Listen, Understand & Accept

You will find a few great points in this Scripture today. The people who attended this teaching by Paul were ones who had some knowledge about the Messiah already. Some listened, got it, and accepted the message, while for some it made them angry that their beliefs were in question. Do any of these reasons sound like your story from last weeks worship and teaching or preaching services that you attended? Let’s have a deeper look…

DATE POSTED Tuesday, 2022-02-15
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

SCRIPTURE FROM: Acts 17:2-4
TRANSLATION: New Living Translation (NLT)

BIBLE TEXT: As was Paul’s custom, he went to the synagogue service, and for three Sabbaths in a row he used the Scriptures to reason with the people. He explained the prophecies and proved that the Messiah must suffer and rise from the dead. He said, “This Jesus I’m telling you about is the Messiah.” Some of the Jews who listened were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas, along with many God-fearing Greek men and quite a few prominent women.

APPLICATION: Paul ‘reasoned’ with the people! Isn’t that an interesting translation? Some Sunday School, or Small Group teachers will slow down and reason with their students, but seldom do we see a preacher or pastor do that! What I like about this word, versus ‘preaching’ is that the teacher is trying to make sure that their students have all their questions answered about the Scriptures. I believe that most ‘preaching’ is delivered from the speakers understanding and belief system, and generally from a very dictatorial perspective. Getting down to the level of understanding by the audience is so important, I feel. For if we fail to help them grow in their understanding and in their relationship with Jesus, what good has it been for them to hear you speak? I love, love, love interactive teaching, for students will sometimes lend a personal perspective of what God has done in their life regarding the Scripture being studied. I know, the good teacher will know when to nip a conversation in the bud when an individual is merely showing off their own personality and/or value, but I believe it helps everyone to stay awake and alert to the teaching as they try to apply it to their own lives. I believe that to understand the heart of the congregation is to know that each one comes to church for their own reason, and expectation. Mom, dad or a spouse might force one to attend church out of traditional beliefs that it’s the place for all good people to be at least for one hour per week. Some may want to satisfy an obligation made to the pastor, or a friend, who invited them to church. But I believe that Paul was especially addressing the needs of the ones who knew about God, and His Son, but still had a lot of questions. In fact, most Jews tend to struggle with the idea of Jesus being the Messiah, and/or being equal with God. In reasoning with them from the Scriptures, Paul was using the inspired words of God Himself to spell out the truth of the Messiah and that Jesus was indeed that Messiah. Just as we walk away from church sometimes, and feel the need to rush home and study the Scriptures more, to make sure that we could believe what the preacher said that morning, the Jews also made some very critical decisions about Paul’s teachings. For some believed, and followed Paul and Silas, while some got all heated and wanted no further discussion, but instead they wanted to continue their fight of getting rid of these evangelists. Each week we have the same sort of crowds, for: some will stay at home unconcerned about hearing anything more about Jesus, because all is well in their family and they have no immediate need for Jesus; some will reluctantly go to church, because they feel obligated to their parents, spouse, friends or even the pastor; some will be at church in bodily form, but their minds are on the fishing, hunting or play grounds; but some might be interested in understanding the Word of God better, for they have seen over and over again how God has delivered, directed and comforted them through His Word. Friends, those that love you are already praying and encouraging you to go to church with them next weekend. In helping you decide, let me encourage you to go with the intent of better understanding the Word of God and applying it to your life in a way that He will personally speak to you about. If you do this, I am convinced that you will see such value in the teachings of God’s Word that you will be ready to lead the way for your family to learn from God’s Word every week going forward.

BLESSING(S) NOTED: God’s Word is invaluable for the one who desires to grow closer to Him, and to the one who needs more in life that worldly belongings. Listen to the teachings for God, and as you understand them, be obedient to what He is calling you to do.

PRAYER: Please help us Lord to keep our minds and desires fixed on You as our Lord and Mediator. May our desire to grow in knowledge of You become more intense each week. Help us to strive towards righteousness instead of finding fault with our pastor/preacher/teacher. May we, like the Jews who accepted the teaching of Paul and Silas, decide to follow You whole heartedly. 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!

We Have An Advocate

THE HOLY BIBLE (New Century Version – Hebrews 4:14-16): 14 Since we have a great high priest, Jesus the Son of God, who has gone into heaven, let us hold on to the faith we have. 15 For our high priest is able to understand our weaknesses. He was tempted in every way that we are, but he did not sin. 16 Let us, then, feel very sure that we can come before God’s throne where there is grace. There we can receive mercy and grace to help us when we need it.

THOUGHTS: Often we find it difficult talking with someone who we suspect cannot identify with what concerns us. Let me illustrate: unless a person went through a period of poverty, it would be mighty challenging for them to understand our concerns about not having enough money to meet all of the bills, or not able to go to certain doctors because we can’t afford the general examination fee, much less any other fees that might accrue during our visit. Because we face these kinds of challenges here on earth, it sometimes gives us a complex in dealing with the Lord Jesus Christ. However, these verses this morning are a breath of fresh air, as it reminds us that Jesus lived here on this earth and faced the same challenges that we now face and He did it without sinning. Therefore, as we go to the Father in prayer, we can rest assured that we are communicating with someone who knows all about the challenges that we face, so we can talk freely with Him expecting Him to not only understand, but to help us through our situation. Friends, I am excited and filled with hope that I have an advocate who knows and understands all that I face every day. He longs to hear from me so that He might receive permission to shower His help upon me. He loves me more than I love myself, so I am convinced that He has my best interest at heart. I pray that you will gain this kind of confidence in Jesus Christ even today, friend. He loves you and He wants to be your advocate before our Father. Won’t you consider letting Him in today?

PRAYER: Dear God, thank You for loving us enough to send us Your very own Son Jesus. Thank You for allowing Him to live on this earth and experience all of what we encounter each day. But most of all, thank You for bringing Him back to Your side to be our advocate. I am reminded of our Guardian Ad Litem program where children who are abused, neglected and abandoned receive the protection of a Guardian who looks out for their best interest. Thank You Lord Jesus for loving us and looking out for our best interest. Thank You for understanding our needs and our peculiarities. Lord, may we therefore trust our lives into Your hands so that You may mold us to be more like You; protect us from the evil one; and lead us to a path of righteousness, for Your name’s sake? I want to be just like You Lord, please lead me and show me the path to achieve that goal. Soften the hearts of the hardened today so that they may surrender to the only One who truly knows all about their needs and concerns. For I ask this in faith, and in the wonderful name of Jesus, my 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! 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!

Nothing is Too Difficult for You, Lord

THE HOLY BIBLE (Good News Translation – Jeremiah 32:16-18): 16 ….. I prayed, 17“Sovereign Lord, you made the earth and the sky by your great power and might; nothing is too difficult for you. 18You have shown constant love to thousands, but you also punish people for the sins of their parents. You are a great and powerful God; you are the Lord Almighty.

THOUGHTS: Jeremiah had been faithful to God and followed every command and word given to him by God. In fact he was imprisoned because of obediently delivering a word from God to the king. However, Jeremiah was still human, and as such had to depend on God and His providence, even though His actions perplexed Jeremiah. I believe that can, and does, happen to us quite frequently, for we glory in the power and majesty of God, and for all that He delivers us from, yet we see where good faithful followers are shot in their homes, crash in car accidents on the roads, lose very young loved ones, and agonize over fatal illnesses of family members. How do we possibly explain that God loves them? How can we possibly understand the love of God in such horrific situations? I love what Matthew Henry says in his commentary about this prayer of Jeremiah, and I will quote it for you: “Jeremiah adores the Lord and his infinite perfections. When at any time we are perplexed about the methods of Providence, it is good for us to look to first principles. Let us consider that God is the fountain of all being, power, and life; that with him no difficulty is such as cannot be overcome; that he is a God of boundless mercy; that he is a God of strict justice; and that he directs every thing for the best. Jeremiah owns that God was righteous in causing evil to come upon them. Whatever trouble we are in, personal or public, we may comfort ourselves that the Lord sees it, and knows how to remedy it. We must not dispute God’s will, but we may seek to know what it means.This spoke volumes to me, because I believe that we must often return to the cross when we don’t have all of the answers. God showed His love boldly at the cross – yes, through the suffering, crucifixion and death of His very own Son. So let us return to the Word when in question about why God is doing something that we don’t understand. Let’s go back to the basics and first Biblical principles. We KNOW that He loves us, so we KNOW He would do nothing to harm us, therefore let us give thanks for His mysterious work and depend on the outcome bringing glory to Him. This is difficult friends, but just remember to trust in God, no matter what we see, feel or witness occurring around us. This may often be a point at which an unrelated Brother or Sister might step alongside, encouraging you to keep the faith, so be prepared to also do that when you see difficult situations arise in the life of someone else.

PRAYER: Dear God, I am reminded that You are sovereign and that You created this earth and all that is in it. You were pleased with all that You created, so I can’t imagine why one of your small pieces of clay could find room to complain or find fault in what You did, or what You might currently do in managing all that You have made. Your servant Jeremiah has reminded me that nothing is too difficult for you, so once again I am reminded that even in those times when I don’t see the reasoning for something happening, to know and understand that You are still in control. Please touch the lives of Your people once again today with the sobering reminder that You are God, and we are not, therefore we must trust You to do what You know to be the best for us, and that will bring glory to You. I know that we would really screw things up in a hurry if You left it all up to us, so please have Your perfect will and way in my life today. Please be especially near and dear to those who are hurting today and wondering if You are still there. Draw them close to You and comfort them with Your love and reassurance. I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, my King, in all humility, 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!