The Path To Greatness – Step Three

DATE POSTED Friday, 2022-07-08
WRITTEN AT: O Brien, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Mark 9:42
TRANSLATION: The Message (MSG)

BIBLE TEXT: 42 “On the other hand, if you give one of these simple, childlike believers a hard time, bullying or taking advantage of their simple trust, you’ll soon wish you hadn’t. You’d be better off dropped in the middle of the lake with a millstone around your neck.

APPLICATION: I admire those who are very knowledgeable in the Bible, for they can freely cross-reference other Scriptures that speak to a subject may be looking at, and they can explain the context surrounding the subject in very clear and concise detail. If we are not careful, and perhaps mature, we might let this kind of knowledge intimidate us, and shut us down from explaining anything in our simple understanding. I believe that Jesus tried to forewarn us about this possible stumbling block, for He knew that some might even choose to stay home instead of facing the threat of intimidation once again. Most new believers are so excited and incented to learn as much as they could about this Jesus, who is so new to them. They tend to welcome the knowledge of others. That is, until they feel intimidated, or minimized, or ignorant, or like ‘what’s the use of me even opening my mouth?’. No matter how smart we are, or how dumb others appear to be, they will quickly discern when we are showing them up. I believe that the truly great person strives extra hard to be extremely sensitive around those who may not be as strong as they are, or knowledgeable as they are, or even as educated as they are. Explaining something at a level over my head will not help me understand, but rather intimidate me and cause me to shut down. In 1 Corinthians 8:13 Paul said something similar when he said: “Don’t eat meat offered to idols if it will cause those weaker in their faith to stumble”. I have observed that truly great people are always aware of those weaker than they are in the faith, and therefore won’t flaunt their abilities, if it will trip up someone else in his walk with Jesus. Therefore, I believe that Jesus is teaching His disciples, and us, that we must always reflect on the words of Paul where he said: ‘I try to be like all people, in order to win some to the Lord’. It may irritate some who sees an adult speaking to a baby or young child in a way that sounds childish, but if that’s all the child could comprehend at that time, why speak to them like you would to your pastor? In my younger days when I helped in ministry to young children, it was amazing to hear a young child from our community explain that they didn’t know the chorus ‘Jesus loves me’. But they were new to church and needed ‘baby food’ first. New believers may come from a similar community where they never heard about the truths of the Bible. In very simple terms, we must teach and show them the love of Jesus! We are all equal at the foot of the cross, so why elevate yourself above anyone here on earth? Meet them, and talk with them, right where they are. With the help of our Lord Jesus, He can direct our path, our conversation, and our heart to meet someone right where they’re at!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Instead of our usual approach with our hands out for what we could get, or our ‘give me’, ‘give me’ attitude, Jesus wants us to follow in His footsteps. He came down to earth – equal with God, yet He loved His creation (you and me) enough to serve and teach us, before being crucified for our sake. No other love quite like that, but Jesus wants us to strive for that kind of love each and every day!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, You were the greatest of all men, yet You taught us to look at the very humble aspects of Your life and imitate Your humility and servanthood. Thank You Jesus for setting the example before us, and also for teaching us what You are looking for in Your children. We are but a spec of dust, compared to Your awesome greatness, so we really have nothing to brag about, nor a reason to pretend greatness compared to our fellow Brothers and Sisters. Please be patient with us as You work on us to make us more like Yourself every day. May our unbelieving friends see the likeness of Jesus in us in everything we do, for we want them to see and desire Your love and experience Your forgiveness of their sin. Forgive us Lord when we allow self to get in the way of Your work in our lives. Have thine own way Lord, Have thine own way, You are the Potter, I am the clay….. 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!

The Path To Greatness – Step Two

DATE POSTED Thursday, 2022-07-07
WRITTEN AT: O Brien, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Mark 9:38-41
TRANSLATION: GOD’S WORD Translation (GW)

BIBLE TEXT: 38 John said to Jesus, “Teacher, we saw someone forcing demons out of a person by using the power and authority of your name. We tried to stop him because he was not one of us.”
39 Jesus said, “Don’t stop him! No one who works a miracle in my name can turn around and speak evil of me. 40 Whoever isn’t against us is for us. 41 I can guarantee this truth: Whoever gives you a cup of water to drink because you belong to Christ will certainly not lose his reward.”

APPLICATION: Yesterday we covered the first principle of greatness, as taught by Jesus to His disciples – Treat everyone equally. Today we will look at another principle that will appear just as challenging, and in most cases will need the power of God to help us achieve what Jesus taught to us – Be mindful, or be as magnanimous as we possibly can be—even toward those who are not traveling with us denominationally or theologically. Each of these principles require the strong hand of Jesus to guide us and instill upon us the ways taught by Him, and not what we see in this world today. There are numerous church denominations, and each will tell you what’s wrong with the beliefs and teachings of the other. Much like what John did when he spoke with Jesus, so will denominational leaders today quickly make every effort to shut down the ministry of the other body of believers, because they are just not in the group that has it all right, or are properly aligned with the teachings of Jesus – at least in the way they interpret and/or understand. But let’s see how Jesus addressed this problem that first started with the disciples. Jesus said that if the other group is healing, or doing things in the name of Jesus, then they are working towards the same goal as John and the disciples. Likewise, in todays world, I believe that Jesus may say something like this to, say the Methodists: hey, don’t interfere with or denounce the work of the Baptist or the Church of God, for although they may not baptize in the same way that you do, or their church services may be different to yours, yet they call on the same God, wait for the power of the same Holy Spirit, and they know that only the blood of Jesus will wash away their sin. But Jesus taught that if the other denominations are not seeking to shut you down, and if they call on the name of Jesus in their respective ministries, then we each are striving for the same goal as we minister. In fact, I would add that if we are being critical towards the efforts of other denominations, we may be worse off for it, because we are complaining and whining about the work that God may have ordained through them. Jesus said that we become great when we welcome, pray for, and support, the work of others who are outside of our group, but who are also teaching, preaching and practicing the teachings of Jesus, our Lord. Let’s always be mindful of the fact that ‘churches’ are a group of people. So when we criticize and put down other denominations, we are looking at our neighbor and pulling them down for not doing ministry in the way WE feel is best, or necessary. Jesus rightly taught that sort of attitude was wrong, and it still is today. Let’s learn to thank God for the ministry of our church, and be just as quick to also thank Him for the work of our other neighborhood churches. God is at work my friends, and He didn’t choose just our church to complete His awesome work through here on earth. He loves ALL His children, regardless of how they choose to worship here on earth. We should be just as quick to love ALL Christians who also call our God ‘Father’, for they are our heavenly Brothers and Sisters, regardless of how they choose to worship here on earth!

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Whoever is not against our heavenly work here on earth, is therefore in favor of our work. Let’s love them because we serve the same Master!

PRAYER: Thank You Lord Jesus for being the greatest One that ever visited this planet! Thank You for creating us uniquely different, but also helping us to be compassionate about each other, regardless of our differences. There are many still here on earth that have ever accepted You as Lord. Please help us to never be a stumbling block to prevent them from truly seeing You at work among Your people. May we look and sound just like You, so that the lost may see, hear, believe, and surrender their heart to You as Lord. Touch Your children, Lord, in spite of the obstacles that Your saints allow to hinder 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 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!

The Path To Greatness – Step One

DATE POSTED Wednesday, 2022-07-06
WRITTEN AT: O Brien, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Mark 9:35-37
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT: 35 Jesus sat down and called the twelve apostles to him. He said, “Whoever wants to be the most important must make others more important than themselves. They must serve everyone else.”
36 Then Jesus took a small child and stood the child in front of the followers. He held the child in his arms and said, 37 “Whoever accepts children like these in my name is accepting me. And anyone who accepts me is also accepting the one who sent me.”

APPLICATION: A very interesting difference between the teachings of workplace leaders and the teachings of Jesus on this subject is that the workplace will teach its leaders to step out from among their employees and show them who’s boss. In other words, you can’t be their friend and their boss. However, the very first principle Jesus teaches, is that we are to treat others as if they are more important than we are, and that they deserve our respect and praise. To really get this point, it is important for us to consider Jesus and His followers. God loved His creation so much that He created a God-moment and miraculously birthed His Son into the world. This Son came and reigned among mankind; healed the sick; raised the dead; made the blind to see again and the dumb to speak again. He had the same power as His Father. Yet when mankind chose to kill Jesus, He surrendered His power and allowed their actions, so as to please His Father. God chose that this should occur so that through the death of His Son, His children on earth could surrender themselves to Him and be saved of their sin – past present and future. This form of ‘greatness’ by God and His Son, in spite of their almighty power, showed unheard of love to even the weakest and lowliest sinner on earth. So if we choose to be one with Christ, and endeavor to honor Him by obeying His commands and living in His example, we are reminded that we are among the greatest in the Kingdom of Heaven. Friends, being the greatest employee for your boss may earn you a bonus, or a good raise, but as soon as you disappoint that same boss, he seeks a way to exit you from the company. God works completely different, for He assures us that we are accepted by He and His Son, and the Word of God is clear that for those whom He saves, they are saved forevermore! So you will clearly see that earthly accolades are temporary and based upon your works, but when God accepts our call for repentance and salvation, His gift keeps on giving and holds true for all eternity! There is no comparison to that anywhere on earth, no matter how great you may feel you are. May God bless and direct you to the foot of the cross and teach you true greatness by the greatest man to ever walk this earth, Jesus Christ.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Making others more important than we are, and serving them here on earth – this makes us ‘great’ in the eyes of God!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, be merciful to me, a sinner who stands in Your presence seeking forgiveness and strength to serve my fellow man, and to lift them up in their earthly endeavors. Who am I that a perfect and holy God would send His only Son to die a cruel death on the cross so that I may be saved? In Your sacrifice and in the most important sacrifice on earth, You lifted me up from the mire of sin and made me coheirs with yourself in the Kingdom of heaven. Thank You Lord Jesus for setting an example for your followers to imitate. Please direct our path today so that others may see You in and through our action, words and sacrifice. May they develop a greater sense of acceptance for You and surrender their lives wholeheartedly to You. 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!

To Be First; Great and Supreme

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2021-03-11
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 20:25-28
TRANSLATION: Good News Translation (GNT)

BIBLE TEXT: 25 So Jesus called them all together and said, “You know that the rulers of the heathen have power over them, and the leaders have complete authority. 26 This, however, is not the way it shall be among you. If one of you wants to be great, you must be the servant of the rest; 27 and if one of you wants to be first, you must be the slave of the others— 28 like the Son of Man, who did not come to be served, but to serve and to give his life to redeem many people.”

OBSERVATION: I wonder if national leaders have servants who teach their children what it means to be the son/daughter of the greatest person in that nation? Or the first one that their people will think of as their leader? Or the supreme leader in not just their country, but a strong world leader? Do you do something like this with your children? In our Scripture today Jesus teaches how His children attain greatness; top level leadership; and supreme in our personal achievements. Meditate with me as we mull this over and apply it to our lives.

APPLICATION: Having served in church leadership roles, I had to apply this Scripture to my own life as I read the words of Jesus this morning. More importantly, as followers of Christ, I believe that Jesus wants us to apply His Word to our lives each and every time that we study the Bible, or hear it taught/preached. This Scripture was provoked because of a visit from the mother of James and John (two of the disciples), who asked Jesus to promote her sons to top ranks in His kingdom. The ten remaining disciples became angry, out of jealousy about this request. So Jesus knew this was an issue He had to deal with for the disciples, and for all those who would follow. It is so disconcerting that in this world, we tend to feel superior when we take charge. But look again at what Jesus taught – why would we feel superior, when we should follow His example and be a servant to those over whom we have assumed charge? Imagine walking into a banquet as a leader. You would assume that the head table is set for you and that you are to be seated and served first. But Jesus said that as a slave to the people, we should be serving them without expecting any recognition from them. Over the past year we heard the president of the USA being referred to as the leader of the ‘Free World’. That may be as close to anything we might call ‘supreme’ here on earth, but Jesus meant it in a whole new realm of thinking. You see, He was the son of the Most High God, yet instead of promoting that, He instead sacrificed His own life for the benefit of all who would believe on Him for eternal life. So I believe the question for us to ponder today about our position in life is: how sincere are we in our relationship with the King of all kings? Is He first in our lives? Is it evident to others who we belong to, based on our servanthood? In knowing everything about us, is it evident to God that we are following in the steps of Jesus and His ministry, His servant attitude, and His love for all those that He served?

PRAYER: Lord, I can’t say that I ever thought about being superior in any way while serving in leadership roles, for it was often a heavy load to carry. But this Scripture today has invoked a sense of urgency and commitment to concentrate on serving, way more than any possible benefit from leadership roles. My desire is to be just like You in all that I do or say, so I plead with You to direct me each and every day to achieve that desire and to walk the walk and talk the talk, as You would have Your followers to do. I also plead with You to impact the lives of my readers, oh that they too might seek Jesus above everything else in this world, and may we all glorify You name on earth, as it is in heaven. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, 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!

Jesus’ Definition of ‘Greatness’

Post Date:

Sunday, 2017-07-23
SCRIPTURE

From:

Luke 9:46-48 (TLB)

Text:

 46 Now came an argument among them as to which of them would be greatest in the coming Kingdom! 47 But Jesus knew their thoughts, so he stood a little child beside him 48 and said to them, “Anyone who takes care of a little child like this is caring for me! And whoever cares for me is caring for God who sent me. Your care for others is the measure of your greatness.”
OBSERVATION:
It seems like Jesus’ definition of ‘greatness’ is quite different to ours. So we will look at this a little deeper today to make sure that we are not only getting the meaning of this word from Webster or some other English dictionary, but also to make sure that we are following God’s desire for our ‘greatness’ in this world.
APPLICATION:
In this world, and even in dictionaries, we learn that ‘greatness’ is considered: superior; or possess a natural ability to be better than most; illustrious; important; famous; etc. However, from everything we know of Jesus, He never showed any of these characteristics. He was born in a lowly manger in a cattle stall, and for the rest of His life there is no talk of Him living, or desiring to live anywhere near a palace. He simply obeyed His Father and served all mankind with sincere love and admiration. Yet He was the greatest man that ever lived! In our Scripture today Jesus is teaching His disciples that for them to evaluate who among them is the greatest in the kingdom of God, they must consider who is the greatest servant, for simply looking through worldly eyes at what they each might be famous for, will only impact what the world thinks of them and expects from ‘great’ people, in their terms. Let me suggest that we stop and consider how concerned, helpful and caring we would be towards a little child as they go helplessly down a river. Now think about the child, they are totally dependent upon you to keep their heads above water and from the harm of all rocks or debris, plus keep them warm once they are ready to exit the water. I believe Jesus wants us to care for everyone here on earth in much the same way as we would for that child in the river. This includes those who are very close to us, those that we think are above us in status and especially those that we know society always look down their noses at.  ALL are precious in His sight. Jesus also wants us to be like the child going down the river: fully dependent on Him; begging for His helping hand to guide, protect and keep us; and willing to accept help from anyone that stretches out ther hand to help us. At the end of life’s road when we meet Jesus, we will all be considered children of God, or not. There will be no ‘greatness’ that will get us there, only the simple invitation of Jesus into our lives. What’s your position today friends? Do you know my Jesus personally? Are you serving Him faithfully in all phases of your life and with whomever you come into contact with? If so you may one day stand to hear: ‘Welcome my child, you have been faithful over many things on earth, now come and dine with me and my Father as we rejoice together  throughout eternity!
PRAYER:
Lord, thank You for all that You have demonstrated through Your example, and from all that You have taught us through Your precious Word. We will meet many that are different in many ways from us. Please teach us to always welcome one another with the same grace that You welcome us. It is unimaginable that a King would willingly sacrifice His life for my sin, and my opportunity to spend eternity in heaven. Yet You did just that. Thank You Lord Jesus! Now may I, and all my readers be prepared to act in similar fashion and accept even those who persecute us; who have more money than us; who may live in mansions; and who may live under bridges. All are precious in Your sight, and so should they be in ours. For thine is the kingdom, the power and the glory, for ever, 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!