Your Best Place To Be A Witness

While I admire believers who feel like they should always be in church, I often wonder what impact the church really has on its local community. Of course, the church is not a building where we meet to worship, it is totally comprised of the people that come together to worship the one and only Lord of the universe. However, after being reminded in this Scripture again today, I wonder if God looks any more favorable on church attendance, or on what the church does outside of the 4 walls where we meet. Please reread the Scripture and meditate with me, as God ministers to you and I.

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2021-04-29
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Mark 2:15-17
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: 15 Later, Levi invited Jesus and his disciples to his home as dinner guests, along with many tax collectors and other disreputable sinners. (There were many people of this kind among Jesus’ followers.) 16 But when the teachers of religious law who were Pharisees saw him eating with tax collectors and other sinners, they asked his disciples, “Why does he eat with such scum?”
17 When Jesus heard this, he told them, “Healthy people don’t need a doctor—sick people do. I have come to call not those who think they are righteous, but those who know they are sinners.”

OBSERVATION: While I admire believers who feel like they should always be in church, I often wonder what impact the church really has on its local community. Of course, the church is not a building where we meet to worship, it is totally comprised of the people that come together to worship the one and only Lord of the universe. However, after being reminded in this Scripture again today, I wonder if God looks any more favorable on church attendance, or on what the church does outside of the 4 walls where we meet. Please reread the Scripture and meditate with me, as God ministers to you and I.

APPLICATION: I found it very interesting how Jesus chose unlikely people to follow Him – fishermen; tax collector; etc. Then there was also another surprise when He sat at the home of Levi, a tax collector, to dine with friends and associates of Levi. In fact, the Pharisees openly showed their dismay over seeing Jesus dine with such people. But let’s examine why this appears as a surprise to us. First of all, and probably the most likely cause, is that the Pharisees hung out with other Pharisees and did not associate with the Gentiles. They considered themselves above the normal citizen, because of their knowledge, power and position. Now moving to current-day Christians, why might this story surprise us? Well, in the world of Christendom, we are ‘supposed’ to hang with other Christians. We were taught that to hang with unbelievers, we might soon assume their worldly view of anything goes, no respect or love for others, among many other things. We are taught by the church that we are to attend every possible service held at the church. We are quickly scolded if we are seen in places where ‘Christians don’t go’! Anything wrong with this picture so far? Probably not, but will we have opportunity to witness to the unsaved in any of these ‘likely’ places? Probably not. But think about this: did Jesus sin by sitting and eating with the group at dinner that night? Is it a sin if we sat and ate with a room full of business executives who never attend church? I believe the answer is clearly ‘No’, for there were no commands of God that were dishonored or disobeyed. In fact, the opposite might be true. There were opportunities to be a witness to the unsaved, and wide-opened opportunities to share the love of Christ, and the Good News with a number of people eating with you. At a cocktail party for local businesses I remember coming across the head elder from my church. He had his glass in hand, just like the rest of us, but it was filled with refreshing Coca Cola. You see, he was ‘in the world’ through the normal course of business, but he was not ‘of the world’ by participating in the drinking of alcohol, per his personal beliefs. So in our Scripture today, I believe that God may be calling out to say ‘follow the example of my Son’, don’t set so many rules that you are crippled in being a living witness for our Lord to those who have not chosen to follow Him yet. Of course this comes with many cautions. If you are a recovering alcoholic, please don’t place yourself right smack in the middle of a party where alcohol is served. If you have been the subject of human smuggling and/or human slavery, don’t place yourself in the middle of a group that will refresh those fears and hurts. I believe that God would have us use common sense about how far to go, and to find the right opportunities for meeting with folk that He is actively working on already. Seek God first, and all this will come to you by His Holy Spirit. We may often come across to the world as Mr or Mrs ‘Goodie Too Shoes’ if we feel we are too good to join a friend in certain activities at certain places other than the church, but when you are guided by the Holy Spirit, His work will be accomplished through you – even in those places.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You know first hand how trapped we are in this wicked world. We receive emails and texts, but we have to first discern if they are legitimate or if they are merely traps to sabotage our electronic world. Satan is actively trying to trap us also in our daily lives, and we must always have our guard up. Please Lord, give us the wisdom to know the things You would have us do, and the places You would have us visit, for the meetings You have scheduled for us to influence an unbeliever for the Kingdom. Please help us to always be open to the direction ordered by the Holy Spirit and help us to always stay strong in our faith, so that the world will see Jesus, and not the weakness and failures of our own selves. May our mission always be about the One that we love, adore and serve, and may Your work be accomplished through us so that mankind may be drawn to You, and where You may be glorified. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

How To Live An Honorable Life

Probably one of the most wanted characteristics that we might want to be known for, is that we were an honorable person. Think about the opposite – disrespectful; dishonest; etc. Surely no one really wants to be remembered as the latter. Even atheists know what dishonorable looks like in the life of a believer, for they know what to expect from a Christ-like person. This is a good reminder for us today to make sure that we live an honorable life before God.

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-08-17
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: 11 Aspire[e] to lead a calm and peaceful life as you mind your own business[f] and earn your living, just as we’ve taught you. 12 By doing this you will live an honorable life, influencing others and commanding respect of even the unbelievers. Then you’ll be in need of nothing and not dependent upon others.[g]

OBSERVATION: Probably one of the most wanted characteristics that we might want to be known for, is that we were an honorable person. Think about the opposite – disrespectful; dishonest; etc. Surely no one really wants to be remembered as the latter. Even atheists know what dishonorable looks like in the life of a believer, for they know what to expect from a Christ-like person. This is a good reminder for us today to make sure that we live an honorable life before God.

APPLICATION: Paul was very aware of the issues that prevented the Thessalonians church from excelling in its ministry to the community. Unfortunately, we also must look inward when we notice that the ministry to the unbelieving community has slowed, or has been fractured. Using the godly advice given by Paul, here are some things we should look at also as children of the King. We should individually aspire to:
~ Be calm – I know, you are not a naturally calm person, right? You may often be accused of having ADHD, or bouncing off the walls! But what generally happens in the case of the latter? Aren’t they more apt to speak before they think; Rush into action without thinking about the consequences? Versus being calm might give the impression that you have nothing to worry about because you know that God is in control. This type attitude might also show that you have no reason to jump ahead of God, for He is in control of your life and very much in charge of His church;
~ Live a peaceful life – This may have some of the above characteristics, but for the person living a peaceful life, they avoid causing trouble in the community – whether neighbors or even in the church community. Again, one can especially accomplish this when they have resigned themselves to the fact that God is in control! Often, one can only gain peace in their heart, soul and mind when they know that the God of this universe, is also the God of their lives and there’s nothing to be personally worried about;
~ Mind your own business – Trouble starts when we dip into other people’s business and try to tell them what to do. I’m not talking about good advice dear friend, but instead, referring to the times that we ignore our own issues and try to correct others. Perhaps if we spent more time minding what we do, or not do, then we might get better at it and be better off for it! Being a ‘Nosey parker’, giving unwanted advice, and pretending to be a ‘know-it-all’ will cause strife between neighbors and/or friends. We might become known as a trouble maker;
~ Earn your own living – Work for what you need or want. Others will respect a hardworking man or woman, but despise a lazy individual who waits for others to fill the gap for what they are lacking. Please don’t read into this more than it says. There are some who are disabled or otherwise handicapped, and they need government assistance. This is not the individual that Paul, or I, referred to in this point.
The rewards for doing the above is that the diligent servant will be recognized as ‘honorable’; they will influence others; and they will gain respect from everyone – even unbelievers. When this happens, unbelievers will then be open to listening to our message, for they will want to know where our strength, wisdom and help comes from. Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be granted unto you. Please consider reading my Footnote and the link behind ‘To Know Jesus’, I believe it will direct you to seek Jesus and His Kingdom! Please contact me with any questions, or if I might pray with you about a need.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, I want to be recognized as an honorable man who achieved such recognition because of You – the One in whom I believed, and Your Holy Spirit that resided in my life. It’s You that I want my family and friends to know of oh God, and I would ask that You always draw my attention to anything that might interfere or hinder a positive witness. Please touch the hearts of my readers who might stop long enough to consider Your Word today, and the importance of living an honorable life that represents you best. Oh Lord, be glorified in and through me today so that You might be lifted up and glorified. 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!

So That God May Be Glorified!

Jesus happened across a blind man sitting along the edge of the road. His followers had become such students of their master that they decided to ask about the reason for the man’s blindness. Jesus’ response may have been more than they expected, because He told them how His Father would be glorified even through this man’s blindness. Let’s look into the reasons why God may have particularly had this story included in the Book for us…..

Post Date:

Wednesday, 2017-11-01
SCRIPTURE

From:

John 9:2-3 (GNT)

Text:

His disciples asked him, “Teacher, whose sin caused him to be born blind? Was it his own or his parents’ sin?”

Jesus answered, “His blindness has nothing to do with his sins or his parents’ sins. He is blind so that God’s power might be seen at work in him.

OBSERVATION:
Jesus happened across a blind man sitting along the edge of the road. His followers had become such students of their master that they decided to ask about the reason for the man’s blindness. Jesus’ response may have been more than they expected, because He told them how His Father would be glorified even through this man’s blindness. Let’s look into the reasons why God may have particularly had this story included in the Book for us…..
APPLICATION:
It seems like we thrive on things that make us feel sorry for ourselves, and especially those things that might help others to feel sorry for us. Furthermore, we tend to always look for an explanation on why things are the way they are. This is why the followers of Jesus needed to have the matter resolved in their minds, about why the man was made blind. And they realized that it made no sense asking anyone else that question because no one else but God knew the reason, or cause, for his blindness. Now let’s look closer at the response by Jesus: ‘so that God might be glorified in his life‘. Suppose the crippled or the dumb recognized that they were made the way they are ‘for God’s glory‘, instead of them feeling cursed. Suppose you and I recognized this fact each and every day, instead of wishing that we were as pretty/handsome as the neighbor, or as rich as our employer, or as lucky as the lotto winner? Oh that we might recognize and be constantly reminded that we are made meticulously by God and for His glory. Would we not quickly learn to praise Him for our good times, and for those times that we know God is at work in our lives, even though we sure wish that life would be so different for us? Friends, our God made no junk. Each of us are precious in His sight and we are made for His glory. Let’s work hard to avoid distraction from His almighty and glorious plan for our lives. To God be the glory for all He has done, and for all that He continues to do in our lives, especially when we feel like the world is against us and our health is failing, or no one else cares about us.
PRAYER:
Lord, please forgive us when we feel down and out because of feeling less than someone else. Even in our handicap, we have no reason to whine or complain, because we must quickly remember that we are children of the King – the King of all kings. Father, I pray that You might humble those who are proud and those who feel sorry about who they are. I am reminded that we are precious in Your sight and that as Your royal children, we are loved immensely by you. Oh that You may be glorified in all that we do and say, especially when we look inward at ourselves. 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!

Guard Your Heart

Solomon was able to share these Godly words to us, but also speak from the experience of his father about the results of letting our minds and imagination run wild, and how it impacts the heart and controls your actions. This matter was close to home for him, experientially, plus you might remember that Solomon was the benefiter of very Godly wisdom. So even though most people feel like they have life under control, Solomon’s advice is still rock solid even today.

Post Date:

Saturday, 2017-04-01
SCRIPTURE

From:

Proverbs 4:20-23 (Voice)

Text:

20 My son, pay attention to all the words I am telling you.
    Lean in closer so you may hear all I say.
21 Keep them before you; meditate on them;
    set them safely in your heart.
22 For those who discover them, they are life.
    They bring wholeness and healing to their bodies.
23 Above all else, watch over your heart; diligently guard it
    because from a sincere and pure heart come the good and noble things of life.
OBSERVATION:
Solomon was able to share these Godly words to us, but also speak from the experience of his father about the results of letting our minds and imagination run wild, and how it impacts the heart and controls your actions. This matter was close to home for him, experientially, plus you might remember that Solomon was the benefiter of very Godly wisdom. So even though most people feel like they have life under control, Solomon’s advice is still rock solid even today.
APPLICATION:
From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks! That’s one of many sayings that come to mind as we meditate on this Scripture today. I realize that the first barrier each of us will face with this advice, is that we think we are all ‘good’ people and our intentions are always good, very clear, and abundantly obvious to the person we are dealing with, correct? If you answered ‘yes’ to that question, then I would suggest that after you get up from kneeling before your Maker in sincere repentance, that you re-read the Scripture and possibly this blog! Friends, in case you haven’t noticed: if you hang around drunks, they will soon have you drinking; if you hand around company that curse at every opportunity, you will soon be sneaking in a few curse words in almost  every  sentence; if you hang around children of God and hear about their many blessings that they attribute to Jesus’ love and mercy, then you will soon be wanting to know about the same and apply it to your life. When you see the scales tipping towards righteous thoughts, words and deeds, then I believe that it will confirm that you are on the right track. If not, I believe that God is opening your mind and heart to realize that something is lacking – perhaps inadequate time in His Word, or perhaps way too much time hanging around folk that answer to a different leader than you do. Yes, I am saying that you will deal with a spiritual battle, if the Holy Spirit lives within you and is leading you in the right path. Friends, if your heart is filled with the love, actions and thoughts of our Lord, then you will act like Him and talk as He would. Conversely, if your heart is polluted with the devil and his evil attitudes and deeds, then you find yourself frustrated, because you have asked Jesus to come and live within you, yet you are heating up the internal battle by pouring in the ways of the world and it’s ungodly leader – Satan. There’s a little chorus I sang in children’s Sunday School “O be careful little eyes what you see”. If you know that chorus, you will remember that it also includes what you hear, what you do and where you walk. In other words, learn, speak, act and look at things that are Godly so that you may guard your heart – the internal barometer of your whole being!
PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, thank You for not only living among us and showing us how to live in a way that is pleasing to Your Father, but also for leaving with us the Comforter – the Holy Spirit, who will guide us into righteous living, and help us guard our hearts that belong to You. Lord, may we be found righteous and sold out to You in every aspect of life. May it be evident to everyone that we come into contact with, and may You be glorified because of everything that You accomplish in us, and through us. 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!