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

Posts tagged ‘Deliverer’

In Jesus’ Name

Friday, 2019-11-29

Bible Reference: John 16:23-24
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: 23 ….. I tell you the truth, anything you ask of the Father in My name, He will give to you. 24 Until this moment, you have not sought after anything in My name. Ask and you will receive so that you will be filled with joy

OBSERVATION: Even today I believe that commands have more power when we can safely say that we are demanding something at the command of an authoritative figure. But none can compare with the power that Jesus spoke of in these verses we are looking at today. Jesus is assuring His disciples that those who have invited Him to be Lord of their lives – His disciples, can go before God in prayer and ask for anything in Jesus’ name and they would see their joy made complete because they will receive what they ask. Let’s think about this power some more today….

APPLICATION: One might ask why it is not possible for all men/women to ask God for something ‘in the name of Jesus’. I believe we can quickly evaluate this question and reasonably answer this question by saying that our all-knowing God knows exactly what His Son would approve of! I have a good example of this from my working experience. At one point during my working career, there was a manager who always used the name of the owner in order to throw some weight behind what they were asking their employees to do. It was funny to the employees, because after learning the heart of the owner, they knew exactly what may have come directly from the owner, and what may have been added by that manager! To further this thought, imagine if a total stranger decided to ask one of these employees to do something in the name of the owner, do you suppose they would quickly move to obey? The Holy Bible is filled with direct words from our Master, and with the remainder of things that were approved by our Master. So when we look for direction in what to do, we look to the Word of God. When we seek for God’s will on what we should say, we look to God’s Word. To align what we say or do with that of the One we love, adore, and aim to follow and obey, we must look to the Word of God and stay aligned with all that it teaches us. We should daily seek the face of Jesus to teach us, remind us, and direct us in the paths that we should follow. Therefore, when we seek the face of God in prayer, we should not be troubled about requesting things outside the will of God, because we have aligned our lives with everything Jesus taught us through His Life, and through His written Word. When children of God pray, we know that God will hear our prayer that we ask in the name of Jesus. Think about it friends, praying a selfish prayer and from hearts unattached to Jesus, will hit the ceiling, or against brick walls, because God knows full well if they are being asked in the name of His precious Son, or not. So let me encourage you today to know my Jesus. He loved you and I enough to forego the power within Himself, and destroy those attempting to crucify Him. But He went to the cross knowing that it would be through His sacrifice that we might have the means of salvation and access to the Father. This is a very key point my friend, for without asking Jesus into your heart, you cannot pray to God ‘in the name of Jesus‘. For God could easily come back to you and say that you are unqualified to ask such a prayer, since you don’t know His Son. There is great power in the name of Jesus our Lord! Know Him today and know about that power dear friend.

PRAYER: Jesus, the name above all names. Master, Savior, Deliverer and a wonderful Friend to sinners. This is the name in whom I place my faith and my trust, and this is the name in whom I pray today! Oh that You may melt hardened hearts today, oh that You may speak to hearts that have surrendered their allegiance to You, but have chosen to still follow their old earthly master. Lord, I believe that You will return soon to take Your bride home to heaven. May we be found faithful in all that You have commanded of us. May the words of our mouth and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable to You in every way today, my Lord, my Savior and my Rock! 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!

As We SEE Jesus, Let Us Worship Him

Friday, 2019-09-27

Bible Reference: Matthew 28:16-17
Translation: New Living Translation (NIV)

Bible Text:  16 Then the eleven disciples left for Galilee, going to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him—but some of them doubted!

OBSERVATION: I hope that our eyes will be opened to the risen Christ during this devotional today, for we see Him in various ways each and every day. These encounters are way too important for us to brush off as anything else, for I believe God deliberately gets the attention of those seeking Him. As we meditate, let’s be sure to look inward at the opportunities we have to worship our King – the King of all kings!

APPLICATION: In our scripture reference today we see one of many instances where folk saw Jesus, and they bowed and worshiped Him. I acknowledge that this particular instance is so miraculous that it would give reason for anyone to ‘worship’ the Master. Note that Jesus was crucified, died, buried, and three days later He arose from the dead, to now stand in the very presence of His disciples. However, we should acknowledge that we often stand in the presence of the Lord Jesus, but do we always acknowledge Him and/or offer up our sacrifices of praise to Him? Matthew Henry in his commentary on this verse says “All that see the Lord Jesus with an eye of faith, will worship him.” I could almost imagine by now you are dumbfounded as to what I might be getting at here, because although the Lord Jesus stood in the presence of the disciples, you probably can’t remember the last time that He did that to you, right? Dear friends, we are presented with reminders of our Lord Jesus every day and we make personal choices as to what we do with that. If you pick up the precious Word of God and read it, you will be flooded with evidence and overwhelmed by the presence of God as you read about Him, but do you stop to worship Him and acknowledge His greatness? If you walk out of your home and stop complaining about the humidity, or the cold, or the heat long enough to see the beauty of all that God has provided for you to enjoy, you might consider raising your hands in praise to Him for His miraculous touch on everything from the heights of the skies to the beautiful green grass and flowers that you see, to the cattle that produces dairy products and/or beef for your plate. If you enter God’s house of worship and hear the stories of how God has miraculously healed and/or touched His children, you will worship Him knowing that there is still hope for Him to also miraculously help you through your challenges that seem insurmountable to you at times. Friends, it is time for us to stop whining and start praising. It is time for us to stop attributing God’s miracles that occur all around us every day, to happen-chance, or good luck, or any other worldly credit, and truly SEE God and then worship Him in deep sincerity like the disciples exampled for us in this Scripture today. Jesus is still alive and He is looking for opportunities to bless you, if only you will let Him into your world. Won’t you do that today friend?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, thank You for Your presence each and every day. Please forgive us for the times that we find every other reason in the world why something special occurred in our life, before we finally realize that it truly was the God of this universe that stepped in and blessed us. You have provided lots of evidence of your miraculous hand at work in our lives and all around us. Please open our spiritual eyes so that we may SEE Your goodness, Your miracles and Your love that You want so badly for us to accept and envelope. Lord, may we truly learn to worship You in every way, because of all that You place before us as evidence of Your presence. Please also open the eyes of the non-believer today so that they will realize that there is no other explanation for the miracles around them other than the awesome power and greatness of the Almighty God. Lord I pray that our worship and our praise will come naturally, as we recognize the originator of our blessings. Thank You for being so good to us! I ask these things in the gracious and blessed name of Jesus, 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!

God Will Take Care of You!

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!

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!

How To Transform Worry Into Praise

Thursday, 2019-08-29

Bible Reference: Philippians 4:6-7
Translation: The Message (MSG)

Bible Text: 6-7 Don’t fret or worry. Instead of worrying, pray. Let petitions and praises shape your worries into prayers, letting God know your concerns. Before you know it, a sense of God’s wholeness, everything coming together for good, will come and settle you down. It’s wonderful what happens when Christ displaces worry at the center of your life.

OBSERVATION: I believe that God knew full well how His children would worry, when we take our eyes off Him, so He was sure to include these verses today just for us! Let us ponder today over the many times that Jesus touched a life to help restore faith in Him, and to show His awesome love for mankind. Let’s learn to keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, then we will have less to worry about. What a glorious thought to meditate on today!

APPLICATION: I believe there is one thing that we do extremely well, and that is ‘worry’. For we worry about what was said to us, or perhaps what wasn’t said to us. We worry about the look someone gave us, and even worse, if they don’t look at us at all! We worry about what we should say, but we worry even more if we say too much. When our minds are so busy worrying about every little thing in life, we tend to start building our own case about why the world hates us and wants nothing to do with us. I hope that as you meditate on this scripture with me today you will catch a glimpse, or be reminded, of the awesome God that we serve. You see, I am convinced that our God loves us enough that He will patiently wait for us to unload all of our concerns (worries) on Him in prayer. But what I am even more convinced of, is that God loves us enough that He sacrificed His one and only Son, so that He could provide the answer for our forgiveness of sin and our means of entering the gates of heaven to spend eternity with Him. Friends, there are so many things that we are so blessed with, that we should learn to fix our minds on those things, rather than the worries of all that this world will burden us down with. So how do we move from where we are, to where we should be? We are taught in these verses that it’s a matter of prayer and praise. Let’s make it our aim to take our concerns to the Lord in prayer, and let’s look for ways to praise Him for all that we see Him doing in our lives. In doing these things, we are told that we will find relief for those times that we would otherwise just worry, worry, worry. God loves us way too much to see us succumb to the sickness caused by worry.

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for Your endless blessings on us. Thank You for the provisions You made for us and the future that is ours, who have placed our faith and trust in You. It’s a daily thing for us to overlook the temptations Satan will send our way to pull us down emotionally, and make us worry about things that we have no control over. Thank You for the direction You have given to us today in Your Word. Oh that we may be found faithful and true to You dear Lord. Oh that we may learn to worship You and praise You for who You are, even when our personal circumstances seem bleak. We’re Yours dear Lord. Please continue to teach us the right path to truth, hope, love and encouragement, so that we may savor in Your presence all of our days. I ask these things in and through the name of Jesus, my Savior, 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!

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!

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!

Our Part In Preparing For Our Blessing

Thursday, 2019-07-18

Bible Reference: Ezekiel 11:18–21
Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Bible Text:  18 ….. I want you to clear the land of all disgusting idols. 19 Then I will take away your stubbornness and make you eager to be completely faithful to me. You will want to obey me 20 and all my laws and teachings. You will be my people, and I will be your God. 21 But those who worship idols will be punished and get what they deserve. I, the LORD God, have spoken.

OBSERVATION: Our Youth & Families Pastor recently challenged 28 youth to leave their devices at home so that they might truly seek God’s face in very primitive living conditions at a camp, while they worked hard to help the poor in that community. Do you suppose that this gave our youth some uninterrupted time with God? You may quickly respond that you don’t have that problem. May I suggest that you sign up for the next trip with our Pastor? I wonder if this would help us on Wednesday evenings and Sunday mornings and evenings? Read on as we meditate on this Scripture!

APPLICATION:  I have a relative who surrendered his heart to the Lord, and immediately went home and broke up his music records and tapes, and burnt up all of his cigarettes that he had on hand. He felt like these were ‘idols’ that would tempt him back into sin. In our scripture today, there are many Israelites that were scattered away from their home country and God told Ezekiel that He would bless them when they returned, provided that they first clear the land of the idols. This made me think about the idols that may be interfering with our blessing today. I know, we don’t have the huge idols that some people go up to and worship, as if they have power to help them overcome some issue they might be going through. But friends, these chosen verses today really spell out what types of idols may be applicable to us today, for God actually explains to Ezekiel what He will do to actually bring the people more in line with himself. Here are some of the things, with a few ideas from me:
—-Take away stubbornness – Isn’t this brought on by us wanting our own way? Wanting our own will, instead of totally surrendering to the will of a righteous and holy God?
—-Eager to be completely faithful to God – I wonder what all God would need to de-clutter from our lives so that we might be completely faithful to Him? How about things like: televisions; phones; tablets; cars; boats; finances; shopping; etc? Friends, when you stop and think real good about it, God (and the things that tend to draw us closer to God) often takes second place to many other things in our lives, some of which I just gave you as an example.
Isn’t it unfortunate that God really only moves into first place on our priority list, when a need arises that we can’t solve via Google, or that our TV shows really haven’t addressed yet? I realize that all of this probably don’t apply to all of my precious readers, but may I ask you anyway to consider the following: First thing each morning, do you reach for your Bible, or some idol (device)? After getting your cup of coffee or tea, do you stop and get energized for the day mentally through the Word of God, or do you depend on what you are fed from your idol (TV; Mobile Device; Newspaper; etc)? In spite of God’s Word declaring that we should assemble ourselves together for worship and fellowship on our Sabbath, which of your idols tend to interfere with that? God said that He would really bless when we get rid of our ‘idols’. May I encourage you to take a missions trip to a third world country where many of these idols are not readily available and see how this might feel? It’s amazing how we easily find uninterrupted quiet time with the Lord! It can be done friends! Are you ready for your blessing?

PRAYER: Father, You have blessed us beyond measure and I thank You. It is so unfortunate that we are now idolizing the very things that You have blessed us with, and often to the extent that we are excluding You, or at least distracted from all that You have to share with us. Please open our eyes to all that we have allowed ourselves to become, and please help us to become more in love with the One who sacrificed His very own Son so that we might have a way into heaven. Lord, be glorified in us today. Help us to place aside our ‘idols’ for very specialized and personalized time with You. I ask this humbly in the Name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, 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!

God’s Closeness to His Messengers

Thursday, 2019-07-11

Bible Reference: Acts 26:10–11; 13–14
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  10 ….. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.
13 …. as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. 14 We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’

OBSERVATION: I’m sure that it is very challenging for us to read our Scripture verses today, and to imagine that this sort of thing continues even today. But I want us to stop and meditate on whether these verses are truly applicable to us, and how God might speak to us as He attempts to correct our ways.

APPLICATION:  In some translations, the word ‘persecute’ is used several times in the few verses referenced. Here’s what that means: “to treat (someone) cruelly or unfairly especially because of race or religious or political beliefs“. I feel like God opened my eyes and reminded me that when we treat God’s messengers with contempt, then we are actually persecuting the Lord Jesus himself. This reminds me of a loving parent who feels condemned when their child is persecuted or ill-treated. So what is our lesson in this? After all, we don’t go about ‘persecuting’ our religious leaders… Or do we? How often do you hear corners of conversation that tend to chew on the sermon from your last service, or the dress code of the pastor, or the attitude of the worship leader, or the audacity of the pastor to say what he did during his sermon? Is that complimentary of God’s messenger? Is that the precursor to a time of prayer that the group will have for their pastor? I’ve always said that one will get as much from a sermon, as they have prayed into it. Do you feel like we tend to persecute the pastor because God didn’t respond like we expected to our prayers for His messenger who stood in the pulpit? Friends, over in 2 Chronicles 7:14, God said that if we would humble ourselves and pray (not belittle or try to humble the pastor), and if we would seek His face, and if we would turn from our wicked ways, then He would hear from heaven, forgive our sins and restore our land. Notice the personal application there? Nothing about God taking care of all that we feel are inadequate, or who screw up at every opportunity. Friends, I believe that these scriptures are warning us that we have a full-time job doing all that God expects of us, so if we find that we are ‘persecuting’ anyone, then we are meddling, and need to get back to the basics. Take care of self first, then perhaps we will not be near as critical of everyone else. Please don’t shrug this off as being super applicable to all of your friends. Allow God to search your heart and convict you of your sin and shortcomings. I believe you will find that there’s lots there to keep you on your knees for a very long time, including praying for your spiritual leaders.  There just won’t be time enough to persecute others. 

PRAYER: Lord God, You created all things and You are above all things. Thank You for sending messengers, Your angels, to minister to folk like me, even though we tend to persecute the very ones that You send to bless us, love on us and warn us about our sinful ways. Please help us to love these ones, in spite of them not meeting all of our expectations, and in spite of our sinful desire to persecute them. I believe it is obvious that Paul was not the only one that persecuted Christians. Please dear Lord, rest Your hand upon Your children today, beginning with me, and help us to accept Your power and desire to help us succeed in this Christian life, so that we may serve You better and more fully. We are your messengers as well, please encourage us to treat other messengers in the same way that we want to be treated. May Your kingdom come oh Lord, and may we be ready and obedient in every way, every day! AMEN!

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

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