When Not Fully Informed

Way too often we take on the role of Simon, where we look down our noses and wonder why God, or anyone else, is giving an unsuspecting visitor a second chance. Simon stood by in amazement that Jesus would allow the woman from this story to even touch Him. After all, she was well known for her lifestyle, and the sinful acts that she committed. Let us meditate carefully on the way that Jesus handled this situation, and hopefully we can learn from it.

Friday, 2019-07-12

Bible Reference: Luke 7:44-47
Translation: The Passion Translation (TPT)

Bible Text: 44 …“Don’t you see this woman kneeling here? She is doing for me what you didn’t bother to do. When I entered your home as your guest, you didn’t think about offering me water to wash the dust off my feet. Yet she came into your home and washed my feet with her many tears and then dried my feet with her hair. 45 You didn’t even welcome me into your home with the customary kiss of greeting, but from the moment I came in she has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You didn’t take the time to anoint my head with fragrant oil, but she anointed my head and feet with the finest perfume. 47 She has been forgiven of all her many sins. This is why she has shown me such extravagant love. But those who assume they have very little to be forgiven will love me very little.”

OBSERVATION: Way too often we take on the role of Simon, where we look down our noses and wonder why God, or anyone else, is giving an unsuspecting visitor a second chance. Simon stood by in amazement that Jesus would allow the woman from this story to even touch Him. After all, she was well known for her lifestyle, and the sinful acts that she committed. Let us meditate carefully on the way that Jesus handled this situation, and hopefully we can learn from it.

APPLICATION: To get the picture here, I would like for you to assume that you are having the pastor over for dinner. Shortly after he enters your home, and much to your embarrassment, a young lady, a distant relative, pops in for a very infrequent visit. After being introduced to your pastor, you are hoping that she would quickly leave, especially considering her tainted character, and her history of never wanting you to talk to her about the Lord. Much to your surprise, the young lady moves to the front room and makes her self comfortable on the ottoman near the pastor. Can you imagine the embarrassment, especially when you notice that the relative is asking to massage the feet of your pastor….. Can you start to get the picture of how Simon felt? But what if the pastor suddenly turns to your relative and starts speaking to her about the condition of her soul? I feel like there are stories in the Bible, such as this one, that are designed by Jesus to draw us in, and hopefully be reminded that the Gospel is for everyone – especially for those unsuspecting ones that we might otherwise brush aside and consider hopeless and perhaps helpless. Unfortunately, or perhaps fortunately, it is stories like this one that I believe Jesus placed on the heart of His writers, to get through to Christians who tend to give up on folk that seem helpless to us. In other words, way too often we lose hope on our family and friends who have chosen to live lifestyles differently to ours, and visit places we choose to avoid, or hang out with friends that we can’t identify with. Fortunately for each person on this planet, I believe that God has such a laser beam of love focused on our heart, that for a time He is able to look straight through our sin – our bad intentions; our sinful acts; our dirty words; our depressing attitudes, our determination to avoid the things of God, etc. and He looks on us as His very own; the one for whom He allowed His precious Son to be beaten, crucified, and hang shamelessly on a cross in view of the world. Friends, let’s never forget that there are some who are axe murders; some who have robbed banks; some who hate others enough that they would terrorize them to the point of death; some who attended church all of their lives, but have never surrendered their lives to the lordship of Jesus Christ; yet God looks at them in their sin and with outstretched arms, will accept their cry for forgiveness just as He did in the case of the harlot who sat at His feet in Simon’s house. As His forgiven children aiming to live just like Jesus Christ, why then should we do any differently? It’s not up to us to judge or consider anyone unworthy of Jesus Christ, for only He knows the heart of the individual and the value of his/her soul. Let’s learn to love others, like He first loved us – even while we were yet sinners.

PRAYER: You went to the cross knowing that You had never sinned, yet You were obedient to the will of the Father and gave up Your life for us – even though we were sinners. And although we may tend to look at sinful acts as something that is much worse than we ever thought of, yet we stand in disobedience to You and Your commands each and every day. Thank You Jesus for the sacrifice You made for the forgiveness of my sin, and to provide an open path to eternity with You and the Father. Oh though so unworthy, yet I’m a child of the King! This is so amazing in the eyes of mere mankind! As we strive to live our life like Your sacrificial life here on earth, please help us to extend love to those that the world may frown on as unlovable and unworthy of You. For all who believe on the Son of God, to them gave He the power of life everlasting. Praise God that He sees a perfect heart cleansed by the blood of Jesus! 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 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!

What Makes Us Unfit For God

Jesus had to get the Pharisees straight on their line of thinking, for they went out of their way to criticize Jesus and His followers for not following lots of manmade rules, while all the while harboring awful thoughts inside of them. As we study this today, I can assure you that we are no different, and would therefore recommend that you do some soul searching and honestly consider whether you are truly fit for meeting the God of this universe.

Post Date:

Thursday, 2017-05-04
SCRIPTURE

From:

Mark 7:20-23 (TLB)

Text:

20 And then he added, “It is the thought-life that pollutes. 21 For from within, out of men’s hearts, come evil thoughts of lust, theft, murder, adultery, 22 wanting what belongs to others, wickedness, deceit, lewdness, envy, slander, pride, and all other folly. 23 All these vile things come from within; they are what pollute you and make you unfit for God.”
OBSERVATION:
Jesus had to get the Pharisees straight on their line of thinking, for they went out of their way to criticize Jesus and His followers for not following lots of manmade rules, while all the while harboring awful thoughts inside of them. As we study this today, I can assure you that we are no different, and would therefore recommend that you do some soul searching and honestly consider whether you are truly fit for meeting the God of this universe.
APPLICATION:
Before we think too critically of the Pharisees, please allow me to challenge us to think about the many unwritten rules that we use when analyzing (judging) the behavior of those that we come into contact with. Often this really gets into our pious minds as to whether we think a person is fit for the kingdom of God. We tend to consider whether the place a person visits make them unfit; the words they say that might offend God; the people they hang around, that makes them guilty by association; the church they attend or the frequency of their weekly visits to that place of worship; or even the duration of their time meditating on God’s Word. Does this sound familiar friends? What do you think, do we really need God to judge our friends? So what exactly is it that God is teaching us here? He certainly is not teaching us how to judge someone, so we could erase that thought! Instead, I believe that God is teaching us to:

  • Be careful of what we fill our minds with. If we seek God’s face on a regular basis, then we will quickly conclude that we are so unworthy. If we humble ourselves before Him and seek His guidance and His direction for our lives, and we become submissive to His perfect will, then perhaps we will see Him steering us in right paths. If we fill our minds with godly things, then we will begin thinking like God and depending on Him more and more. His Word will help us to flush out those evil thoughts and desires that bombard us every day that we are in this wicked world;
  • Be the eyes, hands and feet of Jesus to those that we come into contact with. Let’s remember that each one is so valuable in the eyes of Jesus that He actually ‘gave up His life for us’. What does that mean? Friends, He had the power to raise the dead, heal the sick and make the crippled to walk again. He also had the power to wipe out the whole bunch of those that beat on Him and took Him to Calvary to be hung on a cross in mockery before the world, yet He made the sacrifice anyway. If He thought enough of each one of us to do that, how dare us to exclude some from that love? If they are special in God’s sight and worthy of the sacrifice of His precious Son, and we are endeavoring to be examples of that same Jesus, then we must look on the best and worst of mankind in the same light as He did. All are precious in His sight, and so should they be in ours.
  • Use the list of items quoted in these verses to help identify when we are off-track in our minds. To arrive at this point, we have probably already gone through many of the things I have already mentioned. Let us therefore present ourselves to God and ask Him to cleanse us and give us a new mind – one that is so filled with His grace and His mercy, so that our minds might be renewed, and refilled with the things of God and not of this wicked world.

This Brother cannot tell you what you need to do to align yourselves properly with God. So present yourselves to God and ask Him to assume, or resume leadership in your life. Ask Him to fill you with His power and His grace, so that others will see Jesus in everything that you say, hear or do, knowing that He will ultimately reflect in the way you speak or act around others.

PRAYER:
Lord Jesus, who is man that You would sacrifice Your life for us? Who is man that You would use us to minister in Your name and share Your gospel with others? Lord, we want to be fit vessels that will represent You well before a lost and dying world, but we can’t do it on our own. To be filled with You, we must totally surrender ourselves to You and ask You to assume control. Please work in and through us to accomplish Your perfect will for mankind, especially my family and friends within my realm of influence. The glory belongs to You as Your perfect will is accomplished oh Lord. 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!

Have You Washed?

THE HOLY BIBLE (The New Living Translation – Exodus 30:17-21): 17 Then the Lord said to Moses, 18 “Make a bronze washbasin with a bronze stand. Place it between the Tabernacle and the altar, and fill it with water. 19 Aaron and his sons will wash their hands and feet there. 20 They must wash with water whenever they go into the Tabernacle to appear before the Lord and when they approach the altar to burn up their special gifts to the Lord—or they will die! 21 They must always wash their hands and feet, or they will die.

THOUGHTS: Most of us are diligent about making ourselves presentable in certain places and in select circumstances. As an example, it would not be impressive for one to come for an office job interview straight from working in the yard – filled with sweat and dirt. Growing up, I remember my mom settling into her seat at church, where her first course of action would be to bow her head and pray. I believe that was a prayer of preparation for her in asking God to take away the distractions; forgive her of her sin; and make her worthy to come before Him in worship and adoration. God showed early saints that cleansing themselves before coming into His presence was important, just as He demonstrated in the actions taught in these verses highlighted today. In verse 20 God said that He would strike dead Aaron and/or his sons who may have disobeyed His command to cleanse themselves physically before entering His presence. Earlier in this chapter we are told that Moses ‘burned with anger’ when he saw how his people had turned back to their life of sin so quickly during his absence. I can only imagine how God must burn with anger and disappointment when His children, who claim Him as Lord, enters His house (church) to praise Him but drenched in the sin of our weekly encounters. The unfortunate thing that I believe we must be careful of, is that after our first visit in such a condition, we tend to become hardened to our sinful attitudes; our rude and disrespectful encounters; our disregard for God and/or His Word during the week; and therefore lose the guilt of needing to seek cleansing from God before we seek an audience with Him. Friends, we must be very careful to not make a mockery of God. He is still the Creator of this entire universe and of you and I. He is the same God that sent His Son to us as our ultimate Redeemer, Savior and Lord. He is sin-less and deserves our humility, love and respect so that we approach Him in similar form as He demanded of Aaron and his sons in verse 21 – always clean. The consequence for us could easily be as severe as God threatened Aaron – death. In the New Testament we are warned that some who have taken the Lord’s Supper unworthily have even died. Friends, we must be reminded that we fool no one but ourselves when we deliberately sin in the face of God. There is no need to pretend we are worthy of His praise, when we are saturated in sin. God knows us better than we know ourselves, so we can’t fool Him. Let us therefore humbly bow before Him and ask for His cleansing on a daily basis. Perhaps then we might be more pleasing to Him, and better represent Him to the lost of this world.

PRAYER: Lord, You alone are holy, and we are not. Please help us to acknowledge that, and to always seek Your forgiveness and Your cleansing, for we have learned from this lesson today that You deserve a clean heart from upright people. Please help us to always be conscious of our filth – our sin, and to stay so in tuned with You and Your Word that our sin will be highlighted for us, so that we might be aware of our need for You. Please be very evident in our lives today so that we may enter Your courts with praise and so that we may be worthy of representing You before those within our realm of influence. Please touch the lives of those that need to hear this word today so that they may become more effective witnesses for You in every aspect of their lives. I ask these things in the worthy and all powerful 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 read through Biblical truths on How To Know Jesus, 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 www.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!

God Chose Even You!

The Holy Bible

I’m sure that you’ve heard the story of my earlier life when I lived in the Jewish way. In those days I went all out in persecuting God’s church. I was systematically destroying it. I was so enthusiastic about the traditions of my ancestors that I advanced head and shoulders above my peers in my career. Even then God had designs on me. Why, when I was still in my mother’s womb he chose and called me out of sheer generosity! Now he has intervened and revealed his Son to me so that I might joyfully tell non-Jews about him.

(Bible Translation and Location: The Message – Galatians 1:13-16)

Thoughts:

When we recognize quality Christian leadership in a child today, and we happen to know that he is the son of a church leader, we almost instinctively whisper to our spouse, or friend, “there goes our next pastor”, right? However, have you ever been inspired to earmark a child for a future pastorate who may cause the worst problems in his school or is a terror in church, and possibly a mother’s nightmare? In these verses, Paul reminds us that we should never give up on a child, and might I dare say on an adult. You see, Paul (or Saul, as he was known in his previous life of sin) was every pastor’s nightmare, because he was dreaded by their church members for the evil and persecution that he brought to towns where he located himself. And it was in this setting that God chose Saul/Paul to become a follower of His, and to use those leadership and evangelistic qualities to serve God and not the opposing team leader, Satan. We read in scripture how Paul became quite the success for God’s ministry both to the early church, and to us through the many New Testament books that he authored. So let’s bring this into perspective. What type of evil is it that you are involved in for which you have been trying to convince God that He could never love and/or accept you? Who is that person that you have given up hope on, and that you have been trying to convince everyone about, that they are a ‘nobody’? When someone is at their worst, and we have totally given up on them, could God possibly reel them in, convict them of their sin, and use them to be a great leader for Him? Based on what we know about Paul, I believe that we can be encouraged to know that yes, God can convict even the chief of sinners, turn their lives around and use them for His ultimate glory! Think about it Christian, God chose even you and I while we were yet sinners, acting and looking quite the contrast compared to His perfection. Let’s not under-sell the future possibilities for that Brother or Sister that we have been praying for. God’s not dead and still very much in control of this world! Let’s trust Him for the possibilities He sees in us, not just the ones that we can see or imagine with our own eyes!

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, I want to thank You for seeing me for more than I deserved to be. Although not a murderer or criminal, yet my life was terrible amiss compared to the perfection that You had set before me in Your Word. Praise God, You saw me as a creation of Yours with the possibility of accepting You and serving You. In spite of this miracle in my life, and I’m sure in the lives of many of my readers, yet we still look on others and write them off, instead of witnessing to them about the love of Jesus that is also available to them. Please forgive me Lord for not seeing the possibilities that others can become, with You as their Guide and personal Savior. Please teach us to see others as You see them: sinners who, after being touched by Your hand, can become prime ministers of Yours to use their energies to reach the remained unsaved family and friends who also need You. Father, You are awesome, and I thank You for being such a forgiving, loving God! Please hear my prayer and answer within the confines of Your perfect will, for I ask this in the name of Jesus, Your Son, 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!