|Matthew 22:17-21 (MSG)|
|So tell us honestly: Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”18-19 Jesus knew they were up to no good. He said, “Why are you playing these games with me? Why are you trying to trap me? Do you have a coin? Let me see it.” They handed him a silver piece.
20 “This engraving—who does it look like? And whose name is on it?”
21 They said, “Caesar.”
“Then give Caesar what is his, and give God what is his.”
|Jesus immediately saw through the questioning that the Pharisees/Herodians were trying to entrap Him with, and follow through with a reason to arrest Him. However in Jesus’ response to their questioning He actually gave them something to ponder about themselves. In fact, this continues to challenge believers today, so let’s explore this in our application…|
|A previous pastor once told his flock that after praying earnestly for a car, his dad gave him a new one when he headed off to seminary. Of course, this became the envy of those he befriended, so they tried to entrap him by asking to borrow the car. To their surprise, he whipped out the keys, but as he handed them to his friend, he said “here you go, but this car belongs to Jesus, treat it that way”. Some may find this amusing, but friend, I want you to consider the question from Jesus, and my little story, and I really want you to stop and consider all that you can attribute to a direct gift from Jesus, or in response to prayer to Him. Let me share a few of mine to help stir your memory, or thought process: God gave me qualities to work in the financial sector, and some 45 years ago I started that career, should I whine and complain when I go to work each day, or should I praise God once again for blessing me for over 45 years of preparing and/or working in this field? Next, my wife and I were prompted to apply for entry into the US some 30 years ago, and we were quickly approved. This was much to the dismay and disappointment of my aging parents. However, we saw many things that God had stored up for us after our move: Within one year this paved the way for doctors to save the life of my dad; Shortly afterwards the life of another relative was saved; then we had a lifelong dream come true as we added a child to our family. Friends, I could go on, but suffice to say that because we allowed Jesus to lead, He showed us how awesome He truly could be to His children. This is true in many of your lives also, for who brings that beautiful sun up each day? Who allows you to have a job and another may still be struggling to find one at the moment? Who allows you to be up and moving around when another just like you, is bedridden with so some serious health issue? Who keeps you safe on the roads each day while you pass wrecks along the way? So as you evaluate these thoughts today, the question becomes: what do you do in response to all God has given, and continues to give, to you? He showed His redeeming love for you when He died on a cruel cross at Calvary, and He continues to love you as He blesses in unlimited ways that you may have thought of after reading this blog. What do you give to Him in return? How much of your time each week do you give to the Lord? How about your finances resulting from the job He directed you to and blesses you with each day? May I suggest a God-honoring, proven method on this topic? Try this: Give God at least 10% right off the top from each and every paycheck (I give on the gross), through your local church, and give it joyfully and thankfully. No worries about being able to meet the rest of your budget, for God will honor your obedience to His commands, and He will take care of the rest. If you are a God-honoring, thankful person, then be sure that you meet together with other believers at a local church at least once or twice a week, and try to bless and encourage someone there. God will see to it that blessings will be returned to you many times over! Friends, you can’t out-give God!|
|Lord Jesus, thank You for all that You have given to me and the doors of opportunity You have opened to me. Lord, it seems like we are quick to honor all that’s expected of us from government, our employer and our family, yet we often wait until our luck has run out to look to You. Please forgive us for our ungrateful hearts, and teach us to become loyal to the source and giver of all things, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. AMEN!|
|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!|
Posts tagged ‘Thanks’
Bible Reference: Romans 1:11-12
Bible Text: 11-12 For I long to visit you so that I can impart to you the faith that will help your church grow strong in the Lord. Then, too, I need your help, for I want not only to share my faith with you but to be encouraged by yours: Each of us will be a blessing to the other.
Bible Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)
I believe that way too often we ignore the needs of the person who comes to our rescue and helps us through life’s hardest challenges. Like any good pastor today, Paul was anxious to go and deliver the Word to the Roman church, because he wanted to encourage them in their faith and their ongoing ministry. To ensure that we get the right picture, let me suggest that this may mean our local pastors being so fired up about the Word God has given them to share with us in weekend services, that they can hardly wait for the moment that they stand in our pulpit to preach the Word. Now back to the story – Paul told the people that in spite of the spiritual gift he had for them, he was expecting to also be blessed by their spiritual gift to him. Friends, for the man standing in our pulpit, preaching his heart out and speaking exactly what he feels led by God to share with us, have you ever thought about how you might minister back to him? I believe that after many corporate services, we are in so much of a rush to get to the local restaurant that we never stop to think about patting the pastor on the back to encourage him, or ask him how you might pray for him, or share with him how God is blessing you, and your hope that God would do the same for your pastor. There may be some who show little concern for their pastor, because you look at him as a paid employee who is simply doing what he is paid to do. Friends, I believe that a pastor’s job is very similar to that of a teacher, where it’s more of a heart-for-the-job attitude, than any amount of money they may be paid to do the job. I believe that pastors spend limitless hours ministering to the needs of the sheep, that most parishioners never have a clue about. I believe that most pastors are so underpaid, that they face financial challenges far worst than most of their parishioners. I believe that God is speaking to us through these verses today by simply encouraging us to not settle for what we might receive from His servants, but be constantly thinking about what we might give, or how we may encourage God’s servants – our pastors. This weekend, let’s remember what Paul was asking for, and be encouraged to respond to our pastors with encouragement before they have to ask us for it. I believe that God will especially bless us for encouraging His messengers/servants to continue on in the teaching and preaching of His Word!
Thank You Lord Jesus for Your grace, and for Your mercy on even us. Thank You for blessing us with shepherds who have chosen to serve You by serving us and encouraging us. Lord, please touch each and every church attendee this weekend with a spirit of encouragement for our pastors. As they pour their hearts out to us, may we in turn be grateful and encourage them in return. Lord, we want to please You in every thing we do. I believe that by placing Paul’s desire for encouragement in Your Word, You wanted to remind us of the human needs of our pastors also. May we be alert to their needs, so that together we may receive every blessing that You have in store for us. May You be glorified in all that Your churches attempt to achieve this weekend, for I ask these things in the precious name of Jesus, AMEN!
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. 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 www.nuggetsfromgodsword.org 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 Holy Bible
28 Her children show their appreciation, and her husband praises her.
29 He says, “Many women are good wives, but you are the best of them all.”
30 Charm is deceptive and beauty disappears, but a woman who honors the Lord should be praised.
31 Give her credit for all she does. She deserves the respect of everyone.
(Bible Translation and Location: The Good News Translation – Proverbs 31:28-31)
If after reading the subject of this devotional, you panic and look at your calendars to make sure that it’s not Mother’s Day, Then I believe I can confidently say that my whole purpose for sharing this message would have been achieved! As I read this scripture I was reminded of a few things that I wanted to share with you:
- Whether it is the woman who gave birth to you, or the woman that raised you, or the women in your life that impressed Biblical and moral values upon you, I believe that you will acknowledge that there is an undaunting love there that is very hard to explain, because these ladies loved you when most folk felt you were unlovable. They sacrificed to share with you even when you felt like no one even cared. There is just that motherly attachment that is virtually impossible and/or unlikely to be broken. A love second only to that of Jesus’ love for you.
- For myself, and perhaps many of you, there is also another lady in our lives for which this wise advice applies. For at a point in our lives we found a lady who fell in love with us, yes even mean old us! I can agree with the Proverb quoted in verse 29, that no matter how special and invaluable you may feel your wife is to you, mine is the best of all! Guys, we struggle to express the kind of love that we see expressed through our wives. As I age, I find where I get pretty miserable and challenging to get along with, especially when the heat (stress) is on. Yet, if we avoid abuse to our wife, she is the one that understands our frustration and is quick to respond in helping us overcome that frustration. Because of this quality, I am convinced that our wives help us overcome many obstacles and, because of their undying love for us, they help us to succeed in life. May I encourage you to join me in finding more opportunities to praise our wives for what they do to make us better men? They truly deserve our continued praises!
I realize there are other ladies involved in our lives also (work, church, etc.) but I am convinced that it is because of the two mentioned in my key points that we are what we are today. Therefore, if this Thanksgiving Day has passed by without you giving your mother and/or wife credit, then I would humbly point you to verse 31 and ask you to be obedient to the Word of God!
Lord Jesus, thank You for the mother that You have blessed me with. Always loving, kind, protective and caring to me. May I faithfully endeavor to care for her in return as she ages gracefully? She was patient and caring for me even during my young days when most people would have given up on me. Please help me to also be patient and caring with mom now as she especially needs help from her children. Thank You also for my wonderful wife, dear Lord. Having seen me at my best and, unfortunately, at my worst throughout our 39 years of marriage, and yet to still love and care for me in spite of all that, I am truly thankful to You, and to her for allowing You to grace her with power from above for her earthy ambitions and responsibilities. I am truly a blessed man, thank You Oh God! Now may Your power and Your peace rest with each man that may meditate on this devotional today, and may Your wonderful grace continue upon our mothers and wives, for I ask this in the name of Jesus, my wonderful Lord. AMEN!
FOOTNOTE: If you have been challenged to make a decision today after reading this devotional, please speak with a local Bible Teaching pastor, or 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!
The Holy Bible
3 Every time I think of you, I give thanks to my God. 4 Whenever I pray, I make my requests for all of you with joy, 5 for you have been my partners in spreading the Good News about Christ from the time you first heard it until now. 6 And I am certain that God, who began the good work within you, will continue his work until it is finally finished on the day when Christ Jesus returns.
(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Philippians 1:3-6)
With the Thanksgiving holiday quickly approaching, those of us in America focus our hearts and minds on ‘thanksgiving’. I believe that we primarily think of giving thanks to God for all that He has blessed us with, which is the right thing to do, when we consider that ALL things come from God, and through blessing us each and every day, we go on to bless others. However Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, also saw the need to encourage us to look around us and thank those who, like us, are striving to reach the world for Jesus. In our country we have designated a month of the year to especially thank our pastors for their services. This is good, but what about the other 11 months of the year? And what about the other lay leaders/workers of the church, do they deserve a word of appreciation also? Our pastor recently reminded us that most folk come to know the Lord though the laypeople of the church, not through the preaching and/or teaching at the church. I believe you would see great encouragement among the members of our churches if we were to find something to thank each one for as we greet them at our worship services, or anywhere else we see them! Paul considered each of us as ‘partners’ in the ministry. In other scripture we, the people, are referred to as a ‘body’ with various parts, all of which are important. So friend, what is your area of ministry in the church? Think about it, in addition to the obvious ones like preaching and teaching, some are constantly offering prayers one for another, others might be encouraging a Brother or Sister who might be feeling despondent, while another might call to check on someone who didn’t make church service to make sure they are not ill. There are numerous other ways that we each may minister, but together we complete the circle of ministry ordained by God. Because we are reaching for the same goal and working for, and in the name of, the same Master, then we are partners in the ministry as indicated by Paul in the captioned verses. Be ready with an answer for a partner when they ask you about your area of ministry! Let’s be diligent in praying one for another, so that the work of the Lord might prevail and flourish!
Heavenly Father, thank You for all you did for us, and for what You continue to do for us each and every day. Thank You for those who partner with us in ministry, as together we strive to reach the world for You. Bless us with courage, stamina and a deep desire to serve You through everything that we do. May we always bless those that we come into contact with, because of You! Lord You are good, and Your mercies endure each and every day! Thank You Lord Jesus. These things I ask in You wonderful and precious name, 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!
Scripture: Genesis 32
OBSERVATION (What is God saying here?)
9 Then Jacob prayed, “O God of my grandfather Abraham, and God of my father, Isaac—O Lord, you told me, ‘Return to your own land and to your relatives.’ And you promised me, ‘I will treat you kindly.’10 I am not worthy of all the unfailing love and faithfulness you have shown to me, your servant. When I left home and crossed the Jordan River, I owned nothing except a walking stick. Now my household fills two large camps! Gen 32:9-10 (NLT)
APPLICATION (How Can I apply what God is saying here to my circumstances today?)
Jacob had worked very hard for his father-in-law Laban over the years, and because of his hard work he was rewarded with a lot of livestock. This never went to his head, but at this time when Jacob was worried about the possibility of there being trouble ahead for him, and especially knowing that he was following God’s instructions, he stopped to pray again to God for some reassurance. This was admirable for Jacob to do this, but what caught my attention was the humbleness of his prayer. He felt unworthy of all the blessings that God had showered on him over the years. While I don’t feel like I am anywhere near the humility level of Jacob, I often reflect on the poor around me and wonder in amazement about the ways that God has seen fit to bless me. I am convinced that God is in control and that He loves us so much that if we would only open our hearts to Him and surrender our stubborn selves over to the control of His mighty hand, we will stand back, like Jacob, in amazement and count our blessings and give God the praise that He alone deserves. Whether we live in what some may consider ‘a mansion’ , or whether we live in what some may consider ‘a shack’ let us thank God for His awesome mercy and blessings on our lives. Our pausing to recognize our blessing before God may never be recognized in print like Jacob’s experience was, but what is important is for God to know that our hearts are filled with amazement and thanksgiving for all that He does for us each and every day. Our God is awesome, there is no one like He is!
PRAYER (With God’s help, what am I going to do differently today because He said it?)
Thank You Father for all that You do for me each and every day. I can’t imagine what I must do to deserve Your love, Your protection, Your provision and Your will manifesting itself in and through me. The amazing thing is, that I don’t need to understand all this, but rather just to know that You love me so much that although You sent Your one and only precious Son to die for me, You would go to any extent to continue extending Your love towards me. Thank You for all that You do for me, thank You for providing the means for me to one day worship at Your feet in glory! I have so much to look forward to today and every day because of Your love. Thank You Jesus!