Daily Devotions from The Word Of God… From the heart of Ed Algreen

Posts tagged ‘gift’

Put God To The Test

Wednesday, 2016-07-13

Scripture

Bible Reference: Malachi 3:8–10

Bible Text:  8 “Should people cheat God? Yet you have cheated me!
“But you ask, ‘What do you mean? When did we ever cheat you?’
“You have cheated me of the tithes and offerings due to me. 9 You are under a curse, for your whole nation has been cheating me. 10 Bring all the tithes into the storehouse so there will be enough food in my Temple. If you do,” says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, “I will open the windows of heaven for you. I will pour out a blessing so great you won’t have enough room to take it in! Try it! Put me to the test!

Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take

I would imagine that most of us would get highly upset, and probably angry, if someone accused us of cheating. But what if God accused you of cheating? I believe that we would be extremely saddened, because for those of us who study the Word; or attend church to learn more about the Word; we try desperately to adhere to the expectations of Jesus. We want to please Him, right? But wait a minute, this is the same example given in the verses above, so let’s examine the church today – ‘us’. In the Bible, God gives us guidance on what he refers to as a ‘Tithe’ – 10% of all that God has blessed us with. But there are also liberties taught around the idea of giving: from a cheerful heart; Giving from the abundance of the heart; and giving as the Lord impresses upon the individual; just to name a few. Therefore, some tend to give a tithe (10%) of their gross income and they make it the first check that they write, based on the teaching that the first fruits belong to God. I believe that You will notice some tend to think that the heart will hurt too much if they give so much to the work of the Lord, so they give 10% of some other figure – either of their net check or net after all expenses are paid for the period. God is our Judge, and I will not assume His exalted position on this subject, but a simple analysis of the facts that I have shared will indicate that God can still accuse us of cheating – either cheating Him, or cheating our families of extra income. I have heard of folk who count the pills received in their prescriptions, to make sure they were not ‘cheated’. When we find our own descriptions or explanations for something that God has declared, and wind up not giving God the full share of what He has ‘prescribed’ for us, could that be considered ‘cheating’? The work of the Lord through local churches is shutting down in many instances because folk are ‘cheating’ God of their time (to worship and fellowship together with other believers) and their money, through not bringing their tithe to the storehouse (the church) to help it meet the physical and spiritual needs of the body. God has promised to bless us by pouring out His blessing on us, if we obey His command to tithe. He has even offed somewhat of a guarantee to us by promising to fill our barns. He also dared us to test Him and see if He wouldn’t do what He has promised. From a personal testimony, I can assure you that if you are obedient, God will meet your every need, as if you had access to your full check to spend it any way you would like. There is never too little, or too much income. 10% may result in a $1 tithe, or perhaps a $1,000 tithe. The same principle applies friend. Take God at His word – Test Him!

Prayer

At a time when so many churches are closing their doors because of lack of income, we also find that many are closing because of lack of attendance. Father, please melt the hearts of Your precious children and help us all to draw closer to You. As this occurs, we will want to draw closer to other children of Yours – our Brothers and Sisters, and we will want to learn more about our awesome Savior. As we do this we will want to be obedient to You, and this will include being faithful in our giving, as instructed in Your Word. As You continue to bless us financially, please help us to also bless the work of our local church so that Your ministry might continue, especially to the end that more and more non-Christians will come to accept You as their Lord and Savior.  In Your name I pray, and with a heart filled with thanksgiving, AMEN!

Footnote

If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog could indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely to subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

The Gift That Started All Christmas Celebrations

THE HOLY BIBLE ~ NLT and CEV ~ 2 Corinthians 5  ~ 11 Because we understand our fearful responsibility to the Lord, we work hard to persuade others. (NLT)

17 Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. 18 God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others. (CEV)

20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ. (NLT)

THOUGHTS: I want to share a gift with you on this day that is noted for gift-giving – Christmas! The gift is the wonderful Word of God! Notice in vs 11 above, where Paul said that he and his team were working hard to persuade the Corinthians about the ‘gift’ of Jesus – the One who reconciles us with God, and Paul and his team were doing this because of their fearful responsibility to God. Oops, we have a ‘responsibility’ as Christians? I believe most of us consider the ‘gift’ of Jesus as a blessing, perhaps as a privilege, or perhaps a calling from God, but I bet we rarely think about the ‘gift’ of Jesus as a responsibility. Let me explain where I believe God took me on this, to help me understand. Let’s assume for a moment that a crowd of your friends were in a large hotel room for a meeting or celebration of some sort, and you saw where a fire had started at the other end of the hotel. Would it be your privilege to know that information, or would you feel an urgent responsibility to run and tell your friends that they must leave their celebration and get far away from that hotel which may soon burn to the ground? May I suggest that our responsibility to God is very similar, for we see friends walking in the danger of eternal death every day, while we keep bottled up inside the ‘GIFT’ of Jesus Christ, that God sent to this world on that very first day – whose anniversary we celebrate as ‘Christmas’. However, this highlights how way too often we miss our God-given responsibility of sharing that reconciliation, that joy, that hope and that peace with our family and friends, who could very easily be walking into the fires of Hell, because of their lack of knowledge, lack of convincing by us, or just plain lack of concern for themselves, because they are too busy enjoying the ‘fun’ things of life. Not a fun thing for you to consider on the biggest day of gift-giving, but may I remind you that this is the greatest ‘gift’ that we have ever been given, and it is so important that we share this with others around the tree with us today! For this will give family and friends the kind of ‘gift’ mentioned in vs 17 & 18 – a new take on life; forgetting the ugliness of the past, and discovering the gift of newness in Christ so that our conscience will be clear between us and God – a brand new lease on life! For those of us who have the ‘gift’ already, remember that this is quite different to any other ‘gift’ we will receive under the tree – it is one given to us so that we might share it with others and convince them to accept the ‘Gift’ personally. We become ‘Gift’ demonstrators and imitators, not ‘Gift’ users or destroyers, because we become ambassadors for Jesus Christ – the ‘GIFT’ send to us by His Father. The ‘Gift’ that started this whole Christmas celebration. So if you are feeling down and out about the financial burdens of gift-giving this Christmas, please consider accepting the greatest ‘Gift’ ever given. What will it cost you? The total surrender of all your sins, your regrets, your past for which you may not be very proud. The ‘Gift’ of which I am referring, was totally paid for in blood, by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. He paid in full, so that through His ultimate ‘Gift’ we might live with the assurance of eternal life with Him one day! Wow, what a ‘Gift’, and this can be ours today! And can by yours today also dear friend!

PRAYER: Thank you precious Father for the ‘Gift’ of Your Son that You sent as a baby in Bethlehem. An occasion that we celebrate as ‘Christmas’. As we celebrate that significant occasion today, may we reflect on the reason for the gift, the joy of the gift, the everlasting value of the gift, and the ultimate cost of that ‘Gift’ in order that His purpose would be fulfilled. Thank You for the ‘Gift’ in the manger at Bethlehem, and thank You for the ultimate cost of that ‘Gift’ so that we might one day see You in glory! Make Yourself very present today as we open our presents, and may we receive You as quickly as we receive our presents from under the tree today. Thank You Lord Jesus for touching us in such a way that we enjoy a worldwide celebration of Your birth each year – today! May we truly understand the significance of that gift, is my humble prayer that I offer up to You in total thanksgiving 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 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!

Teach With Your Life

The Holy Bible   (The Message – 1 Timothy 4:11-14):     Get the word out. Teach all these things. And don’t let anyone put you down because you’re young. Teach believers with your life: by word, by demeanor, by love, by faith, by integrity. Stay at your post reading Scripture, giving counsel, teaching. And that special gift of ministry you were given when the leaders of the church laid hands on you and prayed—keep that dusted off and in use.

Thoughts:   Paul instructed Timothy on things to be leery of. I believe that God ordered that these instructions be included in His Message to us because they equally apply to us. In these verses, I heard God saying:

  • We have a responsibility to get the word out – the Word of God, The witness of all that He has done in our lives;
  • We are cautioned that people might be prejudiced against us – it might be age, it might be color, it might be gender, or anything else that they feel might serve to block us from imposing, or sharing our message with them;
  • We must be careful to also minister to believers – Paul knew that the primary way to get through to believers would be to teach them through our actions, our words, our demeanor, our love, our faith, our integrity – just our straight out attitude and character. If Jesus is not shining through us in our outward life actions, does He truly reside in our heart?
  • Keep on keeping on – a message I’ve heard consistently over the past few months. Paul is also advising that we stay at our posts, doing what God instructs us, in spite of what the people around us may do to deflect or reject us;
  • We have a special gift – share it! This can be from a talent standpoint, or simply from a standpoint of having the gift of God’s Son inside of us and a deep desire to share Him with others;
  • Keep our gift dusted off – this reminds me that I am to stay in the Word, attend church services and training, and do my very best to be current in my relationship and experiences with the Lord. Sharing something with someone that happened to you over 10 years ago gives the impression that your God must be dead. Why hasn’t He been active in your life experiences this week? Also, witnessing about something that has occurred in your life, versus something that happened in a friend’s life, is way more powerful. So be attuned to all that God is doing for you personally.

Prayer:   Thank You Lord for the plan You had for Timothy; the plan You had for Paul to encourage and minister to Timothy; and the plan You have for my life and the lives of my readers. Thankfully You are a ‘personal’ God who loves us individually in unconditional ways. You chose us to be Your children; Your followers; Your messengers; because we have family, friends and loved ones that will listen to us and watch our very actions. Lord, may they see Jesus very evident in our life, our word, our demeanor, our love, our faith and in our integrity. In fact, may the love of God be so evident in us that others would have a desire to also have Him become a part of their lives. Just as Timothy went on to win the lost to You, may You also see results from our very existence here on this earth and particularly from our personal witness. This is my desire today Lord, and I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, my King, now and throughout eternity, 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!

Spirit-Guided Relationships – Children

The Holy Bible

Children, do what your parents tell you. This is only right. “Honor your father and mother” is the first commandment that has a promise attached to it, namely, “so you will live well and have a long life.”

(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 6:1-3)

Thoughts:

Over the past two days I have shared with you some thoughts about the preceding verses that spoke to wives and then to husbands. One of the primary blessings that result from happily married couples is the gift of a child, therefore Paul also addressed the responsibility of children. In the case of wives and husbands, God gave us responsibility to one another and to Him. In the case of children, God attached a bonus to the command He gave to them. The command is that children, (several Bible translations actually delineate that this is addressed to Christian children) are to honor their parents by obeying them. Friends, I am convinced that there are benefits to Christian men/husbands/fathers that honor God by obeying Him, that there are benefits to women/wives/mothers that honor God through His command to honor and obey their husbands, and I believe that children who honor and obey these type parents are bound to benefit in many ways, as promised in God’s Word. So why is this, you might ask? Well, if God has already led and disciplined the parents, I would say it only makes sense for parents to pass that teaching and experience on to their children. Will children be tempted to ‘do their own thing’? I believe that we all have a free will that God has blessed us with. However, when our minds, and our lives have been built around certain disciplines, and when parents have led by example of what God has taught them, then variances to our ‘normal’ lifestyle and upbringing will be very limited. Another reinforcement to children is that as they mature into adults, they will also become responsible to God under the guidance given earlier to wives and husbands. Friends, I believe that you might understand by now that family relationships are interwoven with God and with each other. We have responsibility to each other and to God. As we exit this year of 2014, examine your relationship with your family and with God. Use the fresh start of a New Year to recommit to a fresh start in your family relationships and your relationship with God. With God’s help, this can be the best year of your life, friend! It’s up to you!

Prayer:

Father, we see on the news and hear from our friends where there are so many deficiencies in families today. This is very evident from our crime rates, and from our family stresses that often result in heart attacks and premature deaths. Please use this last day of 2014 to speak to the hearts of Your children – mothers, fathers, sons and daughters. The family structure was built by You and around all that You stand for and teach through Your Word. Please guide us unto all Truth so that we may set self aside and quit trying to do things ‘our way’. Instead, Father I plead with You that You might speak loudly and clearly to us, Your children, to be better representatives of Yours. I believe that this will not only bring honor to Yourself, but also open the doors of heaven and its many blessings upon our families. I would love for us to see the need for fewer law enforcement officials in 2015, because of the serious responsibility taken by me, and Your other dear children here on earth. I know that we can only accomplish this awesome task with Your help dear Lord, so as we lay ourselves at Your feet, may You pick us up, strengthen us and guide us in the way we should go, that ultimately brings praise and worship to You oh King. I love You Lord, and I thank You for Your blessings in 2014, while still stressing the sincere need for You in 2015. Into Your hands I commit my life to You for all that You will accomplish through me. Please be a blessing to my readers as they acknowledge Your Word today and make their own commitments to be more committed servants in the coming year. I ask this in the name of Jesus, and believing that He alone can direct our path today and in 2015, 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!

Life Improvement Key

The Holy Bible

It wasn’t so long ago that you were mired in that old stagnant life of sin. You let the world, which doesn’t know the first thing about living, tell you how to live. You filled your lungs with polluted unbelief, and then exhaled disobedience. We all did it, all of us doing what we felt like doing, when we felt like doing it, all of us in the same boat. It’s a wonder God didn’t lose his temper and do away with the whole lot of us. Instead, immense in mercy and with an incredible love, he embraced us. He took our sin-dead lives and made us alive in Christ. He did all this on his own, with no help from us! Then he picked us up and set us down in highest heaven in company with Jesus, our Messiah.

(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 2:1-6)

Thoughts:

Isn’t it interesting to watch the commercials this time of the year and learn how easy it is to improve happiness in your home, if only you would get off your wallet and buy the right gifts for your loved ones, or buy the right foods on which to splurge during the many parties and family gatherings? In a few weeks, that will change to finding happiness while improving your self-image, by losing all the pounds you gained during the holidays. Do you see the temporary results in each of these things? Paul had the same challenge with the folk he ministered to in the Ephesian church, and in these verses highlighted today you will note that he brought to their attention an important key to improve life over an entire year, not just during a particular season. Friends, this is the same choice that we can make today. Banks love it when you overspend to find those special gifts that you feel will bring happiness to your family and friends, but your budget suffers for months to come. Paul is reminding us that God, in His infinite wisdom knew what it would take to improve life on a permanent basis. He knew that it should be done out of love, and not at a financial cost to those that need it, otherwise it would be out of reach for some. In fact, this ‘improvement key’ would have to be something available to His children even though the rest of the world might look on in disbelief, because all they would see is the unworthiness of the individual. Additionally, Paul must have known that we would have gotten used to the various rewards programs here on earth, because in verse 6 he went on to encourage us with the rewards of heaven in company with the Savior of this world, Jesus, the Messiah of whom we sing in many of the Christmas carols. In other words, the rewards of this life improvement decision of which I have shared, is simply ‘out of the world’!! Friend, won’t you this Christmas season accept the best gift ever given, Jesus my Lord? He truly is the reason that we celebrate Christmas, and He is ready and willing to accept your ‘life improvement’ request today!

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank You for going to the extreme to provide the best gift ever. One that would improve our lives forever. One that brings the rewards of heaven, and eternity with the Master of this universe. Lord You are good, and your mercies endureth forever! I love You Lord, and I life my voice, to worship You, oh my soul, rejoice; take joy my King in what You hear, may it be a sweet, sweet sound in Your ear! Lord, may this Christmas time be a time that our lives are made complete in You, and may our family and friends also recognize the need for the gift of all gifts, the hope of glory, the key to true and everlasting happiness. For I humbly ask this in the name of Jesus, the newborn King, 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!

A Covenant Relationship

Scripture: Genesis 17

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

1 When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the Lord appeared to him and said, “I am El-Shaddai—‘God Almighty.’ Serve me faithfully and live a blameless life.2 I will make a covenant with you, by which I will guarantee to give you countless descendants.”3 At this, Abram fell face down on the ground. Then God said to him,4 “This is my covenant with you: I will make you the father of a multitude of nations!5 What’s more, I am changing your name. It will no longer be Abram. Instead, you will be called Abraham, for you will be the father of many nations.6 I will make you extremely fruitful. Your descendants will become many nations, and kings will be among them! Gen 17:1-6 (NLT)

APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)

Much is said in God’s Work about covenant relationships. In this particular chapter there were several covenant relationships made with Abram (Abraham) and they all were similar in form. God made a covenant that He would do certain things and this was either preceded, or followed by, certain things that would be required by Abram and/or his people. In this particular covenant God told his servant who was once fatherless, that he would become the father of countless descendants and of many nations, and to mark this his name would be changed to reflect the new him, because Abraham actually means ‘Father of Many’. Now prior to all this being revealed, God demanded of Abram that he vow to serve Him faithfully and live a blameless life. Throughout God’s Word He makes many promises to us, the greatest of which was the gift of His Son Jesus. In this particular covenant, God sent His Son so that those of us that believe on, and accept Him as Lord of our life, would have eternal life. At Christmas time we celebrate the gift that was presented to us. I trust that for all who may read this devotional, You would truly accept this gift and complete the covenant presented by God, for I guarantee you that He will live up to His part of the covenant by opening heaven’s gates and receiving us into eternity with Him. Friend I pray that your eyes will be opened to this invitation, because the alternative is not very bright for those who refuse to accept Jesus. An eternal life of damnation and the unpleasentries of Hell is not anything that I can imagine anyone wanting to set as a goal in their life.

PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)

Father I thank You for the greatest gift ever given – Your Son. I thank You also for touching my life and encouraging me to accept Your gift some 35 years ago. I am concerned about the numerous number of family and/or friends and/or co-workers that have chosen to ignore Your gift and the covenant You have offered to us. I pray that this will be an important Christmas weekend in the lives of those that You have touched my life through, because I pray that You will once again overly sensitize their hearts so that they will understand how hopeless life is without You. May they experience the real meaning of the reason that we celebrate Christmas as they surrender and submit their lives to You this week.

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