Following God’s Instructions

It is said that men are so stubborn that they will only follow instructions as a last resort! God had fought for the Israelites, He had performed miracles to get them away from their slavery, and He had provided for them each day in every way. Yet God felt like the people were still not obedient and loyal to Him, so He tested their obedience to His instructions. As we meditate on the Scripture today, let us examine ourselves and decide if we feel God is pleased with our obedience. Does He test us still to prove to whom we belong? Will we pass the testing?

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2021-03-26
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Exodus 16:4-5
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: Then the Lord said to Moses, “Look, I’m going to rain down food from heaven for you. Each day the people can go out and pick up as much food as they need for that day. I will test them in this to see whether or not they will follow my instructionsOn the sixth day they will gather food, and when they prepare it, there will be twice as much as usual.”

OBSERVATION: It is said that men are so stubborn that they will only follow instructions as a last resort! God had fought for the Israelites, He had performed miracles to get them away from their slavery, and He had provided for them each day in every way. Yet God felt like the people were still not obedient and loyal to Him, so He tested their obedience to His instructions. As we meditate on the Scripture today, let us examine ourselves and decide if we feel God is pleased with our obedience. Does He test us still to prove to whom we belong? Will we pass the testing?

APPLICATION: Ever wonder how God has tested you, or perhaps is testing you? There seem to have been lots of tests over my lifetime, although I never considered them ‘tests’ from God at the time. A boating accident; Unsuccessful in conceiving a child of our own; Helping my dad and sister-in-law who seemed destined for immediate death without proper professional medical help; Leaving my job of 15 years to seek employment internationally; Leaving parents, family and friends to move to a foreign country; etc, etc. Not only were these challenges, or ‘tests’ overwhelming at the time, but they each seemed much bigger than anything I could handle on my own. But before you start feeling sorry for me, I want you to know that each of these challenges brought opportunity to praise God in one way or another for His miraculous intervention, wisdom and healing. Know also that if I were to list my blessings received from God, they would exceed my ‘Tests’ multiple times over. I have been so blessed in studying God’s Word – especially the book of Exodus so far in my journey to read through the Bible again. I have seen/been reminded of the many ways in which God ‘went to bat’ for His people (the Israelites). Miracle after miracle, so that they would know for sure that the great God of the Universe is for them; that He would fight for them, if needed; and that they were so safe in being under His care and protection, that trouble could come to their Egyptian friends and masters, but they, being under the protection of God Almighty, were not impacted; That in being rescued from slavery, they were not just going to a land of freedom, but a land filled with milk and honey! That’s just to name a few of the blessings and proofs offered to the Israelites. Yet we see in our Scripture today that the God who knows our thoughts, words and actions, knew full well that there were still many who wanted to have life their way and not have one imposed on them by God. Are we really that stubborn also? I believe that God is encouraging us to look at our blessings today, just like He gave to the Israelites their blessings of food, and I believe He is saying to us: ‘Now will you just follow me in obedience, knowing that I am your God who provides for you each and every day, and I have already prepared a new home for you in glory, where You will live eternally with my Father and I?’ Will you consider responding affirmatively today my friend? Please accept the offer from our King today and not leave Him with any doubt. Just as mom told me when she had to dish out discipline to me as a child, I believe it hurts God to think about having to discipline us again and again. He loves us way too much for that.

PRAYER: Thank You Lord Jesus for loving me, caring for me, providing for me and giving to me thy great salvation so rich and free! I have no doubt that You love me, in spite of who I am and what I might do or say that may disappoint you at times. But Lord, I want to live my life here on earth as a perfect example of the Christ who died for me, rose again, and lives victoriously at the right hand of the Father in heaven. Please Lord, may each day give me opportunity to better prepare myself for the kingdom, with Your help. You know what I need and You know what’s needed to help me achieve a life dedicated fully and whole heartedly to You. Please touch the lives of each reader so that they may glory in the Father, and sing praises to You without reservation. May others be drawn to You as a result of being encouraged by at least one believer in Jesus Christ today. 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. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. 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!

The Joy Of Seeing Others Grow!

I believe that churches (Christians in our churches) today are missing out on excellent opportunities to encourage, or as the Word says ‘spur one another on to good works’, therefore it seems like church attendees walk out the back door quicker than we could welcome new ones through the front door. John shared with his good friend Gaius that his (John’s) heart was blessed and encouraged whenever he received encouraging words back about his (Gaius’) spiritual growth. As we meditate on God’s Word today, I trust that you will think with me about whether we do enough to encourage one another towards greater spiritual growth.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2020-11-22
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 3 John 1:4
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT:  It is the greatest joy of my life to hear that my children are consistently living their lives in the ways of truth!

OBSERVATION: I believe that churches (Christians in our churches) today are missing out on excellent opportunities to encourage, or as the Word says ‘spur one another on to good works’, therefore it seems like church attendees walk out the back door quicker than we could welcome new ones through the front door. John shared with his good friend Gaius that his (John’s) heart was blessed and encouraged whenever he received encouraging words back about his (Gaius’) spiritual growth. As we meditate on God’s Word today, I trust that you will think with me about whether we do enough to encourage one another towards greater spiritual growth.

APPLICATION: I love my church, and I can’t imagine life without the church, so please know that I am approaching this topic from that standpoint. Throughout my Christian life I have been heavily involved in the life of the church, including some key leadership positions. In my younger days, I actually found that I was drawn more into the sermon while I served as a sound technician, than I would have done in just sitting in the pew listening. In some roles, I did quite a bit of visitation, but it was often to the sick, or to members upset with someone at church. As I reflect, I don’t remember calling someone to encourage them in the spiritual growth evidenced in their life, nor called to compliment a teacher or a preacher for the good job they had done. However, I have been in their place, and often wondered if anyone heard or cared about what I taught. I believe that often Satan will use those moments of doubt to ’egg’ us on towards thinking that we are wasting our time in what we do ‘in Jesus’ name’. I know that people don’t go to church, or get saved, so that they might receive praise or recognition from other members. But I do know that what John is teaching us here in his ministry to Gaius, serves an important purpose in encouraging others in their service to their Lord. However, I feel like Christians as a whole must be encouraged in their walk with the Lord. Let’s find something constructive and encouraging to say to each one. Many times our words of encouragement to them will minister to them as much as the sermon did. Often they are looking for someone who cares that they are present, so simple things like how their smile or their warm presence made you think of the warmth and presence of Jesus. Just simple things like that will encourage someone to hang in there and remain faithful. Also, we use our phone for many different things these days. Why not consider using it for the simple purpose of calling someone just to let them know that you care about them. Imagine the lost feeling of being in hospital, or being home sick, or just falling away from attending church and not hearing from anyone. Did it really matter to anyone that you were there at one time? Of course you will feel like no one missed you, nor did they ever care about you. I believe the best thing we can do to help one another through this life dear friends, is to let them know that you care about them. Way too often we sit back and sulk instead of reaching out to encourage others. As we bless others, God will bless us. Just as you are so very proud of your children, we too become very connected to those whose lives we have touched or helped in some way, especially those we may have helped guide, or lead them, to the Lord. I believe that God will help us bless others if we ask for His help and His guidance.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You have been good to us and we are so appreciative of the love You have shown for us in so many wonderful ways. Thank You Lord for all those You have allowed us to cross paths with. Our lives have been enriched by their encouragement, and they have often energized us into service for You Lord. Please work diligently in our lives so that we may look for ways to encourage others towards love and good works. Just as John’s ministry to Gaius had a long lasting impact on his life, I believe that our words and actions will also serve to enrich and encourage those in our circle of influence. Help us never to assume that they are strong and don’t need a word of encouragement, for they are human just like we are. Please help us to love like You loved us. 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!

Encourage One Another

I don’t know that there is any better timing for today’s Scripture than today. I believe with all of the ups and downs and challenges of this year, we are probably a more needy people than ever before in our lives. But notice that vs 24 does not suggest that we seek out encouragement, but rather look for ways to encourage others. May I suggest that you read these verses again, and meditate with me as we seek God’s direction for our lives.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-10-07
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Hebrews 10:13-25
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: 23 So now we must cling tightly to the hope that lives within us, knowing that God always keeps his promises![l] 24 Discover creative ways to encourage others[m] and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. 25 This is not the time to pull away and neglect[n] meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.

OBSERVATION: I don’t know that there is any better timing for today’s Scripture than today. I believe with all of the ups and downs and challenges of this year, we are probably a more needy people than ever before in our lives. But notice that vs 24 does not suggest that we seek out encouragement, but rather look for ways to encourage others. May I suggest that you read these verses again, and meditate with me as we seek God’s direction for our lives.

APPLICATION: I believe that science will show that a person in hospital, or in a retirement facility, who never receive visitation from family or friends, will quickly wither up and die. I also believe that a worker who sits quietly in the corner of the office and works hard, will soon become discouraged and quit, if no one speaks to them or encourages them with praise and thankfulness. However, we have become such a sad bunch who tends to sit and sour in our own selfish attitudes, aches, and pains, and who badly needs support from others. So what if we followed the words of our Father through Paul? Here are some things that may benefit us, and also help us be of encouragement to the needy:
1. Take time to reflect on the hope that lives within us – What hope? How about the hope of one day being with our Lord and Savior? How about the comfort of knowing that part of the triune God lives within us – the Holy Spirit? How about reflecting on the fact that one day when everything is done on this earth, we have a heavenly kingdom to look forward to – where we will meet with royalty like we never dreamed possible here on earth?
2. Take time to reflect on the promises of God that apply to you – It is said that there are over 5,000 promises in the Bible! Why don’t we search out a few promises each day, and allow our minds to reflect on the goodness of God, instead of the many other things that distract us negatively?
3. Look for ways to motivate others towards compassion, love and good works – I believe this means that we not just follow what our neighbor, or our pastor does, but rather – look for unique ways to encourage someone else in the ways mentioned. I bet you’ll be surprised how innovative you can be! Remember, the Holy Spirit lives within you and will help you accomplish the will of God!
4. Plan to meet together – at church – I am convinced that this year of challenges brought on by the COVID virus, has drawn us away from this important aspect of our Christian walk. You see, we tend to encourage others when we see them, hug them and talk with them. They realize they are of value to someone! Yes, we can watch the church service virtually, but how many of us are calling to encourage one another?
Friends, I don’t believe it’s too late for us to still be the child of God that He expects of us. For as long as we have breath in our bodies, we could obediently follow the Word of God, if we allow the Holy Spirit to do His work. I am sharing this message today primarily to myself first, so please accept the devotional as a recommendation based on God’s Word, not from one who is filled with fault. Please pray for me as I work on these matters, and I will be happy to pray for you if you make your need known through a quick update on the blog. I believe that our God is waiting to help us be obedient to His commands!

PRAYER: Precious Lord, I’m sure that this will not catch you be surprise, but I believe that your children are hurting more today than perhaps any other time in their lives. We have become way too comfortable in the ways of the world, and caught up in technology, while many are hurting and need a Christian Brother or Sister to stand besides them and encourage them. Many may have even lost hope. Please speak intently to Your children today, especially everyone that reads as far as this in my devotional. May our souls be revived as we study Your Word and seek Your help so that we may be obedient to Your every command. Please help us to seek ways to provoke others towards love and good works. We all need the Lord, and we need each other for encouragement and reassurance so that our minds might be fixed on Jesus, our Author and Finisher of our faith! 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!