Guidance for Success

Paul told his son in the ministry, Timothy, that He should consider three different professions to help him grasp the importance of his ministry, because each have impressive drives that could teach him the values of hard work and dedication that will serve to enhance his aspirations. I believe that our time spent meditating this direction from Paul might also help us, even today.

DATE WRITTEN: Sunday, 2020-09-06
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 2 Timothy 2:3-7
TRANSLATION: Living Bible (TLB)

BIBLE TEXT: Take your share of suffering as a good soldier of Jesus Christ, just as I do; and as Christ’s soldier, do not let yourself become tied up in worldly affairs, for then you cannot satisfy the one who has enlisted you in his army. Follow the Lord’s rules for doing his work, just as an athlete either follows the rules or is disqualified and wins no prize. Work hard like a farmer who gets paid well if he raises a large crop. Think over these three illustrations, and may the Lord help you to understand how they apply to you.

OBSERVATION: Paul told his son in the ministry, Timothy, that He should consider three different professions to help him grasp the importance of his ministry, because each have impressive drives that could teach him the values of hard work and dedication that will serve to enhance his aspirations. I believe that our time spent meditating this direction from Paul might also help us, even today.

APPLICATION: One of the things that my younger sisters dreaded while growing up, was to hear my mom tell them how she wished they would pay attention to the character and habits of their older brother! They were no different than most of us, for we tend to assume we are being told that what we are currently doing counts for nothing. But friends, notice that Paul was merely using these three professions because of the qualities that normally come forth from those who chose to follow these paths. Let’s look at each individually:
~ A Soldier – Although I have never been in the military, I am told that the first thing military leaders/trainers try to achieve, is to convince new recruits that they now belong to the military and they should therefore forget all other allegiance and everything else. When in battle, soldiers know that they are to follow the orders of their commanders and no one else. They are trained to have a one-track mind. As workers in God’s army, we must also have a one-track mind, for we are to listen carefully to His commands; and follow His orders only. Anything else will result in a half-hearted soldier who can be swayed by every distraction that Satan sends our way;
~ An Athlete – In the days that our Scripture was written, if athletes trained less than 9 months, they were disqualified from competition. Imagine if churches were to ordain leaders and pastors with very basic training and experience? Paul wanted Timothy to be fully trained and very aware of the extreme stress on himself while striving to win the battle of snatching souls from the pit of hell. Satan is very real, but our God is so much more! Strive to win and not settle for anything less, when it comes to winning the lost;
~ A Farmer – My dad was a farmer, so I know how much he dreamed about the end result when he slowly cleared the ground, planted the small seeds, and tenderly and patiently nurtured the plants through to maturity and reaping. I also remember the days of harvest, for he celebrated in seeing, reaping and selling the beautiful crop. Isn’t it very obvious to see the various levels of church work in everything I just described in farming? Paul knew that Timothy would be very familiar with farming, and would therefore apply its concepts to his ministry. This is a great reminder for us as we endeavor to share our hearts and lives in the ministry of Jesus Christ!
Friends, we each have a desire to succeed in life, but what are we prepared to do in order to win? Others have shown us through their various professions, And often all we need to do is to apply the same principles that they used, and most of all, listen closely to our Chief as we head out to do His work. To sit at the feet of Jesus and look around to see all those that we touched in some way with our lives and/or our ministry, is worth every minute of every hour that we spend here on earth in training, in executing and in celebrating successes. Oh that God may be glorified through all of our efforts, is my greatest desire!

PRAYER: Lord Jesus, we thank You for all that You are to us. We thank You for softly speaking to our hearts and guiding us into accepting You as Lord, and then helping us to share that love with others. But Lord, the times seem to get rougher each and every day, so I beg You to help us remember the one-track mind and dedication of a soldier; the training and aim to win, that athletes strive for, as we strive to win the lost for the Kingdom; and also help us to remember the patience and nurturing by our farmers as they wait in anticipation for the joy that comes with harvest time. Our work seems endless and often so unrewarding, but when we allow you to guide us and work miraculously in the lives of those we touch, we are confident about the joy that will come in the morning! Oh that You may be glorified today dear Lord, and oh that You may use us powerfully in Your kingdom work here on earth. This is my humble plea today for all my readers and myself! 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. If you are anywhere near the Sebring, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would encourage you to visit my home church, 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!

Try To Please Your Commanding Officer

THE HOLY BIBLE (The Contemporary English Version – 2 Timothy 2:1-4): 1 Timothy, my child, Christ Jesus is kind, and you must let him make you strong. 2 You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others. 3 As a good soldier of Christ Jesus you must endure your share of suffering. 4 Soldiers on duty don’t work at outside jobs. They try only to please their commanding officer.

THOUGHTS: God designed us with a sense of choice in life. Parents and church workers teach children the right choices to make in life, but admittedly there are tons of other choices they could make, based on the friends they hang out, both their age and also older child-minders. However, the influence of teachers or daycare workers could also influence a child from a very early age. As adults, we grow up with these earlier age influences and we make choices impacted by the principles we have learned. Paul is teaching Timothy, and ultimately us, that when we become one with Jesus Christ, we are to live in a way that pleases Him. In fact, outside distractions and non-biblical principles will steer us away from the life our Commanding Officer desires of us. I was especially touched by the one command that we are to spread the gospel, not just to any and every one, but especially to those who will then also spread the gospel wherever they go. In fact, my takeaway on this is that I don’t just sit in Bible School and church each Sunday morning to allow the words taught, to tickle my ears, but to allow the Holy Spirit to open my ears of understanding and my eyes to the needs of those around me, so that I might share what I’ve been blessed to learn. I was taught that we are to be careful to whom we allow access to our belief system, as our allegiance to our Commanding Officer might be impeded or seriously distracted. As Christians, we are to practice that although we are in this world, we are not to be of this world and impacted by its sin and destruction. For our allegiance is to be to our Commanding Officer, Jesus Christ. Friends, your output will reflect where most of your input is coming from! Take time to evaluate self and see who has your allegiance today, please? If you need help in turning this around, please use my contact information in the ‘Footnote’. I will be happy to pray with you and give you some additional scripture that might help you realign your allegiance to our Lord and Savior!

PRAYER: Father in Heaven, please show Your favor on us once again today by blessing us with power to overcome the evil of this world and to center our thoughts and allegiance on You. Our news reports are filled with the results of evil in men’s hearts, so I am reminded that it is even the more important that Christians stand firm in our belief and our stand for our Commanding Officer. In the military, many would have been charged with defecting, and I believe that there will be a price for ‘Christians’ to pay when we see You face to face for the many times that we have defected in our allegiance to You. For some have accepted You as Lord (joined the army of Saints) yet never have chosen to learn the rules of engagement, therefore have no idea what they should be doing as a soldier, nor do they have a desire to do it. Some of us know it, but have deliberately chosen to defect. Some of us know it yet we stand wishy-washy in our belief system and in our daily commitment to You. We are ashamed dear Lord. We badly need Your strength, Your guidance and Your patience to make us stronger in our faith and more committed to our decision to be Your child, Your warriors and Your messengers. Please continue to work with us today and every day that we remain on this earth. I ask all this knowing that You are the only one true God and the only One who can give such blessings, in the name of Jesus, my Savior, AMEN!

FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or contact me at NuggetsFromGodsWord@outlook.com so that we can pray with you and give you help and or encouragement as you begin, or continue your walk with Jesus. Any words underlined above will indicate a link to a song that came to mind as I wrote the devotional. Feel free to click on the link and listen as you continue to read or pray. If this devotional was forwarded to you and you would like to see more, please go to blogger.nuggetsfromgodsword.org and read more, or you may freely subscribe for a daily email conveniently containing each day’s devotional. If you are anywhere near the Highlands County, Florida area and do not have a church home, I would be thrilled to welcome you at Bible Fellowship Church, Sebring, FL! Click the link to check out service times and/or other special activities. God is at work among us! Please consider coming to worship with us!

Strive for Perfection, Just as Christ is Perfect!

Scripture: Matthew 5

OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)

48 But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect. Matt 5:48 (NLT)

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

At the conclusion of a chapter devoted to telling us how to live a true Christ-like life, Jesus tells us that we are to strive for perfection like the only perfect One – Himself. I feel like there are several things to consider here:

  1. In Character: When we continually sin and just shrug it off to excuses like: “Well I’m sorry, after all I’m just human” or “It’s OK, I know that God will forgive me”or “Well, there’s always another chance for me to try and do this right”, then I believe that we are giving in to being a child of this world and accepting the pitfalls and weaknesses of this world rather than placing our faith solidly in the hands of the almighty and striving wholeheartedly to be like Him. Let’s aspire to be as much like Christ as possible. He will see our sincerity and help us through our human flaws;
  2. In Holiness: In striving to be more like Christ, we will find that love for, and service to others, become a priority in our lives. God showed mercy and love even to those who hated Him and chose to fight against Him. Look at how He healed the soldier in the Garden of Gethsemane. Let’s remember that we are chosen by God to carry His love into this sick world and represent Him in all of our interaction with sinners.
  3. In Maturity: Christ-like maturity doesn’t happen instantly. Just like we expect more from a teenager than we do from a child, or more from an adult than we do from a teenager because of the years of maturing into adulthood, so it is as we study God’s Word, learn more about Him and how we can become more like Him. We should be showing signs of maturing more and more each day. Friends, we don’t mature into adulthood strictly by what we learn in school – we learn it from our everyday living. So it is with maturing as a Christian – don’t depend solely on what you may learn from a weekly sermon. Get into the Word (God’s book of instruction) and learn daily what it is that God is teaching you that day to help you mature in Him.
  4. In Love: We must seek to love others with the same love that Christ loved us. He gave His life for us, while we still hated Him, while we plotted to kill Him, while we spat in His face and mocked Him. We weren’t deserving of His love, yet He gave it all to show His love for us. That’s the kind of love we must have for those that we come into contact with daily.

Christ calls us to rise above mediocrity and be perfect even as He is perfect. When we strive for this perfection we stop accepting anything less. One day we will be perfect, just as He is perfect!

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

Lord Jesus, I acknowledge that I serve the only perfect one. My desire is to daily grow to be, or mature to be, more like You in every way. This means that I am striving to also be perfect. This requires my daily time on Your Word and my ultimate desire to overcome the things of this world that will distract me in every way possible. However, I have the confidence in knowing that I serve the only One who could give me the strength, wisdom, desire, boldness and power to overcome the sinfulness of this world and strive for ultimate perfection in You. Please give me a constant desire to be more like You so that others may see Jesus in me and want to also know You. thank You for providing such an example for me to follow and mature in.