God’s Closeness to His Messengers

I’m sure that it is very challenging for us to read our Scripture verses today, and to imagine that this sort of thing continues even today. But I want us to stop and meditate on whether these verses are truly applicable to us, and how God might speak to us as He attempts to correct our ways.

Thursday, 2019-07-11

Bible Reference: Acts 26:10–11; 13–14
Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

Bible Text:  10 ….. Authorized by the leading priests, I caused many believers there to be sent to prison. And I cast my vote against them when they were condemned to death. 11 Many times I had them punished in the synagogues to get them to curse Jesus I was so violently opposed to them that I even chased them down in foreign cities.
13 …. as I was on the road, a light from heaven brighter than the sun shone down on me and my companions. 14 We all fell down, and I heard a voice saying to me in Aramaic, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me? It is useless for you to fight against my will.’

OBSERVATION: I’m sure that it is very challenging for us to read our Scripture verses today, and to imagine that this sort of thing continues even today. But I want us to stop and meditate on whether these verses are truly applicable to us, and how God might speak to us as He attempts to correct our ways.

APPLICATION:  In some translations, the word ‘persecute’ is used several times in the few verses referenced. Here’s what that means: “to treat (someone) cruelly or unfairly especially because of race or religious or political beliefs“. I feel like God opened my eyes and reminded me that when we treat God’s messengers with contempt, then we are actually persecuting the Lord Jesus himself. This reminds me of a loving parent who feels condemned when their child is persecuted or ill-treated. So what is our lesson in this? After all, we don’t go about ‘persecuting’ our religious leaders… Or do we? How often do you hear corners of conversation that tend to chew on the sermon from your last service, or the dress code of the pastor, or the attitude of the worship leader, or the audacity of the pastor to say what he did during his sermon? Is that complimentary of God’s messenger? Is that the precursor to a time of prayer that the group will have for their pastor? I’ve always said that one will get as much from a sermon, as they have prayed into it. Do you feel like we tend to persecute the pastor because God didn’t respond like we expected to our prayers for His messenger who stood in the pulpit? Friends, over in 2 Chronicles 7:14, God said that if we would humble ourselves and pray (not belittle or try to humble the pastor), and if we would seek His face, and if we would turn from our wicked ways, then He would hear from heaven, forgive our sins and restore our land. Notice the personal application there? Nothing about God taking care of all that we feel are inadequate, or who screw up at every opportunity. Friends, I believe that these scriptures are warning us that we have a full-time job doing all that God expects of us, so if we find that we are ‘persecuting’ anyone, then we are meddling, and need to get back to the basics. Take care of self first, then perhaps we will not be near as critical of everyone else. Please don’t shrug this off as being super applicable to all of your friends. Allow God to search your heart and convict you of your sin and shortcomings. I believe you will find that there’s lots there to keep you on your knees for a very long time, including praying for your spiritual leaders.  There just won’t be time enough to persecute others. 

PRAYER: Lord God, You created all things and You are above all things. Thank You for sending messengers, Your angels, to minister to folk like me, even though we tend to persecute the very ones that You send to bless us, love on us and warn us about our sinful ways. Please help us to love these ones, in spite of them not meeting all of our expectations, and in spite of our sinful desire to persecute them. I believe it is obvious that Paul was not the only one that persecuted Christians. Please dear Lord, rest Your hand upon Your children today, beginning with me, and help us to accept Your power and desire to help us succeed in this Christian life, so that we may serve You better and more fully. We are your messengers as well, please encourage us to treat other messengers in the same way that we want to be treated. May Your kingdom come oh Lord, and may we be ready and obedient in every way, every day! 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, 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!

Add This To Your Vacation Plans

It might be challenging for many to get out of bed to attend church while on vacation, so to follow in Paul’s footsteps might be an impossible challenge for most! But I believe that our relationship with the Master helps us determine each week whether going to church is more important than anything else on our to-do list. Be ready to be challenged by the Word today as you read my blog!

Wednesday, 2019-07-03

Bible Reference: Acts 21:3–4
Translation: The Good News Translation (GNT)

Bible Text:   3 ……. We went ashore at Tyre, where the ship was going to unload its cargo. 4 There we found some believers and stayed with them a week……

OBSERVATION: It might be challenging for many to get out of bed to attend church while on vacation, so to follow in Paul’s footsteps might be an impossible challenge for most! But I believe that our relationship with the Master helps us determine each week whether going to church is more important than anything else on our to-do list. Be ready to be challenged by the Word today as you read my blog!

APPLICATION:  By using the only means of transportation from one place to another, Paul wound up having to be at the Port of Tyre for over a week while goods were being unloaded for the local people. In our world today, think about when a cruise ship stops into a port. They will inevitably have lots of tours and/or suggestions for its passengers, but I don’t believe you would hear them suggest time at a local church, or listening, and ministering to the poor and downtrodden. What do you find to do while on vacation with regards to God, His church and/or His people? Do you tend to take a vacation from all of your ‘God related things’ also? I once heard a sermon entitled ‘Saints on Vacation’, and it truly was an eye opener! Here’s what I really enjoy about attending a church in the area in which I vacation: (a) It is refreshing to see God at work not only in my home church, but also in fresh new ways that are so apropos for the area that I am visiting. In other words, ministry in a rural town to mostly farmers, might look quite different to ministry in a coastal town to mostly college-aged kids. (b) I find that there is greater freedom to worship in a place that I am visiting, because we tend to build a box around us, as to what is permissible in worship at our home church, mostly because of what our friends and family may think. (c) I look for ideas that I could bring back and share with my home church. Perhaps a bulletin, or other literature; and (d) I find it refreshing to just worship with these new-found believers without the distraction of any side jobs on my mind. When it was time to leave the island, Paul’s new found Christian friends followed him to the seashore and sent him off with a prayer meeting. I believe that visiting a church while on vacation, might bring similar results, for fellow Christians are often out to minister to attendees – especially visitors! Be sure to always include church attendance as part of your vacation plans, won’t you?

PRAYER: Father, we are either a Christian or we’re not. We either want to be with you, or we don’t. These things will hold true in our normal work week, but they will also hold true even when we’re out of town and even when out of sight of our pastor or church leaders. Mixing with saints of other towns remind us a lot of what it might be like when we worship around Your throne with saints from all nations and all cultures from all over the world. Please help us to hold true to our faith, and to desire times of worship with other believers, even when out of town or far from our local church. Heaven will not just be made up of members of my church, so please help us to get used to the idea of worshiping with other believers while still here on earth. Thank You Lord for who You are and especially who You are to such a vast cloud of witnesses here on this earth today. I look forward to the day that we will all be gathered around your throne worshiping at Your feet! 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, 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!

God Loves the Repentant Heart

From a very early age, we demand our kids to say “I’m sorry” when they have wronged a sibling or someone else. Also from a very early age we easily detect that those words are sometimes forced out of kids, because they know that parents are not satisfied until they hear their kids, in obedience, say “I’m sorry”. So what do we think happens when we meet God personally? Let’s look deeper into our Scripture today…

Monday, 2019-04-01

Bible Reference: Psalm 51:16-17
Translation: The Voice (Voice)

Bible Text: 16 I would surrender my dearest possessions or destroy all that I prize to prove my regret, but You don’t take pleasure in sacrifices or burnt offerings. 17 What sacrifice I can offer You is my broken spirit because a broken spirit, O God, a heart that honestly regrets the past, You won’t detest.

OBSERVATION: From a very early age, we demand our kids to say “I’m sorry” when they have wronged a sibling or someone else. Also from a very early age we easily detect that those words are sometimes forced out of kids, because they know that parents are not satisfied until they hear their kids, in obedience, say “I’m sorry”. So what do we think happens when we meet God personally? Let’s look deeper into our Scripture today…

APPLICATION: “Lord, I’m sorry for my sin”, might come quite naturally when introduced to Jesus, but how sorry are we, really, when we turn around and do the same thing over and over again. David, the Psalmist, was confronted about his awful sin with Bathsheba, and while he could very easily spurt those famous words out to Nathan the prophet, David had to face his all-knowing God with this sin. Now we should be reminded that God didn’t only know the fact that Nathan just presented to David, but God knows even our thoughts and the intent of our heart. So do you really think that it would have helped for David to sacrifice a sheep or a goat on the altar as his way of saying I’m sorry? For the world, that may have been enough, because from all apparent evidence, David would have acknowledged his sin and paid the price for his forgiveness. But just like you and I, David not only needed this to look good in the eyes of his friends and the local priests, but in true repentance, he wanted a clean heart in the presence of his God. So friends, we not only need to ask for forgiveness from our earthly friends, family and the impacted one(s) for our sin, but in order to right our heart and resume our oneness with God, and to one day present ourselves faultless before our King, we must get before God in humility and deepest sincerity and ask for His forgiveness. Like David, we must always be aware that God desires:

  • A broken spirit – this means that we must be willing to break down our pride of thinking we know everything, and thinking that what occurred was a private matter between two consenting adults. We must acknowledge that we recognize that our hearts and our lives are transparent before an all-knowing God, so we may as well ‘come clean’ and ask His forgiveness for everything we have done or said or thought that may be contrary to His perfect design and will. There is nothing we can hide from God, so may I encourage you to break down the walls of pride and secrecy and be totally open with God;
  • A humble heart that honestly regrets the past (our sin) – Our acts may have been fun at the time, or our words may have revenged the individual we were out to get back at, but I believe that when the God of this universe looks into our eyes and our hearts, and He sees unconfessed sin, then we will be pushed aside or rejected from His presence, as sin cannot enter His kingdom.

I was at a conference recently where we were reminded that when we stand before God, we will deal with our personal condition in the face of a righteous, all-knowing God. The normal tendency of our actions here on earth is to try and compare to another individual, or pointing out their sin, while pushing ours under the table. This is not the way God will handle our judgment on that day that we stand before Him, for that will be a one-on-one conversation. It won’t matter what the neighbor did, or the deacon said, it will only matter how in sync our heart is with a righteous and perfect God. If that was to happen today, and it could very easily happen, what would God challenge you with? Consider getting that straight today friend, for we have no assurance of a second chance to do so tomorrow.

PRAYER: Father God, You created us, including our heart, our soul, our mind and our intellect. Why would we ever think that we could hide anything from You is most astonishing to our sober minds as we try to escape Your wrath. Please speak to those who seek after you today. Lord Jesus, may the words from our lips and the meditation of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight, our Rock, our Redeemer, our Savior and our Lord. 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, 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!

Tested, Tried and Proven

Psalm 18:30 (AMP): 30 As for God, His way is perfect! The word of the Lord is tested and tried; He is a shield to all those who take refuge and put their trust in Him.

So… you think that you’ve been tested, or perhaps you might feel that you are currently being tested beyond anything you could handle. How are you doing with that? Feeling really alone and overwhelmed about how you might overcome life’s circumstances that are hitting you real hard right now? Where do you turn to for help? Perhaps a spouse, or a brother or sister, perhaps a parent, or perhaps you are blessed with good friends who are willing to stand by your side. Are they more knowledgeable, wise or powerful than you, and therefore offers comfort to you? I have an acquaintance who just lost his wife, what words of wisdom might I offer him? My friend, let me share from my personal experience: you see, I’m human just like you, so I face all of the challenges that I just presented to you above. Yes, I depend on friends and family to help me through times of despair also, but one thing that I’ve discovered is that they are just as limited as I am in trying to explain the reasons why the events of this life occur as, and when they do. So while I’m comforted that they care, there is only ONE that I can turn to and say like The Psalmist – Your ways are perfect oh Lord, thank You for creating me and blessing me with wonderful folk who love and care for me. But Lord, You know my every breath, You know the reasons for every event in my life, You alone know what tomorrow holds and the reason why I must travel the road You’ve prepared just for me. Oh Lord, may You be honored, praised, magnified and lifted up through every word and action that You allow me to project here on earth. Life will be worth it all if You are glorified by all who are touched by Your reflection in my life. May they desire to know You personally and intimately so that they, in turn, may bless others for the kingdom.

Prayer: Lord, May You be glorified through every act of love and every blessing that You continue to shower on me today. Please humble my friends who need You, and if one word expressed in this devotional can be used to draw others unto You, I pray that the glory will be all Yours and may the kingdom increase as a result of sharing Your Word and my humble thoughts. AMEN!

May Others Praise Jesus Because of You

This verse shows us what happens when someone sees the glory of God, even through something He may say or do through us (Christians). The emphasis here is ‘God’ and His mighty works, and not our abilities. Let’s meditate on how we might best align ourselves in this scenario.

Friday, 2019-01-11

Bible Reference: Matthew 5:16
Translation: The Voice (VOICE)

Bible Text: 16 You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see your devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it.

OBSERVATION: This verse shows us what happens when someone sees the glory of God, even through something He may say or do through us (Christians). The emphasis here is ‘God’ and His mighty works, and not our abilities. Let’s meditate on how we might best align ourselves in this scenario.

APPLICATION: We have some who are super smart, and we have some who could use a lot of help, while others place themselves at the feet of Jesus with open hearts and ask God to fill them with His grace, His love, His wisdom and His mercy. Friends, it once again struck me as a very humbling thing that someone would actually praise God because of something I may have said or done! Of course, we want to extend praise and thanksgiving to the individual when we hear something of interest from them, because we want to encourage them. But can’t you see where there would be no better way of encouraging them, than for you to thank God: for creating them; for placing them in your path; for giving them the words that may have blessed you; or for giving them the financial capabilities to help you through some very tough times; or for speaking the right words to your son, that opened his eyes and heart to salvation? Wouldn’t it be awesome to walk up to your Sunday School teacher and instead of praising him for his giftedness in explaining the scriptures, you prayed with Him and glorified God for His gifts to this individual, which in turn brought a great blessing to you? Friends, as a worker in God’s kingdom, I could tell you right now that such an experience would help me change my mind from quitting, or lift my spirits beyond anything that might be said about my words or actions. You see, for those who are sincerely about the work of the Lord, it is all for His glory. So to hear Him being praised for any impact His ministry had through me, would be worth it all. May I encourage you to try this sometime, while I try to do the same? To God be the glory for everything that He does to get our attention or encourage us, even if He uses mere man to accomplish that!

PRAYER: Lord You are good and Your mercies are never ending. Thank You for all the ways that You get through to this humble servant. Thank You for all those that You have placed in the path of my readers and I, that encourage us personally, or remind us of Your awesome power and love. Please open our eyes to more miracles today that may happen right in front of us. Lord, may You be glorified at all times, especially in lieu of praises being addressed to us. We just don’t need that extra pride to deal with, as our strength, wisdom and direction comes from You alone. In Your name I pray, because it’s in You that I depend for my every move here on earth, so that 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, 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!

Ask for it

Monday, 2018-11-19

Scripture

Bible Reference: John 14:12-14

Bible Text: 12 I tell you the truth: whoever believes in Me will be able to do what I have done, but they will do even greater things, because I will return to be with the Father. 13 Whatever you ask for in My name, I will do it so that the Father will get glory from the Son. 14 Let Me say it again: if you ask for anything in My name, I will do it.

Bible Translation: The Voice Translation (Voice)

My Take

Ever noticed that your son may go and ask a friend of equal age to do something that both he and you feel is the best thing to do, but it may have little relevance to the friend, until he brings down the power by saying that my dad asked that we do this right away? Bringing the dad’s name into the equation always adds power to the instructions being given. Ever noticed also that as a son, you may tell your buddies to do something that sounds different to what they know your dad has always preached, and they will give you a funny look and wonder where are you coming from with those instructions? Jesus had just introduced the Comforter to His disciples as He (Jesus) prepared Himself to go and be with the Father. Jesus assured His disciples, as He still assures us today, that He will be sitting at the right hand of the Father interceding for us, and that He will receive glory from the Father as His children carries on His work here on earth with the help of the Comforter, or the Holy Spirit. Notice that great emphasis is directed to the fact that even though we stand to do things even greater than He (Jesus) did while here on earth, we must never lose sight of who we are representing, and whose power resides with us to enable the work. Remember that in Acts 19:13-16 there were some who went around trying to cast out demons in Jesus’ name, but even the demons recognized that they were not of Jesus and not speaking on His behalf. Friends, it is safe to say, based on the Word of God, that if any miraculous work is to be done, it will be the power, and the work of Jesus Christ portrayed through us to do the work, with the results being totally for His glory. I believe that there are two important things to remember about being blessed with the power of Jesus working through us: (1) That doing the work of the Lord, demonstrates our love for Him, and not what we might be able to brag on, or benefit from personally; and (2) Miracles are performed in order to bring people to a full knowledge of Jesus Christ. Not for any gain of ourselves, and not for the purpose of relieving our friends from some earthly burden, but that they might know Jesus as their Lord and personal Savior. Please note that there is nothing mentioned about the obedient servant who God uses to stand in His stead and allow His miracle to be transmitted through. But I can assure you that for those who will do this, we will be blessed beyond anything words can describe. To God be the glory for all the great things He can do through even us who believe in Him, and are willing to be used by Him!

Prayer

Lord Jesus, I believe that we, Your children, in our meager faith tend go from one extreme to another way too often. For I believe we recognize our powerlessness and know that we can do nothing miraculous by ourselves. However, I also believe that there are times that our ego steps in at times and we want so badly to see our friends overcome obstacles that we tend to jump in there and pray peace and/or healing over them so they could return to a sense of normalcy. I was recently reminded by a pastor when He said that we could very easily step in the way of You actually disciplining someone, by trying to humanly help them correct or overcome their situation. This scripture has once again opened my eyes to the fact that we must be so driven by the Spirit of God that the things we say and the things we do, are very much aligned with His will and His purpose. I also believe that if the Holy Spirit leads us to a miraculous scenario with our friends that will demonstrate the love of God for them and bring them to a full knowledge of Jesus Christ, then we must, in obedience, seek your leadership and carry out Your work, particularly among the unsaved. Lord, I am concerned that there are so many in each of our circle of friends that don’t know You as their Lord and personal Savior. If it takes a miracle to convince them of Your love and power today, I pray that Your will may be done. Please speak clearly to Your children today so that we may in obedience do Your perfect will. 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!

‘GUILTY’ of Praying?

I wonder how God must feel when He looks at our corporate prayer meeting attendance, for He said through His servant in 1 Thessalonians 5:18 ‘Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you, who belong to Christ Jesus, to live’.

Tuesday, 2018-11-13

Scripture

Bible Reference: Daniel 6:10-11

Bible Text: 10 When Daniel learned that the decree had been signed and posted, he continued to pray just as he had always done. His house had windows in the upstairs that opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he knelt there in prayer, thanking and praising his God. 11 The conspirators came and found him praying, asking God for help.

Bible Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

My Take

Many of us meditating on this scripture today probably don’t have any state laws prohibiting us from any religious activities, but I wonder when last we could have possibly been found guilty of ‘praying’? Over in Philippians 4:6 we are told to not fret or worry about anything, but instead ‘pray’ about everything, yet in a country where we are free to pray and worship the God of this universe, we probably deal more with depression and anxiety than anything else. Daniel shows us that in spite of man’s efforts to hinder his relationship with his God, that nothing would separate him from the love of his Lord. I would encourage each of us to take particular note of this, because it doesn’t take much to hinder us in our prayer life. Of course I could only speak to our corporate prayer life, but it is sad that our midweek prayer and Bible study is attended by only a very small percentage of our congregation. In fact, so poorly attended that I am reminded by the words of a pastor in my younger life, who said that it looks like the church at large has voted to cancel the service, for the absence of the vast majority speaks volumes about how they feel about corporate prayer meetings. In fact, I wonder how God must feel when He looks at our corporate prayer meeting attendance, for He said through His servant in 1 Thessalonians 5:18Be cheerful no matter what; pray all the time; thank God no matter what happens. This is the way God wants you, who belong to Christ Jesus, to live‘. So friends I would challenge you to seriously consider and declare who you are claiming as your King; your Lord; and your Master. Have you personally accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as your personal Savior? God’s Word tells us that if you have, then you would have a desire to ‘pray all the time’. If your ‘love-for-God’ meter is measured by your prayer life, are you proud of the love you show to God every day? How about your concern for the church as a whole, do you attend corporate prayer enough to support its survival and its outreach into your community? Is your pastor empowered because of your prayers for him? Daniel maintained his prayer life in spite of a new law being enacted that he knew could have led to his imprisonment. How valid do you feel your excuses are for not attending your corporate prayer services, compared to Daniel’s commitment in the circumstances he was under?

Prayer

Lord God, we are a sorry bunch, considering all the gracious gifts that You bless us with every day, compared to the uncaring attitude we extend in returning thanks to You. Friends are dying every day without Jesus, and ashamedly we acknowledge that our prayers and our influence in their lives could have made a difference. We have read, heard and seen the power of prayer, yet many have chosen to ignore its power through their attendance and commitment to pray corporately. Please forgive us Lord. I feel like we are witnessing the greatest need for revival probably in the life of Your church here on earth. Only those who have actually accepted you as Lord can be ‘revived’, so Lord, please begin a great work in the life of Your church – Your people. May Your children be reminded of the power of prayer, and their obligation to converse with their Master. We need you heavenly Father, revive Your church again, I pray. 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!

Concerned Enough To Pray

Thursday, 2018-11-10

Scripture

Bible Reference: Nehemiah 1:2–4

Bible Text: Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, “Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire.” When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven

Bible Translation: New International Version (NIV)

My Take

Ever shared your burden with a friend, and they promised to pray for you, but never followed up with you to see how you’re doing? Ever stood in a line of folk entering or exiting a church, and while telling one parishioner that you will be praying for them, you are already looking at the next person and greeting them? I am not your judge on whether you follow through with those promised prayers for someone, but I can honestly share with you that I have said those words many times before and now stand ashamed before God acknowledging that I have often not followed through with praying for the needs that I promised someone I would pray for. Nehemiah’s actions in verse (4) really spoke to me, but what equally ministered to me, was the action that he took in verse 2, where he asked about the condition of his Jewish brothers who had survived the exile. How many times do you leave church upset that the pastor never even asked you how you were feeling? Now, may I ask you a more challenging question, how many times in the last 4 weeks have you asked how things are going at the church at a very high level, or how might you pray for your pastor? Friends, too often we want to know what’s going on because we want every little piece of gossip we could get. I believe that Nehemiah is teaching us to settle for an answer like “I am really struggling today, please pray for my health”, or “I am feeling discouraged today, please pray for me”, or a pastor may say “I am feeling overwhelmed today because I am concerned about so many parishioners who are hurting emotionally or perhaps sick”. I believe that if we could settle for prayer needs such as that, instead of needing to know every little detail, then more pastors and/or Brothers and Sisters would share their high level prayer requests with us. But remember, most won’t share their prayer requests with us if we don’t care enough to ask. Now let me draw our attention to the depth of Nehemiah prayer. For he not only cared enough to ask about the condition of his people, but he followed through with days of mourning, fasting and praying before God for the needs of his people. Some months ago I took part in a prayer chain, where I committed to enter into God’s presence for one hour, praying over some heartfelt concerns. Because I have been accustomed to short, quick conversations with God, that hour felt like an eternity. Look at the condition of Nehemiah’s heart over this concern for his people – he mourned, he fasted and he prayed for days. May I challenge you to dig deep into your heart, yes even those of you that are trying to have hearts like your Master, the Lord Jesus Christ, and consider the last time that you were burdened enough about your church, or pastor, or unsaved loved one that you found it more important to pray than to eat, and your heart was so burdened for the need that you wept uncontrollably before God in prayer for hours and days before you felt a breakthrough? Let’s care enough to actually pray about those things that concern us, and/or concern those that we love and care about. The effectual, fervent prayer of a righteous man/woman avails much. Communion with God will best prepare us for dealings with mankind!

Prayer

Lord Jesus, please touch Your people once again. Draw us unto Yourself so that with Your heart and Your love and Your concern for Your children, we too might become more devoted to caring for one another and praying sincerely for the needs of others. Regrettably, we have become such an instant, fast-paced people that we hardly leave time for showing deep concern for one another, for our pastors and for our churches. Please forgive us Lord, and teach us to pray in a way pleasing to You, and that consequently reaches the hearts of those that we pray for. Our prayers are to You and for Your glory, so help us to never lose sight of our Savior by slacking in our prayer life. The world needs You, heavenly Father, and Christians need more of You to be effective witnesses for You. Please renew a right spirit within us, beginning with me, so that the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart will be acceptable in Your sight, oh Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer. 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!

Sin – An Object Of Cursing From God

Based on scripture, I believe that God wants us to turn away from our sin (stop doing it and look at God’s plan for us), humble ourselves before the almighty God, seek His face and His heart’s desire for us, and pray for a revived spirit within us individually and, as a family, as a church, as a city and indeed as a nation.

Wednesday, 2016-10-19

Scripture

Bible Reference: Jeremiah 44:22–23

Bible Text:  22 Today, your land is an object of cursing, a horror, a lifeless ruin because the Eternal could no longer stand your wickedness and the detestable things you did. 23 Take a good look at the disaster that has come upon you. It happened because you burned incense to other gods and sinned against the Eternal. It happened because you refused to obey His voice or follow His law and His decrees, because you ignored His warnings.

Bible Translation: The VOICE 

My Take

Just from the title you probably had no incentive or desire to open this devotional and read more. That’s pretty normal, because we are creatures of so much stress each day that the last thing we want to hear is another challenge or critical point of view. Sorry friends, but as followers of Christ we must be obedient to the Holy Spirit and stop to meditate on a passage of scripture such as this, when presented with it, because God could very well be getting our attention to warn us of what our own outcome may look like, if we continue in sin and disobedient to His commands. Based on scripture, I believe that God wants us to turn away from our sin (stop doing it and look at God’s plan for us), humble ourselves before the almighty God, seek His face and His heart’s desire for us, and pray for a revived spirit within us individually and, as a family, as a church, as a city and indeed as a nation. Friends, at this time of the year we become so caught up in politics, in Thanksgiving celebrations, and begin thinking about Christmas. If we’re not careful, I’m afraid that we could easily lose our passion for what is really critical in God’s eyes – that we know Him; honor Him; obey Him and seek sincerely to follow Him. In doing this friends, we will earn a deep, sincere, desire to see our family and friends also ‘make the cut’, or generate a desire to know the Savior that we love, adore and live in great expectation of uniting with one day! Friends, as we grow closer to God and live more like Him here on this earth, perhaps He may save our land from desolation and destruction. Most of us would desire that God bless our respective native country, so I sincerely believe that we would also truly regret it if God removed His hand of blessing from us and allowed our land to become an object of His cursing – just because of our neglect of God and His commands. God says in His Word that He puts our leaders in place for His purposes. Let us therefore be sure that we seek His face as we vote on our leaders, and more importantly, let us seek to know God better, understand His directions for us, and seek to follow His will and His way. I believe that this will please God and perhaps earn His blessing rather than His curse, as He did with the disobedient and rebellious Israelites.

Prayer

Lord, please forgive us for getting so caught up in our own agendas at the expense of our obedience to You and Your commands to us. I am convinced that You are far more interested in our heart, and the desires of our heart, than any earthly concern that we may have influence over. We love our respective home-country and would ask that You bless us immensely in every way. That’s a selfish request because we happen to live here, and whatever happens to our country, affects us. Lord, I also want to ask that You touch the hearts of Your children today so that we may be a vital Christian influence in our country that is representative of the Savior who loves and controls us. I realize that we don’t deserve this Lord, but I ask this so that Your work might be accomplished in our country, in spite of us. I pray that Your children will lift Your banner high so that the world might know the One who reigns over us! 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!

Staying Encouraged In A Challenging World

Perhaps before you walk out of the door to your home this morning you already realized that there will be many challenges that you will deal with today. Perhaps there is overflow from the challenges you dealt with yesterday. There may even be unresolved contention that you know you must deal with today.

Monday, 2016-10-17

Scripture

Bible Reference: Philippians 4:8-9

Bible Text:  Finally, my friends, keep your minds on whatever is true, pure, right, holy, friendly, and proper. Don’t ever stop thinking about what is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise. You know the teachings I gave you, and you know what you heard me say and saw me do. So follow my example. And God, who gives peace, will be with you.

Bible Translation: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

My Take

Perhaps before you walk out of the door to your home this morning you already realized that there will be many challenges that you will deal with today. Perhaps there is overflow from the challenges you dealt with yesterday. There may even be unresolved contention that you know you must deal with today. You may be deliberating: why is it that you must awake from your ‘perfect’, ‘protected’, ‘uncomplicated’ dream of contentment and peace at home, and face the reality and cruelty of this wicked world. Friends, I want you to be encouraged with the words from God, through His messenger Paul, for I believe this can apply to all who are reading this devotional today:

  • First of all, to the believer in Jesus Christ, here are some tips from our Scripture on how to handle life under God’s leadership, strength, wisdom and guidance today:

    • Don’t allow your minds to be swayed by this world and it’s leader – Satan. Instead, aim towards being like Jesus, for He is true (so important in this world filled with lies, hatred and deception); pure (there is no ‘make-believe’ with Jesus Christ, for He is the real deal. He loved us when we were still steeped in sin, and He gave up His own life to provide the means of us living eternally with the Father in heaven); right; holy (remember Jesus is one with God, so He is holy just as God Almighty is holy); friendly; and proper;
    • Think about everything that is truly worthwhile and worthy of praise – in other words, we are to seek God’s help to not be pulled into the gutter of gossip; hatred; and the evil deeds associated with Satan himself. In other words, if we find ourselves thinking about something that we cannot truly praise God for, then we are probably ‘off-track’ with what God is teaching us here. For we are to think on those things that are ‘worthy of praise‘ to our heavenly Father!
  • Secondly, I believe that there is help here for the non-Christian. Think about it friend: how can you possibly deal with life without the power of the Holy Spirit who is at work in the life of the believer? Without the power of Christ, Satan is free to beat up on you all he wants. Christians are not super beings with the capability of handling every aspect of life that is thrown at them. However, we are super excited about the promise that we can do ALL things through Christ, who strengthens us and guides us to all truth, through the awesome power and guidance of His Holy Spirit who controls us. I believe that your encouragement today is knowing that as long as you have life, there is hope in the option to also accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior. Know Jesus and know peace! That’s my recommendation to you today so that you may gain His everlasting joy and contentment in everyday living here on this earth.

Prayer

There are a few sayings that cross my mind dear Lord, “you are now entering your mission field” and “you are now entering the ‘real’ world”. I believe that most of us feel fairly secure and at peace in our own homes, and we fear the challenge of what this bitter world holds in store for us as we step into it today. Thank You for the encouragement given to us in this passage of scripture today. Lord, we believe in You, and we lift high the banner of truth contained in Your Word. We are more dependent on You today than ever before Savior, for we can only handle today’s challenges with You powerfully working inside of us, and helping us to be more like You. Lord, how will the world know about You if we don’t tell them? Oh that they may see everlasting hope and the love of Christ in all that we do or say today. For this is my humble prayer that I ask in and through the name of Jesus, AMEN!

Footnote

If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or 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!