Daily Devotions from The Word Of God… From the heart of Ed Algreen

Posts tagged ‘Unity’

Of One Heart and Mind

Monday, 2016-11-21

Scripture

Bible Reference: John 17:20-22

Bible Text: 20 “I am not praying for these alone but also for the future believers who will come to me because of the testimony of these. 21 My prayer for all of them is that they will be of one heart and mind, just as you and I are, Father—that just as you are in me and I am in you, so they will be in us, and the world will believe you sent me. 22 “I have given them the glory you gave me—the glorious unity of being one, as we are

Bible Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

My Take

I believe that if 5 families left my city in Florida to head to Atlanta, Georgia, there would probably be several different routes taken because we all have our own ideas about what will be the fastest route, or the most scenic, or the most enjoyable due to attractions along the way that we would like to visit. However, we will all probably wind up at our final destination in Atlanta, Georgia at some point. I believe it was extremely evident to Jesus that this would be the case with His children in many walks of life, even in religious circles where we have the ultimate goal of coming face-to-face with Jesus in heaven when we pass on from this old world. I was reminded in a very bold and obvious way in our scripture today that Jesus knew right from the very beginning that this would pose a challenge for His children. I was able to see where Jesus approached the Father in much the same way as I would, if I was leaving the state of Florida on an extended retirement trip throughout the rest of the United States. There would be concerns for ministries I am involved in at my church, and there would also be concerns that my relatives would be OK with me out of the picture for an extended period of time. Now, I must quickly acknowledge that I have nothing to worry about with any of these things falling apart, because I am not the glue that holds all these things together. However, we do worry about things that mean a lot to us, if we’re not around to do our part. Friends, Jesus came to this earth for one intended purpose, to save mankind from eternal damnation. To achieve this, He showed Himself in some very bold ways – through miracles, through loving the unlovable, through sacrificing Himself so that we might not have to sacrifice anything in order to be saved from our wretched sin. However, in spite of all that He did, we went back to the Father and prayed about His concerns for the wellbeing of His church – His children here on earth. I believe that anyone meditating on this devotional today will agree that the concerns of Jesus were right on target, just like the rest of His life and ministry were. For we have such a problem here on earth in that we segregate ourselves from other believers who are headed for the same destination. In my example above, if we come across one of our friends on that long trip to Atlanta who had chosen a different route than we did, we may tease and poke a little fun at each other, but we would still welcome them and celebrate with them at the destination point. In religion, it seems like we have become so secure in our understanding of the Word of God and/or other ancillary books given to us from our respective denominations, that we erect walls between ourselves that non-Christians probably look at and wonder how many destination points are there, because obviously we are not headed to the same one! Friends, I know that this may seem like I am picking on religious denominationalism, and perhaps I am, but I believe that Jesus has shared the concern with us to ponder, that He shared with His Father when He returned to Him. What can we do about it? Jesus wants us to be ‘one’ just as He and the Father are ‘one’. We know that the trinity represents three persons all in one, meaning that they have the same attributes and same power and are the same in the eyes of the Almighty God. For us to appease Jesus in His wish for us, we must be willing to tear down the walls of hatred and separation, and love one another as we love ourselves (according to the commandment of God). Great walls separate men and women, yet they are ‘one’ in marriage. Can we please set our goals on unity in the only thing in common, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ? I get the distinct impression from our scripture that this would please Jesus beyond anything else we may attempt today. Please don’t wait for your church to adopt a philosophy to do this, I believe Jesus wants this to begin with you and I. Let’s personally commit to this wish of our Lord, and love one another unconditionally.

Prayer

Lord Jesus, You saw this coming and You prayed for this scenario ever since the beginning of time. I don’t know that things have gotten any better, so I want to commit myself to You today asking that You open my eyes to any injustices that may occur between myself and other believers in Jesus Christ. I don’t have all of the answers, but I do know that regardless of what part of the world one might be from, or the color of their skin or their financial status, we all have the same channel to travel through in order to one day see You and the Father in heaven. Please help my readers and I to live today in a way pleasing to You, and in a way that we intend to live when we sit around your feet in heaven as one body of believers. Lord, may we practice today what we expect to do ‘tomorrow’ when You call us home to glory! I ask these things in the only One who can change our hearts and our minds, and the One who set the example for us while here on earth. 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. 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!

You Are Part Of A Much Bigger Picture

May I encourage you to get your spiritual ‘Nuggets’ to start your day off right? Pretty amazing that our awesome God would consider feeding even us with His Word! May I encourage you to read the whole devotional, and look for a blessing, friend!………

Today’s Bible Reference: Romans 12:4-5
Today’s Bible Text: 4-5 Just as there are many parts to our bodies, so it is with Christ’s body. We are all parts of it, and it takes every one of us to make it complete, for we each have different work to do. So we belong to each other, and each needs all the others.
The Bible Translation: The Living Bible (TLB)

My Take Away: Friends, I believe that we can all agree that when a member of our family hurts, we all hurt. When there’s reason to celebrate by one member of our family, we all tend to celebrate with them. There is just that oneness that tends to penetrate our very soul. I believe that our scripture today reminds us that this ‘oneness’ is apparent in our Christianity also. For when our God looked at the enormous demands He had placed on us through sacrifices, and because He then found a better way, by sacrificing His only Son on Calvary’s cross, He showed His unexplainable love for us, and He showed us that He is an integral part of our lives. When we accepted Jesus as Lord, we committed to being united with Him. Because we are united with Christ, when others also become united with Him, we also have a unique oneness with them. Friends, don’t you see the picture? Just as you will do everything possible to make sure that you have healthy limbs, so that you could live without pain, you will want to do the same thing for those you are united with in Christ. There will be times that you will need them to help you through, and there will be times that they will need you. God created us to fit together in His perfect plan. Can we try all the harder to fit into His plan; to love one another; and to promote good health between each other so that we may all grow in Christ until the day He calls us home? I believe this will fulfill God’s desire for His church, and in doing so, we will be drawn closer to God and to each other. This kind of witness will speak volumes to the lost around us, for they need to see this ‘God-thing’ in action, for them to be convinced that it works! Are you ready to do your part, friend?

Prayer: Thank You Lord Jesus for all that You have done to provide for our happiness here on earth and the contentment in knowing that we have a common thread that will unite Your children while here below. Thank You for the assurance of having everything aligned for our future with You also. What more can mere man ask for. Lord, I ask that You give us strength each day to fight off the attempts by Satan to destroy unity among Your children here on earth. As You have shown ultimate love for us, may we also love one another, and by that love, may the unsaved grow in desire to know You. This is my plea, Lord. May Your perfect will be accomplished in my life today and in the lives of my readers who are willing to surrender to Your will and way, 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. 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!

2016

A Fresh Start

The Holy Bible

He tore down the wall we used to keep each other at a distance. He repealed the law code that had become so clogged with fine print and footnotes that it hindered more than it helped. Then he started over. Instead of continuing with two groups of people separated by centuries of animosity and suspicion, he created a new kind of human being, a fresh start for everybody.

(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Ephesians 2:14-15)

Thoughts:

I believe that God spoke to me through this passage this morning, like I hope He would to thousands of others that might read these verses today. Friends, it is very evident throughout the Bible that there were lots of enmity between the Jews and Gentiles. Paul explained to the Ephesian church that there is no such division after the birth of Jesus, because He came to break down the barriers that separated the two groups and make them one with Him. I am a firm believer that when we stand before God He will see believers and non-believers. Christians or non-Christians. I am saddened that although this was dealt with by God Himself by sacrificing His only Son so that these barriers might be broken down and sin dealt with once and for all, yet it seems like today we have grown further and further apart as ‘Christians’, because of denominational-ism and our strongholds on what our church believes. Is it any surprise that we seem to be losing the battle in winning the lost to Christ? They feel better off staying clear of the confusion and fighting that ‘Christians’ practice against each other. Let me give you a couple of examples that hurts my heart here on this earth regarding this issue: (1) There was once an effort to present a Christian alternative to a known evil celebration that the community was taking hold of, so churches got together to hold this alternative event. Some churches (group of Christian believers) refused to participate if certain other churches (group of Christian believers) were involved. (2) An elderly lady with dementia tried everything to prevent a relative spending time with certain other family members, why? Because she was certain they were not of her denomination. Friends this is really sad, because as Paul indicated in these verses and the verses around these, that God tore down these kinds of walls of which I referenced, so that we who know Him personally, might be ONE. Why are we practicing separation among ourselves? When we are made aware of our sin and accept Jesus as Savior, He is the same Savior for all the world who accept Him as Lord. Therefore if a person in one side of the world accepts Jesus as Lord, and someone else here in the US accepts Him as Lord, we automatically gain ‘son-ship’ with Him, making us Brothers and Sisters of the same Father. Who on earth should therefore divide us by wondering which church or denomination we belong to? At the point of salvation, we have a fresh new start – why not let us learn to worship OUR Father who art in heaven, and hallow His name, for it is His kingdom that we long for, forever and ever, amen! There is one Father and one book of instruction for life (the Bible), let us practice this oneness by being one with God!

Prayer:

Father in heaven, thank You for Your patience in dealing with us – our pettiness, our greed for having our own little group (church) with our own little twists to what we believe that Your Word teaches. This faith that we have is not about us, please teach us to be so focused on You that we will find Christian family anywhere in the world that we go, and in any church that we may choose to worship or associate with. Please help us to not place walls between us that prevent ONENESS in You. May You be central in our worship, and in our daily lives, so that we may learn from You how we should live so that we may replicate the life that You have taught us and exampled for us. Please help us to celebrate the One in whom we each believe, and pray for each other to better understand Your Word and therefore work out areas that we see things differently on, for we are a new creation in You. Blessed be the name of the Lord! I ask all this in the precious name of 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!

Be Completely United

The Bible – The Good news Translation

1 Corinthians 1:10

10 By the authority of our Lord Jesus Christ I appeal to all of you, my brothers and sisters, to agree in what you say, so that there will be no divisions among you. Be completely united, with only one thought and one purpose.

Thoughts:

I bet that as you read the above verse you may have thought that it was something that I came up with concerning your church, or perhaps telling you gossip from my church, right? I agree with you friends, however this is obviously one of those verses that Christians today throw over their shoulders and let it go on to apply to the church on the next block for whom it was truly written!! In our secular jobs we often remark that the most challenging part of our job is dealing with the people/staff. I would imagine that for our pastors the most challenging part of leading a small, or a large church is the same – dealing with the folk who cause upheaval that could quickly lead to division. Paul addressed two important areas that we should consider as we think about what we might do to prevent division:

  1. To agree in what you say – I believe that if we did like one pastor suggested when he said “Let the main thing be the main thing” then we would quickly refocus our minds, and subsequently our conversation, to the mighty works of God among the congregation; the Word of God that speaks to us in powerful ways today, as it did in the days we read about in the Word; the blessings that God has bestowed on us instead of the small aches and pains that we might feel; the great teachers that God has provided to share knowledge with us instead of the small insignificant, humanly faults they may have; and the heartfelt desire to see our family members saved; and
  2. Be completely united – Do you know what happens in marriages when a husband and wife cannot be completely united in one thought and purpose? Don’t you imagine that the same thing would happen if we bring that type of behavior into the church? Independent thinking is important friend, but in a heart of compassion and love and caring about the good of others, we must learn to be understanding, appreciative and patient in what others have to say also. We are not all at the same maturity level, so sometimes we will find that someone else may have a different idea about a topic than we do. They may not be wrong – in fact they may be trying to say the same things as you are saying, just using different terminology. We must learn to not only talk, but also to listen, and try to appreciate the heart of the person speaking.

I heard a preacher approach this subject recently and he advised that should a third party be brought up in a conversation you are having with another church member, stop the conversation until such time that the other party could join you in the conversation! Great advice to avoid the issues that Paul was addressing with the Corinthian church, and to help with the unity of our churches today! These are tips on how we can help keep unity in our church today, are you willing to do your part friend? Let’s ask God for the strength to do His will, even in our relationships with others who should know better!

Prayer:

Lord, thank You for Your patience with Your people as we try to get along here on this earth and live in such a way that we would be a witness of You to our lost family and friends. Lord, please remind us often that we will never impact the lost when we act just like them. If we are different, and if we belong to the King of Love, the King of compassion and the King of all Kings then it is time for us to leave the things of this world behind and center our hearts and minds on You, and not our personal desires and selfish ways. More of You in this old world will force out the ways of Satan that has become so prevalent, even among Christians. Please have Your will in my life dear Lord, and may my friends also see the need for a similar prayer today, is my humble plea, that I ask in the precious name of Jesus, my Lord and Savior, 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.

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