Willing To Follow Jesus?

When my wife joined me in marriage, I don’t believe she had a clue what she signed up for. The company I worked for had plans for me in several Bahamian islands, so I was the cause of us being uprooted several times for at least a 2-year stint on another island. When you were invited to accept Jesus as Lord, was it clear what you were signing up for? Have you been willing to go where He called you to go, and/or do what He ordered you to do? As we reflect on God’s Word today, instead of beating up on those who found excuses, think about what your excuses might be if God called you to move for the purpose of His ministry today!

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2021-01-23
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Matthew 8:18-22
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 18 When Jesus noticed how large the crowd was growing, he instructed his disciples to get ready to cross to the other side of the lake.
19 Just then[f] one of the Jewish religious teachers* said to him, “Teacher, I will follow you no matter where you go!”
20 But Jesus said, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but I, the Messiah,[g] have no home of my own—no place to lay my head.”
21 Another of his disciples said, “Sir, when my father is dead, then I will follow you.”[h]
22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me now![i] Let those who are spiritually dead* care for their own dead.”

OBSERVATION: When my wife joined me in marriage, I don’t believe she had a clue what she signed up for. The company I worked for had plans for me in several Bahamian islands, so I was the cause of us being uprooted several times for at least a 2-year stint on another island. When you were invited to accept Jesus as Lord, was it clear what you were signing up for? Have you been willing to go where He called you to go, and/or do what He ordered you to do? As we reflect on God’s Word today, instead of beating up on those who found excuses, think about what your excuses might be if God called you to move for the purpose of His ministry today!

APPLICATION: In my job mentioned above, I was promoted with each move and my wife and I made many new friends at each location. We also found that God had work for us to do at each assignment. I absolutely cannot imagine the extent of our loss if we had found excuses not to accept one of my assignments. Today, we watch new ministers of the Gospel come to our churches or our towns and I believe that Satan impresses upon us that its all for the money, or being from Florida, we may think that it’s an opportunity for the messenger of God to relocate to a warmer climate! But let me share a challenge that I feel God led me to about 6 years ago. I felt impressed to go on a missions trip with my church to help the people in charge of an orphanage and a few other related ministries in Mexico. For me, it was a lot to consider, the least of which was probably raising the funds to enable me to take the trip. There were many times that Satan tempted me with excuses to not make the trip, but thank God, there were many times that God impressed upon me the importance of going. So many times I’ve heard people say, or even pray, that they are thankful for missions because of the money they send all over the world in support of various mission efforts. Friends, I’m here to tell you that there is no amount of money that you could give, nor any amount of encouragement you might offer to a missionary, that would come close to matching the blessings you receive when you actually make a move and go, in faith, on mission for our Lord. Notice that Jesus told the Teacher of the Law that if he was to really follow Him, he may very well not have a roof over his head at night. You see, Jesus was not an itinerant evangelist/pastor because He stayed in one home for a few years until called to a different church. He literally had no where on earth to call ‘home’. His ministry was way more important than the idea of having a nice home. In another case, a disciple wanted to hang around to bury his family and couldn’t go anywhere at that time. On one of my transfers mentioned above, I almost had a guilty moment like this, because my dad couldn’t believe I would leave he and my mom and move hundreds of miles away while they were aging and needed their kids close to them. Because I believe that God had such a powerful hand in my move, I was able to get medical help for my dad who was diagnosed with heart disease within months of my move. God knew what He was doing, and I praise God that I stayed focused on Him. I believe that Jesus essentially told the disciple who felt like he needed to stay put, that there was nothing more important than following the Master. Perhaps you are pondering decisions that will take you out of your comfort zone, or away from relatives, and you may have questions about what God’s will might be for you in this important decision. Let me encourage you to read today’s Scripture carefully, and not find yourself like either the teacher who made a hasty commitment to follow Jesus, or like the disciple, who quickly found excuses why He couldn’t follow Jesus. I believe that Jesus has a unique plan for each of us, and it is critically important that we seek God’s direction for our lives so that we could be right where God wants us, and right where He wants to use us for His glory. If you have not yet accepted Jesus as Lord, then much of this discussion today will make a lot of sense to you. Please read my FOOTNOTE, and especially the content behind the link ‘To Know Jesus’, and allow the Bible to help you meet, accept, and know Jesus personally.

PRAYER: Lord, there’s a song that reminds us that we are not traveling an easy road here on this earth, but more important than anything else, we want to affirm that we are walking a road that is directed by You for Your ministry and to demonstrate Your love to a lost and dying world. The world would have us dream of success by the size house we have, or the new vehicle we recently financed, but Lord, if we are not following Your will and Your direction for our life, we are hopelessly misguided. Please touch Your children once again today. May we be reminded of the extent of Your sacrifice for our salvation, and know that nothing else matters here on earth if its not directed by You. May we grow closer to You, if only for the benefit of others who need our Savior. 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. 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 you be a blessing to them. God is at work among His people! Please consider growing in your faith, as you worship with fellow believers!

Excuses Won’t Work

Right from the very beginning of time, when there were only two humans alive, mankind found it easier to make excuses rather than owning up to their actions and accepting the consequences that may follow. Often this involves throwing the blame on someone else, with hopes that they will bear the brunt of the punishment for the crime. However, I believe that God might have a lesson for us to learn in this. Let’s think about the excuses we find, when trying to deflect blame on to others.

Thursday, 2019-01-03

Bible Reference: Genesis 3:11-13
Translation: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

Bible Text: 11 God said to the man, “Who told you that you were naked? Did you eat fruit from that special tree? I told you not to eat from that tree!” 12 The man said, “The woman you put here with me gave me fruit from that tree. So I ate it.” 13 Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What have you done?” She said, “The snake tricked me, so I ate the fruit.”

OBSERVATION: Right from the very beginning of time, when there were only two humans alive, mankind found it easier to make excuses rather than owning up to their actions and accepting the consequences that may follow. Often this involves throwing the blame on someone else, with hopes that they will bear the brunt of the punishment for the crime. However, I believe that God might have a lesson for us to learn in this. Let’s think about the excuses we find, when trying to deflect blame on to others.

APPLICATION: Not sure when last you stopped to consider the many excuses we find in life, but I believe the habit is much worse than we could ever imagine! In our Scripture today, we might think of the peaceful garden that God created for His first children. How He created Adam and immediately saw how lonely he was, so He carefully chose to make Eve from Adam, to help set the stage of submission, that God wanted in place. God wanted to make sure that His kids learned right from the beginning that there were some rules – things that they would not be permitted to do, or touch, or eat. Are you starting to see a comparison to what we still face today in our various diets and disciplines? However, it is clear from the Word, that God carefully and lovingly created everything especially for us to enjoy – the beauty of His creation; food of many varieties; animals to bring life to everything around us; and a keen sense to recognize the God of this universe who loves us more than anything else in the world. Would you not assume that we would be immensely grateful, and therefore consistently and persistently looking for ways to praise our Father for His goodness? But right from the start, Adam and Eve assumed the attitude that is so prevalent in us, that no matter who sets the rules, we are going to do it our way. Yes, the serpent caused Eve to really ponder the rule set by God about the fruit from the tree in the middle of the garden, but it was Eve who caved in and committed the sin in disobedience. Yes, Eve offered the fruit to Adam so she could have a partner in crime, but Adam had a choice to accept the fruit and sin, or be the spiritual leader of his home and lead Eve to a point of seeking forgiveness. I believe that our lesson to receive in this today, is that we are accountable before a holy God for our own sin. Of course I believe that we could help each other refrain from sinning, but I don’t believe there is ever a time that we could honestly stand before God and try to give the excuse that someone else caused us to sin. Let’s do our best to not let anything hinder us from praising God; from seeking His face in reflection and in honor to His holy name; from causing us to willingly disobey Him and sin – in spite of all that He has taught us. Remember, unlike our court systems, we will not stand before God with an attorney or witnesses who will try to find loopholes or excuses for our sin. It will be us alone, before God alone. He already knows the truth about every aspect of our life, and it will be up to us how willing we are to admit the truth about our words and our actions while here on earth. How well do you suppose you will do, without giving excuses?

PRAYER: Lord God, You provided a perfect setting in which we could live, and You provided everything we need to live in perfect harmony, and with respect for the One True God who created us. We approach You with deep regret that we have allowed so many things to step in the way of our right relationship with You. Please forgive us. We have entered into a brand new year, with opportunities to let our lights shine for you. Please grant us strength and wisdom to reject those ones who will cause us to sin, and fill us with so much of Yourself, that they will be convinced of their sin and search for You instead. Lord, Satan has taken such a hold on people around us that it is only with Your power and Your might, that we could ever survive the onslaught of sin. We need You desperately Lord. May Your kingdom come and Your will be done. 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!