Daily Devotions from The Word Of God… From the heart of Ed Algreen

Posts tagged ‘kingdom’

Get Rid of Idols

The Holy Bible  (The Contemporary English Version – Jeremiah 4:1-3): The Lord said: Israel, if you really want to come back to me, get rid of those disgusting idols.     2 Make promises only in my name, and do what you promise! Then all nations will praise me, and I will bless them. 3 People of Jerusalem and Judah, don’t be so stubborn! Your hearts have become hard, like unplowed ground where thornbushes grow.

Thoughts:  While I believe there was a lot of value in these verses for Israel and the people of Jerusalem and Judah, I also believe that this passage of scripture was included in God’s Word to us for self-application also. Let me explain, I believe that God spoke to me as I read this, and had me substitute ‘Israel’ with the family and friends that I am praying for. At times when I feel distant from God, I believe that this passage also applies to me. Friends, I want you to read this carefully to make sure that you too understand that when God seems far away from you, examine your lives and see what idols (priorities; things) have you allowed to step in the way of your open communication and dependence on God. The kinds of things that get in our way might be:

  • Work – for we can become so absorbed in our job that we have no quality time to spend with God;
  • Church – yes, even church. We can become a slave to the work of the church and exclude our study and worship time with the Lord, for whom we are presumably working;
  • Family – even though this item is of super importance, if we’re not careful Satan can use this as a tool to keep us away from God. Let’s learn to take our family to church, instead of feeling an obligation to spend quality time with them on our Sabbath. After all, we had other opportunities during the week to spend time with them, but with Satan’s help chose not to. Men/dads this is our responsibility as God’s leader in our homes;
  • Activities – we all know that the beach is always better on our Sabbath day than any other day of the week, right? But does it fit with God’s command of what we should be doing on our Sabbath?!!;
  • Sports – why would we consider giving our time to sports on our Sabbath day rather than assembling ourselves together to worship God and to encourage one another?;
  • Weariness – the toils of the week have left us so worn out that giving one hour of our time to refuel spiritually, and to give God thanks for our jobs, and the good health to do our jobs, seems to be challenging for us – at least until we lose our job or some other crisis comes up, right?;

Friends, I’m not judging, for that is God’s job. I merely listed a few things that may cause us to think about the possible idols that stand in our way of communion with God. May I encourage you to examine your own life and see if there is anything that distracts you in your walk with the Lord? Be honest with God as you consider this, for He knows your heart and your very circumstances, and He is willing to help you tear down those idols, so that you may be drawn closer to Him. Remember, sin must be put away out of the heart, else it is not put away out of God’s sight, for the heart is open before Him. The good news with this whole thing is that others will follow us, and God will bless us! Read verse 2 again! Imagine, your actions might actually revolutionize your world!!

Prayer:  Father, You know our hearts and You know our thoughts and our schemes. It is so unfortunate that in spite of Your goodness to us, we allow Satan to feed our thoughts, that often leads us to scheme and find reasons to not find time in the Word, in prayer and even church attendance. Please forgive us for our ingratitude and our unfaithfulness. You sacrificed Your very Son for our salvation, yet we find it challenging to make time to spend with You and/or Your people in corporate worship. Often this is just not a priority in our lives. Please forgive me oh Lord. Please touch the hearts of Your children who will read this devotional today, may they also be made aware of ‘idols’ that have become obstacles in their walk with You. Lord Jesus, we respect You and all that You stand for, however if we are to be true and honest representatives of Yours, we too must be living, walking and talking as You. We can only do this with Your help, direction and wisdom oh Lord, and we humbly seek that today. For this is my humble and gracious plea before You oh God, in the name of Your Son 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 so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will 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 blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely 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, Sebring, FL! 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!

Our Security!

The Holy Bible  (The Message – 1 Thessalonians 5:4-8): But friends, you’re not in the dark, so how could you be taken off guard by any of this? You’re sons of Light, daughters of Day. We live under wide open skies and know where we stand. So let’s not sleepwalk through life like those others. Let’s keep our eyes open and be smart. People sleep at night and get drunk at night. But not us! Since we’re creatures of Day, let’s act like it. Walk out into the daylight sober, dressed up in faith, love, and the hope of salvation.

Thoughts:  In spite of all that is going on around us and around the world, Christians are not to be sucked in by Satan in his attempts to distract and worry Christ’s followers – for whether we live or die, we are, and will be with the Lord! Friends, I believe that Jesus has us on mission here on earth, until such time that He decides to call us home to be with Him! While most Christians believe that and look forward in great expectation to the day that we sit at Jesus’ feet in worship, praise and adoration, I believe that we often feel detached, lonely and in battle with Satan and his cohorts. Paul is teaching us in these verses that even here on earth we need to stand tall, knowing that we are children of the King of all kings and Lord of all lords. With this confidence, of whom then shall we be afraid? Paul reminds us that if we have accepted Jesus as our personal Savior, and claim Him as our Master, then we should act like it. We should stay attuned with Him and be constantly reminded that our faith in Him is not in vain, instead it is our foundation and our ongoing arm of strength – our support arm. And based on this, we are to live in hope knowing that the King of this universe has us in the palm of His hands, and loves us enough to care for us, protect us and guide us, until the day that He calls us home to be with Him. Sure we will still get discouraged here on this earth, but surer still friend, we are to be comforted to know that Jesus is with us through every day and every trial, because He loves us with such a deep, sacrificial and everlasting love. So I encourage you friend, to not just simply say that you love Jesus, but learn to depend on Him through the good times and the challenging times that seem so overwhelming to us at times. Our security is protected and reassured by the One who created this universe, who hung the stars in space, who created us and sacrificed His very life so that we may have a way into heaven to be with Him throughout eternity. So our security is surer and more secure in Him than in any military on this earth, or any leader that may govern even the strongest nation on earth. This is the God that I serve friend, do you know Him? Are you able to place your faith and trust in Him knowing that He recognizes you as one of His? Please read the ‘Footnote’ for tips on how you might make this a reality today. It is way too important to ignore friend.

Prayer:  Father, thank You for Your love, and the hope and security that I find in You! I was acutely reminded of this as I studied Your Word this morning. I sincerely need Your touch, Your hand, Your protection, Your security and Your guidance on my life each and every day, so that I can represent You well here on this earth, and be a light to those struggling in a world filled with darkness and sin. Thank You for sending Jesus so that I might have that hope. Please touch the hearts of those that will pass by and read this devotional today. May they be deeply touched, just as I was. May we be bolder in our experiences today and represent You so fully, that others will want to know the Savior who lives in and through us. May You receive honor and glory as a result of Your Word being shared today, is my humble and sincere pray that I ask in Your name, with thanksgiving, 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 so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will 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 blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely 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, Sebring, FL! 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!

A Sacred Highway

The Holy Bible
(Contemporary English Bible – Isaiah 35:8-10):
8 A good road will be there, and it will be named “God’s Sacred Highway.” It will be for God’s people; no one unfit to worship God will walk on that road. And no fools can travel on that highway. 9 No lions or other wild animals will come near that road; only those the Lord has saved will travel there. 10 The people the Lord has rescued will come back singing as they enter Zion. Happiness will be a crown they will always wear. They will celebrate and shout because all sorrows and worries will be gone far away.

Thoughts: The prophet Isaiah was gifted and led by God to give us a glimpse of what children of God could expect when we leave this world. I am so tired of all the crime, the hurts, the acts of Satan at every turn, that I’m afraid will only get worse for us while still here on this old earth. However, we know that God is preparing a place for us, those who have accepted Him as Lord and King of our lives, to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Throughout the book of Revelation, we see additional insights on what we might expect, but in reading this passage in Isaiah, I was overjoyed to see that God had really been giving us a ‘visual’ quite a long time ago. I was also fascinated to note the amazing agreement by God’s messengers, for Isaiah’s prophecy is very much along the lines of what we read and understand from other parts of the Bible!

Here are some points that excited me:

  • God’s Sacred Highway – the highway name alone reminds me that God is preparing a neat place for His children to travel. To think of a highway for His kids makes me feel like I am so special to Him that He wants to roll out the red carpet for my arrival – a special road just for us!!
  • Exclusively for Christians – All the preaching and evangelizing we have ever heard comes to reality in the exclusivity mentioned here, for we are constantly reminded here on earth that only those who have surrendered their hearts and lives to Jesus will be saved. This confirms the words of our pastors, preachers and evangelists who has our best interest at heart each week as they stand in front of us an preach the gospel!
  • No fools allowed – I don’t believe that God is finding bad names to give those who don’t necessarily see everything as He does, however I believe that there are many who try to fool family, friends, pastors and even God into believing that they are saved – by their giving, or their church attendance or by the way that they take care of ones they love. I believe that God sees such folk as ‘fools’ because nothing is hid from Him. He knows our heart – the very core of mankind. Yes, even ‘fools’ will be surfaced on that day and rejected by God, as He will do with all who never claimed Him as Lord.
  • No threats – We see and hear about a lot of threats to Christians today, with some being murdered for their persistent faith in God. In vs 9 we are reminded that God’s Sacred Highway will be safe from dangers that frighten and/or hurt us!
  • Pure happiness and joy – I get excited just thinking about it, but Isaiah tells us that we will wear a crown of happiness and celebrate endlessly because all sorrows and worries will be gone forever! Praise the name of the Lord!!

When we think of traveling, we get anxious about visiting beautiful places, then we immediately start asking when, and how quickly can we begin traveling. For those that fear the arrival of this important day, you may worry how much longer do you have before you need to make a decision. Friends, the Bible is clear in saying that no man knows the hour or the day. That tells me that this could occur before you ever get to read this devotional, or it may be any number of days away. When I’m about to take a trip, I start early to make preparations. I would urge you to do the same, otherwise you may never get the opportunity to. Please see the information in my ‘Footnote’ below to help you prepare.

Prayer: Lord, You know how badly some of us live to just see retirement from regular work here on earth, so I’m sure You are well aware of the excitement that builds in the heart of a Christian when we are reminded, and think about our retirement from this earth, to graduate on to glory to be with You! This scripture given through the prophet Isaiah has done just that dear Lord, and I thank You for not only the reminder, but also for the provision You have made for me! Oh, What a Savior, Oh Hallelujah! Thank You Lord for Your mercies on me! Dear Jesus, I pray that You might use this reminder to speak to the hearts of the undecided or the procrastinators. May this be the day of decision and commitment for them. Please use Your servant today in ways that might help an unsaved person to make this most important decision in their life. You are God alone, and only You can touch the heart of a person, may this be a productive day for You in the hearts of my unsaved family and friends and for all who You will cause to stumble across this devotional on the world wide web. All glory and honor to You oh King! Thank You for hearing my prayer that I ask in Your precious and holy name, 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 so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will 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 blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely 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, Sebring, FL! 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!

He’s Still God!

The Holy Bible (The Good News Translation – Isaiah 30:19-21): The Lord is compassionate, and when you cry to him for help, he will answer you. 20The Lord will make you go through hard times, but he himself will be there to teach you, and you will not have to search for him any more. 21If you wander off the road to the right or the left, you will hear his voice behind you saying, “Here is the road. Follow it.”

Thoughts: Friends, I am a firm believer that our God never changes, and that He is the same today as He was yesterday and He will be same until He calls us home to be with Him in glory. I also believe that God inspired His written Word, the Bible, so that we might be drawn to Him, grow in Him, encouraged in Him and be counseled and/or corrected by Him to enable a consistent walk with Him. I therefore believe that just as these highlighted verses were prophesied by Isaiah to challenge the people of Israel who had strayed from Him, that God is also encouraging us today to keep our heads up, to return to Him, and to be encouraged in knowing that no matter what struggles and discouragements and challenges we face, that He’s still God, that His love for us is everlasting, and that we can come to Him, or return to Him, in confidence knowing that He is compassionate and that He will answer our cry for help. Please be reminded that God is not a yo-yo, or a puppet, but instead He loves you enough that He will answer your prayers in ways according to His will for You, and that would best satisfy your needs. In other words, if you ask Him for a new Cadillac and He knows that you will remain humble, and could afford a Toyota Corolla better, then you may receive transportation (answer to prayer), just not the car you asked for, because it would increase your struggles and not help your situation. Some reading this devotional today may also feel like they, or a loved one, is ‘at the end of their rope’, because life seems so impossible. May I encourage you to look to God, place your faith and trust in Him, and surrender your life totally to Him? As you do this friend, You will:

  • Have peace in knowing the ‘hand-off’ has taken place!
  • Find peace in your circumstances, knowing that the God of this universe is working on your behalf! Remember, He is a great big God, who has this world in His hands, so He can easily handle your circumstances;
  • Be encouraged in knowing that God loved you, even as a sinner, enough to sacrifice His only Son so that you may have life, and have it more abundantly in and through Him. And it is that type of deep love that is your today as you trust in Him!

Because He’s still God, I must remind you that He loves you today friend! I believe that His love is even more intense, but He will not force Himself on you. He wants you to take the first step, by surrendering your will to Him and allowing Him to do all that I have shared above. If you have never made a personal commitment to Jesus and invited Him to rule and reign in your life, then I would encourage you to make this most important decision today. Perhaps there is one meditating on this devotional who has previously invited Jesus into your life, but has strayed far away from Him. Friend, you will see from these verses that Israel had strayed far away, yet God was ready to welcome them back and love them with the intense love possible only by God. He’ll do the same for you, if you recommit to Him! I have included helps for you in the ‘Footnote’ below. Please make this the first day of ‘real’, ‘committed’, life in Christ today!

Prayer: Thank You Jesus for the reminder in these verses today of Your awesome love for us, and how You are so ready and willing to accept us, Your children, when we call upon Your name in humility and forgiveness. Many of my friends are hurting and filled with one disappointment after another because of worldly circumstances or possibly bad choices by them. Please use Your Word, and possibly this devotional to encourage them, to soften their hearts to the point of surrender, and a new life in You. This my humble prayer that I ask in faith, and in the name of Jesus my Lord, 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 so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will 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 blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely 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, Sebring, FL! 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!

Think about your ‘Marker’

Scripture: Genesis 33-35 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

14 Jacob set up a stone pillar to mark the place where God had spoken to him. Then he poured wine over it as an offering to God and anointed the pillar with olive oil.15 And Jacob named the place Bethel (which means “house of God”), because God had spoken to him there.   Gen 35:14-15 (NLT)

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

Jacob went to Bethel because he was reminded of how God revealed Himself to him there when he originally escaped from his brother Esau over 20 years earlier. While there the second time, God gave Jacob a new name, Israel, gave him renewed strength to repopulate the land, and gave him much of the land that He (God) had once given to Abraham and Isaac. I got the impression that God was giving Jacob/Israel a new beginning, and telling him “Now go and get busy for me”. We just celebrated the beginning of a New Year. It started much like the old year ended, without much ado. It sure would have been nice to, and probably is not too late to, recommit ourselves to God as His children looking to restart our respective ministries and seek God’s direction for what He would have us do this year with all that He has blessed us with. I believe that if each of us reflect on the blessings that God has showered on us over the past year, then plant a marker to remind us of those blessings, then in all earnest seek to be involved in God’s direction for more successes in 2011, our churches would not be able to contain the overflow of His blessings. I feel like we need to set aside our personal agendas and ‘business as usual’ attitudes, and be willing to let God work mightily through us. We know the awesome spiritual needs of our community, and we believe that we know the God who holds all the answers to all of life’s problems and shortcomings. This is the same God that we, as Christians, have accepted as our King. Let’s let go of our selfish desires and let God perform miracles in and through us, so that His work can be accomplished in our community.   

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

Praise be to God for His mighty hand and for all that He does for me each and every day. In being reminded of how You worked in the past dear God, I pray that You will again work in and through me and my church, and the churches of my community. There is no reason for us to have lost people in this community, or sinful acts a part of our neighborhood, for You are more powerful than anything or anyone else that we know. You are bigger than all these problems and challenges that we see, and You hold the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. I pray that You will find me faithful. I pray that You will find all those that worship You each week around Avon Park, Florida, willing and ready to bow before You, recognize Your Lordship and Your Kingship and that we will get off our personal thrones and allow You to be God, while we, as Your humble servants, stand ready to let You use us to do greater things for the Kingdom than we ever thought possible. May this be a year that we will look on as a ‘marker’ that future generations will come back to spiritually when they want to be reminded of Your power and move on a people and a community. Begin a renewed work in me, dear Lord, is my humble prayer.

Be Happy, don’t worry!

Scripture: Matthew 6

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

31 “So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’32 These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs.33 Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. Matt 6:31-33 (NLT)

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

Many of us experience the pressure and stress of financial burdens from time to time, consequently many of us worry about everything that is affected when we are challenged financially. We are told in this scripture that this type of worry is evident of the unbeliever, because they have no hope, they have no scriptural direction, they have no reason to believe that they needn’t worry. Instead we are to know that ‘every little thing is gonna be alright’! In the verses leading up to this, Jesus shares examples about the birds and the lilies, and how much more valuable we are to Him than these. Therefore, as He takes such good care of them and provides for their everyday needs, imagine how much more He will hear our cry and take care of our needs. Wow, to have a heavenly Father who loves us so much that He would take care of us so wonderfully, gives me encouragement today, gives me hope for tomorrow and gives me a future to look forward to, as I rest in the palm of His hand. Let’s make the worries of this life disappear as we place our faith and trust in the hands of our Savior who has promised to watch over us and take care of us, because we are way more valuable to Him than any other plant or creature that He made. As we look at all the beauty around us, let’s stop to reflect on how much more we are loved and how much more God has promised to shine in and through us, so that others may see His beauty!

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

Wow, what a reminder dear God! It is so easy to worry about all that we bring on ourselves and all that this world serves up to us. I pray that I will have the strength and power to look beyond the temporal things of this world that may bear on my mind, and reflect on the awesome God that loves me so much that You have promised to care for me, especially when I may feel like the world has served up extreme challenges on me. Thank You for Your love dear God, please take my hand and lead me through each and every day!

Intent of the Heart and Obedience to the Word

Scripture: Matthew 5

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

17 “Don’t misunderstand why I have come. I did not come to abolish the law of Moses or the writings of the prophets. No, I came to accomplish their purpose.18 I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not even the smallest detail of God’s law will disappear until its purpose is achieved.19 So if you ignore the least commandment and teach others to do the same, you will be called the least in the Kingdom of Heaven. But anyone who obeys God’s laws and teaches them will be called great in the Kingdom of Heaven.20 “But I warn you—unless your righteousness is better than the righteousness of the teachers of religious law and the Pharisees, you will never enter the Kingdom of Heaven!  Matt 5:17-20 (NLT)

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

I believe that today we know many who try everything to get around the law, or they try to see how close they can come in doing something without getting arrested or caught for actually doing the crime. Take for instance speeding on the highways. We know that we could get a pricy ticket if we are caught, so we purchase a ‘fuzz buster’ to tell us when we are approaching a highway patrolman. Now in God’s records, can we be accused of breaking the law of the land? Of course we can. Just because we may hide behind a ‘fuzz buster’ or a lie, or anything else, God knows what actually took place. In fact, Jesus taught that even if we are angry enough to murder, we have sinned, even if we didn’t actually pull the trigger, or plunge the dagger. These were the type of folk that Jesus was teaching in this passage, and I believe that as I described, our folk that He would be teaching today. Even though I can’t think of how this applies to me, what caught my attention is verse 19, where Jesus teaches that if we ignore in the least, one of His commands, and we teach others to do so, then we would be considered one of the least in His Kingdom. I trust that I will be devoted to serving Christ to the fullest and obeying His commands each and every day, and that this will be so evident in my life that others will not be misled. If our hearts have been hardened to the Word of God, may we be blessed with a man of God to preach the Word to reveal our shortcomings this week.

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

Father I know that many times we will do something often enough until we will lose sight of whether it is wrong or not. I pray today that You will open my mind and my understanding to anything that I may do that is not in line with Your Word and in obedience to Your commands. I pray that my every word and every action will be from a heart devoted to You and with the intent of leading others to know You and understand Your teachings. Please touch my heart daily and give me the desire to obey Your commands, followed by the actions that would display the intent of Your Word.

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