Beware of Thieves

Jesus faced an issue that may seem to some as being unheard of today. The leaders of the day made it look like they were out to do the best for their people, but it was known, and was very obvious to Jesus, that they were out for personal gain; recognition; and holding the people hostage to only their belief and lifestyle. Jesus saw straight through this, and took the opportunity to tell the leaders through parables. Let’s see what the application might be in this for us…..

Post Date:

Saturday, 2017-11-04
SCRIPTURE

From:

John 10:9-10 (Voice)

Text:

  I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be liberated, will go in and go out, and will find pastures. 10 The thief approaches with malicious intent, looking to steal, slaughter, and destroy; I came to give life with joy and abundance.
OBSERVATION:
Jesus faced an issue that may seem to some as being unheard of today. The leaders of the day made it look like they were out to do the best for their people, but it was known, and was very obvious to Jesus, that they were out for personal gain; recognition; and holding the people hostage to only their belief and lifestyle. Jesus saw straight through this, and took the opportunity to tell the leaders through parables. Let’s see what the application might be in this for us…..
APPLICATION:
I’m not sure what the estimated percentage of Christ believers are in each country represented by my followers of this blog, but I believe that each of us are probably ashamed of that percentage, and wish that the numbers were reversed between Christians and unbelievers. So let’s take a moment and see what the challenges may be that’s causing the thieves to get to so many family members, friends, work associates and even church attendees. See if you would agree with me on some of the ‘thieves’ I will list:

  • Sports – I know, you will automatically assume that I am not a big sports fan! You are correct, but how often does our friends miss a time of worship to be at a game? Other than worshiping the players/idols, do you ever see anyone worshiping God at the sporting events? Any witnessing to the one spilling beer over you? Glued to a TV screen at home perhaps, instead of voting ‘yes’ through your attendance and participation in an evening service at your church? Careful your allegiance to your favorite sporting activity doesn’t steal the joy you would have otherwise enjoyed blessing someone else, worshiping God or advancing His kingdom!
  • Outdoor Gaming – Could almost have been included in Sports, but we often, will hear how well our friends feel like they could worship in the hunting stand, or in the boat in the middle of the lake. Careful friends, for I don’t believe this is what God intended when He said that we should practice the assembling of ourselves together to worship Him and encourage others;
  • Work – With more and more businesses opened on our popular worship days, we quickly respond that we can’t attend worship services because of our obligation to work, or because you just got off work. Does your boss know about your priority to worship God on a day that you hold holy? Is it enough of a priority that you made it a part of your employment that you be off on your day of worship? What if a co-worker told you to steal or alter the books on the other workdays, will you do that also? Your boss will respect you for having principles and practicing them.

I believe that until you are willing to state your Christian beliefs, and be willing to stand up for the principles of Christ, the world will consider you yet another counterfeit. Jesus referred to the Pharisee leaders as thieves that have come to steal and destroy good people. If you were challenged by God on any of the above things, or perhaps others, may I suggest that you revitalize your relationship with the Master and allow Him to direct your path and your priorities. He wants an intimate relationship with you, my friend. He particularly designed you for this.

PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, please enlighten us to the distractors in our life. Lord, we want to draw close to You and we know that we can’t do this when we have so many other things distracting us. It is so important that others see Jesus in us, and not the things of this world. Please give us boldness to stand firm in our beliefs and our commitment to You. Today may be a day for someone to see Jesus. Lord shine through each of us so that they may see You. 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!

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!

Condition Yourself For Seeing Jesus!

The Bible – New Living Translation

1 Corinthians 9:24–27

24 Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win! 25 All athletes are disciplined in their training. They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize. 26 So I run with purpose in every step. I am not just shadowboxing. 27 I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. Otherwise, I fear that after preaching to others I myself might be disqualified.

Thoughts:

I believe that the best way to relate to someone is to speak with them in terms that they can identify with. If speaking to a carpenter, speak in terms of what little you understand about carpentry. Paul was speaking to a church that lived and breathed sports, because the Isthmian Games (similar to the Olympic Games today) took place in a nearby town every two or three years, so they understood sports and the idea of conditioning to win a race. We should keep this in mind when speaking with folk about the Lord. In order to build a rapport with someone, a mechanic shouldn’t go to a carpenter talking about engine parts and mechanic work, but rather, make it a point to speak more about the building trade. The analogy used by Paul is very important to us today friends. If we are preparing our souls for heaven, then we must first of all know the game master. All the studying you can muster up will not open the doors of heaven to you. Jesus said in His Word that there is only one way to get into heaven: (a) admit that you are a sinner and that you need a Savior; (b) believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and that He died so that You might be saved; and (c) confess your sins to Jesus, ask Him to forgive you of your sin, and to accept you as His child. This is equivalent to being accepted into the games. Now to condition yourself in the Christian life you are to read up as much as you can on what God expects from you. Friend, this is all contained in the Bible, so make this your game book. Look into it daily so that you may strengthen your walk with the Lord. This will also grow you into the strong, conditioned child of the King that He expects. You see, He wants you to duplicate His life here on this earth so that others might see Him when they see and hear you. Winning the prize for the Christian, is to be present with the Lord when we are called away from this life (when we die). We want to be so conditioned, that when we stand before our King on that Day of Judgment, He will recognize us as one of His and that He will look at us and through a smile He would say “Well done, you have been a good and faithful servant”. Oh what a day that will be, when my Jesus I shall see!!!! So friend, the big challenge for you today is: Do You know my Lord in a personal, relational way? And if you do, are you conditioning your spiritual life daily, so that you will be ready for the day you will see Him face to face? Please waste no time in doing this, I want to see you there when I look around for you in heaven! It will be worth it all!

Prayer:

Father, thank You for providing the Rule Book for us, the ‘Coaching Book’, in fact the Book that not only leads us to You, but also helps us to condition our lives into something that is pleasing to You. Thank You for the prize you have promised us at the end of the race that we call ‘life’. You never said we would not have challenges while living this life, but praise God You have promised a home eternally with You at the end of this life for all who have accepted You as Lord and conditioned themselves to live as Your child here on this earth. As a child of Yours, we can enjoy even the most challenging days knowing that we have a prize ahead that includes living with You, walking with You, talking with You and listening to Your comforting and loving words throughout eternity! Please help us to daily condition our lives with Your Word – the play book designed by You for Your children that help us to be all that You meant for us to be while still being here on this earth. Thank You Lord for being my Savior, my Redeemer and my soon coming King! I ask all this, and praise You, in the wonderful name of Jesus, AMEN!

NOTE: 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.