God’s Love Remains – In Prosperity and Hard Times

The Holy Bible

13 Accept the way God does things,

for who can straighten what he has made crooked?

14 Enjoy prosperity while you can,

but when hard times strike, realize that both come from God.

Remember that nothing is certain in this life.

(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Ecclesiastes 7:13-14)

Thoughts:

The last verse in this chapter, Ecclesiastes 7:29 reads: 29This is all that I have learnt: God made us plain and simple, but we have made ourselves very complicated. I believe that this verse sums up our human race so well, for we are never satisfied with just the facts, we have to prove they are true, and that the speaker or the author had no bias towards what they said! Friends, our key verses today is basically reminding us that our God is way more powerful than we could ever imagine, in fact Solomon went on to illustrate the majesty and power of God by reminding us that no one can straighten out the curves in this universe made by God. Therefore we should continue to trust Him through our praises and celebrations when things are prosperous and going well for us. However, although we often neglect to stop and praise Him for our everyday happiness, safety, family, friends, work, knowledge and so much more, we seem to do just the opposite when it comes to those hard times in our lives. We are reminded in verse 14 that ‘everything’ comes from God, both the good and the challenging times. Think about it friend: if God loves His dear children, why would that differ when things are going wrong, vs the times when we are on cloud nine with joy and happiness? When we discipline our children, it is not because we hate them today vs yesterday. We discipline because we love them and want to help them do better. There’s a popular song out today entitled “I will Praise You in the Storm” that speaks very loudly and clearly to this unconditional love of God for which we are to be thankful and praise-worthy at all times. Will you join me in shifting our negativity during challenging times to more of a praise time because of God’s love to discipline us and show us a better way to live? Can we learn to praise Him in spite of our personal circumstances – good or bad?

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, You made us, so I am confident that You are well aware of our weaknesses, especially during those challenging times in our lives. Please touch Your children today and help us to be more of a thankful people. For I believe that if we did a better job of praising, thanking and celebrating during our ‘good times’ then, perhaps, we will more easily recognize that You are still God, still in control, and will do nothing to harm us, but rather continue to mold us during the times when we feel so out of control. You went through some very challenging times even as our supreme Lord, so help us to understand that these times will come. However, help us to follow Your example in dealing with our challenges, for You healed the ear of an attacker in the garden, and You prayed for the Father to bless those who hung You on the cross. Please help us to recognize You daily for the loving God that You are, knowing that You have our best interest at heart. Please continue to bless others through us, both during our prosperous times and especially through our challenging times, and may we continually praise You through every event in life, for I ask this in the wonderful name of Jesus, my Savior, 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!

Praise God For The Women In Our Lives!

The Holy Bible

28 Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her.

29 He says, “Many women are good wives, but you are the best of them all.”

30 Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised.

31 Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.

(Bible Translation and Location: The Good News Translation – Proverbs 31:28-31)

Thoughts:

If after reading the subject of this devotional, you panic and look at your calendars to make sure that it’s not Mother’s Day, Then I believe I can confidently say that my whole purpose for sharing this message would have been achieved! As I read this scripture I was reminded of a few things that I wanted to share with you:

  • Whether it is the woman who gave birth to you, or the woman that raised you, or the women in your life that impressed Biblical and moral values upon you, I believe that you will acknowledge that there is an undaunting love there that is very hard to explain, because these ladies loved you when most folk felt you were unlovable. They sacrificed to share with you even when you felt like no one even cared. There is just that motherly attachment that is virtually impossible and/or unlikely to be broken. A love second only to that of Jesus’ love for you.
  • For myself, and perhaps many of you, there is also another lady in our lives for which this wise advice applies. For at a point in our lives we found a lady who fell in love with us, yes even mean old us! I can agree with the Proverb quoted in verse 29, that no matter how special and invaluable you may feel your wife is to you, mine is the best of all! Guys, we struggle to express the kind of love that we see expressed through our wives. As I age, I find where I get pretty miserable and challenging to get along with, especially when the heat (stress) is on. Yet, if we avoid abuse to our wife, she is the one that understands our frustration and is quick to respond in helping us overcome that frustration. Because of this quality, I am convinced that our wives help us overcome many obstacles and, because of their undying love for us, they help us to succeed in life. May I encourage you to join me in finding more opportunities to praise our wives for what they do to make us better men? They truly deserve our continued praises!

I realize there are other ladies involved in our lives also (work, church, etc.) but I am convinced that it is because of the two mentioned in my key points that we are what we are today. Therefore, if this Thanksgiving Day has passed by without you giving your mother and/or wife credit, then I would humbly point you to verse 31 and ask you to be obedient to the Word of God!

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank You for the mother that You have blessed me with. Always loving, kind, protective and caring to me. May I faithfully endeavor to care for her in return as she ages gracefully? She was patient and caring for me even during my young days when most people would have given up on me. Please help me to also be patient and caring with mom now as she especially needs help from her children. Thank You also for my wonderful wife, dear Lord. Having seen me at my best and, unfortunately, at my worst throughout our 39 years of marriage, and yet to still love and care for me in spite of all that, I am truly thankful to You, and to her for allowing You to grace her with power from above for her earthy ambitions and responsibilities. I am truly a blessed man, thank You Oh God! Now may Your power and Your peace rest with each man that may meditate on this devotional today, and may Your wonderful grace continue upon our mothers and wives, for I ask this in the name of Jesus, my wonderful 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!

Change

The Holy Bible

38 Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that everything comes — both calamity and blessing?
39 Why should any living person complain when punished for his sins?
40 Let us carefully examine our ways, and let us return to the Lord.
41 Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven

(Bible Translation and Location: The New English Translation – Lamentations 3:38-41)

Thoughts:

I have always been told that the truest meaning of insanity is: Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results! In verse 40 we are reminded that there should be a reckoning day where we have a serious, honest day of inflection with ourselves, especially when we realize that we the reason for our struggles and/or hardships might be because we are being punished by the Almighty because of our sin. For God is telling us that we should then stop, carefully examine our ways (compared to the ways taught by God in His word – not compared to your neighbor, coworker or your best friend), and return to the Lord. Now, I believe it is very evident to see that for us to redirect our lives from something that God dislikes, or something that is contrary to His Word and His will for our lives, then ‘Change’ has to take place. Otherwise we will continue doing the wrong thing knowing that we are living out of the will of God and contrary to His commands. The next verse (41) helps us to understand how we might achieve this change. In this world, whenever someone is caught doing something wrong, they are asked to surrender themselves to the authorities. When we lift up our hearts and hands to God, we are surrendering ourselves to His authority. To truly come before a righteous and holy God, we must first seek a cleansing from Him, and agree to accept the change that He might dictate to us, in order to be like Him. When last have you placed yourself before the God of all creation and asked Him to examine your very thoughts and to cleanse you from all unrighteousness, so that You may be more in line with His will for your life? To truly represent Him, be His child and be more like Him, we must surrender the ways (sin) of this wicked world, seek His face, and return to the ways of God. Anything less than this will merely be lip service and life as it is right now. Please let us commit to ‘Change’, right now!

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, Your Word achieves its purpose every time. It drives deep inside and causes us to see our unfaithfulness and our sin, the reason for our separation from You, the reasons why our loved ones and friends are not being impacted by us for You. Please forgive us. Please don’t give up on us, but continue to patiently direct us towards all that You need us to see, and all that You need us to understand and follow in Your Word. Thank You for loving me enough to care about my future with You in Heaven. Thank You for providing The Way of us to enter Heaven’s portals one day and worship You in person. You are Holy, Almighty and worthy of our praise oh Lord. I thank You for Your amazing grace and Your indescribable love. Please touch each one reading this devotional today. Direct them to the areas of their lives that must be affected by ‘Change’ for them to know You personally, and/or draw closer to You, if they already know You. My prayer is asked in humility and thanksgiving, for I ask it in the precious name of Jesus – Lord, Savior, Almighty God and Everlasting Father, 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!

Boldly, Give God the Credit

I believe that God blesses us with miracles so that we might be a witness for Him and of His power. I also believe that He uses us to work out His miracles in others, so that in all things we might give God the glory and praise that He deserves. Notice that in both scenarios I never mentioned anything about glory to self. Friend, I am absolutely powerless to do anything miraculous. However, through Jesus, and in alignment with His perfect will, ALL things are possible. We should constantly be ready to give a testimony for God. In the case of Peter and John, it was the healing of a lame man. Although they were powerless to do any such act, through Jesus, He could do all things. Please don’t take credit for anything accomplished through you by the Holy Spirit, but instead, use it to testify to the power of the Spirit in whom you prayed and seen His mighty hand at work. Give God praise at all times! Allow His work to be accomplished through you!
Book cover

Peter, full of the Holy Spirit, answered them, “Leaders of the people and elders: if we are being questioned today about the good deed done to the lame man and how he was healed, then you should all know, and all the people of Israel should know, that this man stands here before you completely well through the power of the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth—whom you crucified and whom God raised from death.

Recognizing God

Scripture: Genesis 40-41; Matthew 12

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

22 Then a demon-possessed man, who was blind and couldn’t speak, was brought to Jesus. He healed the man so that he could both speak and see.23 The crowd was amazed and asked, “Could it be that Jesus is the Son of David, the Messiah?” Matt 12:22-23 (NLT)

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

Sometimes we read these familiar stories in God’s Word and God will just speak to us afresh through something contained in that passage. In this story Jesus had performed several miracles, and finally the crowd stepped back in wonderment and questioned among themselves ‘Could this possibly be the Messiah?”. In the world we live in today God is still very active, and although we tend to really hone in on the negative, there are times that our spiritual minds are awakened and we say to ourselves “that must be a Jesus thing”. That certain thing could only have occurred if Jesus made it happen. Friends, I believe that we must be praying with such expectation that we will notice every little act of God and response to our prayers by God. He is very much alive today and active in our lives. It is time for Christians to wake up and give Him credit for all that He does. It is in this type of act that we help to make believers out of those that doubt and question. They must see our faith, if we ever expect to be a Christian influence on them! We serve a mighty God, but don’t wait for the ‘big’ miracles to occur, recognize and praise Him daily for all that He does in your life. Good health – especially when we see so many in hospitals or at home sick; safety – especially when we pass a wreck on the road where some innocent person got hurt or even killed; answer to prayer – especially when we see so many that doubt or questions the work of God, or try to give credit to chance or horoscopes or palm readers. Friends we serve, and we should recognize the mighty God of all, the King of all kings, the creator of our universe – including mankind. Do we have reason to doubt? I believe that we actually have more reasons not to doubt the mighty works of God in our world today.

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

Praise be to God for accepting me as a humble child in great need of a Savior. Praise be to God for all the miracles performed in my life, in the life of our church and in the lives of my family and friends. May I be very alert to Your mighty hand at work in my life and all around me. May others see Jesus reflected in my life and in their own lives, so that together we can truly be a thankful people praising You for all Your mighty works and wondrous love. Thank You Jesus for caring so much for me. Please continue to work on me and mold me into something that  You can use to accomplish Your work. May I recognize Your mighty works each and every day!

Think about your ‘Marker’

Scripture: Genesis 33-35 

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

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

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

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

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

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

Benefits of Worship and Obedience

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Psalm 112

OBSERVATION

Psalm 112:1-9 ~ … The LORD blesses everyone who worships him and gladly obeys his teachings. Their descendants will have great power in the land, because the LORD blesses all who do right. They will get rich and prosper and will always be remembered for their fairness. They will be so kind and merciful and good, that they will be a light in the dark for others who do the right thing. Life will go well for those who freely lend and are honest in business. They won’t ever be troubled, and the kind things they do will never be forgotten. Bad news won’t bother them; they have decided to trust the LORD. They are dependable and not afraid, and they will live to see their enemies defeated. They will always be remembered and greatly praised, because they were kind and freely gave to the poor.

APPLICATION

I have included a lot more scripture verses than usual today because I was so touched by it. God is so moved and blessed by our worship and obedience to Him that He used David to show us that there are many benefits to us:

  • Our children will be given great power, because God blesses all who do right;
  • We will get rich and will prosper and will always be remembered, because of our fairness;
  • We will be so kind, merciful and good, that we will be an example or role model for those who endeavor to do the right thing;
  • As we freely lend and be honest in business, we will see life go well for us;
  • We won’t ever be troubled;
  • The kind things that we do will never be forgotten;
  • Bad news won’t bother us, because we are so determined to trust the Lord in all things;
  • We are dependable (so we should be some of the best employees!);
  • We will not be afraid;
  • We will live to see our enemies defeated (although I hope that we will never have enemies!);
  • We will always be remembered and greatly praised, because we were kind and always freely gave to the poor.

Wow, wow, wow! What more can we ask for? What more can we expect? If you are like me I believe that we will say, “But I just want to worship my Lord and obey His Word”, and we will have the best goal in life, but these verses are placed to let us know that there are definite benefits to doing just that! Now put that in perspective and ask why we would deserve this kind of love and I believe that, like me, you will conclude that it is the grace of God that saves us, not anything that we might do, otherwise we might selfishly boast. God is awesome, let’s devote ourselves to worshipping Him and obeying His commands, and in turn be blessed by Him beyond all that we could imagine or expect!

PRAYER

Father, I am committed to worshipping You and obeying Your Word. I acknowledge that this will require much devotion and commitment from me and much help from You to help me keep my focus and devotion to what You teach in Your Word. I know that I will have to depend on You daily, thank You for being there for me. I am so appreciative that You would love even me to the extent of blessing me in all these ways if only I will do what I am suppose to do. Thank You Jesus!

It’s You I Live For

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Psalm 62

OBSERVATION

Psalm 62:8-9 ~ Trust God, my friends, and always tell him each one of your concerns. God is our place of safety. We humans are only a breath; none of us are truly great. All of us together weigh less than a puff of air.

APPLICATION

We often say, well I am so disappointed because a good friend of ours let us down. In these verses David reminds us that all humans put together weigh less than a puff of air, for it is God that we should tell all of our concerns and it is in Him that we should depend for our safety. We are so dependent on what others think of us. If only we would be so careful to place that much emphasis on what God KNOWS about us, and if only we would act in ways that would please God as much as we try to please others.

PRAYER

  1. Father, “It’s You I live for“. Please help me to live my life in a way that is pleasing in Your sight, and that follows Your commands. Please help me to daily dig deep into Your Word so that I may stay in tuned with all that You would have me to do.

A Mighty Rock In Whom I Am Secure

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Psalm 62

OBSERVATION

Psalm 62:1-2 ~ Only God can save me, and I calmly wait for him. God alone is the mighty rock that keeps me safe and the fortress where I am secure.

APPLICATION

What a Mighty God We Serve“, “You Never Let Go – Whom Then Shall I Fear” are two songs that come readily to my mind as I read these verses, for the God that I serve is the only One that can save me, He is the only One that I consider as a ‘Mighty Rock’ on whom I can stand/depend or trust with the challenges that may come my way, for He is a fortress where I can be safe and secure. Savor these three songs that are hyperlinked as you meditate on this devotion and reflect on the awesome God that we know, love, serve and plan to spend eternity with!

PRAYER

Lord may I always be ready to thank You and praise You each and every day for being my strength and my guide and my rock on whom I can rest. “I love You Lord, and I Lift my voice, to worship You oh my Lord“.