What If We Are Given As We Deserve?

Imagine if God called you home at the very moment that you read this words, (very unexpected) and He told you that He will give you exactly what you deserve. What might that be? Would you cry out to Him to please proceed, as you can hardly wait for whatever God will dish out to you? I am a child forgiven by my Father, through the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, but I would tremble at such words from my Father, as I know that sin is eminent while here on earth. Think about this with me as we study these verses.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2020-11-29
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Revelation 2:23-25
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: 23 ….. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches deep within men’s hearts, and minds; I will give to each of you whatever you deserve. 24-25 “As for the rest of you in Thyatira who have not followed this false teaching (‘deeper truths,’ as they call them—depths of Satan, really), I will ask nothing further of you; only hold tightly to what you have until I come.

OBSERVATION: Imagine if God called you home at the very moment that you read this words, (very unexpected) and He told you that He will give you exactly what you deserve. What might that be? Would you cry out to Him to please proceed, as you can hardly wait for whatever God will dish out to you? I am a child forgiven by my Father, through the grace and forgiveness of Jesus Christ, but I would tremble at such words from my Father, as I know that sin is eminent while here on earth. Think about this with me as we study these verses.

APPLICATION: I remember as a child hearing similar words from my parents – just wait until I get you home! Oh my, I still try not to think of the anxiety I endured, especially as I rehearsed the crazy acts of disobedience they witnessed from me in the presence of their friends. But I’m afraid that it is extremely challenging for us to consider our Lord being so rough on us. I believe that we often teach, and learn about the goodness of God, and we are so looking forward to His goodness for the rest of our time here on earth and even as we meet Him in glory, but in these verses we must try to understand what John shared about God planning do to the church at Thyatira. God was clear in His reasons for such action. It is important for us to remember that we have a God who loves us beyond any earthly description or imagination, but He is a just God who will do what He promised. We could read story after story in the Bible of God’s goodness, and we are blessed every time we read those accounts. However, we can also find numerous stories where God also allowed tremendous grief to individuals, families, cities and even countries when His frustration had reached His point of readiness for action. As in our story today, we must be reminded that God not only sees our actions and hears our outspoken words, but He knows our very thoughts. In other words, He knows the whole man/woman. He knows us as we are, not what we try to pretend we are in mixed company. So today, I believe we must put aside what position we might hold in church, or what size congregation we preach or teach to, and truly look inside of ourselves while asking God to enlighten us to our wicked ways, or our angry words, or our pretense of love shown to others. I believe that as long as we still have breath, we have time for God to begin a new work in us and make us more like Him. But only God can make a brand new man/woman. It is way too convenient for us to go easy on ourselves and overlook sin, because we have so many excuses as to why we did or said certain things. Let’s ask God for a pure heart and for the very presence of God inside of our dirty selves while we try to live out our days here on earth. People need the Lord, my friends, but it will do them no good to see His representatives acting like the devil and in opposition to all that God teaches us in His Word. Let go and let God, my friend.

PRAYER: Dear Lord, You are merciful and full of grace. Thank You for allowing Your precious Son to die on Calvary for my sin, even while I was yet a sinner. You showed pure love for me. Many of my friends reading this devotional will probably join hearts and voices in praising You Lord, for your goodness. And We will all agree that in spite of inviting You into our heart and asking for Your forgiveness, yet we are still so disrupted by the filth and sin of this world. Lord, we want so badly to be like You, so that the hearts of our circle of influence will be stirred up and touched while in our presence. Please work on us so that we may never fall into the category of the church at Thyatira. Help us Lord that as others encounter us, they will truly see enough attributes of our Savior that they will feel like they’ve been with the Lord. Have Your will and way in our lives Lord. 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!

What Would God Say About Your Church?

John had a vision where an angel spoke on Behalf of God about how he felt about the seven churches mentioned throughout the book of Revelation. I believe that we will see characteristics of each of our churches in at least one or more of these churches. Of course, we must remember that ‘the church’ is a body of believers that gather to worship and serve God through their cooperation together, so we will see our own character in the descriptions of these churches. As we study the Word together, ponder in your heart how much you and/or your church corporately might be like the church at Ephesus. God saw the good, but He also challenged this church with her shortcomings, so protect your toes as you are challenged by what God has to say.

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-11-28
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Revelation 2:2-5
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: I know all that you’ve done for me—you have worked hard and persevered. I know that you don’t tolerate evil. You have tested those who claimed to be apostles and proved they are not, for they were impostersI also know how you have bravely endured trials and persecutions because of my name, yet you have not become discouraged.[c] But I have this against you: you have abandoned the passionate love you had for me at the beginning.[d] Think about how far you have fallen! Repent[e] and do the works of love you did at first.[f] I will come to you and remove your lampstand from its place of influence if you do not repent.

OBSERVATION: John had a vision where an angel spoke on Behalf of God about how he felt about the seven churches mentioned throughout the book of Revelation. I believe that we will see characteristics of each of our churches in at least one or more of these churches. Of course, we must remember that ‘the church’ is a body of believers that gather to worship and serve God through their cooperation together, so we will see our own character in the descriptions of these churches. As we study the Word together, ponder in your heart how much you and/or your church corporately might be like the church at Ephesus. God saw the good, but He also challenged this church with her shortcomings, so protect your toes as you are challenged by what God has to say.

APPLICATION: Over the past number of years there came a time that I felt it was time for my family and I to move to a different church. Much to the dismay of a few members sitting near the door, I walked into the church on a Wednesday night looking for the prayer and Bible study group for adults. By the conclusion of that evening service, I called my wife and told her that I had found our next church, for the Word of God was taught very clearly, and the sincerity of the attendees was warm and heartfelt. Did I find the ‘perfect’ church? Perhaps not, as I found that there were neighborhood people passing our doors and going to a different church. Obviously they found indifference in at least one aspect of the ministry there. In the first of the seven churches mentioned in Revelation, God praised the Ephesian church for their hard work and perseverance. He was also pleased that they dealt appropriately with the evil personified among its members, and they also dealt with false teachers head on. I’m sure that church leaders would probably have stood to their feet in praise and thanksgiving if they were hearing these things as they were spoken of by the angel of God, because we all like to hear about the good that we do. However, God wanted this church to know that there was a very serious matter that still existed. They had lost their initial zeal for the Lord, and therefore their love was weakened for the Father and for the Brother or Sister who worshipped with them and served alongside them. Now I know that you and your pastor could probably read right over this, because this in no way describes you or your church, correct? Well, let’s give this some thought and see if God agrees with us. What’s different in your life today, compared to the moments following your conversion – when you gave your heart to the Lord? Are you as alive in the Lord, active in His Word, and praying in deep faith, as when you first accepted Jesus as Lord? Have you freely spoken to others about your faith recently? Remember how excited you were to tell the world about your Lord after you accepted Him as Lord? Are you richer in your faith today because of the time you have spent in His Word, and because of experiences that you have benefited from, through your faith and your prayers? What if your church consisted of only folk like you that answered these questions in similar form? Would God have room to say to your church what He said about the Ephesian church? I’ve experienced rich-spirited revival services where my spirit was revived and I felt on fire for the Lord again, but I haven’t heard of revival services recently, have you? Friends, I believe that God might be patiently awaiting the moment that you and I might come to Him and ask that He remove any obstacle that may dim our vision of Him and His wondrous works for us. Oh that we may see Jesus in His fullness and fall back in love with Him all over again! Surely our love for our brothers and sisters will benefit richly from our enhanced relationship with God.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on, let me stand strongly in Your presence and boast of Your goodness to me. Please Lord, revive Your church again. Help us to always remember that You have promised to never leave us nor forsake us, so when we feel like there is distance between us, may we quickly invite You to look deeply into our hearts and lives and help us overcome the sin that has settled into our lives that separates us from You. May we always seek to worship You, adore You, thank You and welcome You into our lives so that we might renew a right spirit with us. You alone are worthy Lord, please work in our lives so that we might look more and more like You each 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. 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!

Read It, Live It and Be Blessed

In no other book of the Bible are we told to read it and be blessed, so I believe it is important that we concentrate on what might be the purpose of this verse today. The verse concludes with the tip that the finale of life here on earth is quickly approaching. Therefore it is important that we follow the commands right at the very beginning of this key book of prophecy.

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2020-11-26
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Revelation 1:3
TRANSLATION: The Voice (VOICE)

BIBLE TEXT: Blessings come to those who read and proclaim these words aloud; blessings come to those who listen closely and put the prophetic words recorded here into practice. The finale is approaching.

OBSERVATION: In no other book of the Bible are we told to read it and be blessed, so I believe it is important that we concentrate on what might be the purpose of this verse today. The verse concludes with the tip that the finale of life here on earth is quickly approaching. Therefore it is important that we follow the commands right at the very beginning of this key book of prophecy.

APPLICATION: Whenever there is a bad storm approaching, many of us will go to our favorite app or television station or the website of our favorite weather station. We are looking for guidance on what to expect from the approaching storm, because history has shown us that friends either underestimate or over exaggerate in what they tell us, based on their limited knowledge. Now if we follow the warnings and the suggestions of our favorite weather person, we are most often blessed with safety and kept from eminent danger. The Bible is a compilation of biblical history, God’s wondrous works, His commands and His many promises. Because the Bible is God-inspired and God-filled, Christians stick to reading its pages so that they could hear first-hand from the God of this universe. Christians will tend to obediently follow what the Book teaches also, because they have gained confidence that He is the only One who truly knows what is going on, and what will go on until the time we meet Him personally in Heaven. The book of Revelation is one that many pastors tend to avoid, because it is so deep in prophecy. However, we can tell from this verse today that Revelation must be a book that God wants us to truly dig into and read it, because He tells us up front that if we do, and we obediently follow its teaching, we will be blessed. Based on this, don’t you know that God will not send us in this direction unless He plans to reveal to us what He intended for us to learn from this book’s content? Friends, we have never seen God send us in a direction using trickery. He wants us to read this book. He wants us to understand what He is saying to us and teaching us in this book. I believe God is standing at heaven’s portals with open arms waiting for His children to join Him around the throne. So I also believe that there is probably more urgency in this book than any weather person ever portrayed to us in getting us out of harm’s way. In fact, I see God using this book just as airports use its men at the arrival gates in carefully directing million dollar aircraft into a small gate. I believe that while God awaits our arrival He is carefully and lovingly directing our path in these last days here on earth. For much of our lives we have ‘done our own thing’ and wished for the best as we made key decisions about our next move. I believe that God is reminding us that only He knows what tomorrow will bring, so He has already done our homework for us and provided a key book that totally guides us through our few remaining days on earth. He has an awesome finale – homecoming, prepared for us. Let’s not mess up in our earthly journey, especially our final days!

PRAYER: Dear Lord, we thank You for who You are, all that You have been to us, and all that You have promised to us after life here on earth. Please Lord, humble our hearts so that we might keep our eyes on Jesus and our mind in the Book. While we seldom question direction from our weather specialists, I pray that we will never question Your direction that You have carefully documented for us to follow, but instead be obedient to the will of our Father. 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!

May We Realize To Whom Thanksgiving Is Due

Through many miracles, God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, fed them and provided for them during their journey, and had a new country prepared for them to live – filled with milk and honey. One would imagine that everyday was a day of Thanksgiving for the Israelites, but the biblical account is quite different. In our Scripture today God lashed out at the lack of appreciation, and in the verses that follow this, God threatened all that He would withdraw from the Israelites. Meditating with me today may help us to better prepare for Thanksgiving Day this year, for I fear that we are very similar to our ancestors.

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-11-25
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Hosea 2:8
TRANSLATION: New English Translation (NET)

BIBLE TEXT: “Yet[y] until now[z] she has refused to acknowledge[aa] that I[ab] was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine, and the olive oil; and that it was I who[ac] lavished on her the silver and gold — that they[ad] used in worshiping Baal![ae]

OBSERVATION: Through many miracles, God brought the Israelites out of Egypt, fed them and provided for them during their journey, and had a new country prepared for them to live – filled with milk and honey. One would imagine that everyday was a day of Thanksgiving for the Israelites, but the biblical account is quite different. In our Scripture today God lashed out at the lack of appreciation, and in the verses that follow this, God threatened all that He would withdraw from the Israelites. Meditating with me today may help us to better prepare for Thanksgiving Day this year, for I fear that we are very similar to our ancestors.

APPLICATION: I believe parents will agree that in the very early stages of child rearing, we tend to teach the idea of our kids saying thank you to anyone who gives them something. We have very special days of the year set aside to celebrate gifts given to us: 1). Christmas – gifts under the tree, and Christians also choose to give specials thanks to God for sending His one and only Son, born in deepest humility; 2). Easter – a special opportunity to thank God for raising His Son from the dead so that we may always know that we serve a risen and Savior who is alive! 3). Thanksgiving – although set aside as a time to celebrate our founding fathers who stopped and gave thanks for the new world and for God who directed their path and kept them safe, yet this has become a natural time of thanksgiving by Christians who recognize that it is only because of Jesus that we could celebrate our freedom to worship, live in prosperity and peace here on earth, and worship without government interference each Sunday. Unfortunately this has also become known as ‘Turkey Day’ because of the number of turkeys eaten by families on this day, but I pray that we will never forget to give thanks on Thanksgiving Day! So might we be drifting into being anything like the Israelites? Might God feel in the slightest that we are ungrateful, or that we worship other gods before Him? I believe that these are questions that each reader should strive to answer personally on the days above. What do you do on those days? How often each day do you strive to lift up holy hands and thank God for all that He has done, and is doing in your life? In Hosea 2:9 and following, God said that He would withdraw the things that He gave; He would put an end to the vain celebrations and that He would bring His people to their knees. Might He also do the same to us? Could God already be talking to us? I would suggest that you ponder the following events and see if you think God might be talking to us already in very bold ways: The 9-11 bombing; COVID-19; The increase of earthquakes (some in very strange and unbelievable places); The increase in hurricanes this year, etc, etc. There was a dad who once told his disobedient son ‘I brought you into the world, and I could easily take you out’! I’ve always heard people kid around about that, but don’t you know that statement applies to the God of this universe better than any man? We see story after story in the Old Testament where thousands of inhabitants were taken out by God, for various sins committed. We must be reminded that this is the same God that we serve today, so there is no question about whether He could follow through with what He says He will do. Friends, look up, for your redemption draweth nigh. Give thanks with a grateful heart this Thanksgiving Day!

PRAYER: With a heart of thanksgiving I come to You Lord Jesus and acknowledge all that You have blessed me with. Lord You are good and Your mercies are from everlasting to everlasting. Please forgive my readers and I for our bad manners – our ungrateful and unappreciative hearts, for way too often we take for granted how good You have been, and are, to us. Lord, if we will ever influence our circle of friends and family for the kingdom, we must learn to be a people who recognize You, Your awesome gifts to us, and Your promise of life eternally in heaven with You and the Father. May we be found faithful dear Lord. 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!

Imitate God and Do Good

Living in this world we will come across those who are good and practice the ways and commands of God, but each day we are also subject to encountering those who are downright evil, and you would question if they may not have even heard of God. In the eyes of those that you come into contact with, they will also see you in one of these categories, based on your character and your attitude. I realize you don’t act in certain ways to please others, but as we meditate on this verse by John, let’s ask God to show us which areas of life we need to improve on in order to always look more like Him!

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-11-24
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 3 John 1:11
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: 11 Delightfully loved ones, don’t imitate what is evil, but imitate that which is good.[q] Whoever does good is of God; whoever does evil has not seen God.[r]

OBSERVATION: Living in this world we will come across those who are good and practice the ways and commands of God, but each day we are also subject to encountering those who are downright evil, and you would question if they may not have even heard of God. In the eyes of those that you come into contact with, they will also see you in one of these categories, based on your character and your attitude. I realize you don’t act in certain ways to please others, but as we meditate on this verse by John, let’s ask God to show us which areas of life we need to improve on in order to always look more like Him!

APPLICATION: Each day we are blessed to place our feet on the ground and encounter the world, others will be analyzing our character, our habits and our values. When we encounter praiseworthy things, others will see from the expressions on our face if we are thankful for those things, or if we are aggravated because we felt we were deserving of more. In a recent devotional, I used a verse from this same Book where John was thankful for the great testimony and works of Gaius. In the verses immediately preceding our focal verse today, John taught about the disappointing actions of Diotrephes in not respecting the work of the church leaders, and slandering those trying to further the work of the Lord. I wonder if John was not teaching from these very real examples when he taught that we should strive to do what is good if that is the testimony of God in our life. Then he may be warning us to be careful not to follow the evil practiced by some, like Diotrephes, for he acted like one who never even met God. But whether this was John’s intent or not, I do know that we will meet some in our path almost daily whose actions fit either Gaius or Diotrephes. Although we must be prepared with a mindset like our Lord to deal with others, we must daily prepare ourselves and determine in our own heart, with God’s help, whether we will portray God only in our attitudes and actions. If not, we will relax our guard and allow the natural self to just do and say what comes natural. I believe it is important to truly understand how John approached this – notice how he simply pointed out that doing what is good imitates what Jesus practiced here on earth and what He taught us to do in His Word. Doing evil demonstrates that we may not even know the King of all kings, but are mere imitators of our worldly master – Satan. Our lives will reflect whose we are. If you know my Savior, please aim to always imitate Christ in your life, dear one. Let’s not disappoint Jesus, the Messiah. Seek His help daily so that you will stand firm in the faith.

PRAYER: Lord You are good and Your mercies endure for ever and for ever, praise God! Please battle in our lives and work in our heart to help us represent You well. May we never dare to show evil towards our Brother or our Sister while also telling them that we are children of the King. For as children of God, may we always imitate and represent the Son of God so that others will be convinced of Your presence and Your work in our lives, Lord. John spoke this in its simplest form – if we do good, we are imitating God. If we do evil, we may not have ever known You. May it always be clear to the world whose we are. 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!

The Joy Of Seeing Others Grow!

I believe that churches (Christians in our churches) today are missing out on excellent opportunities to encourage, or as the Word says ‘spur one another on to good works’, therefore it seems like church attendees walk out the back door quicker than we could welcome new ones through the front door. John shared with his good friend Gaius that his (John’s) heart was blessed and encouraged whenever he received encouraging words back about his (Gaius’) spiritual growth. As we meditate on God’s Word today, I trust that you will think with me about whether we do enough to encourage one another towards greater spiritual growth.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2020-11-22
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 3 John 1:4
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT:  It is the greatest joy of my life to hear that my children are consistently living their lives in the ways of truth!

OBSERVATION: I believe that churches (Christians in our churches) today are missing out on excellent opportunities to encourage, or as the Word says ‘spur one another on to good works’, therefore it seems like church attendees walk out the back door quicker than we could welcome new ones through the front door. John shared with his good friend Gaius that his (John’s) heart was blessed and encouraged whenever he received encouraging words back about his (Gaius’) spiritual growth. As we meditate on God’s Word today, I trust that you will think with me about whether we do enough to encourage one another towards greater spiritual growth.

APPLICATION: I love my church, and I can’t imagine life without the church, so please know that I am approaching this topic from that standpoint. Throughout my Christian life I have been heavily involved in the life of the church, including some key leadership positions. In my younger days, I actually found that I was drawn more into the sermon while I served as a sound technician, than I would have done in just sitting in the pew listening. In some roles, I did quite a bit of visitation, but it was often to the sick, or to members upset with someone at church. As I reflect, I don’t remember calling someone to encourage them in the spiritual growth evidenced in their life, nor called to compliment a teacher or a preacher for the good job they had done. However, I have been in their place, and often wondered if anyone heard or cared about what I taught. I believe that often Satan will use those moments of doubt to ’egg’ us on towards thinking that we are wasting our time in what we do ‘in Jesus’ name’. I know that people don’t go to church, or get saved, so that they might receive praise or recognition from other members. But I do know that what John is teaching us here in his ministry to Gaius, serves an important purpose in encouraging others in their service to their Lord. However, I feel like Christians as a whole must be encouraged in their walk with the Lord. Let’s find something constructive and encouraging to say to each one. Many times our words of encouragement to them will minister to them as much as the sermon did. Often they are looking for someone who cares that they are present, so simple things like how their smile or their warm presence made you think of the warmth and presence of Jesus. Just simple things like that will encourage someone to hang in there and remain faithful. Also, we use our phone for many different things these days. Why not consider using it for the simple purpose of calling someone just to let them know that you care about them. Imagine the lost feeling of being in hospital, or being home sick, or just falling away from attending church and not hearing from anyone. Did it really matter to anyone that you were there at one time? Of course you will feel like no one missed you, nor did they ever care about you. I believe the best thing we can do to help one another through this life dear friends, is to let them know that you care about them. Way too often we sit back and sulk instead of reaching out to encourage others. As we bless others, God will bless us. Just as you are so very proud of your children, we too become very connected to those whose lives we have touched or helped in some way, especially those we may have helped guide, or lead them, to the Lord. I believe that God will help us bless others if we ask for His help and His guidance.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You have been good to us and we are so appreciative of the love You have shown for us in so many wonderful ways. Thank You Lord for all those You have allowed us to cross paths with. Our lives have been enriched by their encouragement, and they have often energized us into service for You Lord. Please work diligently in our lives so that we may look for ways to encourage others towards love and good works. Just as John’s ministry to Gaius had a long lasting impact on his life, I believe that our words and actions will also serve to enrich and encourage those in our circle of influence. Help us never to assume that they are strong and don’t need a word of encouragement, for they are human just like we are. Please help us to love like You loved us. 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!

Here’s What Love Means

In any form of relationship I believe it would be impossible to please the other party by doing your own thing, without regards for what they might love to see you do. No doubt marriages fall apart when a partner has no regards for their spouse, or show any interest in things they may like to do together. So imagine what happens in the church when folk act like this. John saw that relationships were being fractured because of selfish endeavors, so he thought to emphasize what ‘love’ truly means. Let’s try applying his God ordained meaning of this important life-action as we study the Word today.

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-11-21
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 John 1:5-6
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: I am writing to remind you, dear friends,[c] that we should love one another. This is not a new commandment, but one we have had from the beginning. Love means doing what God has commanded us, and he has commanded us to love one another, just as you heard from the beginning.

OBSERVATION: In any form of relationship I believe it would be impossible to please the other party by doing your own thing, without regards for what they might love to see you do. No doubt marriages fall apart when a partner has no regards for their spouse, or show any interest in things they may like to do together. So imagine what happens in the church when folk act like this. John saw that relationships were being fractured because of selfish endeavors, so he thought to emphasize what ‘love’ truly means. Let’s try applying his God ordained meaning of this important life-action as we study the Word today.

APPLICATION: In many cases it is easier to think about the outcomes when a rule, or as in this case – a command, is not followed. For example, if we don’t love others as God commanded, then we may tend to hate them, meaning that we will do everything within our power to destroy them or cause them to fail. This hatred may come in various forms: lying about them; envious of their job position; jealous of their financial success; intimidated by their educational achievements; disrespect of their church-held positions; – just to name a few. Friends if any of these things are burning up inside of you, it will be virtually impossible to love an individual. So let’s look closer at what John directs us to in the true meaning of ‘Love’:
-> Do what God has commanded you to do – In other words, who is your master? If you love Me, you will obey my commandments – Jesus said this in John 14:15. So if you instead do whatever you please, without regard for Jesus Christ, is He truly your ‘Lord’ and Savior? I believe ‘Lord’ means that you have agreed to allow Jesus to Lord, or rule over you. If you persist in still doing your ‘own thing’ in life, then I would suggest that you revisit the cross and see if you truly gave God authority over your life;
-> Remember, God commanded us to love one another – Obviously John saw that the church was in disarray caused by many of the above mentioned actions, so he saw the need to remind them of what God taught His church. You see, God loved the world so much, yes those who loved Him and those that didn’t, that He permitted His only Son to die on Calvary, so that those who believe on Him, might be assured of eternal life in heaven. He loved enough to sacrifice everything He had so that we might reap the benefits of knowing Jesus as Lord. Friends, if we are to follow Him in the way we love others, would there ever be a reason for anyone to challenge us again like John did, about our obedience to God’s commands? I dare say no, what say ye?

PRAYER: Precious Lord, thank You for loving us, even when we were unlovable. Thank You for providing us the assurance of our salvation. Thank You for being our constant guide and deliverer from all evil around us. Lord, we want to be like You, but there is a serious uphill battle as we fight against the evil one while still here on earth. This causes us to act in ways that surely must not be pleasing to You Lord, so we humbly ask for Your strength, Your guidance and an extra dose of Your love that we might share with others. Please Lord, impact our conscious in such a way that we will turn from our wicked ways and obediently follow Your ways and Your commands. 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!

Two Things I Ask

I believe that if a classroom filled with adults was asked what were their two greatest wishes, there would be quite am array of responses. As we meditate on these words from Solomon, perhaps it might come to the forefront of your mind what you might ask God for, if given the opportunity. I’m sure your requests will be impacted by what Solomon asked for, but try listing the first two things that come to mind.

DATE WRITTEN: Thursday, 2020-11-19
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: Proverbs 30:7-9
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: O God, I beg two favors from you before I die: First, help me never to tell a lie. Second, give me neither poverty nor riches! Give me just enough to satisfy my needs! For if I grow rich, I may become content without God. And if I am too poor, I may steal and thus insult God’s holy name.

OBSERVATION: I believe that if a classroom filled with adults was asked what were their two greatest wishes, there would be quite am array of responses. As we meditate on these words from Solomon, perhaps it might come to the forefront of your mind what you might ask God for, if given the opportunity. I’m sure your requests will be impacted by what Solomon asked for, but try listing the first two things that come to mind.

APPLICATION: As we draw near to the Christmas season, we are reminded how kids take this opportunity to tell Santa Claus how good they’ve been and give intricate details about the most important things on their list that they want for Christmas. However, as we sit with our Lord and look closely into how good we are, we can’t help but compare our actions, and our lives, with that of our perfect God. Friends, I don’t believe we could possibly ask for physical or worldly items when there is so much at stake spiritually. Solomon was a king who was the envy of all kings and queens. He was the wisest man on earth and he had every thing on earth that anyone might desire, yet when he stopped and spoke with the Creator of the world, the designer and maker of you and I, he was humbled and could only look deep inside his soul and humbly ask God for two things that could help him become better aligned with his Maker. Way too often we are filled with envy for our neighbor, or our relative, who seems to have everything on earth that could possibly make them happy. So we come before God asking that He would help us be like them, instead of asking that we be more like the God of this universe. The only time I believe that God will ask about our earthly possessions is, whether we shared them with others in need. I once heard a relative wish that they could be freed from the burden of earthly debt so that they could have available cash to give to God and the needy that are roaming our streets. So as we ponder the Scriptures this morning, and as we seek the face of God in deep concern for which way He would have us navigate today, I wonder what He might be saying to you in response to the two most important things on your mind today? Will He be pleased that the Scripture is truly speaking to You in ways that will draw you closer to Himself? Or will He conclude that the Scriptures are truly molding your mind and your character as you are encouraged to follow in the footsteps of Jesus daily? Do your part dear friend, speak with God on a regular basis – tell Him about the condition of your heart and mind, and ask Him to lead you in the path of righteousness for His name’s sake. Let Him know that you desire a closer relationship with Him. Then as you read the Word, be ready for His directions and His mind-provoking questions that will help you look deep inside. Remember, He created you and He wants you to be just like Him. Let Him do His work in you dear friend, and be ready to act upon His guidance and His instructions.

PRAYER: Listen to the cries of Your children today Lord Jesus as we seek Your help, Your guidance and Your instructions on how we might best align our lives with Yours. Lord, I believe that You are well aware of the tug that this world has on Your precious children, so I beg with You to help us gain a true change of heart, and protect us from the wickedness of this world, so that we might see the glories of heaven and of life eternally with You. We are so weak, but praise be to God, we serve an awesome God who is big enough and strong enough to direct our path and lead us into righteousness. We implore You Lord, to rest Your powerful hand upon us and pour out Your power and Your strength on us to enable us to walk with confidence in the ways of the cross. 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!

Love Like God Loves

There are many illustrations that can be used to help us understand that we become like those we hang around. We will find ourselves speaking like them and we will respond very much like them to situations that might arise. The same is true, if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you accept Him as Lord, and you spend time with Him, you will learn from the only perfect and righteous One, and you will start to follow His commands and the principles that He lived out in His life. This includes loving others in much the same way as He loves you. Are you anywhere close, dear friends?

DATE WRITTEN: Wednesday, 2020-11-18
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 John 4:7-8; 20-21
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: Dear friends, let us practice loving each other, for love comes from God and those who are loving and kind show that they are the children of God, and that they are getting to know him better. But if a person isn’t loving and kind, it shows that he doesn’t know God—for God is love.
20 If anyone says “I love God,” but keeps on hating his brother, he is a liar; for if he doesn’t love his brother who is right there in front of him, how can he love God whom he has never seen? 21 And God himself has said that one must love not only God but his brother too.

OBSERVATION: There are many illustrations that can be used to help us understand that we become like those we hang around. We will find ourselves speaking like them and we will respond very much like them to situations that might arise. The same is true, if you have a relationship with Jesus Christ. If you accept Him as Lord, and you spend time with Him, you will learn from the only perfect and righteous One, and you will start to follow His commands and the principles that He lived out in His life. This includes loving others in much the same way as He loves you. Are you anywhere close, dear friends?

APPLICATION: In learning from the perfect Savior, our conscience is severely impacted when we choose to stray away from His teachings and practices, and follow our old habits and way of life. John teaches that the very nature of God is ‘love’. In fact the word ‘Love’ is a name that our God is known by, for the Bible teaches that God is love. So what might be wrong with the picture where a ‘Christian’ – a child of God saved thru acceptance of His precious Son, acts like the devil and hates like him too? How would that picture fit into our Scripture teaching today? It would be classified as one described by John in verse 8 – he doesn’t know God; or in verse 20 – he is a liar by claiming his sonship with Jesus Christ. So what might it look like if we were to love like Jesus? Remember, He met with sinners – people that were looked down on by his very disciples. On the contrary, don’t we tend to mix with people just like us, and often in line with our income range? Don’t we tend to stay on our side of town and away from the poor, hungry and destitute? Remember, Jesus stopped a parade where He was being honored, so that He could meet a lame man sitting along the path of the parade. On the contrary, don’t we tend to ignore the poor man begging for food or money at the very corner where we must stop for a red light? Don’t we drive speedily along, even if a poor man is limping along a lonely road? Dear friends, if we are truly going to love like Jesus, wouldn’t we imitate those noble acts like Bible writers shared with us about Jesus? John felt so strongly about this that he wanted us to question our relationship with Jesus if we are not loving others like He did. So if we know Him, and we learn from Him as we study His Word, won’t we love like Him? Won’t we act like Him? Won’t we care for others like He did – even if it’s in an area of town where we were warned to stay away from? Even if it’s the dirty old man who sits by the road and beg? Even if it’s the lady that spread lies about you to everyone at work, or to all your close friends? Surely it’s time for us to use the Word of God to speak truth into our lives. Let it wash us from the habits we developed from our time in the world, and direct our path to imitate Jesus. Oh that we would be guided by our Master to live and love just like Him!

PRAYER: Loving Jesus, You are all-knowing, so I’m sure that You must hurt when You see all that Your kids are doing here on earth. We are led way too easily by the life we used to live, and without ever minding the impact that Your life, Your love and Your perfect ways have had on us. Many are studying Your Word, so being constantly reminded of Your love and Your character, yet we hate; we despise our neighbors because they believe differently on certain aspects of life; we pass by hungry and destitute people and depend on the other person to help them; we are afraid to get our hands dirty, even if it means helping a shut-in or a helpless elderly person. Lord, we are a ’sorry’ people, and we desperately need You, the only perfect One, to embed into us righteousness and grace so that we may look more like Jesus in the eyes of the one who never met You. May You be glorified because of the difference You make in our lives precious Lord. 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!

Evidence Of Your Love

For my readers who are happily married, as I am, we might hear the words occasionally ‘well, show me that you love me by….’! As adult children, we might also hear a parent say that if we truly love them we would….! As a Christian, we are examined by the world, as if through a glass door, for others want to place our love for one another under a microscope and decide if we are truly a Christian. Meditate with me as we examine how John tries to clarify this principle and show us how we might pass the examination.

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-11-17
WRITTEN AT: Paul B Johnson State Park, Hattiesburg, MS

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 John 3:16-18
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: 16 We know what love is because Jesus gave his life for us. That’s why we must give our lives for each other. 17 If we have all we need and see one of our own people in need, we must have pity on that person, or else we cannot say we love God. 18 Children, you show love for others by truly helping them, and not merely by talking about it.

OBSERVATION: For my readers who are happily married, as I am, we might hear the words occasionally ‘well, show me that you love me by….’! As adult children, we might also hear a parent say that if we truly love them we would….! As a Christian, we are examined by the world, as if through a glass door, for others want to place our love for one another under a microscope and decide if we are truly a Christian. Meditate with me as we examine how John tries to clarify this principle and show us how we might pass the examination.

APPLICATION: Try to imagine how, as a teenager, you tried to evaluate whether a guy, or girl, may have loved you and/or was serious about you. I’m sure that you also would probably have looked for the ways that they showed love to you, especially through every little action they took! This powerful word ‘love’, is something examined by everyone at one time or another in our lives, and often our evaluation will result in more love from us, or perhaps less love, if we feel like the other person is trying to distance themselves from us. But this powerful word, that has far-reaching effects, began as the primary focus of who God is. He created us, knowing that with a mind of our own, we would sometimes practice love for Him and each other, while at other times display dislike towards each other. Throughout the Bible, God demonstrated His love for us, and showed us which things bring pleasure to Him and which things truly upset Him. In spite of all that I have shared already, I believe that God knew that mankind would naturally tend to think selfishly and only try to please his fellow man for his own benefit. God knew that seeking to show love to those in need, and towards our Creator, might fall way to the bottom of our priority list. But God was determined to give mankind a means of turning from his sin, surrender himself to the Almighty, and eventually follow God’s plan for his life. So God allowed His righteous, and only Son to be born. He also allowed that Son to die on a cruel cross so that through His death and resurrection, eternal life might become possible to all who would surrender to Him. This demonstration of love was extended in spite of mankind showing nothing but hate towards the God who created us. In John’s reflection on this awesome sacrificial love, he said that we too must be willing to follow God’s example by loving even those who despite fully use us, or despise us. In fact, we should love them enough that we would also be willing to arrive at a point of sacrificing our lives for their good – their benefit, if necessary. John felt like this might evidence the love that should reside deep inside our heart for a fellow Christian. In my working career, I was evaluated each year on how I was doing compared to expectations. If God was to evaluate you at this time, on your level of love for His sons and daughters, do you suppose He might find any exceptions for you to work on? John said that talking about love is not enough, we must show love for others whether we feel they deserve it, or not.

PRAYER: Oh Lord God, You defined the word ‘love’ by showing us first hand how we should love one another. You demonstrated love perfectly for us, yet we try to add so many conditions to it. I pray that You might once again touch the heart of each reader so that the love You placed in us through creation, may be stirred up and resurrected to a new level. May others recognize You by the love they see demonstrated in us. May we rid ourselves of selfish desires and instead look for ways to love those around us, whether we think they deserve it or not. In 1 Corinthians 13 we are taught that love never fails. Because the King of love resides inside of us, I pray that our love for others will always be evident. 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!