How To Be Christ’s Disciple

Peter ridiculed Jesus for talking to His closest companions about His death. Peter had seen the miracles Jesus was capable of, and Peter just knew that there was no way that Jesus would be taken hostage and crucified by mere men. In our Scripture today, we can read how Jesus corrected Peter. I wonder, how are we doing with the direction given by Jesus to those who are interested in being His follower?

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2021-02-27
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 16:24
TRANSLATION: Amplified Bible, Classic Edition (AMPC)

BIBLE TEXT: 24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, If anyone desires to be My disciple, let him deny himself [disregard, lose sight of, and forget himself and his own interests] and take up his cross and follow Me [[p]cleave steadfastly to Me, conform wholly to My example in living and, if need be, in dying, also].

OBSERVATION: Peter ridiculed Jesus for talking to His closest companions about His death. Peter had seen the miracles Jesus was capable of, and Peter just knew that there was no way that Jesus would be taken hostage and crucified by mere men. In our Scripture today, we can read how Jesus corrected Peter. I wonder, how are we doing with the direction given by Jesus to those who are interested in being His follower?

APPLICATION: In most Bible translations that we use today, we are told to deny ourselves, take up our cross and follow Jesus Christ. I believe many of my readers, like myself, would appreciate seeing that command in a much simpler form so that we could understand exactly what Jesus is teaching us. I found two translations that helped with this, one of them being the Amplified version that I am sharing with you today. Unfortunately I find where I need serious help from the Master to change my ways and truly follow Him, if I am to live by His commands. Perhaps many of you might also find this need to be true in your life. Let’s take our time and break this down so that it is clear what we need to plead with God for, since He commanded us to:
Deny self:
> disregard self – As we meditate on this, we may surprise ourselves how selfish we truly are in what we do, what we say, where we go, and why we do these things. It’s all about ‘me’, whether we care to admit it or not;
> lose sight of selfish desires – In our own flesh, we will always desire things that are good for us. This may also be the reason why so many marriages fail, for we find it so challenging to please the other party. What if we had The strength to always please God when we make our plans, or respond to life’s various scenarios?
> forget about self and our personal interests – Can’t you hear a therapist telling you in marriage counseling: ‘Can you just forget about yourself for once, and think about what might make your spouse happy?’ I believe that’s what Jesus is telling us to do, for then we will love like He loved, and obey His other commandments;
Take up our cross and follow Christ:
> cleave steadfastly to Jesus – You might cleave steadfastly to a life raft if your boat sank and there is no land in sight. That raft becomes the most important thing in life to you at that point. Don’t you know that ‘cleaving’ to Jesus is very much the same way? Like the life raft, Jesus is the only way to Heaven, the only healer of all our diseases, the One who loves us in spite of our wicked selves, the One who prepared a place for us to go when we pass from this world. Why not cleave to Jesus?
> wholly conform to the example of Jesus in our living, or even if circumstances dictate – in death – Many will question what this might mean. I believe that if we do all of the above, we will realize that we are conforming to the example and will of the Father, and not simply seeking after our own selfish desires. Life will look much different my friend, so brace yourself for being called such things as ‘Holy roller’, or Jesus freak, or you have gone nuts, etc, etc.
So why do you suppose that Jesus thought this was important for Peter, his fellow disciples, or ourselves? I believe that just as Peter surprised Jesus with his efforts to correct Jesus, we too might disappoint Jesus with the some of the things we say, or do, or the selfish attitudes we have about helping others, being kind to others, or loving even the unlovable. In trying to be a Jesus follower, surely we must make every effort to look, sound and act just like Him. Many are looking at us as an example of the One we say that we are following. Do you suppose they’re getting a fair assessment of Jesus? Try taking up your cross and follow Him in all things, and at all times. Perhaps then you may be seen as a true follower of Christ!

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for doing Your part in saving us from our sin and preparing us for heaven. Please forgive us when we disappoint You like Peter did. We acknowledge that we are a sinful, selfish people who seek after our own likes, and shun from our dislikes, while always trying to promote self and please ourselves. I am convinced that only You can help us overcome this weakness and truly follow You in all sincerity, as You intended. Please give us the strength, boldness and wisdom to follow You in all aspects of our life. May others not be misled when the look at our example and our pattern for life. May they see Jesus in action through us and be drawn to You for all eternity. 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 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!

An Example For Those Who Follow

It’s not Father’s Day, but yet a good time to remind our fathers that others are following in their footsteps. Perhaps a son, daughter, or even an employee under your supervision – they will do what you do and in the same manner that you do it. They will listen to you and respond like you would to life’s circumstances. Are you proud of what they might do or say? Let’s look at the example of Isaac and his father, Abraham, today as we meditate on our Scripture verses.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2021-01-31
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Genesis 26:23-25
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 23 When he (Isaac) went to Beer-sheba, 24 Jehovah appeared to him on the night of his arrival. “I am the God of Abraham your father,” he said. “Fear not, for I am with you and will bless you, and will give you so many descendants that they will become a great nation—because of my promise to Abraham, who obeyed me.” 25 Then Isaac built an altar and worshiped Jehovah;….

OBSERVATION: It’s not Father’s Day, but yet a good time to remind our fathers that others are following in their footsteps. Perhaps a son, daughter, or even an employee under your supervision – they will do what you do and in the same manner that you do it. They will listen to you and respond like you would to life’s circumstances. Are you proud of what they might do or say? Let’s look at the example of Isaac and his father, Abraham, today as we meditate on our Scripture verses.

APPLICATION: I have a young relative who, I thought was not paying attention to what I was saying to the adults in the room, when I challenged the men to lead the way in taking their families to church. A few weeks later, there was a discussion in the car between this relative’s parents about whether they would attend church the next day. My nephew spoke up from the back and reminded them of what his uncle had said to them!! He was listening to what his uncle said!! I have a few other examples, and you probably have as well, so I believe we know that others are listening and watching what we say and do. But why do we sometimes still say and do things that we immediately wish that our younger audiences would ignore? Perhaps the same things that we wish God would also ignore! I was first shocked to be reminded in verse 7 that Isaac did the exact thing as his father by introducing his wife as his sister, so that the same king, Abimelech and his men would not kill him, in envy over his beautiful wife. His dad did it, so why should he not follow in his dad’s footsteps? But with that being a negative trait, I want to draw your attention to verse 24 above. Because of the obedience and faithfulness of the father (Abraham), God promised to bless the son (Isaac) with enough dependents to form a great nation! It’s unfortunate that we often feel like we are doing our very best to please our God, and hoping to influence our children, but feeling like no one ever notices our good deeds or our faithfulness. I believe that this is a day that we could be reassured that God sees and knows all things. Yes, the good and the bad. But what we do for Him will last for all eternity. Others look on us and follow our example. It is unfortunate that this sometimes include the things that we wish we had never said or done, but they tend to pick that up also. But friends, I can assure you that if we seek God’s face and His righteousness, and we obey His commands by meditating on His Word and doing what it says, then we can’t go wrong in feeding good to those who follow in our footsteps. It’s not too late dear friend. The good you do for Jesus Christ for the rest of your life, could very easily outweigh the unfortunate bad things that you did up to this point In your life. Seek God while you still have breath in your body, draw close to Him, and follow in all that He teaches you for the rest of your life. He could wind up blessing your ancestors because of your faithfulness! There is nothing I wouldn’t do in order to leave a good influence on my daughter, son-in-law, and others who watch me, how about you precious friend?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, it was said in the New Testament that anything we do of our own accord is like ‘dirty rags’ in the Kingdom, but those things done under the influence of the Holy Spirit for the sake of the Kingdom, will last forever. It was also said that God even uses the ‘foolishness of preaching’ to win some. Praise God, I believe that anything we do for You, and under Your leadership, will not only leave a good influence for those that follow in our footsteps, but I believe You will honor Your obedient children, just as You honored Abraham. Oh that others may see Jesus in all that we say and do, and may they be drawn closer to the cross where they will come face-to-face with our risen Lord. 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 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!

Eye Witnesses

If innocent and trying to defend yourself in a traffic case or in any court battle, you will always look for and appreciate good eye witnesses. Conversely, if you are guilty, then you would hope that the defense does not have an eye witness to bring to the courts. God said through Peter that even though neighbors may accuse you, they will have no choice but to give a witness to God for your honorable and trustworthy behavior. Today’s Scripture leads us to recall what might cause us to be worthy of such honor from our neighbors. Stay with me!

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-10-30
WRITTEN AT: Vicksburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 PETER 2:11-12
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: 11 Dear friends, I warn you as “temporary residents and foreigners” to keep away from worldly desires that wage war against your very souls. 12 Be careful to live properly among your unbelieving neighbors. Then even if they accuse you of doing wrong, they will see your honorable behavior, and they will give honor to God when he judges the world.[i]

OBSERVATION: If innocent and trying to defend yourself in a traffic case or in any court battle, you will always look for and appreciate good eye witnesses. Conversely, if you are guilty, then you would hope that the defense does not have an eye witness to bring to the courts. God said through Peter that even though neighbors may accuse you, they will have no choice but to give a witness to God for your honorable and trustworthy behavior. Today’s Scripture leads us to recall what might cause us to be worthy of such honor from our neighbors. Stay with me!

APPLICATION: I had someone once use me in an illustration along the lines of today’s subject. They said that we should be of sufficient good character, that if our spouse or best friend was given accusatory information on us, they would, without a full investigation, refute the accusations based on their first-hand knowledge of our character. I wonder how many close friends we might have where we could be that confident about their character? There are several pointers given to us by Peter that we should bear in mind as we ponder what others might see in us:
a). We are temporary residents and foreigners here on earth – Isn’t that an interesting concept, especially considering how determined we are to work ourselves silly to make sure that we are financially fit for retirement? How much is enough? A little bit more is needed, right? Often it is for this reason that we see so many die prematurely, because of the stress placed on themselves. It is also something that leads so many into illegitimate jobs and risks so that they could supercharge their income and expedite their road to retirement. When considering how much is needed to carry you through retirement, how many years do you account for? That’s right, you have no idea. However, Peter warned us to make our short number of years here count for the Master. Don’t waste it following the residents who have no plan at all;
b). Keep away from worldly desires and pressures – for the world will try hard to win you over to their evil desires and way of life. Establish borders for yourself and decide before hand how far you will go in pleasing your fellow man, especially when your actions might encroach on your beliefs about what God expects of you. I was approached late one evening by some young men who wanted to borrow my boat so they could pull off a drug heist. Sure, I could have paid off my boat and probably taken a grand vacation from the few hours that I loaned out my boat, but was it worth more than my commitment to God to stay true to Him? If I gave in once, then my character would have been placed into question and everyone outside of that transaction would have lost faith in what I actually stood for in life. Who or what was guiding my path? God, or just another deal that I might not refuse?
Oh that God would be my everlasting guide, protection and deliver, so that He would always know in whom I believe. May others see Jesus whenever they look into my character and my life, and may they stand firm as eye witnesses for me and the man of God that I strive to be, with God’s help. May this prick the hearts of those who have not fully surrendered their lives to Jesus, and may your hearts be softened as you meditate on this devotional, so that you might also stand firm in your faith, and your stand for the Master. Others have an opinion of you. May they be an eye witness of your good works and your godly influence on them.

PRAYER: Dear Lord Jesus, thank You for loving us and thinking so much of Your creation that You sent Your Son Jesus to provide the means for our salvation. We are made new in Jesus, and we are cleansed of all the dirt that this world has stained us with. We know that You are fully aware of our spiritual condition, but we ask that You continue to work miraculously in us so that the world might also know in whom we believe. May they be drawn to You through their dealings with us, and may their surrender to the God that we serve and long to be with. 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 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!

Will God Be Patient With You?

Sick people run to the hospital for help, but does sin-sick people always run to God for help? National catastrophes and earth shattering acts of God normally gets the attention of most people, and they may, if only for a short while, look inward to evaluate their life and compare it to what God may desire of them. Praise God, I believe that every living person knows that there is a God who they can run to in times of trouble. But He’s not a robot, so how do you suppose He will respond to you? Let’s examine this.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2020-10-11
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Ezekiel 20:18-21
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: 18 So I warned the children not to act like their parents or follow their evil ways or worship their idols. 19 I reminded them that I was the Lord their God and that they should obey my laws and teachings. 20 I told them to respect my Sabbath to show that they were my people and that I was the Lord their God. 21 But the children also rebelled against me. They refused to obey my laws and teachings, and they treated the Sabbath as any other day.

OBSERVATION: Sick people run to the hospital for help, but does sin-sick people always run to God for help? National catastrophes and earth shattering acts of God normally gets the attention of most people, and they may, if only for a short while, look inward to evaluate their life and compare it to what God may desire of them. Praise God, I believe that every living person knows that there is a God who they can run to in times of trouble. But He’s not a robot, so how do you suppose He will respond to you? Let’s examine this.

APPLICATION: Praise God that when nothing in life seems to be going right for us, our eyes are suddenly opened and we tend to seek out the only One with all of the answers – we turn to God, or at least to the church? The Israelites were exactly the same, for they went to Ezekiel after seeing many of their relatives taken away into exile. They just knew that Ezekiel’s God would have an answer for them. However, let’s assume that there is a family that you sacrificed to help over the years, but they never showed any appreciation, nor seemed to have risen above their issues. Now think for a moment what you would do if their children are standing before you seeking help. What do you suppose you would do? Yes, you might be one of the righteous ones in the community and known for your godly influence, but will you simply sit with this new generation and open up your checkbook? I believe that God’s heart was broken over the way that the freed Israelites acted in the desert after He had miraculously gotten them out of Egypt, and after tenderly taking care of their every need in the Wilderness. They persisted in their idol worship, right in the face of the God who was meeting their needs. So when the next generation came to God for help, He immediately aligned their actions, their habits and their misaligned priorities with those of their ancestors. I would encourage you to particularly read verses 29 thru 31 and look for the times that God referred to ‘you/yourselves’, for He was sure that they were following in the footsteps of their fathers. So God got my attention on this by making me think about how those who are, or will, follow in my footsteps, might be doing. If it depends on the example that I set for them, might God be pleased with them and listen to their plea for help? I know, we have no control over how our offspring will act and react, but perhaps we should look at this like Paul gave in one of his examples when he said something along these lines, ‘as far as it depends on me, may the world follow Christ as I endeavor to do, with His help, every day’. So although this Scripture was all about God’s response to the offspring, it was only because of the way that the ancestors lived. Let me encourage you to live each day in light of an eternity with God in heaven, and also knowing that others are following in your footsteps and your example. Are you leading them down a path that leads to heaven?

PRAYER: Our greatest aim is to live our lives as an example to all You have taught us, demonstrated for us, and commanded of us. That’s a tall order precious Lord, but with our hand in Your’s we are confident that You will lead us aright. Please give us boldness to live each day in line with Your teachings oh God, so that others will not be confused about whose we are., or about what You have commanded from us. It will be glorious for us to one day stand before You and hear the words ‘Well done gone and faithful servant’, but to also hear someone praise You for working through my life here on earth, will be reason for endless eternal praise to You, oh King. Please use Your servant to minister to others that I come into contact with. May Your work be accomplished through my words and in my actions. Please prompt my readers to do the same as they hear from You in today’s lesson. 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 making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

What Your Character Should Look Like – Because of God

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

Friday, 2020-01-31

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Reflection of Oneness

Wednesday, 2019-07-24

Bible Reference: John 17:20-23
Translation: God’s Word Translation (GW)

Bible Text:  20 “I’m not praying only for them. I’m also praying for those who will believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that all of these people continue to have unity in the way that you, Father, are in me and I am in you. I pray that they may be united with us so that the world will believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me. I did this so that they are united in the same way we are. 23 I am in them, and you are in me. So they are completely united. In this way the world knows that you have sent me and that you have loved them in the same way you have loved me.

OBSERVATION: The world will look to the church in hopes of seeing Jesus. Will they see enough oneness to know that Jesus abides there, or will they tell from the division and backbiting that Jesus has no place there? Let’s consider how well our church is doing today in the light of the desire of Jesus in the Scripture today.

APPLICATION:  In this chapter Jesus prayed to His Father for His disciples and the church at large. In these verses He prayed in all sincerity that those (Christians) who know Him would be in such unity, that the people to whom they speak (the unsaved world), would believe in Him and accept Him as the Savior of the world sent by God the Father. Friends, I often reflect on what the opposite effect must have, and also how that must have an impact on the unsaved as they fight the will of God. That leads me into considering what happens to the ministry of Jesus Christ when children of God can’t agree – when they fight and bicker among themselves so much that the unsaved world wants no part of the confused mess they see occurring in and among churches. Is it any wonder sometime why we stop and ponder why our ministries are ineffective? It seems like even among ‘friendly’ denominations, we go out to minister in Jesus’ name, and wind up putting down another denomination. Oh my, friend, that is not a sign of ‘oneness’. When our job description dictates that we spread the love of God, and our lives reflect the joy of the Lord living inside of us, doesn’t that mean that we should be so busy praising and bragging on our Lord that there will be very little time or desire to find fault with another believer who may not show their Christianity in exactly the same way that we do? In fact, when I reflect on this prayer of Jesus and really gain the breadth and depth of His heart as He prays to His father, I see where He really wants us to reflect the ‘oneness’ that He portrays with His Father. There is no where in scripture that Jesus puts down His Father or speaks evil against Him or disagrees with Him. Instead, it is just the very opposite, for He respects the role of the Father in ultimately making decisions (especially about the second coming of Jesus), and He speaks as one and the same when conveying the truth and love of the gospel. So where do we get off at in being His follower, imitating Him in every way, yet being critical of fellow disciples who are working towards the same goal of spreading the Good News of Jesus Christ? This type behavior or ministry will not serve the ultimate wish of Jesus in verse 21 when He prayed that we will go out and minister in such unity that the world (the unsaved) would know that God truly sent the One in whom we believe, and the One we are spreading Good News about. ‘Oneness’ points to us truly representing Jesus, who was sent in the likeness of His Father. Anything else tears down the ministry of Jesus Christ and promotes the intent and heart of Satan. I believe we all know what we should be busy doing today and every day of our life. Let’s get to work – unified in the Spirit and in the name of Jesus Christ!

PRAYER: Father, please forgive us for our weakness in allowing so much of this world to indwell us, and interfere in the ministry, that You have assigned to us. As these verses today reflect, You actually prayed for us to be one with You and You are with Your Father. Our lack of success in ministry is a direct result of our disobedience to You and Your Word, and caused by our selfish desire to tear down another while trying to promote our selfish goals. Reading these verses today causes me to seriously consider keeping these pinned in an obvious place for daily inflection, and as a guide towards my daily goal. Lord, I need Your power to overcome the desire to tear another down in order to promote self. May I ask that You grant me strength to overcome this weakness, but also to touch the heart of Your followers today and embed a deep desire within them to also do the same. Please strengthen and guide us towards ‘Oneness’ – the kind that You exampled before us in being ‘One’ with the Father. I ask this knowing that Your desire is that through our ‘Oneness’ the world will know that You were sent by the Father to save them. May this be accomplished today in and through your earthly representatives, for this is my pray that I ask in the name of Jesus, AMEN!

Can Others Follow Your Example?

The king declared a decree based on what he saw had happened in Daniel’s life. I wonder if we paused at the end of the day and reflected on our lives – the ups and down, the attitude, the loss of temper, etc, that may have taken place that day, would we have something to celebrate with God, or would we be ashamed of it? What about others, would they have gained wisdom or godly example from us, like the king did of Daniel, or would they stay far enough away from us? Let’s meditate some more on this…

SCRIPTURE FROM: Daniel 6:26-27 (VOICE)

TEXT: 26 I decree that all people everywhere who live under my sovereign rule ought to tremble before and fear the God of Daniel. 
        For He is the living God,
        and He will endure forever.
    His kingdom will never be overthrown;
        His reign will know no end.
27     He saves and rescues those who fear Him,
        performing signs and wonders in heaven and on earth;
    For He has rescued His servant Daniel
        from the power of the lions.

OBSERVATION: The king declared a decree based on what he saw had happened in Daniel’s life. I wonder if we paused at the end of the day and reflected on our lives – the ups and down, the attitude, the loss of temper, etc, that may have taken place that day, would we have something to celebrate with God, or would we be ashamed of it? What about others, would they have gained wisdom or godly example from us, like the king did of Daniel, or would they stay far enough away from us? Let’s meditate some more on this…

APPLICATION: We might say from time to time how we wish we were like a certain person – one who really stands out in our view, and perhaps excels in an area that we feel so inadequate in. For example, a lady might look at a girl who is so beautiful and shapely, that all of the nice looking guys are hanging all over her. She’s the popular girl at work and in their social circles. A guy might look at the man driving a ferrari and has the money to buy whatever his heart desires, so the girls flock after him. It’s funny how the grass always seems greener on the other side of the fence! After considering scenarios like this, I have heard several people say that in spite of their problems, they can’t think of anyone that they would rather trade life with, so they will gladly deal with their own issues, and that is so true. But what about those that you would like to imitate? What about those that you would like to walk alongside for a day, a week or perhaps a year, so that you could learn some of what they know and/or do? In our Scripture today we see an example of a hardened king whose heart was changed because of the faithfulness of a true, earnest and faithful son of the Almighty. Like many of us, the king was accustomed to telling his subjects what they should must do, and if they disobeyed, or took too long getting it done, their life was abruptly ended. However, when Daniel was brought into the picture, King Darius noticed something different about him, much like I would hope that others notice with true followers of Christ today. For Daniel came with his life already under the command of one King, and he was so faithful to that King that he was not about to be redirected against those principles, even to the point, and threat, of death, when commanded by an earthly king. Friends, this man’s faith caused a hardened king to not only recognize the power of the King of all kings to whom Daniel answered, but he went as far as using that experience to command his kingdom to also respect and honor the King/God of Daniel. This stopped me in my tracks, and caused me to question what someone might say at the end of a day that they spent around me. What about you friend? Would there be some traits that your friend(s) might consider adopting? Do you suppose that they saw Jesus at all that day? Would they be drawn towards the God you serve, or would they try with all their power to go in the opposite direction? To each one reading this devotional, may I suggest that you consider this today in the things that you say and in the things you do? Seek God as you start your day and ask Him to give you opportunities to let your light so shine, that others might catch a glimpse of your Master. It’s all about Him, my faithful friend!

PRAYER: Dearest Lord Jesus, may Your light so shine through my readers and I today, that those to whom we come into contact with, will react much like King Darius, and not only want to know you, but also want to adopt many of Your commands and characteristics. I believe that as they do, and prove You faithful, they will feel compelled to draw close to You and give You full reign in their lives. May You be recognized and glorified through us today dear Lord, 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 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 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!

Struggling Churches Need This

It is interesting to note in these 2 verses how, under good leadership, the Israelites came to their senses, listened to their king, and followed him in worshiping the God of the universe for seven days as they celebrated the Passover. Something was different, but it worked. It encouraged them enough to participate willingly and honestly. Let’s look closer into how this happened, because we could definitely use more of this attitude and corporation today!

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   2 Chronicles 35:17-18 (TLB)

TEXT:  17 Everyone present in Jerusalem took part in the Passover observance, and this was followed by the Feast of Unleavened Bread for the next seven days. 18 Never since the time of Samuel the prophet had there been such a Passover—not one of the kings of Israel could vie with King Josiah in this respect, involving so many of the priests, Levites, and people from Jerusalem and from all parts of Judah, and from Israel. 

OBSERVATION:   It is interesting to note in these 2 verses how, under good leadership, the Israelites came to their senses, listened to their king, and followed him in worshiping the God of the universe for seven days as they celebrated the Passover. Something was different, but it worked. It encouraged them enough to participate willingly and honestly. Let’s look closer into how this happened, because we could definitely use more of this attitude and corporation today!

APPLICATION:   There are so many churches that are either struggling to survive, or have already given up and closed their doors. However, there are flourishing churches that continue to grow almost weekly. Throughout the chapters leading up this one, we read where there were lots of issues and corrections by God, because the ruling kings did things that were not pleasing to God. However, at the very beginning of chapter 35 we are told that Josiah was a different kind of king, because he did what was pleasing to God. Friends, the same is true in business, we see where people will follow a good leader who is trying to grow themselves in their field of expertise, and develop good workers who will do the same. This benefits the company, who in turn, can develop more leaders and even better employees. But how does this benefit Christendom? How do we encourage the growth of the kingdom? I believe that it starts at the top. If our leaders are ‘on fire for the Lord’, then there is a chance in rekindling a fire in the pews. If our leaders are deep into the Word, and they make it a principal upon which they base their daily character and decision making, then what do you suppose the people who are following them will do? So my challenge today is for everyone who takes a leadership role in their company, or in their church. Will your followers be led astray based on whether you are growing; or by what you are saying; or by what you are doing? Without having to preach a sermon, do they have a clue where you stand with Christ? Will Jesus find you faithful, if He returns today to take His children home to glory? When God interviews those who worked for you or with you, do you suppose they saw enough of Jesus in you that it led them to seek Him personally? Jesus died, so that we may live eternally. The Bible is filled with examples of how Jesus lived a perfect life on earth. He is our mentor and our example. Please don’t allow any leader to lead you along a path contrary to God’s teachings. Remember, others are following you, and they want to see Jesus!

PRAYER:   Father God, thank You for Jesus – the perfect Son of God. Thank You for showing us the way to live in a way that’s pleasing to You and that might also lead an unbeliever to the cross – to salvation. Please continue to guide us and direct our path each and every day. Please make us keenly aware of our character, especially when we are about to mess up. We want to be just like You Lord, so that others might follow the ways of Christ when they follow us. In love, humbleness, and much gratification we ask these things dear Lord, 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 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 Nuggets From God’s Word 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 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 Hope is in The Lord

The Psalmist had just come through a very upsetting time where, had it not been for losing his witness in the presence of the wicked, he probably would have exploded. It was at this point that he asked God to please open his mind and his understanding about what is really important in life. He went through multiple thoughts about what humans consider important, but it all boiled down to a strong relationship with the Master, because it was the only hope that resulted in strength, stability and any sort of meaningful eternity with any sort of hope. 

Post Date:

Saturday, 2017-06-24
SCRIPTURE

From:

Psalm 39:3-7 (TLB)

Text:

…. Then at last I spoke and pled with God: Lord, help me to realize how brief my time on earth will be. Help me to know that I am here for but a moment more. 5-6 My life is no longer than my hand! My whole lifetime is but a moment to you. Proud man! Frail as breath! A shadow! And all his busy rushing ends in nothing. He heaps up riches for someone else to spend. And so, Lord, my only hope is in you.
OBSERVATION:
The Psalmist had just come through a very upsetting time where, had it not been for losing his witness in the presence of the wicked, he probably would have exploded. It was at this point that he asked God to please open his mind and his understanding about what is really important in life. He went through multiple thoughts about what humans consider important, but it all boiled down to a strong relationship with the Master, because it was the only hope that resulted in strength, stability and any sort of meaningful eternity with any sort of hope. 
APPLICATION:
Like the Psalmist I believe that today we become all heated and bothered over lots of things that, in the end, really boils down to holding no value in eternity. Things such as our employment, our church, politics, family and our friendships. This Scripture reminds us that should we really concentrate on our key relationship with our Lord Jesus, we will not only secure our eternity with He and the Father, but all these other temporal things that we tend to worry back will fall into place, because we will start to look at them from a heavenly perspective instead of a worldly one. Friends it is nothing less than amazing when we take on a new perspective about the way we look at things. From a selfish, greedy, worldly view, we tend to look at things from a very self-centered way. With Jesus in our heart directing our path, giving us wisdom, and a mind fixed on serving Him and being like Him in every way, we tend to respond and act in ways that reflect the love of Jesus and the exemplified life that He portrayed for us to follow. The way that our world is headed right now, we will self destruct to the detriment of our family, friends and ourselves. Recognizing the hope that we have in our Lord Jesus, and in faith accepting His kingship, could lead us towards a mighty revival in our land that demonstrates to the world that our God reigns and that it is obvious from our actions that He reigns and rules in our hearts. Friends, it’s all about Jesus, and not us. Let’s treat those around us with the unconditional love that He showed for us. Our only hope lies in Jesus, and I am convinced that He could revive us to be just like Him. Are you prepared to give Jesus a chance to prove Himself? Our world will be so much better off, and so will we!
PRAYER:
Thank You for Your Word Lord Jesus, and thank You for Your direction in this Scripture on how we could help in making this a better world, through giving You full reign in our lives. Please forgive us for the times that we have messed up and done things in our own strength and in our own way. Your ways are perfect, because You have such a committed and perfect love for mankind. For those of us that know You personally, I pray that it would be very evident to those around us that we are resting our hope in You and allowing You to rule and reign in everything we do or say. Have Your perfect way in our lives oh Lord, and may You touch the lives of those that we will witness to today, so that Your will might be revealed in them also. You are our only hope oh Lord! We acknowledge that today and seek Your guidance so that we might also spread that hope to this lost world. 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 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 Nuggets From God’s Word 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!

Characteristics That Please God

Post Date:

Tuesday, 2017-01-24
SCRIPTURE

From:

Ephesians 4:30-32 (TLB)

Text:

30 Don’t cause the Holy Spirit sorrow by the way you live. Remember, he is the one who marks you to be present on that day when salvation from sin will be complete.

31 Stop being mean, bad-tempered, and angry. Quarreling, harsh words, and dislike of others should have no place in your lives. 32 Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God has forgiven you because you belong to Christ.

OBSERVATION:
This is an awesome passage today, in that it tells us what pleases our Father; Some major things that we should strive to avoid in our character; but most importantly, some things that we should be doing that really exemplifies and pleases Christ.
APPLICATION:
Many people look at the Bible as a Book of ‘don’ts’ for there is so much that we are told not to do. This could be the case for those who have a guilty conscience for all that they are doing that probably do not please our Maker. For I have found in several cases where, although we are told about our wrong doings, we can also find even stronger teachings on what we should be doing that would please God. Paul, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, told the Ephesians, and I truly believe that his Words are still echoing to the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ today, that there are some things that we do that are so contrary to the will of Christ, that it downright sorrows, or grieves the Holy Spirit. No doubt there are tons of guilty consciences hitting each reader by now, for that same sweet Holy Spirit also speaks to us personally about what displeases Him. But let’s have a look at what Paul taught, and let’s particularly draw a parallel between what the Holy Spirit dislikes, vs what pleases God:

  • Instead of being mean; bad-tempered; angry; quarreling, using harsh words; and displaying obvious dislike for others….
  • Try instead to be kind to each other; tenderhearted; and forgiving one another;

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

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