Things That Hinder Our Relationship

Marriage counselors will detect certain things that, they feel, might be interfering in good marriages- for some, it may be men continuing to hang out with the boys, or women spending too much time and money at the stores. In our story today there is a rich young ruler who felt he was obeying the commandments, but struggling to have an intimate relationship with the Savior. Jesus identified the issue, and because this may still impact Christian relationships today, I believe we should meditate on the words of Jesus for our own benefit.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2021-06-02
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Mark 10:20-22
TRANSLATION: New Century Version (NCV)

BIBLE TEXT: 20 The man said, “Teacher, I have obeyed all these things since I was a boy.”
21 Jesus, looking at the man, loved him and said, “There is one more thing you need to do. Go and sell everything you have, and give the money to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come and follow me.”
22 He was very sad to hear Jesus say this, and he left sorrowfully, because he was rich.

APPLICATION: For a young man who is really into hunting, he may be in shock over his wife feeling alone and unattended to, because his personal needs are being met with things outside of his marriage. The rich young ruler in our story today felt accomplished, because he was able to acquire everything he needed to meet the needs in his life, for there was no shortage of money. In fact, he had convinced himself that he was really a good person, because he always strived to obey the commands taught by His priest. But just as in our case today, Jesus was able to look right through this man’s ideals and wishes, and He was able to see that everything hinged on the idea that the man’s money could buy everything he needed or wanted, so he struggled with the idea of surrendering his life to the lordship of Jesus Christ. Friends, before you dismiss this devotional because you don’t have the money to ever feel like it could control you, let me first suggest that anything could really replace the thought that ‘money’ could disrupt our relationship with Jesus Christ. Elsewhere in the Bible, Jesus taught that we must become like a little child. That’s because a child has no money, or anything else that would disrupt, or distract, from an honest relationship with anyone. Imagine for a moment that you followed the instructions that Jesus gave to the rich young ruler. Can you begin to imagine how dependent you would be each day on the Savior – your Provider and giver of all good things in life? My friends, this is how Jesus wants us to be: Humble ourselves before Him; Recognize Him for who He is; Depend on Him as the giver of life itself and every good thing that we truly need; and to respond to Him in honor, praise and thanksgiving for every little thing in life. Are you there yet? Can you see how we are no different to the rich young ruler? Yes, it may not be because we are rich, but we have great parents who respond to every need we have; or we may have a spouse who has a great job; or a friend who looks out for us like a brother; etc, etc. What is it that distracts you from a deep, sincere, undivided relationship with the Master? I believe that Jesus is saying to us today, go and sell, or go and sever those ties, then come and bow at my feet for mercy, love and total dependence. Jesus loves us and longs to be our Savior and our Lord. Do you love Him and long to follow in sincere dependence of Him?

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Jesus identified the earthly things that the rich young ruler needed to separate from, but he encouraged him to ‘come then and follow Him’. In spite of who we were, God sees us in love and encourages us to come, follow Him! That’s unconditional love!

PRAYER: Thank You Lord for seeing us in our most sinful state, but still assuring us of Your love and inviting us to come and be Your guest. Lord, we are challenged by the things we have come to love in this world, and often we allow these things to blur our vision of You. The world needs to see an honest vision of You without any distraction from us. Please open our eyes and our hearts so that we might willingly sever our ties with anything that misrepresents You, and may our lives be so complete in You, so that You may accomplish Your work in and through us, as You see fit. We love You Lord, please help us to love You without distractions interfering in that commitment. 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’s Your Heart Doing?

When asked by a doctor ‘How’s your heart doing’, you might be tempted to tell him/her about various aches and pains that you feel may be resulting from a possible defective organ. However, if asked the same question by God, there may be various responses, unless you fully understand where He’s coming from with the question, for we try to respond with what we think He wants to hear. But I want us to use the Scripture as we respond to this question in our meditation today.

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2021-05-20
WRITTEN AT: Nassau, Bahamas

SCRIPTURE FROM: Mark 7:20-23
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: 20 Then Jesus said: What comes from your heart is what makes you unclean. 21 Out of your heart come evil thoughts, vulgar deeds, stealing, murder, 22 unfaithfulness in marriage, greed, meanness, deceit, indecency, envy, insults, pride, and foolishness. 23 All of these come from your heart, and they are what make you unfit to worship God.

APPLICATION: The Pharisees tried hard to keep a thumb on their people that they felt a responsibility for, and as such, they tried to tell them what they thought was right from wrong. Jesus, on the other hand, made it a point of helping mankind think for themselves, using His Word as their guide. This often meant explaining His principles so that the crowd would fully understand what they were reading. This is very similar in what honest, Bible-teaching churches are trying to accomplish today. In today’s Scripture, Jesus wanted His audience, and us, to understand that many rules are made to supposedly help people live according to His commands. For example, some teach that the foods you eat will defile your body, and may even defile your relationship with God through disobedience to the old laws of Moses. While Jesus did not bash the teachers of His day, He went on to explain why a proper understanding of His commands was way more important. While some foods may make certain people sick, and they may choose to refrain from eating that particular item ever again, Jesus is way more concerned about our heart, and He wasn’t referring to heart disease! When Jesus taught about the ‘heart’, He referred to the very soul and being of mankind. This is why Christians say that they invited Jesus into their ‘heart’, meaning into their soul and being. So according to the teachings of Jesus, we are to be more concerned about what things affect our ‘hearts’. Unlike many other questions where the answer is left up to man’s opinion and interpretation, Jesus actually gave us several things that will result from a ‘heart’ exposed to sin and opposition to His teachings. So I would encourage you to meditate with me in considering what sorts of things provoke us into doing the things mentioned in verses 21 and 22, for those are the things that cause us to sin, because they directly impact the ‘heart’ of man. Further, we must clearly understand that when we react to these things in the examples given by Jesus, we are really out of fellowship with Him and would truly hurt His heart to see us in acts of worship with such unconfessed sin impacting our emotions and our reactions to things of this life. Friends, I believe that we can all discern that such conditions of our ‘heart’ cannot be corrected by a mother, spouse, good friend nor our pastor, for we can hide these things from almost every other person on earth. As already stated, these things prevent us from having an open and sincere relationship with our Maker, so our sin is really against the One who gave His very life for us. Pretending to the world that everything is good with you and your relationship with Jesus Christ, is about the worse thing you can do, and bear upon yourself. Throughout the Word of God, we are told that we all will sin while here on earth among sinners. However, the Bible goes on to tell us how to deal with that sin. For Christians, the Holy Spirit – that part of God that lives inside of the Christian, will prompt us to seek forgiveness from the Father. For the unbeliever who does not know God, you are constantly being prompted to personally see God, and draw close to Him by accepting His Son, Jesus. Surely you would never ask a stranger for such a daunting thing as forgiveness of your sin. So let me encourage you to seek the Lord while you still have breath and abilities to do so. Become fit to meet the King of all kings, and then enjoy the benefits of heaven one day. My God will never fail you, my friend! He created you, He loves you unconditionally, and He has a place prepared for you when life here on earth is over. But you must personally accept Him as Lord and Savior. If you can remember the time when you surrendered your life to His lordship, then praise Him for His goodness and reconcile any sin that may hinder your relationship with Him.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Only God can forgive us of our sin and give us the peace that we are destined for our eternal home with Him in glory. He loves us unconditionally!

PRAYER: Thank You dear Lord for Your unconditional love. Please forgive us that wait for others to fix our issues, and draw us close to You, Your Word, and a clear understanding of everything that corrupts our relationship with You. Please Lord, deal in the heart of the one who may read this devotion and have not accepted You as Lord yet. Draw them to Yourself and convict them of their sin. Touch the heart of each believer that may be reminded of Your caution today. Please help us all to keep an open, honest and clear relationship with You. May our ‘hearts’ be clear of earthly hindrances, because of You and because of Your almighty power. 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!