Your Mindset When Listening

As you meditate with me on the Word today I would ask that you not look for how this parable refers to the Brother next to you, or the Sister behind you in church, but rather, how this applies to you. Having taught the Bible in a Sunday School setting, I could look across an audience and see that almost every student was in a different mindset about being there: who’s teaching; who’s sitting next to them; and whether they wanted to be there, or not. Each of these things impacted what they received from the lesson. Allow God to speak with you about your heart’s condition today.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2021-05-05
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Mark 4:3-9
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: “Consider this: A sower went out to sow (seed). As he sowed some fell along the beaten path and soon the birds came and ate it. Some fell onto gravel with no topsoil and quickly sprouted since the soil had no depth. But when the days grew hot, the sprouts were scorched and withered because they had insufficient roots. Some fell among the thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked it, and it yielded no fruit. But some fell onto good, rich soil that kept producing a good harvest. Some yielded thirty, some sixty—and some a hundredfold! If you understand this, then you need to respond.”

APPLICATION: I find it absolutely amazing how we could have read a passage of Scripture all our lives, heard sermons on it, had Sunday School lessons on it, yet today God has a new revelation for you in that very passage! God’s Word is alive and active! Yet in today’s Scripture, I am reminded that no matter how hard I aim at applying the Word of God to my life first and foremost, yet I am caught off-guard at times where God will say ‘are you listening good?’ Or as our Scripture ended ‘you need to respond’. I don’t believe that I am all that different to most of you that will read this devotional, for we read, or we listen to the Word being read, and immediately we start applying it to those around us. I have always looked at this parable so differently by applying it to people who appears to be in various states of mind in their relationship with God. Of course the unbeliever wants nothing †o do with the Word of God, for they are so wrapped up in the things of this world, and their minds are so twisted by the evil one. The Word of God will therefore most often fall on their deaf ears because of their lack of interest. But what about the Christian who comes to church unprepared to meet the King of all kings, our Teacher, the God of the universe, Healer, the Author of the most powerful Book ever written. Will they/we truly receive the Word God designed for us to hear in that service? Will it penetrate deep enough to affect our lives any? Will we recognize and acknowledge the reason we attended church that day, or that we were standing on holy ground in the presence of the only Holy God? You might say later, I know, there was one thing that the preacher kept shouting and pounding away on, so you might leave remembering those specific words from his sermon, right? But did God really penetrate our heart with that word, or was it like the seed that landed on rocky ground, where it really had no impact on our way of living? However on other occasions there are times that we will head out to church after a week of trials that resulted in us arguing with our relatives, shouting at our spouse and kids, and wishing that we would never have to return to our workplace. Our minds are racing on all the ways that the world seems out to ‘get us’. Then we enter the doors of the sanctuary. Do we have a switch that automatically cuts off the awful activities and interactions of our week, so that we could now concentrate on the Master? Not so easy, is it? We are reminded of this parable where the Good News is entering a crowded and choked up mind. Can we truly receive the Word and allow it to impact our lives for the glory of God? Friends, Jesus knew fully well that His children are in the world, and way too often we are of this world and struggle to truly connect with His awesome goodness towards us. We are at church in body, but our minds are way too preoccupied to truly be blessed of God. What then shall we do? Jesus said in verse 9 that if we find ourselves in the dilemma illustrated above, we are to respond. Seek the Lord while He may be found. Know that He alone is God and can do ALL things for His glory. In being our Father, He would never want us to be unsatisfied, unhappy and distant from Him. But He will not force Himself into our lives. He wants us to respond – ask Him to settle our minds; give us better attitudes with those we live with, work with, and come into contact with throughout the week. Most of all, give us settled minds so that we could approach the Father in humility and without remorse for our neighbor (those around us). It’s up to you to respond my friend. Don’t wait, do it today so that You may once again enjoy a right relationship with the Father.

PRAYER: Into Your hands I commend my spirit oh God. Cleanse me, correct me, and draw me close to You. Help me to always represent You in this world so that the world will know my Savior and my Lord. May my eyes be opened, my heart softened and my mind be alert to receiving Your Word and applying it to my life so that I may obey Your commands and follow Your example in life. May Your Word be received in ways that it will have an impact on me so that I may go on to bless others in Your name. Bless my readers Lord, and offer them the benefits of Your Kingdom, just as I have asked for. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Words underlined in my blog might indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. You may also visit me on Spotify and listen to Nuggets while you’re out and about. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

The Greatest Commandment

Although the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus, they asked a very logical question. Jesus’ response is still applicable to us today, so let’s see how we’re doing with the two commandments Jesus considered most important.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2021-03-21
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 22:36-40
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: 
Pharisees: 36 Teacher, of all the laws, which commandment is the greatest?Jesus (quoting Scripture): 37 “Love the Eternal One your God with all your heart and all your soul and all your mind.”[c] 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 And the second is nearly as important, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[d] 40 The rest of the law, and all the teachings of the prophets, are but variations on these themes.

OBSERVATION: Although the Pharisees were trying to test Jesus, they asked a very logical question. Jesus’ response is still applicable to us today, so let’s see how we’re doing with the two commandments Jesus considered most important.

APPLICATION: It seems natural for us to worry more about the most important laws, or the most critical infractions we want to avoid. Take speeding for example: In the US we know that we could get away with doing no more than 5 miles over the speed limit, so we will often break the law, but by no more than 5mph, so we don’t get a ticket. Isn’t it the same with God’s laws? It seems ok to take a few pencils or paperclips home from work, but not $100, even though both are stealing. It seems OK to tell a lie, but we wouldn’t ever consider murder, although both are sins. Notice how Jesus set an example for us in quoting Scripture when responding to questions from those trying to test us. He did it to Satan when tempted by him in the desert, and he responds similarly now to the Pharisees. Why is that? Personal opinions are dime a dozen, for everyone has at least one! However, when we quote ‘thus says the Lord’, we are allowing God’s Word to answer why we believe the way we do. I found it interesting that Jesus chose not only the two commandments that epitomize God’s love and His wish for His children, but also the two commandments that all others are based on. In other words, if we get these two right, and if we exceed expectations in response to these two, then no one should have reason to judge us of missing the mark with the other commandments. To love the Lord: With all our heart – is to devote the very core of our being (our heart) to loving our Creator and our Lord; With all our soul – is to love God from the deepest parts of our being, knowing that no one deserves our love more than He does; With all our mind – is to know that our love for God is unconditional, meaning that we will love Him no matter what is going on in life, because our mind is fixed on Him. On the second most important commandment, Jesus tells us that it is equally important as the first, for a child of God who loves His Maker, will also love all that He made. To dislike our neighbor is like saying that God messed up in creating them. Of course they will be different to us in many ways, but in loving them, we soon learn to love the variety of people and things that God created. This widens our spectrum of appreciation for our Creative God. As we love our (different) neighbor, we become better prepared to approach nonbelievers who need Jesus. Remember, God made them, so we should love them! Please note that this is not just a nice story about God getting on to the Pharisees. I believe that He is still saying the same thing to you and I today: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind – and your neighbor as you love yourself; for this is God’s greatest wish for you today!

PRAYER: Each day that I read Your Word, I am looking for what’s most important for me that day, from my gracious God. Thank You Lord, for making it plain to me today that I am to love You above everything else, and that I am to love my friends, my relatives and my neighbors as much as I love myself. Lord, please teach my readers and I to love like You love us each and every day. For others need to see Jesus – Your love, Your mercy and Your gracious concern for everyone. They need to see You, and not the wickedness of our earthly beings. May others see You and believe. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading or listening to this devotional, please go to the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com. Please allow someone to pray with you and give you help and/or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. I would encourage you to find a church home near by your home, and attend as frequently as you could. Get to know God, and allow His people to encourage and strengthen you in your Christian walk, while making every effort to be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!