Transformed Relationships

Often times we will read about ways to, and often we are encouraged to, transform our lives into one that aligns with the will of God and in obedience of the Holy Spirit. Paul encourages us to meditate also on how these transformed lives will look to those that we connect with and call our friends. Perhaps you might be willing to join me in looking deeply into our personal relationships with others, and whether there is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work within us as we fellowship with each other. Paul gives great guidance to us, so let’s dig in…

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-04-14
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

Bible Reference: Romans 12:9-12
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous. 10 Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another. 11 Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.
12 Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble,[e] but commune with God at all times.

OBSERVATION: Often times we will read about ways to, and often we are encouraged to, transform our lives into one that aligns with the will of God and in obedience of the Holy Spirit. Paul encourages us to meditate also on how these transformed lives will look to those that we connect with and call our friends. Perhaps you might be willing to join me in looking deeply into our personal relationships with others, and whether there is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work within us as we fellowship with each other. Paul gives great guidance to us, so let’s dig in…

APPLICATION: Often times we struggle in relationships, both with family members and with friends. For there is jealousy between one another and envy and hard feelings that could quickly result, in fact, to the extent that we can’t stand to be in each other’s presence. Coworkers tend to be so competitive to reach for the top, or earn more commissions and/or recognition, so they step right over another employee, and may even do certain things to prevent that coworker from doing their best. Church members want to be in charge, or favored by the pastor, or perhaps they just can’t have their own way, so we see churches split or families leave the church and move on to another. I wonder if the result would be any different if we were to follow the advice of Paul in these two verses? Friends, Christians are to be deep into the Word at every opportunity, but not less frequently than daily, looking over God’s instructions to be sure that we live and love like Him. You see, God’s Word contains our template for love, it tells us about our Role Model, Jesus Christ. Our responsibility according to the Word, is to go and minister to the world so that all may know Jesus. Don’t you know that we are actually teaching them our evil ways when we act like the world, or like the above examples? Remember, our actions speak so loud that others will rarely hear what we are saying to them. I believe Paul is saying that we are not to be hypocritical. If we claim Jesus as Lord, then we are to live like Him and seek to squash all evil thoughts that Satan will buffet us with. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we will seek to act like Jesus. and in no way follow the path of least resistance that are led by Satan – whose aim is to kill, steal and destroy the work of God. Friends, Jesus is coming soon and we must live with that in mind. Don’t dare live like the devil and think you’ll have time to seek forgiveness when you hear that Jesus is coming down the street. The Bible says that we must live in a state of readiness, because Jesus in no way needs our permission that the coast is clear for Him to come and gather His bride (the church – us). This means that we are to live and love like Jesus demands of us today. Don’t delay, please?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the creator of love, the One who showed ultimate love, please forgive me for making a mockery of living and loving like You exampled for me. You showed me how to live, and I have totally blown it. Thank You for Your servant Paul, who has reminded us that we need to live and love in ways that others might recognize as an imitation of God. This is impossible to achieve, as long as we continue to give in to the ways of this world. Father, please give my readers and I strength to be true victors in living our lives according to the model You displayed. Please help us to stay so in tuned with Your Word that it will not only impact the words from our lips, but the desires of our heart and the actions of our whole being. Lord, sadly, we must confess that we have ‘Christian’ family and friends that are living in sin, because they are acting just like Satan, and in similar ways to the above examples given. Please use this devotional today to speak to the hearts of those claiming You as Lord. Please also speak to those who have not yet accepted You as Lord, for today is the day of salvation, and there is no better time than today for them to seek Your power and Your strength so that they too might live and love like You. Lord, this old world is getting in extremely poor shape morally, for folk are becoming more and more hardened to their sin. Please, I beg You, do a mighty work in Your people today. Begin with us, Christians. Get us straight first, so that we may be Your hands and Your feet on the ground seeking to impact the lives of those that don’t know You. These things I ask humbly in Your precious name and for Your sake, 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 highly recommend to you 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!

Character Reflective of God

Like me, I bet you also heard your parents use the phrase ‘Practice What You Preach’ at every applicable opportunity! In this passage of scripture Paul is also using this principle in his teaching to the Jews, and because it is God’s inspired Word, I believe it serves as a reminder to us as well. I believe that this is still a very real problem for us even today. Please meditate further with me as we contemplate this scripture from the book of Romans today.

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-03-20
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

Bible Reference: Romans 2:23-24
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: 23 If you pride yourself in having God’s law, then stop dishonoring God by failing to keep its teaching. 24 Here’s what it says: “Because of you, God’s reputation is slandered by those outside the covenant.”[b]

OBSERVATION: Like me, I bet you also heard your parents use the phrase ‘Practice What You Preach’ at every applicable opportunity! In this passage of scripture Paul is also using this principle in his teaching to the Jews, and because it is God’s inspired Word, I believe it serves as a reminder to us as well. I believe that this is still a very real problem for us even today. Please meditate further with me as we contemplate this scripture from the book of Romans today.

APPLICATION: I cringe when I hear folks say things like “your actions speak so loudly that I can’t hear what you are saying”. Because, unfortunately these folk are often right in saying these things. It hurts me deeply when I hear of church leaders caught in certain acts of sin, because they often have such a large following who is looking to them as a role model. No matter how often we tell folk that they should model their lives after Christ, not man, yet we see more fall out from church members when a pastor leaves, or a church leader is caught in an act of sin. The bottom line is that we all should be guilty of following Christ’s example so closely that people around us would see no difference between our actions and those they expect from Christ. When we surrender Lordship of our lives to Jesus, we ask Him to guide our footsteps every day so that we may walk like Him; guide our tongues each day so that we may talk like Him, and care so much for us each day that we may, in turn, love others like He would. Without Jesus Christ, it is virtually impossible to follow His ways each day in the world we live in, however, rest assured that in Christ, ALL things are possible. If friends of yours never read the first thing about the Bible, but they trust you enough to follow in your footsteps and obey your verbal instructions to them, who would they look like, Jesus Christ or the world? Remember, we are to be little ‘Christ’s’, so our friends following us could ultimately look the same! How are you doing? Do you have portions of your life still left to surrender to God, or are you comfortable that your life is in line with Jesus Christ? Please don’t let Jesus say to you on Judgment Day what Paul said to his fellow Jews, that people are cursing Christ because of you. As a parent we gloat at the times when others praise our children, because we feel a sense of pride in the job that we did in parenting. Let’s live our Christian lives following the same formula, so that Jesus may one day say “Well done good and faithful servant, when these children of Mine followed you, it was the same as them following Me, receive now the crowns I have prepared for you”! Let’s live with the end in mind friend!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, I respectfully ask that I not be a stumbling block to anyone here on this earth. I pray that others may see enough of You in me that they will not be disappointed over their expectations of You. Lord, may I always represent You in ways that might lead others towards You. Please gently speak to my friends that may meditate on this devotional today, and lead them into a time of soul-searching and revival in their personal lives. Lord, it’s You that we live for. May that be evident in our words and actions today, is my humble prayer that I ask in You very precious and holy name, 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. 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 you 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 Evidence & Results of True Faith

The Holy Bible (The Contemporary English Version – Hebrews 11:13-16): 13 Every one of those people died. But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth. 14 When people talk this way, it is clear that they are looking for a place to call their own. 15 If they had been talking about the land where they had once lived, they could have gone back at any time. 16 But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven. That’s why God wasn’t ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them.

Thoughts: I believe I was renewed in my faith as I read this scripture, and was reminded of the faith shown by our forefathers. The writer reminds us that all the faith shown by these powerful men of God, such as Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob was not necessarily on the promises that would be revealed to them during their lifetime, but because their minds were not fixed on eartly things and/or places, God was not ashamed of their human failures and instead prepare a heavenly home for them that, no doubt, was their ultimate goal. I am reminded of a saying that often we are so earthly minded that we are of no heavenly good!! It sounds just the opposite for these great saints, and I believe that this may be much of the reason why they were particularly made a part of the scriptures – to help show us what 'true faith' really looks like. To my readers, let me encourage you to join me in re-evaluating the level of our faith. Let's begin with evaluating our priorities – are they more earthly minded than heavenly? Do our actions reflect the qualities learned from our relationship with Christ, or those inherited from our earthly interactions? Would God be ashamed for us to say that He is our God, or would He be proud of His children? We have a hope friends! We have a heavenly home and a gracious heavenly Father that awaits our arrival in His presence. Are you ready? Let's make Him proud of us as long as we are allowed to remain on planet earth, and may others be drawn to our Savior through the faith they see in us!

Prayer: Father God, I thank You for the awesome experience of knowing You, and being blessed by the many ways that You have already touched my life. Please help my readers and I to place our relationship with You as our very top priority, and please help us to learn from the faith of our ancestors, while giving us the urgency to also allow our faith in You to be so obvious in us that those following in our footsteps would see more of Jesus than of our sinful selves. May our lives be so focused on You, oh Lord, that You would be proud to hear us call You our Father and our God. May all who come behind us find us faithful! I ask this in humility and in the wonderful name of Jesus, my Savior and Lord, 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!

 

 

Our Lives – An Expression of Whose We Are

The Holy Bible

Christ lives in me. The life you see me living is not “mine,” but it is lived by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me. I am not going to go back on that.

Is it not clear to you that to go back to that old rule-keeping, peer-pleasing religion would be an abandonment of everything personal and free in my relationship with God? I refuse to do that, to repudiate God’s grace. If a living relationship with God could come by rule-keeping, then Christ died unnecessarily.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Galatians 2:20-21)

Thoughts:

As in Paul’s day, I believe that today we find some Christian leaders who are in the church ministry business for an income, a place to work, prestige, or in some cases just to find an opportunity to use their knowledge from years of Bible College that their parents forced upon them. However, I also believe that we have some Christian leaders who, like Paul, are pastoring or leading various ministries because of a deep, fully committed relationship with the Lord, and obedient to the special call on their life by the Master of this universe. The difference will be obvious to those being served, for one will be speaking and acting from the learned, head knowledge, while the other will be responding to a deep, spiritual, personal relationship with the God that they follow, and serve. One will be committed to pleasing the ones that they serve and receive their paycheck from, while the other will be committed to serving the Lord God Almighty who distinctly called them into the ministry. Now the latter personality, while serving God and faithfully following Him, will also faithfully minister and serve the children of God, as that exemplifies exactly what God demonstrated to them/us. I believe that the difference will be very evident in the pulpit and in personal relationships with the congregation. The eye opener here for you and I, Mr. and Mrs. Layperson, is that individually we fall into one of these same two personalities. Using Paul’s analogy, you might say that in one person we might find ourselves committed to rule-keeping, and peer pleasing but without true dedication to the things of the Lord. While another person might be so filled with God that the fruit of the Spirit is being wonderfully and miraculously expressed through us. The big question is: Do others see enough of Jesus in you to convict, or accuse you of being a follower of Jesus Christ, and a faithful servant of His? Are you bearing fruit that family, friends and acquaintances will recognize your source of life?

Prayer:

Lord and Savior, Jesus my Lord. I just want to thank You for not only creating me and placing me on this earth to follow the same evil actions of those that I come into contact with, but instead, You loved me enough to show me through Your Word, and demonstrate for me though Your life while here on earth, the way that is pleasing to the Father. Please continue Your marvelous work in me, and please also speak to the hearts of those that might meditate on this devotional today. May we seek to serve You and You alone, without the need or desire of praise from those around us, for we want serve You oh God. May the people see Jesus in everything we do, say or think so that they may be drawn to You and not repulsed by us. Have Your will and way in the lives of those that claim You as Lord today, is my prayer that I ask in the name of Jesus, 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!