Preparing For Baptism

DATE POSTED Wednesday, 2022-01-12
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Matthew 3:5-9
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: People from Jerusalem and from all of Judea and all over the Jordan Valley went out to see and hear John. And when they confessed their sins, he baptized them in the Jordan River. But when he saw many Pharisees and Sadducees coming to watch him baptize, he denounced them. “You brood of snakes!” he exclaimed. “Who warned you to flee the coming wrath? Prove by the way you live that you have repented of your sins and turned to God. Don’t just say to each other, ‘We’re safe, for we are descendants of Abraham.’ That means nothing, for I tell you, God can create children of Abraham from these very stones.

APPLICATION: Ever noticed how some will dye their hair blue, if they see a friend or two doing the same thing, and getting attention over the strange practice? Ever noticed at an altar call in your church how challenging it is to get the first person to respond to the gospel message, and how much easier it is after the first person makes the walk down to the altar? We don’t want to be the first to make a move, but we are quick to follow the flow by our friends. People from the neighboring towns came to hear for themselves what all this ‘wild man’, John, was preaching about. His message touched their heart, so they confessed their sin and was ready to be baptized. This is still pretty customary in churches today, especially during revival or evangelistic services. But what would your church, or your pastor, do if at the baptismal service a number of people showed up for baptism who had never visited your church before? I believe we all can agree that at such special services, many might get in the spirit of what is occurring , and they may want to be baptized also. John recognized that the Pharisees and Sadducees who showed up and wanted to be baptized, felt like they were already good enough on their own reconnaissance and at least as good as the persons there who may have received forgiveness of their sin that day. However, John addressed this by drawing their attention to the change that occurs in a believer’s life. I believe John’s teaching on this is well worth our time to reflect on. Think about it – if we are a child of the King, then we will look like; sound like; and act like the King. It would be highly hypercritical of us to say that we are a child of the King, yet continue to behave like our old sinful selves. Who are we trying to fool? I also appreciate that John included the piece for his audience not to feel ‘saved’ because of them being from the seed of Abraham. You see, when we have grown up in the church, or if we happen to be a child of the pastor, deacon or elder, we may try to fool the world into thinking that because of our heritage, we too are saved. Notice what John taught here: we are each to approach the throne of God individually. Nothing done, said, or practiced by our ancestors could cleanse us of our sin and make us right with God. It is only through the shed blood of Jesus Christ that we are saved. That’s the sole purpose in God sending His Son, and He will have it no other way. We cannot slither our way into heaven through any other means. Be encouraged today Brothers and Sisters. We may not be a son or daughter of any earthly king or queen, but as a son of the Most Hight God – King Jesus, we are born again and ready to meet our Savior whenever He calls us home to glory. We are never too bad, or never too much of a pretender for God to accept us. Repent of your sins and ask God to become alive in You so that your words, actions and witness will be all about your heavenly Master.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: Jesus can save the hardened criminal or even the one who feels like they’ve always been ‘good enough’ according to the word’s standards.He came to seek and save ALL that are lost. That includes you, me, our neighbor or the drunk down the road.

PRAYER: Father God, we are reminded that there is nothing we can do of our own selves to save ourselves from our sins and ready ourselves for the portals of Heaven. John was very blunt about this with the Pharisees and Sadducees, and he may have even found reason to preach at some of our churches today. Yes, we must be saved through the righteous sacrifice of Jesus alone. But our life will always reflect who takes center place in our lives. May that always be you, and you alone dear God. As the world see Jesus in us, they might become convinced of the power of the One who sacrificed His life for the remission of our sins. Please forgive us for trying to play the fool before You, like we so often try to get away with before our fellow man. You are the one, and the only one, that we must be honest before. Please deal in our hearts and our lives so that we may have an honest relationship with You, and the one who will naturally display to the world who controls every fiber of our being. We love You Lord and we want You to be evident in all that we are. AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog that will provide you with additional information, one of them being ‘To Know Jesus’. If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please click on the above page, or speak with a local Bible Teaching Pastor, or contact me at 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!

From Spiritual Death To The Glories of Heaven

DATE WRITTEN: Friday, 2020-08-07
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: Colossians 2:13-15
TRANSLATION: Easy-to-Read Version (ERV)

BIBLE TEXT: 13 You were spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were not free from the power of your sinful self. But God gave you new life together with Christ. He forgave all our sins. 14 Because we broke God’s laws, we owed a debt—a debt that listed all the rules we failed to follow. But God forgave us of that debt. He took it away and nailed it to the cross. 15 He defeated the rulers and powers of the spiritual world. With the cross he won the victory over them and led them away, as defeated and powerless prisoners for the whole world to see.

OBSERVATION: What an awesome reminder from Paul, as his words are just as applicable to us today, as they were to the church at Laodicea that he was addressing in our Scripture today. Those who are in Christ, are uniquely blessed, and as we reflect on where we came from, and where our holy and righteous God brought us to, it is way more than we could fathom. While we have nothing to boast about, we have lots to celebrate and praise God for!

APPLICATION: Generally there will come a time where we might reflect on our lives, throw our hands up and just surrender to the idea of finding a solution to fix the dilemma in which we find ourselves. It might be a time that we reflect on our spouse, our children or even our friends, when we surrender to the thought of trying to resolve their issues for them. Sounds silly, right? But isn’t that what many of us wind up doing? Without ever stopping to acknowledge that we personally have a lot of unresolved issues, we decide it’s time to fix all that’s occurring in the lives of those close to us. In our Scripture today, Paul is reminding us that there was once a time in our lives where God heard our cry to Him about the awful pain of sin that burdened us to the point of surrender. At that point God helped us to see that we had been living contrary to His will and His commands, and He called us unto Himself. But still it is very painful to read verse 14, because we are reminded of how awful we were to ignore the will of the Father, and do our own thing instead. Following our own selfish way right in the face of a holy and righteous God so filled with love for us. As a man/woman without Christ, isn’t it obvious dear friend, how toxic our help or advice must have been to others, when we ourselves were in such dire straights with the God of this universe? Why share our misery with someone already overwhelmed with life and the pain of failure? But the bright side of this whole Scripture is that God saw us right where we were at, He called us unto Himself, pointed out our sin to us, and showed us the solution to our problem. Praise God that He loved us that much! He brought us from the path we were heading to eternal damnation (Hell), showed us the path to righteousness and how we could seek redemption for our sin, and He made it clear to us the glories of heaven with the one true God! This whole story reminds us of the total redemption in Jesus Christ, and that our Savior is still available to help those that we love and care about. Yes, we could help, but know that only Jesus could save them. Our responsibility is to openly share the same love of Jesus, that He showed to us. Our friends will clearly see that if God was loving enough, caring enough, and powerful enough to save us, surely He could do the same for them. Just as one beggar will show another beggar where to find food, we too must be willing to show others where to find the ‘gold mind’ that we found – Jesus our Lord!

PRAYER: Just as we would gladly share with a friend how to promote themselves from rags to riches, Lord I pray that we would be elated, and looking for every opportunity, to share the wondrous story of grace extended to sinners just like my readers and I. Oh so unworthy, yet we are a child of the King! Thank You precious Lord that You saw our need and our desperation, and You called us to Yourself. Just as You helped even us in our former state, I pray that You will use us to encourage others to seek You out and accept Your grace as well. Lord, may this be a day that thousands will see the need for salvation, and make the most important decision of their lives. Lord, we long to be at Your feet singing praises to our King

FOOTNOTE: There are two more pages on my blog at 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 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!

Transformed Relationships

DATE WRITTEN: Tuesday, 2020-04-14
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

Bible Reference: Romans 12:9-12
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: Let the inner movement of your heart always be to love one another, and never play the role of an actor wearing a mask. Despise evil and embrace everything that is good and virtuous. 10 Be devoted to tenderly loving your fellow believers as members of one family. Try to outdo yourselves in respect and honor of one another. 11 Be enthusiastic to serve the Lord, keeping your passion toward him boiling hot! Radiate with the glow of the Holy Spirit and let him fill you with excitement as you serve him.
12 Let this hope burst forth within you, releasing a continual joy. Don’t give up in a time of trouble,[e] but commune with God at all times.

OBSERVATION: Often times we will read about ways to, and often we are encouraged to, transform our lives into one that aligns with the will of God and in obedience of the Holy Spirit. Paul encourages us to meditate also on how these transformed lives will look to those that we connect with and call our friends. Perhaps you might be willing to join me in looking deeply into our personal relationships with others, and whether there is evidence of the Holy Spirit’s work within us as we fellowship with each other. Paul gives great guidance to us, so let’s dig in…

APPLICATION: Often times we struggle in relationships, both with family members and with friends. For there is jealousy between one another and envy and hard feelings that could quickly result, in fact, to the extent that we can’t stand to be in each other’s presence. Coworkers tend to be so competitive to reach for the top, or earn more commissions and/or recognition, so they step right over another employee, and may even do certain things to prevent that coworker from doing their best. Church members want to be in charge, or favored by the pastor, or perhaps they just can’t have their own way, so we see churches split or families leave the church and move on to another. I wonder if the result would be any different if we were to follow the advice of Paul in these two verses? Friends, Christians are to be deep into the Word at every opportunity, but not less frequently than daily, looking over God’s instructions to be sure that we live and love like Him. You see, God’s Word contains our template for love, it tells us about our Role Model, Jesus Christ. Our responsibility according to the Word, is to go and minister to the world so that all may know Jesus. Don’t you know that we are actually teaching them our evil ways when we act like the world, or like the above examples? Remember, our actions speak so loud that others will rarely hear what we are saying to them. I believe Paul is saying that we are not to be hypocritical. If we claim Jesus as Lord, then we are to live like Him and seek to squash all evil thoughts that Satan will buffet us with. Through the work of the Holy Spirit, we will seek to act like Jesus. and in no way follow the path of least resistance that are led by Satan – whose aim is to kill, steal and destroy the work of God. Friends, Jesus is coming soon and we must live with that in mind. Don’t dare live like the devil and think you’ll have time to seek forgiveness when you hear that Jesus is coming down the street. The Bible says that we must live in a state of readiness, because Jesus in no way needs our permission that the coast is clear for Him to come and gather His bride (the church – us). This means that we are to live and love like Jesus demands of us today. Don’t delay, please?

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, the creator of love, the One who showed ultimate love, please forgive me for making a mockery of living and loving like You exampled for me. You showed me how to live, and I have totally blown it. Thank You for Your servant Paul, who has reminded us that we need to live and love in ways that others might recognize as an imitation of God. This is impossible to achieve, as long as we continue to give in to the ways of this world. Father, please give my readers and I strength to be true victors in living our lives according to the model You displayed. Please help us to stay so in tuned with Your Word that it will not only impact the words from our lips, but the desires of our heart and the actions of our whole being. Lord, sadly, we must confess that we have ‘Christian’ family and friends that are living in sin, because they are acting just like Satan, and in similar ways to the above examples given. Please use this devotional today to speak to the hearts of those claiming You as Lord. Please also speak to those who have not yet accepted You as Lord, for today is the day of salvation, and there is no better time than today for them to seek Your power and Your strength so that they too might live and love like You. Lord, this old world is getting in extremely poor shape morally, for folk are becoming more and more hardened to their sin. Please, I beg You, do a mighty work in Your people today. Begin with us, Christians. Get us straight first, so that we may be Your hands and Your feet on the ground seeking to impact the lives of those that don’t know You. These things I ask humbly in Your precious name and for Your sake, AMEN!

Decide Today Whom You Will Serve

Wednesday, 2019-08-28

Bible Reference: Joshua 24:14-15
Translation: Good News Translation (GNT)

Bible Text: 14 “Now then,” Joshua continued, “honor the Lord and serve him sincerely and faithfully. Get rid of the gods which your ancestors used to worship in Mesopotamia and in Egypt, and serve only the Lord. 15 If you are not willing to serve him, decide today whom you will serve, the gods your ancestors worshiped in Mesopotamia or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are now living. As for my family and me, we will serve the Lord.”

OBSERVATION: In Joshua’s last discourse with the Israelite leaders, he brought them together and reminded them of where they came from (including their forefathers) and how they got to their current location in the position they were now in as land owners. He reminded them that it was only the love and power of God that brought them through the overwhelming challenges along their way. However, they still had a choice about whom they will worship/serve. We have the same choice to make, so let us meditate on the challenge given by Joshua and see how God might use it to help direct us today.

APPLICATION: About a year ago, on the anniversary of our church beginnings, we were reminded of how God moved mightily in so many ways as His people prayed, gave and worked together to build a sanctuary for worship to our King. Our hearths were stirred to consider how awesome it would be to see God do it again, now that we have run out of space at our current location. In our Scripture, Joshua reminded the Israelite leaders of all that God had brought them, and their ancestors through, in order to arrive at the current land of milk and honey. He showed them clearly that it was only because of God. Having heard about, and in many cases witnessed the miraculous hand of God, Joshua challenged them to now stop ‘riding the fence’ and make a decision today on whom they will choose to recognize as God of their lives and sincerely worship, for as long as they live. Does this remind you of a recent sermon you may have heard at your church? Or have you not heard of a good reason yet to attend church? Joshua made a few suggestions to the leaders on who they might choose as alternate gods, you know, the same types of options we still have available to us today, at least for a short while longer. Friend, perhaps you grew up in a home where your parents attended church, because it was their go-to place for worshipping corporately, the God that they served everyday, and that they promoted in your home. In your early teen years the cool kids from the neighborhood pulled you in to their group and you found satisfaction in the companionship, the fun and games and the things they were teaching you. Looking for them each day after school soon reminded you of your parents and their go-to place, for your friends became your go-to place. Until suddenly one day your precious mom became deathly sick, and your friends were way too busy to help you care for your mom, or give you any type of assurance about her recovery. Your ‘god’ seemed to be failing you. What on earth was happening to you? Friends, based on what Joshua told his leaders, I believe that we have a similar decision to make in our lives TODAY. Are we prepared to make a firm commitment to the god that we will follow/serve? If we choose the god of the ‘hood’ like our friend, we will find ourselves wanting, because they are incapable of fulfilling our needs like the God who created us and knows us intimately. But please don’t overlook the warning that Joshua gave, don’t say ‘yes’ to my God unless you are ready and serious about serving Him, because He could either bless you, or He could destroy you like the Amorites, for your pretense. Please allow me to guide you in this, by boldly repeating what Joshua said: regardless of what you decide, my family and I will serve the Lord and worship Him until He returns to take us home. Dear friends, my desire is that you would decide to do the same. If you don’t know my Lord intimately, please read my Footnote and be sure to follow the hyperlinks.

PRAYER: Precious Lord, You have been so good to us, yet we take Your blessings and Your gifts for granted. Please forgive us as we bow before you humbly today. Lord, we know that there is no one else like You, and that You deserve our faithfulness and total dedication. As encouraged by Your servant Joshua, may we become a people committed to serving and worshipping only You for ever and for ever. AMEN!