How It All Starts and Ends

THE HOLY BIBLE (Easy-To-Read Version – John 6:43-44): 43 But Jesus said, “Stop complaining to each other. 44 The Father is the one who sent me, and he is the one who brings people to me. I will raise them up on the last day. Anyone the Father does not bring to me cannot come to me.

THOUGHTS: Many who were following Jesus and listening to His teaching just didn’t get it. In fact, in this very chapter we read about many turning away because they just wasn’t sure that Jesus was the ‘real thing’. Friends, are either of these first two statements any different than what we see today? I don’t think so. Just imagine, there are folk that attend our churches today that are there because mom or dad insisted that they attend; or perhaps a man is attending because his wife came from a church background and insisted that he come to church with her. However, let me encourage you by saying that much like Jesus described and announced to His followers in this scripture, there are many ‘true’ or ‘real’ Christians that we know and fellowship with, who have been touched by the mighty hand of God – the same God that sent Jesus – our Redeemer, Mediator and Savior. These folk have committed their lives to the lordship of the Lord Jesus Christ in total surrender. To better understand the imagery of what Jesus is teaching here, I want you to think for a moment of the number of folk that you walk up to, next to, or alongside each day. Are you committed to them? No, you happened to have entered into their space because of normal circumstances. Now, let’s imagine that you have been invited by the White House staff to appear before the president of the United States. Would there be a difference in how you prepare yourself with how you will appear in his space? I’m sure there will be! Now think for a moment that something has occurred in your life where you feel certain that the Holy Spirit of God is urging you to accept an invitation to attend church this weekend, or perhaps to accept that luncheon request from an old Christian friend who’s been inviting you for a while now. Let’s assume that at either of these meetings the truth of God’s Word is shared and an invitation given to you to accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Having been urged by the Holy Spirit, do you suppose that you would have a very strong desire to accept, based on how everything came together? Friend, may I suggest to you that you look beyond situations that many might call coincidences, or mere luck? May I suggest that you recognize the hand of God when He touches your life; penetrates your life with His divine presence; and calls you to a decision to follow Him? To all who surrender; to all who believes on Him; to all who commits to His invitation and call; to them He offers life eternal, just like He said in verse 44 – “He will raise you up” to be with Him and the Father on Resurrection Day! I am anxiously looking forward to that day friend, I hope that you will be obedient to His call today and ready yourself for the same. The promise of Heaven is reserved for those who know and have accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. Others will be presented with quite the opposite experience – hell and damnation. The choice we make today in response to the call of the Father determines our final destination. Please don’t disappoint me, nor my heavenly Father.

PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank You for Your provision for us to one day join You in heaven. Who is man that You should care enough for us to make such a provision? Thank You for loving Your children enough to speak with us one-on-one and for providing us the sacrificial means for the forgiveness of our sin and our subsequent entry into heaven. Thank You for Jesus! I have friends and family who have rejected Your call on their life, or they are perhaps of the wrong impression that their sinful lives are ‘good enough’ to see them into heaven. Lord, have mercy on them. Please tender the hearts of the stubborn and unconcerned today. May they recognize Your voice and adhere to Your calling today, before it is eternally too late for them to do so. All these things I ask humbly, and in the powerful name of Jesus, my Savior, 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 read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, 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 www.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!

Hindrances to Worship

THE HOLY BIBLE (Easy-To-Read Version – Hebrews 9:13-14): 13 The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a cow were sprinkled on those who were no longer pure enough to enter the place of worship. The blood and ashes made them pure again—but only their bodies. 14 So surely the blood sacrifice of Christ can do much more. Christ offered himself through the eternal Spirit as a perfect sacrifice to God. His blood will make us completely clean from the evil we have done. It will give us clear consciences so that we can worship the living God.

THOUGHTS: I believe that every Bible Teacher or Pastor’s wish would be, that their hearers are getting as much from a lesson as they received when they studied the lesson being taught. I also believe that every Worship Minister would love to know that the folk they are leading in a time of worship were participating from the deepest parts of their heart and receiving a blessing like they receive when leading us. Often we will go to our corporate worship services and while sometimes being totally blessed and pulled into the worship time through full participation, yet at other times we just attend but don’t feel a closeness to our Lord as we worship. These are the times we find fault with the person next to us or behind us, or with the worship leader, or perhaps the volume of the instrumentalists! But friend, if you especially read verse 14, you will notice that as long as we enter God’s house with stained consciences, there just may not be an opportunity for you to connect with God and His Holy Spirit that day. You might remember from God’s Word that God will not be present where sin abounds. I believe that another way of understanding verse 14 might be in the following way: “One cannot worship the Living God without a clear conscience” or unless one has already settled with God concerning their sin. There’s a worship song that has been around for a long time “There’s A Sweet, Sweet Spirit in this Place“. After reading verse 14, I’m not so sure that will even happen for us if we present ourselves for worship with sin in our life. Perhaps we should have a confession service first, then, perhaps, the Spirit of God might find clean hearts and consciences in which He is free to move and to bless. Let’s keep this in mind the next time that we attempt to worship God. Clean hearts will draw close to God, as it is the only way that He will draw close to you and I.

PRAYER: How dare us attempt to enter Your presence in sin, Oh God, especially thinking that we can block the hindrances (our sin) while we attempt to worship You. It’s not enough for us to conjure up a time of ‘worship’ Lord Jesus, for we want to be where You are, and we want to worship You in sincerity of heart, soul and mind. Please forgive us for attempting to worship You, the One who never sinned, yet with sin in our hearts. Please cleanse me of all unrighteousness, so that as I approach Your throne I can do so with a clear conscience and without sin. Please touch the hearts of my readers Lord, so that they too might be enlightened of any sin that not only separates them from You, but also blocks their true worship of You. Lord, may You rule and reign in every aspect of our lives and especially prepare us for frequent times of worship to You. I love you Lord, and I lift my voice and heart in worship to You alone. My prayer is offered in and through the name of Jesus, the only one worthy of my worship and praise, 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 read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, 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 www.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!

Created to Be Virtuous

THE HOLY BIBLE (The New Living Translation – Ecclesiastes 7:28-29): 28 Though I have searched repeatedly, I have not found what I was looking for. Only one out of a thousand men is virtuous, but not one woman! 29 But I did find this: God created people to be virtuous, but they have each turned to follow their own downward path.”

THOUGHTS: We often hear the term ‘Virtuous Woman’, especially around Mother’s Day, but I found these two verses touching and challenging. In fact, God really got my attention through these verses. Let’s first define the word ‘virtuous’ – “conforming to a high, moral and ethical standard”. Later in this chapter it is referred as ‘honest and true’. So I believe that God is really saying through His word here, “Hey, I made you to be honest and true, virtuous in every way, so how did you get to where you are today?” Now friends, as you consider this and perhaps seek God’s face about being more virtuous, I want to encourage you to put down your glasses of piety. Relax your pride and selfishness for just a moment. Be reminded that you are looking to the God of this universe for answers. Be willing to open your eyes, your ears and your heart to what He might respond, realizing that He not only knows everything about you, but is very aware of even your inmost thoughts. Remember, He created you! But what’s super important today is that He made you to be ‘virtuous’. Unfortunately, I believe that we are much like the folk that Solomon was thinking of when he penned these words – there wasn’t one who could be found in the whole lot, that he considered ‘virtuous’. So what’s the problem folk? I believe that it’s a small three letter word that has drastically impacted on our lives – SIN. Remember, God will not abide where sin abounds. Solomon said that we have each turned to follow our own downward path. In other words, a path that leads to nothing Godly or nothing good. Friends, if God created us to be virtuous, then I am convinced that He wanted us to live virtuous lives that He could be proud of and use for His earthly work. Are you worthy of this, or have you followed your own downward path that is good for nothing that imitates God? Christians, we are not perfect – just forgiven, so this challenge very much applies to you. Non-Christian, you may tend to think that you are so entrenched in sin that there is no way that you can ever be classified ‘Virtuous’. I have great news for you friend. God loves you and with such passion that He decided even while we were deep in sin, to send His only Son into this world as a sacrificial lamb, providing the only means for salvation and ultimately, virtuous living. This is all accomplished with Him as our Guide, our Defender, our Redeemer, our Master and our Lord. Jesus alone can turn your life around, and into something beautiful that can be used for His glory. Will you let Him do it? My ‘Footnote’ contains helpful tips.

PRAYER: Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name, for I can hardly imagine the love of a Savior for those who had you crucified, yet You went to the cross for us. Yes, so that we might have a chance of seeing You face to face, but also to provide the means and direction for us to live ‘virtuous’ lives here on this earth. I know this is what’s required of us to be true witnesses of Yours, but in our carnal minds this seems so impossible. Yet we know that You are the God of everything that seems ‘impossible’ to us, so it is in that assurance that we come before You today asking for forgiveness of our less than virtuous living, and asking that You might give us power and a desire to turn our lives around and refocus our lives, our speech and our actions to closely imitate You dear God, so that we may be acceptable and usable witnesses. Bless us with Your presence and Your power today, is my humble prayer that I ask in the name of Your Son 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 read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, 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 www.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!