Sacrifices of the Heart When Returning To God

To return to a spouse after some mutually agreed separation, there will normally be some things that you and your spouse would have to forget about and leave behind. In today’s Scripture the Israelites wanted to return to God, but Samuel warned them that they would have to rid themselves of certain bad habits and selfish acquisitions they acquired while they drifted away from Him. This is an eye-opening reminder for us today, for Christians might come to their senses and try to return to their King, hoping that God will overlook their sin. Stay tuned as we apply this truth to our lives…..

DATE POSTED Thursday, 2021-10-14
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: 1 Samuel 7:3
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: Then Samuel said to all the people of Israel, “If you want to return to the Lord with all your hearts, get rid of your foreign gods and your images of Ashtoreth. Turn your hearts to the Lord and obey him alone; then he will rescue you from the Philistines.”

APPLICATION: As in our story today, I was reminded that we may allow different things to intrude in our Christian lives that could very easily cause us pain and heartache. As our Heavenly Father, imagine how hurt God must be when He watches His children cave in to sin and the ungodly things of this world. But what do you suppose the average Christian suspects will happen when we come face to face with Jesus. Do we hope that God will just overlook these extracurricular things that hindered our relationship with Him? The bottom line is that I believe we are very much like the Israelites who were cautioned by Samuel, in that we must avoid taking our ‘trash’ before our Holy God and expect Him to bless it. First we must humble ourselves before God; Seek His forgiveness; and Willingly rid ourselves of the objects of sin that we have allowed to impede our relationship with Him. I believe we must pay close attention to our priorities, for we may have allowed several other things to take God’s place in our lives, and some we may not even realize. While I don’t know of a Bible verse to support this list of priorities for us to live by, I believe one could discern this priority list from reading God’s Word: 1). God; 2). Family; 3). Church; 4). Work; 5). Friends; 6). The world. Let me suggest trying to evaluate what happens when you swap around any of these things. Can you see where chaos could easily result? Can you see where one area loses proper focus when you concentrate more on a lesser important area more than you should? Often it is when our priorities are out of order when we start becoming attached to idols, when we start doing other things that distract our focus from our #1 priority, God. Friends, God created us to worship Him and bless His people. When we choose anything else above that, we are messing up. It’s a very simple process Samuel gave to the Israelites: 1). Get rid of your idols (other gods); 2). Turn your heart/soul/mind towards the Lord; and 3). Obey only the Lord God – read and obey His Word. Try this, dear friend, and I believe you will be lifted up, drawn closer to God, and protected against the evil one. This makes you better usable for kingdom work, and more attractive for the sinner to follow as they seek God. Remember, where the heart is, so will your soul mind and actions be.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Fix your heart on the things of this world and there your heart, soul and mind will be. Fix your heart on God and there your heart, soul and mind will be. God is worthy of our honor, praise and worship!

PRAYER: Lord, we praise You for who You are, and for all You mean to us. Unfortunately, that praise diminishes as our dedication to You diminishes. Please drive away the things that distract us from You, and set our minds on the things of Christ. Please help us to keep our priorities straight, so that it will be obvious to our lost world whose we are. The Israelites needed an adjustment made in their lives, and I believe that many Christians and our respective churches are in need of a similar adjustment today. Please gently tug on the hearts of your children today so that we may be drawn back to You and wholly dedicated to Your purpose and will. In Your presence is where the glory shines, and our world needs that glory more and more every day. May Your children/disciples be the channel that you will use to brighten this old sinful world and cause them to look towards our King! 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!

Don’t Run To Your gods

A friend recently shared their ‘righteous anger’ over their friends who refused the Covid vaccine, yet were quick to call on their circle of friends to pray earnestly for them after they contracted the virus. But isn’t that what we do when we’re in trouble – run to God? As we meditate on today’s Scripture we will see that there is an end to God’s patience with us, just as He was with the Israelites. I trust that God will reveal Himself to us and any impatience building up inside of Him, because of our sin in worshiping other gods.

DATE POSTED Wednesday, 2021-09-22
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Judges 10:13-16
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: 13-14 … I’m not going to rescue you any more! You’ve left me and gone off to worship other gods. If you’re in such big trouble, go cry to them for help!
15 “We have been unfaithful,” the Israelites admitted. “If we must be punished, do it yourself, but please rescue us from the Ammonites.”
16 Then the Israelites got rid of the idols of the foreign gods, and they began worshiping only the Lord. Finally, there came a time when the Lord could no longer stand to see them suffer.

APPLICATION: I’m sure that we will quickly deflect this message to our neighbor, since we would never personally worship other gods, right? But let’s consider one thing today. Church attendance has seriously declined over the past year, and many will suggest that they are worshiping virtually with their church. But let me suggest that you look at the numbers that are missing from the pews, and then look at the number attending online. Unfortunately you will see an enormous variance. None of us would be judgmental enough to think that our friends who sat next to us in church pre-Covid actually created idols at home to worship, but we will be hard-pressed to get a straight answer from them, if we cared enough to ask, about what is really keeping them away from church. However, we serve the same God who knew without a shadow of doubt what the Israelites were doing. God told them to destroy the idols in the towns they captured, but He knew that they retained the idols for a ‘rainy day’! God loved them enough to send warnings to them, by way of foreign leaders taking over their cities and terribly abusing them. But that didn’t change their hearts. No doubt God sent awful diseases on them, much like what we are dealing with today. But that didn’t turn them back to God. However after constant badgering by the enemy, the Israelites remembered God and they just knew that He would win their battles for them. After the 911 attacks on the US, Americans flocked into churches to connect with the only One who could save our country. God comforted the hearts of His children and helped them to know that He was still on the throne. For weeks, and even months afterwards, the church celebrated the power of God. However, church attendees gradually returned to their gods who stole their hearts prior to the 911 attacks. Although several other warnings have been given to us, we have been losing family and friends left and right to our current warning that seems to be uncontrollable and taking the lives of those we love. When the Israelites finally came to their senses and asked to reunite with the God who helped them win their battles in the past, God said ‘No, try asking the gods whom you served most recently’. I know, you have no idols, or gods, in your home, or your temple, or in your community that you worship. But let me ask you to think about those things that are taking God’s place in your life. What stops you from Bible reading, or prayer, or church attendance? Can you list them so that you could be reminded of the gods that exist in your life? I strongly believe that it was not until the Israelites threw out their idols and began worshiping God Almighty, alone, that God saw their repentance and returned to their rescue. What is it that you must consider ridding yourself of, to make room for Jesus? Please make this a priority, as Jesus could return to take His church home TODAY! Be ready for His return dear friends.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: God saw the misery of His children, and He saw their efforts to return to Him. God loves us and wants our companionship more than anything!

PRAYER: Way too often we ponder the evil going on and the dreadful impact it is having on our lives, and we wonder how long will this last? Lord, I believe You may be whispering the answer in our ears: ‘Until you get the message I am sending to you about your sin, and the sin of those around you’. Oh Lord, please humble the heart of every believer, and help us to remember how You pounded on the Israelites when they turned their heads on You. Praise God You eventually came to their rescue, but it was not until they gave up their idols and their worthless gods. I believe that we might be right in the middle of a similar condition at this time. You are sending warnings over the bow and trying desperately to redirect our path to follow You. Please Lord, soften hearts again today like You did with the Israelites, so that we may come to our senses and acknowledge You as the only God who can save, and who has prepared a place already for us to join You in heaven one day soon. Help us to influence others with whom we associate with, to do the same. Lord, may Your kingdom come today, as it is in heaven. 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!

Never make Rash Statements

Scripture: Genesis 30-31 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

31 “I rushed away because I was afraid,” Jacob answered. “I thought you would take your daughters from me by force.32 But as for your gods, see if you can find them, and let the person who has taken them die! And if you find anything else that belongs to you, identify it before all these relatives of ours, and I will give it back!” But Jacob did not know that Rachel had stolen the household idols.  Gen 31:31-32 (NLT)

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

No matter how sure we are about something, we must be extremely careful in making rash statements. We can truly speak only to the actions of ourselves, and even then we must be careful because we may forget that we possibly said or did something. In these verses, Jacob was unaware that one of his wives, one of Laban’s own daughters, had stolen from Laban, so Jacob made a very rash statement, assuming that he could have spoken for himself and all within his camp. If we constantly endeavor to speak words of love, and words that would please God, and live according to His statutes and teach the same to all within our sphere of influence, then there will be little room for others to act irrationally based on our mishandling of things. Let us live as Jesus did, doing things that would bless others and saying things that would always please God.

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

Lord Jesus, I know that this can often happen to me also. Please help me to always seek to do Your will and say those things that will please You and represent You in every way. Please help me to be more like You every day.