What Say Ye? Whom Will You Serve?

On this website, there is a list of 12 countries where it is considered ‘Extremely Challenging’ to worship God, and there are an additional 38 countries where it is ‘Difficult’ to worship God. I believe that most of you who will read, or listen to, this devotional probably attend worship services at least 3 times per year, I wonder how you might classify your reasons for not always join with God’s people for cooperate worship?

DATE POSTED Wednesday, 2021-09-08
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Joshua 24:19-23
TRANSLATION: New Century Version (NCV)

BIBLE TEXT: 19 Then Joshua said, “You are not able to serve the Lord, because he is a holy God and a jealous God. If you turn against him and sin, he will not forgive you. 20 If you leave the Lord and serve other gods, he will send you great trouble. The Lord may have been good to you, but if you turn against him, he will destroy you.”
21 But the people said to Joshua, “No! We will serve the Lord.”
22 Then Joshua said, “You are your own witnesses that you have chosen to serve the Lord.”
The people said, “Yes, we are.”
23 Then Joshua said, “Now throw away the gods that you have. Love the Lord, the God of Israel, with all your heart.”

APPLICATION: Do you tend to feel uneasy in the company of certain individuals? Perhaps they are very rich, compared to you. Or perhaps they are overly educated, compared to you. In some of Joshua’s final talks with the Israelites, he challenged them to consider their acts of worship to a holy and jealous God. How might you respond to that question? I for one, feel very uneasy if I flippantly miss attending corporate worship, or a daily reading of the Word of God, or daily communication with God in prayer. Some might quickly respond that I may be too legalistic about my relationship with God, but I could only evaluate my own feelings towards my holy and righteous God, and so should you. Notice that Joshua gave a reason why the Israelites may not be worthy of worshipping God – idols. I know, we don’t build idols for people to go and worship, but don’t we honestly allow certain things in life to interfere with our time alone, or corporately with God? Joshua knew that some Israelites collected idols from the countries they had captured, and they worshiped those idols at times. But Joshua felt such a love for his people that he wanted to warn them one last time that our Heavenly Father will not tolerate split allegiances. Why do you suppose? I believe we could look at a very familiar relationship, husband and wife, and understand why no one tolerates this. Imagine a cheating husband. Can a wife notice the difference in their relationship when a man is also having relations with another woman? Although she may not care to acknowledge why her husband is trying to please two women, she would really have to be blind in many ways to not feel and understand that someone else is in the picture. Our God sacrificed His only Son for our salvation, so He will become very jealous of one who shows only half-hearted praise and allegiance in return. I believe that when we split allegiance, we are saying that the primary party no longer meets our needs. Could we truly say that to God? But don’t we do exactly that when we consider other pleasures ahead of the pleasure of worshiping our Savior and Lord? There are many ‘excuses’ that we use to explain why we chose not to read our Bibles, or pray, or attend corporate worship. I find it very interesting when children start using the excuses of their parents when asked if they went to church. But isn’t that what we are doing when we tell our kids to watch closely and do what we do? Paul also said something like that, but he was referring to his walk with the Lord. Oh how I wish we could set aside all excuses (idols) and be so committed to God that we could say openly to those who know us, just follow me as I follow God. Wow, don’t you know that God will smile with pride for his kids who are so dedicated to Him?

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Joshua challenged the Israelites to always choose God and do away with idols. In one of their last promises to Joshua, the people assured him (vs 21): ‘we will serve the Lord’. God still blesses the nation that sets aside its idols and collectively say ‘we will serve the Lord’!

PRAYER: Lord, I pray that with our mouths we may say like the Israelites ‘We will serve the Lord’, and then set aside our idols and worship only You! To do this as a nation, we will have to set aside our petty differences between each other so that we could encourage each other to also set as their primary goal: Worship to the Father and to the Son, for as long as we all are left to wander on this earth. Please soften our hearts Lord and teach us to set our priorities straight. God comes first, even if it means less TV or less online activity, or less partying, or less beach time. Unfortunately, it seems like everything else is a priority, even though You gave it all for us. Please forgive us Lord, and please deal in our hearts to always keep You first in every aspect of our lives. AMEN!

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

Just Do It

David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’, so we should pay close attention to his actions and his words. In these two verses we could tell how closely in tuned he was with God, because he spoke to Solomon as if directly from the lips of God. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had an individual like David in our lives, who would be so open with us and share so honestly with us what God revealed to them, and especially what He revealed to them about us?

SCRIPTURE  FROM:   1 Chronicles 28:9-10 (AMP)

TEXT:  “As for you, Solomon my son, know the God of your father [have personal knowledge of Him, be acquainted with, and understand Him; appreciate, heed, and cherish Him] and serve Him with a blameless heart and a willing mind; for the Lord searches all hearts and minds, and understands every intent and inclination of the thoughts. If you seek Him [inquiring for and of Him and requiring Him as your first and vital necessity] He will let you find Him; but if you abandon (turn away from) Him, He will reject you forever. 10 Consider this carefully, for the Lord has chosen you to build a house for the sanctuary. Be courageous and strong and do it.”

OBSERVATION:   David was ‘a man after God’s own heart’, so we should pay close attention to his actions and his words. In these two verses we could tell how closely in tuned he was with God, because he spoke to Solomon as if directly from the lips of God. Wouldn’t it be awesome if we had an individual like David in our lives, who would be so open with us and share so honestly with us what God revealed to them, and especially what He revealed to them about us?

APPLICATION:   For any of us that have, or had, parents that were so close to God that they would speak words of wisdom to us, and try to enrich our spirit at every opportunity with the love, protection and wisdom of God, we are truly blessed! Wouldn’t we have a special appreciation for them, and develop a spirit of trust, love and respect for them, that we would easily listen and quickly follow their advice? From memories of answered prayer, don’t you know that we would make it a point to follow their advice and return love to them in every way possible? Friends, as we meditate on these verses today, I believe that we will also receive a clear understanding of the intimacy of a true relationship with our Lord. For as we are filled to overwhelming with the Spirit of God and the sweet fellowship of His Holy Spirit, not only will it impact our own lives, but we would have a deep and sincere desire to see friends and loved ones do the same. I love the way that the Amplified Version of the Bible helps us to soak in the real meaning of every word, that we might otherwise have quickly read over and not given much thought to. I believe that these words that David shared with his son, are intended to enrich our experience with God and with each other. Who are you praying for, and when last have you gotten with them to see how they’re doing, and what God may have given you to share personally with them? Doesn’t it seem like this world has sucked us into the busyness of its demands, that we hardly have time in our busy schedules anymore to visit, or even call family and friends to show that we care, or to tell them what we feel God is saying to them? I’ve always said that it’s not a matter of time, but of priorities. So will you end the day in prayer by telling God that it really wasn’t a priority to visit that Sunday School member in hospital today? What if He challenged you back by suggesting that your television wouldn’t work tomorrow so that that member will receive more priority from you than the Olympic games? Please know that only God is perfect, so your Brother is being preached at just like you, as we think about the things that please God. I will end by repeating to us what God said through David to his son – Be courageous and strong and just do it!

PRAYER:   Lord God, I am so sorry that we confuse priorities with the familiar excuse that we didn’t have time to do Your work. Please help us to practice changing our vocabulary to help us realize the impact of not making Your work a priority in our lives. May the work of Your Holy Spirit be evident in our lives today oh Lord, and may we always prioritize Your work above all else. All for Your glory, Your honor and Your praise, 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 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 Nuggets From God’s Word 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 Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

 

What’s Most Important To Us?

THE HOLY BIBLE (The Message – Matthew 9:2-8): 2-3
They were hardly out of the boat when some men carried a paraplegic on a stretcher and set him down in front of them. Jesus, impressed by their bold belief, said to the paraplegic, “Cheer up, son. I forgive your sins.” Some religion scholars whispered, “Why, that’s blasphemy!” 4–8 Jesus knew what they were thinking, and said, “Why this gossipy whispering? Which do you think is simpler: to say, ‘I forgive your sins,’ or, ‘Get up and walk’? Well, just so it’s clear that I’m the Son of Man and authorized to do either, or both.…” At this he turned to the paraplegic and said, “Get up. Take your bed and go home.” And the man did it. The crowd was awestruck, amazed and pleased that God had authorized Jesus to work among them this way.

THOUGHTS: As with anything we try to make a decision on, we should be guided by the Word of God and see how important things were to God. I believe that we are a very compassionate people in general. However, let’s consider the needs that come before us. The needier someone, or something sounds, the more it/they receive our attention, our money and our apathy. What then do you think about the way Jesus reacted to the paraplegic here in this story? Firstly, I found it interesting how several Bible translations clearly say that Jesus, seeing the faith of those who took the man before Him….. Isn’t it odd that Jesus appealed to the outward expression of the group that took the man, yet He acted upon the need of the man they took? However, also note that Jesus observed a man being brought in on a stretcher, unable to walk, yet the first action from Jesus was to forgive the man of His sin. Friends, as I said in my opening comments, we are so easily swayed by the physical needs of people, and we very well should do that, however I believe that we need to gain more of the heart of Jesus, and be way more concerned about the ‘heart’ of the people brought before us with needs. What good will result if we help satisfy the physical needs of folk, yet before and after our help they are still headed straight to Hell? I believe that, like Jesus, we need to first become ‘heart’ specialists! We need to gain a priority for making sure that the heart of those that we come into contact with, is right with God. Have they met Jesus? Have they accepted Him as Lord? Do they practice their faith by openly serving Him in all aspects of their life? I believe that our biggest fear is that this might appear like we would then become judge and jury. Friends, I believe that most of us would not hesitate for a moment to run across the street and protect a blind person from an oncoming speeding auto – from sure death. Why then would we hesitate from saving a person blinded by the distractions (sins) of this world, knowing that they are headed to certain death without knowing the Savior of this world, Jesus Christ? I would dare say that if Jesus saw salvation as the most important thing in the paraplegic’s life, we too should follow suit and make this a priority in look at the needs of those who come before us.

PRAYER: It’s amazing how skewed our priorities have become Lord Jesus, yes even when it comes to the ultimate destination of our dearest friends and family. Please help us to be more like You in concentrating on the ‘heart’ first and the ultimate results a person will be left with after living life here on this earth with us. In our hearts we know that only what’s done for Jesus will last, and only what we’ve done with Jesus will matter when we stand before You in eternity. Please help us to be diligent in showing that we care about these qualities by the way we choose our priorities each day. We want to do this under Your direction and authority Lord Jesus, so please touch Your children today, beginning with me, and especially through those that will meditate on this devotional today. Please help us to show that we care more about the ‘heart’ than any other aspect of life here on this earth. I ask this in the strong and precious name of our first and most valuable ‘heart’ specialist, 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 read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, 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 www.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!

Get Rid of Idols

The Holy Bible  (The Contemporary English Version – Jeremiah 4:1-3): The Lord said: Israel, if you really want to come back to me, get rid of those disgusting idols.     2 Make promises only in my name, and do what you promise! Then all nations will praise me, and I will bless them. 3 People of Jerusalem and Judah, don’t be so stubborn! Your hearts have become hard, like unplowed ground where thornbushes grow.

Thoughts:  While I believe there was a lot of value in these verses for Israel and the people of Jerusalem and Judah, I also believe that this passage of scripture was included in God’s Word to us for self-application also. Let me explain, I believe that God spoke to me as I read this, and had me substitute ‘Israel’ with the family and friends that I am praying for. At times when I feel distant from God, I believe that this passage also applies to me. Friends, I want you to read this carefully to make sure that you too understand that when God seems far away from you, examine your lives and see what idols (priorities; things) have you allowed to step in the way of your open communication and dependence on God. The kinds of things that get in our way might be:

  • Work – for we can become so absorbed in our job that we have no quality time to spend with God;
  • Church – yes, even church. We can become a slave to the work of the church and exclude our study and worship time with the Lord, for whom we are presumably working;
  • Family – even though this item is of super importance, if we’re not careful Satan can use this as a tool to keep us away from God. Let’s learn to take our family to church, instead of feeling an obligation to spend quality time with them on our Sabbath. After all, we had other opportunities during the week to spend time with them, but with Satan’s help chose not to. Men/dads this is our responsibility as God’s leader in our homes;
  • Activities – we all know that the beach is always better on our Sabbath day than any other day of the week, right? But does it fit with God’s command of what we should be doing on our Sabbath?!!;
  • Sports – why would we consider giving our time to sports on our Sabbath day rather than assembling ourselves together to worship God and to encourage one another?;
  • Weariness – the toils of the week have left us so worn out that giving one hour of our time to refuel spiritually, and to give God thanks for our jobs, and the good health to do our jobs, seems to be challenging for us – at least until we lose our job or some other crisis comes up, right?;

Friends, I’m not judging, for that is God’s job. I merely listed a few things that may cause us to think about the possible idols that stand in our way of communion with God. May I encourage you to examine your own life and see if there is anything that distracts you in your walk with the Lord? Be honest with God as you consider this, for He knows your heart and your very circumstances, and He is willing to help you tear down those idols, so that you may be drawn closer to Him. Remember, sin must be put away out of the heart, else it is not put away out of God’s sight, for the heart is open before Him. The good news with this whole thing is that others will follow us, and God will bless us! Read verse 2 again! Imagine, your actions might actually revolutionize your world!!

Prayer:  Father, You know our hearts and You know our thoughts and our schemes. It is so unfortunate that in spite of Your goodness to us, we allow Satan to feed our thoughts, that often leads us to scheme and find reasons to not find time in the Word, in prayer and even church attendance. Please forgive us for our ingratitude and our unfaithfulness. You sacrificed Your very Son for our salvation, yet we find it challenging to make time to spend with You and/or Your people in corporate worship. Often this is just not a priority in our lives. Please forgive me oh Lord. Please touch the hearts of Your children who will read this devotional today, may they also be made aware of ‘idols’ that have become obstacles in their walk with You. Lord Jesus, we respect You and all that You stand for, however if we are to be true and honest representatives of Yours, we too must be living, walking and talking as You. We can only do this with Your help, direction and wisdom oh Lord, and we humbly seek that today. For this is my humble and gracious plea before You oh God, in the name of Your Son Jesus, 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!