What God Wants

If we reflect on why we perform some of the rituals that we do in our churches, we may need to look no further than back to what our ancestors did. But along the way, we should be careful to reflect on whether God was pleased with what His people did in an effort to please Him. Our Scripture today shows us how displeased God was with the Israelites because they chose to ignore His commands and do their own thing. Do you feel like you are doing any better than that today?

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2020-08-06
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Jeremiah 7:21-23
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 21 The Lord, the God of Israel says: Away with your offerings and sacrifices! 22 It wasn’t offerings and sacrifices I wanted from your fathers when I led them out of Egypt. That was not the point of my command. 23 But what I told them was: Obey me, and I will be your God and you shall be my people; only do as I say, and all shall be well!

OBSERVATION: If we reflect on why we perform some of the rituals that we do in our churches, we may need to look no further than back to what our ancestors did. But along the way, we should be careful to reflect on whether God was pleased with what His people did in an effort to please Him. Our Scripture today shows us how displeased God was with the Israelites because they chose to ignore His commands and do their own thing. Do you feel like you are doing any better than that today?

APPLICATION: I bet that one of the worse pet peeves of parenting is, hearing our children respond to us ‘but I thought…..’. You told them to complete a certain chore, and you wanted it done a certain way. However, it was not completed to your satisfaction. Regrettably the child will respond ‘but dad, I thought ……’ And we know that means that they thought they knew a better way! For those who have been a student of the Bible for very long, you have probably found, like I have, that God has done an awesome job at providing instruction for every area of life in His precious Word. However, way too many times we try all of our own ideas before finally conceding to the Bible to see what it has to say. Generally it’s after we have messed up, that we concede and turn to God for help! Friends, our personal ways are filled with selfish ideas about what might please self. But notice how simple God’s commands to the Israelites were: ‘Obey me, and I will be your God, and you will be my people’. Very simple, but recognize the value in this short command. God performed miracle after miracle to change the mindset of Pharaoh, to willingly let God’s people go. The Israelites were present and impacted by all that our God miraculously did, so they had proof of His awesome power. They knew that He was in control of this earth and that nothing is impossible with Him. However, as they journeyed, and when things got tough, they immediately resorted to their old habits and to their former gods. Are we any different today? I believe that God not only said these words through His servant Jeremiah for the good of the Israelites, but I believe that He truly wants us to understand this today, that all He wants from us, is that we obey Him. In fact, this is confirmed in John 14:15-16 where Jesus reiterates that if we love Him, we will obey Him and His commands. Friends, when we truly love someone, we will make every effort to do what they want. God showed us how much He loves us. How far are we willing to go to prove our love for God?

PRAYER: Dear Lord, You gave Your very own Son so that we might be saved and enjoy eternity with You in Heaven. There is no greater love! As we look for ways to say thank You Jesus, we realize that You have already told us how we might show our love for You – simply obey You and the commands You have set out in Your Word. Because of Your love for us, I am convinced that every command given for us to follow were given in love, and for our own good. But Lord, we are so stubborn and selfish, so please tender our hearts once again today so that we may willingly obey and desire to please You in all that we do or say. Please fill us with so much of Your love, that it will overflow in everything we do and it will stand behind every decision we make, so that You will be glorified. Thank You Jesus for first loving us. May our obedience to Your commands show the extent of our love for You, today and 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 encourage you to visit my home church, 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!

Wrong Doing Infuriates God

Thursday, 2016-10-13

Scripture

Bible Reference: Jeremiah 32:26–31

Bible Text:  26 Then this message came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 27 “I am the LORD, the God of all the peoples of the world. Is anything too hard for me? 28 Therefore, this is what the LORD says: I will hand this city over to the Babylonians and to Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, and he will capture it. 29 The Babylonians outside the walls will come in and set fire to the city. They will burn down all these houses where the people provoked my anger by burning incense to Baal on the rooftops and by pouring out liquid offerings to other gods. 30 Israel and Judah have done nothing but wrong since their earliest days. They have infuriated me with all their evil deeds,” says the LORD. 31 “From the time this city was built until now, it has done nothing but anger me, so I am determined to get rid of it.

Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take

I know that many would prefer to see the positive spin to scripture than the negative, so perhaps I could have titled this blog “Pleasing God invokes His blessings”! However, part of my study this morning took me into Romans 7 where Paul was pleading with God to help him overcome a very big problem that he had. Paul realized that he often did those things that he was determined not to do, and he always seem to do those things that he knew he shouldn’t do. So because of this same dilemma, which I am convinced that we still battle today, I felt like I should just present the challenge by Jeremiah in the light that it is presented in the Bible! Friends, I believe it is time that we stop and ‘call a spade a spade’. Let’s be honest with ourselves, how hard are we trying to please God in our personal lives, or in our families, among our friends, in our workplaces, our churches, cities, states, or countries? I know, our pet answer would probably be that we are doing better than our neighbor next door, or that our church doors are still opened and occasionally we see some numerical growth, so we assume that we must be on track. Friends, I would like for us to take a moment and look at our specific country from God’s perspective, and see if you can come up with a few things that you could brag on before God. Consider this: in His Word, God detailed the reason He made us and the reasons He would allow us to continue on as His children. He provided beautiful landscapes for us to enjoy and He provided food for our nourishment. Would you consider that most of the other things that we have brought into the equation, serve to enhance our worship of the Master, or to promote the ministry of the gospel to the lost and dying in our communities and the rest of the world? If God was to send in His forces to destroy our towns, which parts of the town might you be able to defend before Him as being holy and totally in place for the benefit of the gospel? Please don’t automatically go to the churches, for I am not convinced that they all serve the purpose for which they were intended. Furthermore, can we really present our churches as effective messengers of the gospel message? If they were, don’t you suppose that they would be more effective in attracting the lost and/or the un-churched? Friends, I believe that we are probably worse off than the Israelites were at the time that God declared (in verse 31) that He was so angry He would totally get rid of everything they built – everything that distracted them from the purity of their hearts and their worship of Him. In the case of the Israelites, this included total demolition of the city. Would our situation be any better off? We have so many personal idols and/or ideals and/or beliefs that it is often very challenging to remove the ‘cobwebs’ so that we could clearly see the face of God and know what He desires of us. Some who will read this devotional will be faced with country-wide general elections soon. May I remind us that while this is an important part of our earthly obligations to vote, it is secondary to all that I have shared with you this morning. God will not ask us if we voted, or who we may have voted for. He is more concerned with the purity of our heart and our everyday decisions, and how they align with His will for our lives. Let’s keep that part in order, then I am assured that God will direct us to the right candidate to vote for, so that He may be honored, praised and worshiped by His people.

Prayer

Father, thank You for being patient with us. Thank You for providing Your Word as direction for our daily path. Lord, please forgive us for allowing so many things to interfere and distract us from the actual path that You have set before us, especially our selfish and personal ideals. It’s not about us, so Lord may our lives be so in tuned with You that our decisions will be based on Your desires and Your heart. I admit that this may not always be the popular thing to do, but our desire is to please You oh Lord, and not the general public looking to feed their fancy. We need You every minute of every day Lord. Please touch Your children today in ways that we may recognize Your voice and be reminded of Your power. For I ask these things in and through the precious name of Jesus, my Rock, my redeemer and my soon coming King, 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!

The Evidence & Results of True Faith

The Holy Bible (The Contemporary English Version – Hebrews 11:13-16): 13 Every one of those people died. But they still had faith, even though they had not received what they had been promised. They were glad just to see these things from far away, and they agreed that they were only strangers and foreigners on this earth. 14 When people talk this way, it is clear that they are looking for a place to call their own. 15 If they had been talking about the land where they had once lived, they could have gone back at any time. 16 But they were looking forward to a better home in heaven. That’s why God wasn’t ashamed for them to call him their God. He even built a city for them.

Thoughts: I believe I was renewed in my faith as I read this scripture, and was reminded of the faith shown by our forefathers. The writer reminds us that all the faith shown by these powerful men of God, such as Abraham, Sarah, Isaac and Jacob was not necessarily on the promises that would be revealed to them during their lifetime, but because their minds were not fixed on eartly things and/or places, God was not ashamed of their human failures and instead prepare a heavenly home for them that, no doubt, was their ultimate goal. I am reminded of a saying that often we are so earthly minded that we are of no heavenly good!! It sounds just the opposite for these great saints, and I believe that this may be much of the reason why they were particularly made a part of the scriptures – to help show us what 'true faith' really looks like. To my readers, let me encourage you to join me in re-evaluating the level of our faith. Let's begin with evaluating our priorities – are they more earthly minded than heavenly? Do our actions reflect the qualities learned from our relationship with Christ, or those inherited from our earthly interactions? Would God be ashamed for us to say that He is our God, or would He be proud of His children? We have a hope friends! We have a heavenly home and a gracious heavenly Father that awaits our arrival in His presence. Are you ready? Let's make Him proud of us as long as we are allowed to remain on planet earth, and may others be drawn to our Savior through the faith they see in us!

Prayer: Father God, I thank You for the awesome experience of knowing You, and being blessed by the many ways that You have already touched my life. Please help my readers and I to place our relationship with You as our very top priority, and please help us to learn from the faith of our ancestors, while giving us the urgency to also allow our faith in You to be so obvious in us that those following in our footsteps would see more of Jesus than of our sinful selves. May our lives be so focused on You, oh Lord, that You would be proud to hear us call You our Father and our God. May all who come behind us find us faithful! I ask this in humility and in the wonderful name of Jesus, my Savior and 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!

 

 

A Sweet Fragrance To God

The Holy Bible

15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?

(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – 2 Corinthians 2:15-16)

Thoughts:

Paul shared that their (his and Timothy’s) lives were a sweet fragrance to God and to the Christians they came into contact with, however to the non-Christians, their lives were as the dreadful smell of death and doom. In applying this scripture today, I want you to look beyond the many books written by Paul, and the many churches he started, and remember that Paul had no advantage over us, and our ability to be the same sweet fragrance for God today. When God looks below the surface, does He still smell the sweet fragrance of holiness in our lives? Is God standing tall and proud when we find ourselves in a tight spot, knowing that we will still represent him well – exude the sweet fragrance of His Holy Spirit, in spite of the circumstances or who we might be with? Are we bold enough, and firm enough in our faith, that God is proud of us even in the presence of non-Christians, or do we meld into the audience and try to be their buddy? Of course, the words “a sweet fragrance” were only used as a metaphor and really could, or should, be substituted for the words “very pleasing to”. The bottom line friends, is that when we claim to have accepted Jesus as our Lord and Savior, we are to live our lives very pleasing to God, or our actions and words are to be like a sweet aroma to God. As you reflect on the opposite to these, I believe you will get an even better picture, as you will quickly realize that in no way do we want to be a repugnant odor to our God, especially after having received His forgiveness of our sins, and our celebration of the great sacrifice He paid so that we could be saved in the first place. Friends, we have a choice. What will it be for you? Be reflective of whose you are (Christians), or to my non-Christian friends, accept Jesus as Lord and be loyal to His cause, creating a sweet aroma back up to Him? Or are you more inclined to refuse Him and stifle Him with the stench of sin, unbelief and/or disobedience?

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, what a challenge these verses present for us today, because there are so many circumstances where we are totally engulfed in the world and its demands through our friends and coworkers. However, I believe that Paul also found it impossible to be holy, especially without Your powerful hand upon his life. Therefore please remind us often of our power source that enable us to be good examples of Yours and to act Godly, even under extreme circumstances and opposition. Thank You for being available to us, and willing to work through such weak vessels. May we always be mold-able and usable by You, is my sincere plea today. For the non-Christians who might be led to this devotional today, may they recognize their need for You in their lives, surrender their lives to You, and find peace in knowing You, is my humble prayer today that I ask in the precious 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 days 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!