Come Together To Worship

I wonder what God must think about us having the TV on to Facebook Live while our church service is aired, while we kid around and almost ignore the service playing in the background. Did we truly ‘worship the Creator of the universe’? I realize that we are happy to have the privilege of tuning in to services rather than risk COVID infection, but is this not just one of many excuses we use to not get up, get dressed and worship our Maker together with other believers? The excuse seems relevant for corporate worship, but not work or any other activity during the week!

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2021-05-23
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Leviticus 23:23-25; 36-37
TRANSLATION: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

BIBLE TEXT: 23 The Lord told Moses 24-25 to say to the people of Israel: The first day of the seventh month must be a day of complete rest. Then at the sound of the trumpets, you will come together to worship and to offer sacrifices on the altar.
36 For seven days, sacrifices must be offered on the altar. The eighth day is also to be a day of complete rest, as well as a time of offering sacrifices on the altar and of coming together for worship.
37 I have chosen these festivals as times when my people must come together for worship and when animals, grain, and wine are to be offered on the proper days.

APPLICATION: I was amazed at finding so many times in my Old Testament reading where God emphasized how He expected His children to ‘come together to worship’. I shared just a few examples from the verses I read today, but there are many more instances where God told Moses to share this expectation with the Israelites. Was this word just for the Israelites? Just as I believe the Bible is for all to read and adhere to God’s commands, I also believe that God wanted us to pay attention to what blesses Him. Readers may tend to believe that I specifically chose this Scripture and theme because of this being primary days for corporate worship. That’s not the case, but I strongly believe that God will place His Word before us when He desires for us to read, understand and obey His Word. I also believe that we will be drawn to important commands of God when we see Him repeat it multiple times in His Word. So what might God have to say to us today about assembling ourselves together for worship?
~ Firstly, that it is important for us to worship our Maker. He created us; loves us unconditionally; cares about our every need; cares about our ability to overcome sin so that we may one day join with Him in Heaven, and He did this by sacrificing His very own Son. I believe that worshipping together is important, because a brother may bless you by sharing what all God did for him during the week. And you may bless a sister by caring about the stresses of life that she is dealing with. Promising to pray with her, and/or check on her to make sure she handles that stress properly. That might be just what she needs to deal with her stress and overcome;
~ Secondly, the Israelites sacrificed animals in their seeking after forgiveness and in blessing God for His mercies. We may have to sacrifice certain things to enable specific time for us to rest, and to come together to worship God with other believers. This may mean taking full advantage of our other day(s) off to hit the beach or the theater, etc. This may mean shutting down our devices so that we may concentrate on everything that God has blessed us with. This may mean looking out for the needs of others, as a reminder of all that God does in looking out for us;
~ Thirdly, God set worship times as a requirement for His people. I believe that God might want us to also establish not only daily worship to Him, but also an established time to come together with other brothers and sisters to worship. Friends, we grow spiritually when God helps us, and when we help others. So establish a time to worship corporately and make it a priority to stick to that schedule. Satan will do everything possible to distract you and draw you away from worship.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Those who recognize their blessings from God will be drawn to worship Him. God demanded that the Israelites come together to worship, and I’ve grown to also see the importance of corporate worship!

PRAYER: Way too often we tend to sit back in our own little world and assume that everything is ‘peachy’ with everyone else. Thank You Lord for reminding me today how important it is for us to obey Your commands and come together with other believers to worship. It seems like fellow believers bless me and encourage me way more than I could ever have hoped for. So I pray that You might give each reader and myself wisdom on ways to be a blessing to others so that we may all celebrate Your many gifts together. You are precious in our sight oh Lord, please touch our lives and help us to share that with You as often as we should, and may that time always be a priority. 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!

Enjoying Evil vs Believing Truth?

Tell me who would say no to a good party? Is that not a common theme when one is planning a party? Of course it is, because we all love to have fun – both Christians and non-Christians. So we must be careful how we interpret what Paul is telling the Thessalonian church today through our above Scripture. Please examine Paul’s words closely, because we can’t afford to miss the point. I believe that today we must have more ‘evil’ going on than anytime in past history. Stick with me as we consider God’s Word for the hour!

DATE WRITTEN: Saturday, 2020-08-22
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Thessalonians 2:9-12
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: This man will come to do the work of Satan with counterfeit power and signs and miracles. 10 He will use every kind of evil deception to fool those on their way to destruction, because they refuse to love and accept the truth that would save them. 11 So God will cause them to be greatly deceived, and they will believe these lies. 12 Then they will be condemned for enjoying evil rather than believing the truth.

OBSERVATION: Tell me who would say no to a good party? Is that not a common theme when one is planning a party? Of course it is, because we all love to have fun – both Christians and non-Christians. So we must be careful how we interpret what Paul is telling the Thessalonian church today through our above Scripture. Please examine Paul’s words closely, because we can’t afford to miss the point. I believe that today we must have more ‘evil’ going on than anytime in past history. Stick with me as we consider God’s Word for the hour!

APPLICATION: I could bore you with examples of what I consider ‘evil’, but I believe the best place for you to see first hand what Paul might be referencing, is to Sit and listen to the evening news. Like me, I’m sure that you will stop and wonder ‘what could possibly be next’, for it is sad to hear of the evil occurring in each reader’s country that you would never have thought possible. Now, let’s hone in closer to what Paul was dealing with, for your see, he wrote this letter to the church. Yes, God’s people – those who are called by His name. I am convinced that God wanted this included in His Word for the church of today, because He was sure that this same type of behavior would still be prevalent in your church and mine. I know you might be shocked, but please recognize that everyone that walks through our church doors are not Truth followers. Therefore, their minds are not fixed on Jesus and their hearts are not filled with the Word of God. However, I believe that instead of pointing fingers, it would be best that we devote our time to recognizing our own strengths and weaknesses, and to acknowledge if we might be considered by God as loving His Word, accepting His Word, and obedient to His Word. If we are unable to affirm a definite ‘yes’ to each of these things, then I would dare say that we are probably easily swayed by the things of this world, and therefore respond to challenges based on what we have learned from the world. Paul referred to these folk as: being fooled into the way of destruction (the way of Hell); easily deceived; believe lies and will be condemned, because they are ignoring the Truth/the Word/the Bible. It is easy to see dear friends, that God gave us His Book of Instruction to be our guide through life. It teaches us the wonderful laws of life that He has set out just for us, so that we might be like Him and show Him off to a lost world. If we ignore that Book, then we are saying ‘yes’ to Satan and following his evil practices. Also, without the Truth embedded deep into our souls, we will listen to, and be swayed by, any false teachers that find their way into our churches. And friends, this is where church struggles really take root. Let’s do our part child of God! If you know Jesus Christ as Lord, then follow Him, obey His Word, and practice the Truth, as taught to us through the Scriptures. This will allow Jesus to shine through us, and keep evil practices out.

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we could find lots of excuses why we sin, why we are disobedient, why we don’t prioritize Your Word in our lives, and why we do like everyone else around us in following the evil one. But You know us better than we know ourselves. You gave us the same number of hours as everyone else, so we allocate those hours for the desires of our heart. Dear Lord, please teach us, Your children who are called by Your name, to prioritize our time with You, so that our hearts might become like Your heart, so that our lives might look more like Your life demonstrated in so many ways while here on earth. Please draw us close to You, Lord. We want to see You, and we want our lives to be so filled with You that we will immediately identify false teachers, and those who try to win us over to the world. May we live to be more like You in every aspect of our lives, and may there be no other priority like the one we establish, with Your help, to live holy and righteous lives that look just like You, and that prepares us to fight off the evil one when he comes knocking. People need You, Lord, so may they not be distracted by anything in our lives that may create doubt, fear or unbelief in their minds. Oh that Your power, Your love and Your peace be at work in our hearts and in our minds every minute of every day! AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at https://NuggetsFromGodsWord.org 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 or listening to this devotional, please go to 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. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to Nuggets From God’s Word and see all of my posts, 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 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!

THE Most Important Commandment

Often when we are bombarded with a multitude of orders, we will either ask, or sometimes evaluate, what we need to concentrate on most, or at least first. I believe that God knew we needed direction in every aspect of life, so He gave us His Book of Instruction (the Bible) to do just that. However, seeing that God created us, I’m sure that He was the first to know that we need the priority items right up front, so that we don’t get overwhelmed and give up. These verses seem to do just that, so let’s pay very close attention to these two commandments today.

Wednesday, 2019-09-18

Bible Reference: Matthew 22:36-40
Translation: The Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Bible Text:  36 “Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 40 All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.

OBSERVATION: Often when we are bombarded with a multitude of orders, we will either ask, or sometimes evaluate, what we need to concentrate on most, or at least first. I believe that God knew we needed direction in every aspect of life, so He gave us His Book of Instruction (the Bible) to do just that. However, seeing that God created us, I’m sure that He was the first to know that we need the priority items right up front, so that we don’t get overwhelmed and give up. These verses seem to do just that, so let’s pay very close attention to these two commandments today.

APPLICATION:  Jesus knew that He and His Father had given us many commands over time, but here He chose to show us what constituted a priority for us. In fact, He teaches that these two particular commands will help us ensure that we are following all of the other commands given to us over time. Let us therefore examine these two very carefully:
1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind – Love comes from the heart, so to love the Lord with all of our heart means that we must love Him with all that we are. To consider this being a priority, means that all other things, or people, that attract our love is below the level of love that we have for the Father. In fact, Jesus goes on to say that we must love Him from the very depths of our soul – our very innermost being. And from our mind – in other words, be thinking of ways to love Him more and more, or ways to love Him better and better, than anything else.
2. Love others as much as we love ourselves – It is very natural for us to love ourselves. Often this love is prideful, and could easily lead to our greatest sins (envy, boasting, jealousy, etc). However, there is also a sincere self-love that is expected, because of the mere fact that God made us in His own image, and He loved us enough that He sacrificed His only Son to make us right with Himself. So if He loves us that much, ought we not to also love our own selves? Of course we do, but Jesus is teaching here that with that same love, we are to also always love others. In other words, love them because you recognize that God loves them in the same way that He loves you.
Isn’t it interesting that God added at the end of this revelation, that if we concentrate on these two important things, that we will master all other commands? I thought ‘yes’, I can see that, because I wouldn’t dare consider lying, or stealing, or murdering, or being envious, or any other wrongful act against God or against anyone else that I love as much as I love myself. So friends, I believe it all boils down to these two things, just as Jesus taught us. Can we put these at the top of our daily prayer list, and at the top of our to-do list, and at the very top of our personal priorities? If you are one to place stickers around the house filled with very important reminders, then these two priorities should probably be at the header and footer of each of those notes, so that you will be reminded of the most important things, before looking at the item you want to accomplish that day! Can we do this? Can we do it on our own? Why would we try, when we have been promised that God is always there to help us achieve the desires of our heart? Lean on Him friend, and let Him be your guide and your help, especially with these things that He told us are key commands that He wants us to do.

PRAYER: Father please forgive us for being so anxious to set our daily priorities, with so little attention to Your priorities You taught to us. I know that You are Master, Creator, Almighty God, and that You display ‘Love’ in its truest form, so there is every reason for me to be obedient to Your teaching, knowing that You have my best interest at heart. Please help Your children who might meditate on this devotional today, and myself, to put our selfish desires aside and dedicate ourselves to following Your commands, especially Your two primary commands taught in this lesson. May we love You, and those that we come into contact with today, with the love that You have shown towards us. For I ask these things in the precious and holy name of Jesus, my Savior, with thanksgiving, AMEN!

Our Priorities – In Light of Eternity

Sunday, 2019-08-18

Bible Reference: Luke 16:27-31
Translation: Living Bible (TLB)

Bible Text: 27 “Then the rich man said, ‘O Father Abraham, then please send him to my father’s home— 28 for I have five brothers—to warn them about this place of torment lest they come here when they die.’
29 “But Abraham said, ‘The Scriptures have warned them again and again. Your brothers can read them any time they want to.’
30 “The rich man replied, ‘No, Father Abraham, they won’t bother to read them. But if someone is sent to them from the dead, then they will turn from their sins.’
31 “But Abraham said, ‘If they won’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they won’t listen even though someone rises from the dead.’”

OBSERVATION: To totally miss the boat (of Salvation) while here on earth, is a sad commentary about the priorities of a person while alive. Could it be that the friends they hung around distracted them from things that their heart is really burdened about? I’m sure that reaching a state of eternal damnation would suddenly bring more regrets than anything we could even imagine, but in our Scripture today, Jesus teaches how we might quickly reflect on our missed opportunities. If only I would have…. then perhaps I could have helped….. I hope that as we meditate on this Scripture today, our eyes will be opened to the opportunities presented to us each and every day, and on the things of life that we often control our priorities!

APPLICATION: At the end of any given day, we may reflect on missed opportunities, and we may often attribute those to lack of time. I am a firm believer that we should really call these what they are – lack of priority. Notice how, in our Scripture, the rich man saw the urgency of getting word to his siblings after he had passed on and experienced the results of his own damnation? Let us think about our own siblings – how often have we sat down and talked with our siblings about their salvation? Isn’t it easy for us to look on these scenarios as embarrassing moments, or times that we just couldn’t muster up the courage to say something to them? How might we deal with our inner feelings if we heard that one of our siblings died a very cruel, unexpected death, without us ever having the opportunity to speak seriously with them about the condition of their soul? The other important thing for us to learn from these verses is that the rich man was not exempt from reconciliation with the King of the Universe. He also was held accountable about the choices that he made while here on earth. Friends, please be reminded that regardless of our financial position, or our regularity of attending church, or how kind we are to those in need, yet there is one thing, and only one thing that God will look at on Judgment Day – the heart of the individual. What if the question was asked of you today: Is your heart right with God? Have you invited Jesus Christ to assume lordship of your life? What if you never made it pass the next hour here on earth and God asked you why should He let you into His kingdom? May I suggest that you set your priorities straight my friend, be ready for your encounter with God, for it may easily be today.

PRAYER: Dearest Lord Jesus, there is no greater priority than our meeting with You, for this life is worthless without the assurance of our future in heaven with You. Thank You that we could have the assurance of our salvation, so that we could know without a doubt, to whom we belong. May we, without hesitation or lack of words, confidently claim the One who died for us at Calvary and saved us from our sin as we boldly step before the throne of God one day! AMEN!

More Important Than Food

Facing a New Year with our priorities in order should go a long ways, provided that we carefully and prayerfully seek God’s direction for those priorities. Jesus told His disciples that for himself, it was more important than food. Let’s consider this in our meditation today.

Thursday, 2018-12-27

Bible Reference: John 4:31-34
Translation: Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Bible Text:  31  While this was happening, Jesus’ disciples were saying to him, “Teacher, please eat something.” 32  But Jesus told them, “I have food that you don’t know anything about.” 33  His disciples started asking each other, “Has someone brought him something to eat?” 34  Jesus said: My food is to do what God wants! He is the one who sent me, and I must finish the work that he gave me to do.

OBSERVATION: Facing a New Year with our priorities in order should go a long ways, provided that we carefully and prayerfully seek God’s direction for those priorities. Jesus told His disciples that for himself, it was more important than food. Let’s consider this in our meditation today.

APPLICATION: There is a saying I’ve heard around churches, “if you feed them, they will come”! That sounds bad, but it is so true of many folk who attend church today! I believe you will even see this proven at weddings where a couple decides not to have a reception, for attendance is generally down, compared to the weddings that offer a feast afterwards at a reception. Why, even to funerals are now followed by a huge reception that attracts most attendees to eat, rather than spend quality time with the mourning family members. It is unfortunate that we have gotten our priorities so twisted. Perhaps as we face the coming of a brand new year, we may look to the Word of God to make sure that our priorities are in order. Here are some examples for us to take note of, and follow as God leads:

  • John 4:31-34 – In today’s focal passage, Jesus saw an opportunity to speak with unsaved Samaritans, and this was far more satisfying to Him than any amount, or quality, of food that He could physically eat at the time. If it was important to Jesus, should it not be for us also?
  • Matt. 14:15–17; John 4:8; Luke 18:28 – The Disciples were always concerned about the physical need, particularly food!
  • Luke 11:11-13 – Jesus taught the disciples to first remember that God will provide exactly what they need, even though their tendency was to worry about food and physical needs primarily. Imagine pleading and pleading for a hamburger, when God wants to give you a ranch where you could have all the beef you want! He will supply our needs, friends! Praise the wonderful name of Jesus!

Friends, when we get our priorities straight and do what Jesus commands in Matthew 6:33 – seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, then perhaps He will see to it that ALL of our need are met, not just our physical needs of nourishment. Perhaps the next time we become so concerned over whether to have a meal in order to attract folk to an event, particularly a church event, we should read Romans 14:17-18 and remind ourselves of what’s important to the kingdom of heaven! Perhaps if we concentrate more on our spiritual needs and the desire of God for our lives in 2019, we will not only trim some fat, but we will gain a whole lot more faith, hope, love for each other, and gain a closer walk with the Lord than we have ever had before. Friends, can we make this our goal in 2019, God being our helper?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, please forgive us for allowing our priorities to drift away from the most important person, and the most important thing. We are very close to being blessed with a brand new year, where we have the opportunity to make a brand new start in our spiritual lives. We need to draw close to You Lord, for living in this old wicked world has poisoned us into following the ways of Satan instead of the righteousness that would please You, the one who sacrificed Your very own life for us. Please renew within us a right spirit, so that we might get our priorities straight, and may this all happen so that You might be glorified in all things. AMEN!

Priorities and Time Constrains

Before being ascended into heaven, Jesus spent some final moments with His disciples, blessing them and giving them reassurance of their reuniting with Him one day. They were very excited over this as they returned to their hometown, and this brought them so much hope that they practically lived at the temple praising God. Does this sound a lot like us? Let’s have a closer look….

Post Date:

Monday, 2017-09-25
SCRIPTURE

From:

Luke 24:50-53 (NLT)

Text:

50 Then Jesus led them to Bethany, and lifting his hands to heaven, he blessed them. 51 While he was blessing them, he left them and was taken up to heaven. 52 So they worshiped him and then returned to Jerusalem filled with great joy. 53 And they spent all of their time in the Temple, praising God.
OBSERVATION:
Before being ascended into heaven, Jesus spent some final moments with His disciples, blessing them and giving them reassurance of their reuniting with Him one day. They were very excited over this as they returned to their hometown, and this brought them so much hope that they practically lived at the temple praising God. Does this sound a lot like us? Let’s have a closer look….
APPLICATION:
Don’t you love to go fishing, and stay out there on the lake, or in the ocean for as long as you want, whether you are catching anything or not? How about those baseball games, when we arrive so early that we could have a tailgate party before the gates are opened, and we don’t mind at all if the game runs into overtime or the hour or two that it takes to work our way through thousands of people and hundreds of cars before heading back home. However, when it comes to church, we are willing to give of one hour per week – for the masses. Nearing that one-hour mark, we see people checking their watches, closing their Bibles and getting real fidgety in their seats. Why some may even take their watches off and visibly shake them, in sight of the preacher so he could see our disbelief about how long this service is going on! So what’s the difference friends? In one case we are spending beau-coup bucks to see overpaid and overweight guys run after a ball all over a large field to possibly score a goal. We know that we will return home without a voice or at least a much diminished voice for a few days, because of our screams in joyous admiration of our favorite player(s). In the other case we are voluntarily going to join other believers who are thankful for the love of the Creator of this Universe; the One who gave His only Son as a sacrifice to save us from our sin; The One who has promised us life eternal with He and His Father in heaven. However, most in attendance hardly sing, or smile, or say a word, or shout with excitement or bring their Bible to follow with the preacher. Furthermore, the excuses I hear my friends making for not being there, I am convinced that this must be way less important than a football game. I realize that this may sound far out there for some who may read this blog today, but is it the unfortunate truth? Remember, you should never lie to God and say that you didn’t have time to attend church, tell it to Him straight – it was not a priority for you. Friends, my desire is that we get back to worshiping our Master and our Lord – personally. When we do a good job personally, then we could join in on the excitement of worship when we come together with other believers, and truly worship our Lord, with our heart’s condition being the only thing that might interfere, or place constraints on our time with the Lord in corporate worship.
PRAYER:
Lord, we have allowed the ‘fun’ things of this world to take priority over our time with You. I’m sure that this is one of Satan’s tools to distract Christians, but Lord I pray that You would reach down and touch Your children once again and remind us of Your love and Your sacrifice, so that we might have a future to look forward to in glory with You and the Father. Forgive us Lord for our lack of commitment and the ease of distraction from Your love for us. May we serve You in all honesty and truth, without hindrances from the evil one, 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 Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Distractions in Ministry

The verses hyperlinked above actually shares two accounts where individuals that God had called into ministry found excuses why they couldn’t assume the task at that time. Not a whole lot different to what we do today, but I believe God would have us be reminded again how He feels about this.

Post Date:

Monday, 2017-07-24
SCRIPTURE

From:

Luke 9:61-62 (TLB)

Text:

 61 Another said, “Yes, Lord, I will come, but first let me ask permission of those at home.”62 But Jesus told him, “Anyone who lets himself be distracted from the work I plan for him is not fit for the Kingdom of God.”
OBSERVATION:
The verses hyperlinked above actually shares two accounts where individuals that God had called into ministry found excuses why they couldn’t assume the task at that time. Not a whole lot different to what we do today, but I believe God would have us be reminded again how He feels about this.
APPLICATION:
In a first glance, or reading of this Scripture, we probably look at our pastors and wonder why they might question the call of Christ on their lives, or procrastinate following  the call after clearly hearing God calling them into service. Friends, most churches have election of officers and teachers each year, and I believe I would be safe in saying that nominating teams have probably heard every excuse possible when asking an individual to serve. In the section of Scripture we are looking at today, we see where one needed to bury his father before he could assume the call of Christ. In the second instance the other one needed to check with his family first to make sure they could manage without him. While we will also look at our excuses, think for a minute who it was that called these two individuals – Jesus, the very Son of God. Did He personally know their hearts and all about the possible excuses they could have given Him? Of course He did. But by sharing these things with us, it help us to also consider the excuses that we tend to give when asked to join the ministry team at our respective churches. I believe that three of the most popular excuses used today are: 1). I feel so unqualified to teach; 2). I cannot speak well in a classroom setting; and 3). I live such a busy lifestyle that I couldn’t possible take on one more thing. Friends, don’t you think that it is God that gave you the gifts to do His work and the time to do it? Don’t you know that God is well aware of your qualifications and gifts and that He has you handpicked to accomplish a task you are being asked to accomplish? A Nominating Team or Pastor who may asked you to fill a position at church has probably bathed the matter in deep prayer, so I feel like when we make excuses why we can’t fulfil the request, we are actually complaining to God. Let me suggest that if you feel that time might be the issue, try responding that you can’t make that a priority in your life right now. Jesus could have found many excuses and could have called many angels to His rescue when beaten and led to the cross, but He accepted His unfortunate task as a priority – just for you and I. God is not looking at your abilities, because where you are lacking He fills that void so that He might be glorified. All He wants is your availability.
PRAYER:
Dear God, please forgive us for the excuses we make to not use the many gifts that You have blessed us with. Thank You for not giving up on us, as easily as we give up on trying to serve You. Oh Lord, may we be obedient to Your call on our life. May we be a living sacrifice, willing to always testify to Your calling in our personal witness to others and to help make Your work in our local church complete. You have truly blessed us beyond anything we deserve, may we learn to bless You through our availability and willingness to serve in local ministries, so that the world might know You and believe in You. God being our helper, our enabler and guide. 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 Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

No Room For Jesus

Very familiar verses that we hear a lot during the Christmas season. Notice that similar words were echoed throughout the physical reign of Jesus Christ, for although the people begged His power as desired, yet He was rejected and mocked at almost every venue throughout His ministry. His closest partners in ministry denied Him when placed under pressure, and He was arrested and crucified because of the good He did for others. Surely all of this must have changed after He arose victoriously, like He said He would. Let’s examine this prospect….

Post Date:

Monday, 2017-06-19
SCRIPTURE

From:

Luke 2:6-7 (NCV)

Text:

While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough.
OBSERVATION:
Very familiar verses that we hear a lot during the Christmas season. Notice that similar words were echoed throughout the physical reign of Jesus Christ, that there was no room, or time for Jesus. Although the people begged His power as desired, yet He was rejected and mocked at almost every venue throughout His ministry. His closest partners in ministry denied Him when placed under pressure, and He was arrested and crucified because of the good He did for others. Surely all of this must have changed after He arose victoriously, like He said He would. Let’s examine this prospect….
APPLICATION:
It is so easy to look down our pious noses and criticize the Jews for what they did to Jesus, because He didn’t fit their mold of what their king should look and act like. It is so easy for Christians to look down their pious noses at unbelievers and strongly criticize them for rejecting our Savior and Lord. But I would like for us to stop and consider both groups in this devotional:

  • Unbelievers – We often hear excuses like: I would like to have all of my earthly fun before surrendering my life to Jesus, or in other words: before I could find room or time for Jesus; I see so many cases where those ‘Christians’ have just as many struggles as I have, plus most of them are hypocrites anyway; I have way too much to do with my time than all this church stuff; The church can’t relate to us younger folk, because there are so many traditional, old-heads running the church; etc, etc. It all boils down to you not wanting to find time or availability for Jesus, and you are not willing to make it a priority;
  • Christians – Unfortunately, we hear many of the same excuses as listed above, because there is a ‘human’ aspect living inside both groups. However, it is sad to ask a Christian for their testimony and they can’t share the point in time that they truly accepted Jesus. We hear a lot about how they’ve attended church all of their life, so they know Jesus, or they hung around ‘good’ people and that ‘goodness’ rubbed off on them and they therefore now know Jesus. Compare this to your marriage and see if you can get away with telling a friend something similar in the presence of your spouse! Consider what you are saying to Jesus when you can’t find time, or you can’t be bothered to spend time each day communing with Him. Try this friend, each evening before bed try saying a simple prayer of truth along these lines to your Savior: Thank you for dying for me Lord Jesus. I apologize that I didn’t make it a priority in my day to even say thank You, or welcome You to guide my day. You see, it’s not a matter of ‘time’, it’s a matter of ‘priority’. It’s the same as saying something similar to what the innkeeper said to Joseph and Mary, so sorry but there is no room here for Jesus.

Jesus sacrificed His very life for you friend. What’s the minimum that you are planning to do for Him today? Do you have room for Him in your time, your life, your work, or your marriage? I believe He is waiting to bless you, if you can make time and room for Him today!

PRAYER:
Thank You Lord Jesus for the awesome sacrifice You made, so that those of us that could make room for You in our lives, could one day worship You endlessly in the glories of heaven. Please forgive us Lord for the times that we ‘shut the door’ on You because we have no room for You at the time. Please open our eyes and our understanding to allow You full reign in our lives, for we need You every hour of every day dear Lord. Please help us to always make room for You, so that others may see Jesus and believe. 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 Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, located at 3750 Hammock Rd, Sebring, FL 33872! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

THE Most Important Things

THE HOLY BIBLE (The Contemporary English Version – Matthew 22:36-40): 36 “Teacher, what is the most important commandment in the Law?” 37 Jesus answered: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. 38 This is the first and most important commandment. 39 The second most important commandment is like this one. And it is, “Love others as much as you love yourself.” 40 All the Law of Moses and the Books of the Prophets are based on these two commandments.

THOUGHTS: In our fast-paced world today, I believe most of us like to set our priorities for the day so that we could make sure we don’t get side-tracked with all the other things that will be sure to bombard us and try to win our attention. Furthermore, we tend to try very hard to accomplish our top priority items more than anything else for that day. I believe that is good reason why this passage of scripture should be very important to us. Jesus knew that He and His Father had given us many commands over time, but here He chose to show us what constituted a priority for us. In fact, He teaches that these two particular commands will help us ensure that we are following all of the other commands given to us over time. Let us therefore examine these two carefully:

  1. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul and mind – Love comes from the heart, so to love the Lord with all of our heart means that we must love Him with all that we are. Also, that all other things, or people, that attract our love is below the level of love that we have for the Father. In fact, Jesus goes on to say that we must love Him from the very depths of our soul – our very inmost being. And from our mind – in other words, be thinking of ways to love Him more or ways to love Him better than anything else.
  2. Love others as much as we love ourselves – It is very natural for us to love ourselves. Often this love is corrupt, and often leads to our greatest sins (envy, boasting, jealousy, etc). However, there is also a sincere self-love that is expected, because of the mere fact that God made us in His own image, and He loved us enough that He sacrificed His only Son to make us right with Himself. So if He loves us that much, ought we not to also love our own selves? Of course we do, but Jesus is teaching here that with that same love, we are to also and always love others. In other words, love them because you recognize that God loves them in the same way that He loves you.

Isn’t it interesting that God added at the end of this revelation, that if we concentrate on these two important things, that we will master all other commands? I thought yes, I can see that, because I wouldn’t dare consider lying, or stealing, or murdering, or being envious, or any other wrongful act against God or against anyone else that I love as much as I love myself. So friends, I believe it all boils down to these two things, just as Jesus taught us. Can we put these at the top of our daily prayer list, and at the top of our to-do list, and at the very top of our personal priorities? If you are one to place stickers around the house filled with very important reminders, then these two priorities should probably be at the header and footer of each of those notes, so that you will be reminded of the most important things, before looking at the item you want to accomplish in addition to these. Can we do this? Can we do it on our own? Why would we try, when we have been promised that God is always there to help us achieve the desires of our heart? Lean on Him friend, and let Him be your guide and your help, especially with these things that He told us are key commands that He wants us to do.

PRAYER: Father please forgive us for being so anxious to set our daily priorities, with so little attention to Your priorities You taught to us. I know that You are Master, Creator, Almighty God, and Love in its truest form, so there is every reason for me to be obedient to Your teaching, knowing that You have my best interest at heart. Please help Your children who might meditate on this devotional today, and myself, to put our selfish desires aside and dedicate ourselves to following Your commands, especially Your two primary commands taught in this lesson. May we love You, and those that we come into contact with today, with the love that You have shown towards us. For I ask these things in the precious and holy name of Jesus, my Savior, with thanksgiving, 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!

Purpose Yourself to Worship God

THE HOLY BIBLE (New Living Translation – Matthew 6:19-21): 19 “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. 20 Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. 21 Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

THOUGHTS: Why do you go to church? Why do you worship God? Did you find God in the corporate worship time? How? – I believe the first two questions would be a good survey to ask folk about to enter a weekend church service, and the last two questions would be great for an exit survey as they are leaving. I believe it would be good for each reader to answer these questions even now! Because you are human, just as I am, I know there are times that we jump out of bed, rush to church, sit back and wait for the entertainment to start. There are times that we have so much going on in our lives that our body attends church, but we hope that no one asks what the preacher spoke about, because we were way too preoccupied solving issues in our minds to hear and apply a word that he said! So how then do we get ourselves in motion and in tune with God? First of all, I believe that worship is a daily, relational thing. It’s a matter of priority, and it’s a deliberate action on the worshiper to think about the Savior of this world and the many blessings that He continually pours out on us. By now you are wondering how all of this ties in with the point of this scripture I bet! Friends, when we place so much of our time and effort into material things, guess where our minds are while our bodies attend church? When we assume control of our finances, instead of allowing God control of this vital part of our existence, we worry about how we will make the budget, and we constantly contemplate where and how we can make more money. It is challenging for us to give God our undivided attention when, in our minds, we have so much else going on. I believe that if we were to sincerely aim at achieving what verse 21 advocates, then we will invest ourselves, our time and our money into the worship and work of the Lord. My treasure is in heaven, is that evident in every aspect of my life?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for sacrificing Your precious Son, in spite of those that You know would just ignore You and take Your Treasure for granted. Lord we fool no one else but ourselves when we get ourselves so distracted, and we can’t concentrate on You because of all that we worry about. Too often our ‘treasure’ is misaligned and consumes our attention, and draws us away from giving You our full attention and allegiance. Please continue Your work in me and in the lives of my readers, that we may be so aligned with our greatest ‘TREASURE’ that great works will extend from the hearts and lives of Your children and that You will have full access to our hearts for Your use. I ask this in total humility and in the wonderful name of 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 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!