Warning – Difficult Times Ahead

If you rushed to read this devotional because you were hoping that suddenly I am a prophet and could therefore tell you what lies ahead for each of us, then you might be right, yet wrong in some ways! However, our Scripture today had such a profound impact on me, that I wanted to make sure and share with you what Paul foretold when he was directing his son in the ministry, Timothy. You see, much like Timothy may have felt like he was dealing with very challenging people, even though this was the local church, this actually compares pretty accurately with the local church today. Meditate further with me on this scripture, dear friends!

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2020-09-10
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Timothy 3:1-5
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT:  1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

OBSERVATION: If you rushed to read this devotional because you were hoping that suddenly I am a prophet and could therefore tell you what lies ahead for each of us, then you might be right, yet wrong in some ways! However, our Scripture today had such a profound impact on me, that I wanted to make sure and share with you what Paul foretold when he was directing his son in the ministry, Timothy. You see, much like Timothy may have felt like he was dealing with very challenging people, even though this was the local church, this actually compares pretty accurately with the local church today. Meditate further with me on this scripture, dear friends!

APPLICATION: Just as we may think that we’ve heard way too much about the crimes that are taking place today, and the attitudes we either hear about or experience, unfortunately there were similar situations that took place back in Bible days. Young Timothy was thrown into a situation where Paul came to his rescue to open his eyes to what he might expect in the church, and from church folk. The descriptions might cause you to cringe, but Paul basically told Timothy, brace yourself young man, for as the Day of the Lord draws near, things will only worsen. As I recently shared with you, many of the signs foretold by the prophets and in Revelation, have either occurred already, or they are in process. This means that the time of the return of our Lord and Savior is drawing nigh. This means that one day soon, each of us will stand before the King of kings and will answer Him on why He should allow us into His kingdom. Friends, we are seeing in our Scripture today that it really describes what we are seeing all around the world today. The same attitudes, the same actions, the hatred, disregard for parents and authority, etc, etc. Under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, Paul told Timothy that these things will occur in the last days – the last days that Christians remain on earth. In my last job, we would call these things ‘red flags’, meaning indicators, that Jesus is coming soon. What could you do to help prepare yourself, your loved ones and those in your circle of influence? I’m not so sure that there is anything you could do to rehabilitate those you know so that they won’t do and say the things mentioned by Paul. For you see, I believe the underlying problem points to an inward problem. In each of these verses, and especially in verse 5, the message is clear that we are seeing folk with multiple personalities. When at church, they try to act godly. When at work, they need to impress the boss and his greed, so they are willing to act like a criminal in order to help him succeed. When at the club, they need to be as good as the popular star who dances with everyone and drinks at least as much as the top man there. So when we look at the same person acting in each of the various ways like I just explained, why would a sinner see the need for being a saint? Our message for today is a reminder that perilous times are ahead. Know Christ in all of His glory, and live like He instructed us to, and showed us while here on earth with us. This is what drew us to the cross in the first place, so be conscious of those without Christ, who are looking for examples of Jesus Christ here on earth. They want to see if this Christianity thing actually has any credit, and is worth following its principles. Let them see Jesus in you precious friend. Hopefully it might impress upon them that if we could do it, so could they, with God’s help and because of Jesus!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we might ask how can it get any worse, because of the awful things that we are seeing happen all around the world today. But You have given Your servant Paul information that seem to be impacting us already, with warnings that the times ahead will only get worse. Lord, we know that You will return to take Your bride, the church, home to glory with you, so I believe that my readers and I are excited to see that happen sooner, rather than later. Many of these things mentioned by Paul are already happening, so I believe that is confirmation that your return is very near. Please soften the heart of each one reading this devotional. May we all be ready, even if You returned today. Oh that we may see Jesus in all of Your glory. 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 encourage you to visit my home church, 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!

Sensitive To Giving Comfort

May I encourage you to get your spiritual ‘Nuggets’ to start your day off right? Probably one of the more challenging things we face, is trying to comfort someone who is really hurting. Here is an idea that you may never have thought of – straight from the Word of God! Try to read the whole devotional, and look for your blessing, friend!………

Today’s Scripture: “Three of Job’s friends heard of all the trouble that had fallen on him. Each traveled from his own country—Eliphaz from Teman, Bildad from Shuhah, Zophar from Naamath—and went together to Job to keep him company and comfort him. When they first caught sight of him, they couldn’t believe what they saw—they hardly recognized him! They cried out in lament, ripped their robes, and dumped dirt on their heads as a sign of their grief. Then they sat with him on the ground. Seven days and nights they sat there without saying a word. They could see how rotten he felt, how deeply he was suffering.”
‭‭Job‬ ‭2:11-13‬ ‭MSG‬‬    http://bible.com/97/job.2.11-13.msg

My Take Away: In a recent study I shared with you how Job’s wife tried to comfort Him by telling him to curse the God who brought so much trouble on him. Of course we know that Job absolutely refused to turn his back on his God. In this scripture today I found a few things very interesting:

  1. Unless we are careful in reading this scripture, we may think that Job’s friends must have picked up their cell phones and collaborated on the best time for their visit, right?!!! Well, in all seriousness, we know that was not the case! So for these guys to leave their homes in various parts of the country, don’t you suppose that this was a part of God’s plan to bring this concerted comfort to His humble servant in his time of need? Our application: This should bring comfort to us, because we must believe that the God of Job – our Heavenly Father, our God, will also do the same for us in our times of desperation and need;
  2. The hearts of these three friends were so sensitive to the needs of Job, that they saw his desperation from a distance and was immediately impacted in deep empathy for their friend. Our application: I feel like we are way too distracted in thinking about our own struggles, and what scenario in our life could top the circumstances of the friend who is sharing, or about to share his or her needs or struggles with us. We have to learn to be good listeners, without worrying about whether we might have a good answer or solution for our friend, or the need to share our needs with them so they won’t feel alone in their struggles. A friend will listen and even repeat what they thought they heard, so that the friend in need would know that you are taking in everything they are saying.
  3. The friends joined Job where he was at – on the ground, and just sat there with him – quiet – for one…. two….. three…. four…. five….. six….. seven whole days in total silence. Our application: When we say to a friend that we will stop by and visit to help bring comfort to them, how long are we prepared to visit? Can we possibly keep our sanity for seven days in total silence with three other wonderful friends around us? What about our digital devices? If we value the quality of quiet time with a friend in need, surely we won’t be rude enough to sit in their presence on our cell phone or tablet, right? Isn’t this something to think about friend?

So I believe the challenge for us today from these Words of truth, is to stop and think about those in need of comfort, and to not shrug off our responsibility, or calling, to be there for them but to allow the Holy Spirit to direct us as we visit. It may be through an encouraging word that we bring comfort to a friend, or it may just be our presence, without any words at all. Either way, we are expressing our desire to be there for our friend, and being obedient to God in saying only what He ordains.

Prayer: Father, I believe that each reader will recognize that they have been on both sides of this scenario at one time or another in their life. Please help us as a patient, or person in need, to welcome friends when we would rather just be alone, for often God has seen our need and sent some friends over to encourage us. As a visitor, please help us to stop finding excuses and actually go out and visit, then as we visit to remember our purpose for visiting is to encourage the one that we visit, and not spend the time relaying our lifetime of struggles. Especially challenging will be the possibility of just sitting in silence, if that serves a purpose. So Lord, please especially help us in that regard. Bottom line is that we share Your love, Your concern, and Your touch through our visit, so that You may be honored and praised, while also being of encouragement to our friend. These are challenging Lord, so we desperately need Your help, guidance and direction in these circumstances Lord. Thanks for Your assurance of always being with us! May we learn to get out of the way so that You may work a miracle in the life of our friends that we visit. AMEN!

Footnote: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. 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 could 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 http://www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, 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!
2016

Nothing is Too Difficult for You, Lord

THE HOLY BIBLE (Good News Translation – Jeremiah 32:16-18): 16 ….. I prayed, 17“Sovereign Lord, you made the earth and the sky by your great power and might; nothing is too difficult for you. 18You have shown constant love to thousands, but you also punish people for the sins of their parents. You are a great and powerful God; you are the Lord Almighty.

THOUGHTS: Jeremiah had been faithful to God and followed every command and word given to him by God. In fact he was imprisoned because of obediently delivering a word from God to the king. However, Jeremiah was still human, and as such had to depend on God and His providence, even though His actions perplexed Jeremiah. I believe that can, and does, happen to us quite frequently, for we glory in the power and majesty of God, and for all that He delivers us from, yet we see where good faithful followers are shot in their homes, crash in car accidents on the roads, lose very young loved ones, and agonize over fatal illnesses of family members. How do we possibly explain that God loves them? How can we possibly understand the love of God in such horrific situations? I love what Matthew Henry says in his commentary about this prayer of Jeremiah, and I will quote it for you: “Jeremiah adores the Lord and his infinite perfections. When at any time we are perplexed about the methods of Providence, it is good for us to look to first principles. Let us consider that God is the fountain of all being, power, and life; that with him no difficulty is such as cannot be overcome; that he is a God of boundless mercy; that he is a God of strict justice; and that he directs every thing for the best. Jeremiah owns that God was righteous in causing evil to come upon them. Whatever trouble we are in, personal or public, we may comfort ourselves that the Lord sees it, and knows how to remedy it. We must not dispute God’s will, but we may seek to know what it means.This spoke volumes to me, because I believe that we must often return to the cross when we don’t have all of the answers. God showed His love boldly at the cross – yes, through the suffering, crucifixion and death of His very own Son. So let us return to the Word when in question about why God is doing something that we don’t understand. Let’s go back to the basics and first Biblical principles. We KNOW that He loves us, so we KNOW He would do nothing to harm us, therefore let us give thanks for His mysterious work and depend on the outcome bringing glory to Him. This is difficult friends, but just remember to trust in God, no matter what we see, feel or witness occurring around us. This may often be a point at which an unrelated Brother or Sister might step alongside, encouraging you to keep the faith, so be prepared to also do that when you see difficult situations arise in the life of someone else.

PRAYER: Dear God, I am reminded that You are sovereign and that You created this earth and all that is in it. You were pleased with all that You created, so I can’t imagine why one of your small pieces of clay could find room to complain or find fault in what You did, or what You might currently do in managing all that You have made. Your servant Jeremiah has reminded me that nothing is too difficult for you, so once again I am reminded that even in those times when I don’t see the reasoning for something happening, to know and understand that You are still in control. Please touch the lives of Your people once again today with the sobering reminder that You are God, and we are not, therefore we must trust You to do what You know to be the best for us, and that will bring glory to You. I know that we would really screw things up in a hurry if You left it all up to us, so please have Your perfect will and way in my life today. Please be especially near and dear to those who are hurting today and wondering if You are still there. Draw them close to You and comfort them with Your love and reassurance. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, my King, in all humility, AMEN!

 

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

How To Recognize the Last Days

THE HOLY BIBLE (The New Living Translation – 2 Timothy 3:1-5): 1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

THOUGHTS: As I meditated on this, I realized that some will stumble across this and won’t have a clue what this is all about, because unless they have heard something about the second coming of Jesus Christ, they live each day without regard to their state of readiness. To some, this might be a reminder that they have a few ‘clean-up’ items to attend to before the return of Jesus. To Christians, we are to be reminded that our work and our witness has never been as urgent as it is today. Scripture tells us that the day of Jesus’ return is known only to God, so no one else really knows. However, the Bible tells us that only the prepared (those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior) will be accepted into heaven. Because of their commitment, Christians are to always be prepared to leave this old world and join with the millions who have also made a similar life-decision, to meet at the feet of Jesus and worship Him. We are also to be busy convincing those whom we love, and who we want to join us around the throne. For those who have not made it a priority to surrender your lives to Jesus, I believe that you will see from the warning signs in the scripture today, that we are living in the last days. Jesus could return before you complete the reading of this devotional. I have an obligation to also remind you that when Jesus returns to take His bride (believers in Jesus Christ) home with Him, it will not just be business as usual for those of you that are not ready. For the Bible says that you will be cast into a hot, burning, hell with Satan and his angels where you will spend a miserable eternity, without further opportunity to redeem yourself. On my phone I have a weather app that warns me of approaching danger – perhaps a tornado, or other such dangerous weather. This app was programmed to recognize these dangers based on certain conditions in the atmosphere and weather patterns. Please consider this scripture as a Biblical warning about the impending end of life as we know it today. Christians have read about heaven in the Bible, sung about it, dreamed about it and anxiously await the transition day. May I suggest to all not fitting in that category that you should consider this as a warning from God that His return is near. We are living in the last days, and He could come at any time. There will not be a shelter in which you can hide until He returns again. There are no plans for a third return. It will be heaven or hell. Where will you open your eyes in eternity? If there is the slightest doubt that it will be in heaven, may I encourage you to follow the steps outlined in my ‘Footnote’? Friend, Jesus loves you more than you can imagine and not only do I want to see you accept Him as Lord and be in the group going to heaven, but my whole idea of sharing these devotionals online, is my hope that you might be touched and prompted to join my band of fellow Christians as we await the coming of Jesus! Do it today friend! Be ready should He return before your very next hour!

PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for providing a place for us to look forward to after our time here on this earth! In meditating on the signs in this scripture today, I am convinced that the return of Your Son to take His children home is very near, and I believe that many fellow Christians will join me in singing “Come Soon Lord Jesus“, for the stresses and heartaches resulting from these signs are hard on us. Please hear my cry today to speak to the hearts of my family and friends who have yet to accept You as Lord. They are playing such a dangerous game of procrastination. I humbly ask that You tender their hearts today, open their eyes of understanding and lead them to the truth contained in Your Word. Please, may this be the day of salvation for them? I pray that Christian friends reading this devotional today will also catch a glimpse of the urgency of which I speak, and that we may be busy about the work of the Lord today. Yes, many of us have jobs to attend today, but Lord, I believe that we are Your hands and feet on the ground, so may our lives portray Your unconditional love, and may our actions be proof of whose we are, for I believe non-believers must see living proof of a living Savior to convince them of their need. Use us oh Lord, and may Your kingdom come, for thine is the glory, for ever and ever, AMEN!

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