learned from God, while you attended a party or a work social? Do friends recognize whose you are, based on your actions inside the four walls of your church AND at all events they might find you at? Remember, just as God knew David’s heart and that David was diligent to obey all of God’s commands in every circumstance of life, except in the case of Bathsheba and Uriah, He also know our every move and the vain words that we frequently utter. David earned the title given by God as ‘a man after God’s own heart’, is that one of the titles God might give to you dear friend? A true reality check is that only God truly knows you (your heart). For you can fool those around you, seeing that they only see your ‘public’ life, but God sees you without any filters being applied. Oh that our God may be able to bless others because of our faithfulness; because of our telling the truth; because of our love for others; because we gave honestly of our income to God and His work; because our actions towards others are a result of all that God blessed us with and not because of selfish reasons or in an effort to attain recognition. God loved us because of who He is. Oh that we may do the same, love others because of who God is! Lay your cares before God today dear friend, and allow Him to have His way in and through you, so that You may serve Him with every good intention that He has in mind for you.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, please help us to do your will and be obedient to Your every command. You laid out a perfect plan for us to follow so that we could look like You, talk like You, love like You and give freely of the gifts that You bless us with so bountifully. May the Words of our mouth, and the meditation of our hearts, be acceptable in Your sight and be a pleasing aroma in Your nostrils precious Lord, so that You may be glorified in all the earth. May others see Jesus today, and not us in all of our weakness and selfish desires. AMEN!

Rejection By God? Really?

I believe that we hear so much about how much God loves us, that it might be challenging for us to imagine that He will tire of our attitude and our rejection of Him. Perhaps this verse is an eye-opener for those who may feel like they could do anything they want, because God will still love them. As we meditate on this one verse today, I pray that our eyes might be opened to God’s true identity and character!

Saturday, 2019-09-28

Bible Reference: Jeremiah 14:10
Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Bible Text:  My people, you love to wander away; you don’t even try to stay close to me. So now I will reject you and punish you for your sins. I, the Lord, have spoken.

OBSERVATION: I believe that we hear so much about how much God loves us, that it might be challenging for us to imagine that He will tire of our attitude and our rejection of Him. Perhaps this verse is an eye-opener for those who may feel like they could do anything they want, because God will still love them. As we meditate on this one verse today, I pray that our eyes might be opened to God’s true identity and character!

APPLICATION:  Unless we know the full extent of our God, we may otherwise assume that He is much like a puppet that our kids play with – He is placed in the corner until we call for Him. It’s interesting that God pointed me to this verse today, because in another Scripture reading today, in 1 Samuel 4-6, the Philistines found out that God was quite capable of showing His power all on His own, and without their commands or intervention! It is so easy to see how God became angry with the Philistines for their disrespect of the Ark of the Covenant, and with the Israelites for their disobedience, and the sons of Eli assuming roles that represented God, but yet they operated in total darkness. However, I believe that God wanted to remind us today that He is still God and that He has, or will tire of our sin and total disregard of Him – the One who sacrificed it all, His only Son, on the cross at Calvary, so that we may live in full hope of eternity with Him. He did not want us to use the excuses of those gone on before us and live in fear of the many laws of Moses, or for that to be a roadblock for us to enter heaven’s gates. The awful thing that I believe that God sees today though, is probably worse than what He saw in His people back in the days of Jeremiah, or Moses, or Eli. For in spite of the extra effort, and tremendous outpouring of His love, yet what God sees today must truly break His heart …….. perhaps even to the point of lifting His hand off us and rejecting our plea before Him. So often we should be praising God in thanksgiving for His divine intervention in our decision making, yet so often we permit the selfish ways of man to influence us, and we step out on that merit instead of faith in God, the creator of this universe. Why has God not given up on us a long time ago? Friends, I don’t believe that I need to spell out the evil that is prevalent in our world today, for we have it happening in our own backyards, and we hear about it every time we watch the evening news. We have many churches that are closing down because of poor attendance. I believe that we have more folk who’s only Christian activity, might be attending a church service over the weekend, if they could fit it into their busy schedules. Imagine if you only ate physical food once per week? Imagine if the only communication you had with your spouse or parents was once per week? There wouldn’t be much of an influence in your life from either of these sources, nor would you have reason to brag on either of these, because they would play such a minimal role in the remaining days and hours of the week. Yet I’m afraid that we have ‘Christians’ who do exactly this, and expecting their lives to be changed by God. Friends, be realistic – one hour per week with God and 167 hours in the heat of evil and the works of Satan. Which do you think will influence our lives more? Who then are we pleasing? Who then are we more apt to reflect in our attitudes and actions? It is extremely frightening to think about rejection by God or the possible fatal judgment of God, because He saw how we totally rejected and ignored Him – His love, His direction, and His awesome gift given for us. On the other hand, we have lots of verses that tell us things like: Draw near to God and He will draw near to us; If my people who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray, I will hear from heaven and….. Friends, know that God loves you very much today. Please don’t reject Him. Please don’t take your relationship with Him lightly. We want to see His eternal blessing on us, and not His rejection and punishment.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You loved me so much that You gave Your very own Son so that I may have eternal life in Your presence. Please forgive me for the times that I take Your love for granted. Please speak to the hearts of my readers so that they too might examine their lives to ensure that they are in close communion with You, and not letting the vile of this old world take prominence in their lives. Please help us all that we may spend the necessary time with You for a happy and healthy relationship with You. Lord, we want to live more like You every day, and we realize that this only comes from spending more time with You than we do with this old world and its master, Satan. I pray that today it may be evident to those that we come into contact with that we have been with the Lord, and their lives might be impacted in such a way that they would either draw closer to You in relationship, or come to accept You as Lord of their life. Have Your way in our lives today Lord, and lead us towards You, for this is my humble prayer that I ask in the name of Jesus Christ, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

The Results of Half-Hearted Commitment

There are consequences for lack of commitment, whether in our homes, our jobs, or in our decision to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Christ. Join me as we meditate on a few examples of this and how God totally used a man who was sold out in his commitment to Him.

Saturday, 2019-09-07

Bible Reference: Joshua 13:13 ; 15:63
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  Joshua 13:13 But the Israelites failed to drive out the people of Geshur and Maacah, so they continue to live among the Israelites to this day.
Joshua 15:63 But the tribe of Judah could not drive out the Jebusites, who lived in the city of Jerusalem, so the Jebusites live there among the people of Judah to this day.

OBSERVATION: There are consequences for lack of commitment, whether in our homes, our jobs, or in our decision to wholeheartedly follow Jesus Christ. Join me as we meditate on a few examples of this and how God totally used a man who was sold out in his commitment to Him.

APPLICATION:  Over the past chapters we read where Joshua and/or Moses were, with the help and direction of God, successful in overcoming a number of territories and their respective kings. I found it odd to read the two verses above where the Israelites were unsuccessful, or perhaps failed, in driving out the Jebusites and the people of Geshur and Maacah. Surely the God they served, and of course the same God that we serve today, is very capable of overcoming all obstacles. In my further study I found where these same people that failed to fully conquer, were the same ones that caused unending difficulties for the Israelites, as recorded in the book of Judges. This sounds like there may have been personal reasons that the Israelites just didn’t push hard enough to really oust these people. This reminds me of ourselves, for there are times that we refuse to seek God’s forgiveness of certain things that we like to hang on to, or His power to truly rid ourselves of certain sins that are either profitable for us, or meaningful to us. Often these little sins that we hold dear to our selfish little hearts are the very same things that come back to bite us and cause us extreme difficulties. I believe that like in the case of Joshua, God is still looking for folk that are totally sold out to Him. Folk that have totally surrendered everything to Him. Folk that have set aside the sinful things of this world, committed themselves, and surrendered themselves to the unadulterated Word of God and have sought to serve Him unconditionally. In fact, the Word of God goes on to substantiate this, for in Joshua 14:9 we are told that Caleb was given special favor with God because he ‘wholeheartedly‘ followed God’s commands. Because God gave up everything for me, yes His one and only Son, so that I might have life eternally and more abundantly, then the least I can do in return is to surrender ALL sin to Him – yes everything that does not align with God’s Word, His will, and His commands. I commit myself anew to serve my King unconditionally, and without compromise. I pray that my readers who are serious about the Lord will consider this same commitment today. For those who have not yet met my Lord personally, I pray that you will read my Footnote carefully, including the hyperlinked Scriptures, and invite Jesus into your heart today. He loves you and He wants to rule and reign in your life today! Friends, there is no room for halfheartedness – oh that we may all be totally sold out to Jesus! There is nothing that this world can offer that compares to Him!

PRAYER: There is only one way that I can be a totally true, unselfish, child of God and overcome daily temptations and sin, and that is to seek Your help O God and look to You in all humility for strength and guidance to live as You would have me live – so that You can truly have a usable vessel through which You can touch others. May others come to know You as Lord, and surrender their all to You. Many need the Lord, and I pray that You will be able to use all of us meditating on this devotional today as we fully place our trust in You. Please forgive me where I have been deliberately selfish and weak and given in to sin. This is unbecoming of a child of Yours and I need Your forgiveness and strength to overcome. May my readers and I live our lives in total surrender and commitment to our Lord, is my humble prayer O Lord! Amen!

God Will Take Care of You!

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

Friday, 2019-08-29

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

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

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

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

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

Trust God and He Will …

Tuesday, 2019-08-27

Bible Reference: Proverbs 3:5-10
Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

Scripture

Bible Text:  Trust the Lord completely; don’t ever trust yourself. In everything you do, put God first, and he will direct you and crown your efforts with success.
7-8 Don’t be conceited, sure of your own wisdom. Instead, trust and reverence the Lord, and turn your back on evil; when you do that, then you will be given renewed health and vitality.
9-10 Honor the Lord by giving him the first part of all your income, and he will fill your barns with wheat and barley and overflow your wine vats with the finest wines.

OBSERVATION: If we are not careful, our world can bombard us with so much stress, that we might wonder at times if it is really worth it all. But then we are reminded in Scriptures like this one today, that life seems impossible when we try to do it alone. We serve an awesome, all powerful God who is ready and willing to answer our cry for oneness with Him. I am convinced that He longs to receive us, love on us and take good care of us until the day He calls us to live eternally with He and the Father. Why not meditate with me today as we analyze and satisfy ourselves as to the power of our God!

APPLICATION:  Like me, I would imagine that, throughout your day there are times when you are overwhelmed as to how you will ever accomplish everything on your agenda, and that you wish you knew what might be happening in the coming days, weeks and years, so that you could make good choices today. Friends, I believe that God has placed the answer to this dilemma right at our fingertips – in these verses today. For I believe that you will see clearly that although we may not have all of the answers, there is a God who does – praise His name for ever and ever! As you read the first two verses, let me remind you of Moses, who had millions of people following him, as God’s messenger and leader. Because He trusted completely in God, when he brought all these folk to the edge of the Jordan River, his ulcers didn’t explode from the stress of what to do next, for he was convinced that if God brought him to this crossroad, then obviously God would see him through, or across the river. These verses declare that when we place our faith and trust in Jesus, He will direct us into right paths and make our journey, or actions successful. Notice that this is not something we need to understand how or when success or answers will come, we are to just trust God and He will… Notice in verses 7-10, there are certain expectation from us, such as: 
* Trust and reverence God;
* Turn our backs on evil – of course the positive equivalent to this is to obey God’s commands;
* Honor God by giving Him the first of our income;
Just remember that God is all powerful and He could bless our health and give us vitality without us feeling like we had anything to do with the formula, but by demanding that we participate in the above simple actions, we learn that God’s goodness is for those who have an interest – those who want it. Similarly with our finances – God could very easily bestow great riches on everyone, but don’t you know that we always abuse anything that is given to us without us have some ‘skin’ in the game? When we give the first of our income, we are not only showing obedience to God, but we are acknowledging that there is nothing more important in our life. It also helps us to recognize that because we are blessed by God to be able to work and provide for our family, the least we could do is give back to Him unconditionally from our financial earnings. In true form to the goodness of our God, He foreknew the temptation of money, so He still threw in a blessing for those that obey this commandment to give. I believe that God’s Word is clear that we will be blessed financially in proportion to what we give. Are you ‘blessed’ financially? Check your giving, perhaps it needs adjusting!

PRAYER: Lord God, You have proven Yourself to us in so many ways, yet we often feel like we could handle this thing called ‘life’ all by ourselves. Please forgive us for our littleness Lord. You are Creator; Master; Lord and the Savior of this world. Thank You for giving us clear instruction of what is expected of us to receive optimal results from You. Please touch our stubborn hearts today and convince us of the need for obedience and faithfulness to You. Lord, we want to benefit from all the great things You have promised to us, but more than that, we are anxious to one day be with You in glory, where we could worship You endlessly. Bless us this day with Your grace and your mercy. Please lead us into total obedience to Your Word, for I ask these things in the gracious and loving name of Jesus, AMEN!