The Simplicity of the Cross

The great philosopher could explain what the cross was made of and every detail behind the reason that Jesus went to the cross, but isn’t it interesting how a simple person, like you or me, could talk to a friend about the old rugged cross and how it made a difference in our lives, and their mouths will drop open in wonder, hoping that this joy of which we speak, could also impact their lives? Join me in meditating on the simple story of the cross that we could share with, or preach to, our friends today and everyday.

DATE WRITTEN: Monday, 2020-04-27
WRITTEN AT: Okeechobee, FL

BIBLE REFERENCE: 1 Corinthians 1:21
TRANSLATION: The Passion Translation (TPT)

BIBLE TEXT: 21 For in his wisdom, God designed that all the world’s wisdom would be insufficient to lead people to the discovery of himself. He took great delight in baffling the wisdom of the world by using the simplicity of preaching the story of the cross[w] in order to save those who believe it.

OBSERVATION: The great philosopher could explain what the cross was made of and every detail behind the reason that Jesus went to the cross, but isn’t it interesting how a simple person, like you or me, could talk to a friend about the old rugged cross and how it made a difference in our lives, and their mouths will drop open in wonder, hoping that this joy of which we speak, could also impact their lives? Join me in meditating on the simple story of the cross that we could share with, or preach to, our friends today and everyday.

APPLICATION: Many songs have been written and sold to thousands about the old rugged cross. Many sermons have been written and shared on almost any day, with church attendees, some of which might sit and wonder ‘how on earth does this apply to me today’? Many have braved the criminals, the poor and also the rich with various tips on how to win them to the Lord. Seminary after seminary charge thousands of dollars to students wanting to pursue a degree in religious studies. In churches located in countries around the world and represented by my readers, you will find that some are led by pastors and staff who are well educated, while some may simply have a pastor, filled by the Holy Spirit who has a heart touched by God, and who desires to share his simple faith with anyone that will listen. I believe that God will speak through all men described above, but based on our Scripture today, we are also reminded that no matter how smart our church leaders might be, without a very personal and current relationship with the Master, they will simply preach what they learned from professors in seminary. For I am convinced that Jesus wants us to share what He has done in our lives, because of what God did at Calvary when He sacrificed His only Son. Share this, so that those who are lost and seeking desperately for the Light, might understand that the whole reason Jesus died and rose again, was to provide life eternally with Him in heaven. You see, one might share the account of the cross based on the Biblical story, while another might explain with deep emotion how the events of the crucifixion happened so that they might see the hope of salvation, and it is that same reality that they want to share with those listening. God has blessed many with a lot of talent. God has also blessed a lot with extreme knowledge. However, God has placed in each of us a unique experience with His Son, that only we could share. I have an awesome friend who has been blind since birth, yet he shares the love of God on Social Media and with everyone who comes into contact with Him. I know of friends who have never gone to college, yet they do an outstanding job of sharing the news of Jesus Christ with others. I have friends who are as smart as anyone on earth, and they do a great job of sharing the love of the Lord Jesus that lives inside of them. If we have something to share, we can do so successfully, and in line with this Scripture. However, if we have all the knowledge in the world and can only share text with someone, they are lightly not going to get it. God uses the foolishness of preaching to reach unbelievers. A seminary or college degree might help you explain the story well, but unless that story comes from your innermost being, I’m not sure that just words will impact those you might share those words with. Let me share with you friends that we must know Him in order to share about Him with others. Know His Word and share how it impacts your life, so that others could base their decision based on something that is proven, and truly works.

PRAYER: Lord, I pray that none of Your children will allow knowledge, or the lack thereof, to prevent them from sharing with others what they see at work in their lives. Please give us the boldness to share with others all that You have blessed us with. Help us to avoid telling the good news about what You did for famous people, although that might be a super good story, but to always share about how You impacted our lives and blessed us so wonderfully. Dear God, thank You for saving my soul. Please use me to share that story with many who have yet to accept You as Lord, so that they may see the hope that is possible for even them. Many whom we know, need the Lord. Please use us to be instruments of Your truth, Your grace and Your love, so that those in our circle of influence may know and accept You as 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 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 encourage you to visit my home church, 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 Penalty For Disobedience

Friday, 2016-07-15

Scripture

Bible Reference: Ezekiel 3:17–19

Bible Text:  17 “Son of man, I have appointed you as a watchman for Israel. Whenever you receive a message from me, warn people immediately. 18 If I warn the wicked, saying, ‘You are under the penalty of death,’ but you fail to deliver the warning, they will die in their sins. And I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 19 If you warn them and they refuse to repent and keep on sinning, they will die in their sins. But you will have saved yourself because you obeyed me.

Bible Translation: New Living Translation (NLT)

My Take

I believe that way too often we find so many excuses and reasons to not do the work of God, that we tend to doubt if it was really Him who directed us to do the work in the first place. We talk ourselves out of the things we one-time thought that God may have called us to do. Friends, you will note from the above verses that Ezekiel was not only instructed what to do, but he was given the penalties up front for both himself and the people he was supposed to minister to, if he didn’t fulfill his assignment. What? Not only will I be punished for my disobedience, but the kindhearted people that I am instructed to minister to? Wow, that has put a whole new dimension on the impact of disobedience. All along, I thought that I might suffer if I chose to do ‘my own thing’ out of deliberate disobedience, but never gave a second thought that I was also bringing damnation on those I would have ministered to. However, think carefully about this friends. If you were given the foresight into the day and the hour that a disaster would hit, wouldn’t you and those around you punish, if you chose to keep that news bottled up inside of you? I believe that God is warning us, as He did Ezekiel, that there is coming a day when Jesus will return for His children – those who have accepted Him as their personal Lord and Savior. Being filled with that knowledge and not sharing that to a point of trying to convince your family, friends or coworkers, would that not show that we are uncaring, unconcerned, unaffected by their lost condition and really don’t care if they go to Hell or not? Does that not  leave room for God to say, as He did with Ezekiel, that He will hold us responsible for the death (eternal death – Hell bound) of those individuals who were depending on us being obedient to God? Why not address this with the Master when you pray today? This really spreads to all walks of life friend. If asked to preach, teach, witness or evangelize and you do everything but your assignment, aren’t you guilty of disobedience?

Prayer

Dear God, You went to the cross willingly for us, even though You had the power to reverse that. Jesus, You showed love for us by doing Your Father’s will, knowing that this act alone would bring eternal life to Your children who would follow in obedience. Although You knew that all would not accept Your offer of love, yet You followed the commands of Your Father in total obedience. As Your children, wanting to please You in every way, we need to follow Your example of obedience. You made it clear to Ezekiel that both he and the people he was instructed to minister to, would suffer if he disobeyed. Lord, please touch the hearts of your children once again today, beginning with me, and help us to accept our responsibility seriously. We’re talking pretty serious stuff here – eternal life vs everlasting death. We know what we want, and what we desire for our family and friends, now help us to do Your will in total obedience under Your awesome strength, guidance and wisdom. In the powerful 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. 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!

Then They Will Know

THE HOLY BIBLE (The New Living Translation – John 4:42): Then they said to the woman, “Now we believe, not just because of what you told us, but because we have heard him ourselves. Now we know that he is indeed the Savior of the world.”

THOUGHTS: Humans are generally designed to share with others the news of happenings in their lives. God especially teaches that believers share the Good News of Jesus Christ at every opportunity. In the chosen verse today, we are reminded that Jesus had such an impact on the Samaritan woman He met at the well, that she immediately went to work telling her town’s people about her encounter with Jesus. I was intrigued by the Samaritans who later came back to the woman and acknowledged that although her story impacted their lives, now that they had a personal encounter with Jesus, they indeed KNEW that He is the Savior of the World. I found this encouraging, because although we are told to go into the world and share our story, seldom do we ever know of the impact our story may have had on another person’s life. However, I believe that we need to also realize that when the Samaritan woman left the well and went into town sharing her story, that it was not necessarily to achieve popularity or even to win the lost for the Lord, but she had great news of how her life was impacted by this meeting with Jesus, and she wanted to share that joyous story with anyone who would listen. Think about it friends, not only was this evident to the Samaritans, but don’t you know that there was joy in heaven knowing that a life was impacted to such an extent that the woman was overflowing with excitement and joy, and just needed to share it with anyone who would listen? So how does this story differ from your story? Have you met the Master? Has He impacted your life in such a way that you are a living witness for Jesus in everything you say or do? On this side of heaven, we may never have the honor of knowing how our lives impacted someone else, but I long to hear the words of my Savior say “Well done my son, you were a good and faithful servant”! Praise be to the wonderful name of Jesus! Another great reminder here, is that all the woman could do was to share her story, it was Jesus who impacted their lives, and to acceptance of Himself. This is the same in our case friends. We must be witnesses, while only Jesus can do the life-changing and heart surrendering necessary for our friends to truly know Him and accept the free gift of eternal life. Perhaps there are friends you are praying for their salvation. Are you helping them by the way you live before them, or are you hindering them?

PRAYER: Thank You Father for the gift of salvation! Thank You for the friends whose witness convinced me to find You and know You personally. My readers and I stand before You in awe today, knowing how much You love us and acknowledging all that You have provided for us. Because we see such a need all around us, and because of the reminder shown in this passage of scripture today, I pray that You might truly impact our lives in a way today that we might bubble over with the joy of knowing You as our Lord and Savior. In turn, may those whose lives we touch, encounter a deep desire to know You personally and follow with surrendering their lives to Your lordship and Your care. I’ll be careful to praise You for all that You accomplish dear God, for it’s in the awesome and powerful name of Your Son, Jesus, that I pray, 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!

How To Recognize the Last Days

THE HOLY BIBLE (The New Living Translation – 2 Timothy 3:1-5): 1 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!

THOUGHTS: As I meditated on this, I realized that some will stumble across this and won’t have a clue what this is all about, because unless they have heard something about the second coming of Jesus Christ, they live each day without regard to their state of readiness. To some, this might be a reminder that they have a few ‘clean-up’ items to attend to before the return of Jesus. To Christians, we are to be reminded that our work and our witness has never been as urgent as it is today. Scripture tells us that the day of Jesus’ return is known only to God, so no one else really knows. However, the Bible tells us that only the prepared (those who have accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior) will be accepted into heaven. Because of their commitment, Christians are to always be prepared to leave this old world and join with the millions who have also made a similar life-decision, to meet at the feet of Jesus and worship Him. We are also to be busy convincing those whom we love, and who we want to join us around the throne. For those who have not made it a priority to surrender your lives to Jesus, I believe that you will see from the warning signs in the scripture today, that we are living in the last days. Jesus could return before you complete the reading of this devotional. I have an obligation to also remind you that when Jesus returns to take His bride (believers in Jesus Christ) home with Him, it will not just be business as usual for those of you that are not ready. For the Bible says that you will be cast into a hot, burning, hell with Satan and his angels where you will spend a miserable eternity, without further opportunity to redeem yourself. On my phone I have a weather app that warns me of approaching danger – perhaps a tornado, or other such dangerous weather. This app was programmed to recognize these dangers based on certain conditions in the atmosphere and weather patterns. Please consider this scripture as a Biblical warning about the impending end of life as we know it today. Christians have read about heaven in the Bible, sung about it, dreamed about it and anxiously await the transition day. May I suggest to all not fitting in that category that you should consider this as a warning from God that His return is near. We are living in the last days, and He could come at any time. There will not be a shelter in which you can hide until He returns again. There are no plans for a third return. It will be heaven or hell. Where will you open your eyes in eternity? If there is the slightest doubt that it will be in heaven, may I encourage you to follow the steps outlined in my ‘Footnote’? Friend, Jesus loves you more than you can imagine and not only do I want to see you accept Him as Lord and be in the group going to heaven, but my whole idea of sharing these devotionals online, is my hope that you might be touched and prompted to join my band of fellow Christians as we await the coming of Jesus! Do it today friend! Be ready should He return before your very next hour!

PRAYER: Dear Father in heaven, thank You for providing a place for us to look forward to after our time here on this earth! In meditating on the signs in this scripture today, I am convinced that the return of Your Son to take His children home is very near, and I believe that many fellow Christians will join me in singing “Come Soon Lord Jesus“, for the stresses and heartaches resulting from these signs are hard on us. Please hear my cry today to speak to the hearts of my family and friends who have yet to accept You as Lord. They are playing such a dangerous game of procrastination. I humbly ask that You tender their hearts today, open their eyes of understanding and lead them to the truth contained in Your Word. Please, may this be the day of salvation for them? I pray that Christian friends reading this devotional today will also catch a glimpse of the urgency of which I speak, and that we may be busy about the work of the Lord today. Yes, many of us have jobs to attend today, but Lord, I believe that we are Your hands and feet on the ground, so may our lives portray Your unconditional love, and may our actions be proof of whose we are, for I believe non-believers must see living proof of a living Savior to convince them of their need. Use us oh Lord, and may Your kingdom come, for thine is the glory, for ever and ever, 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!

The Standard of Christ

The Holy Bible

11 Now these are the gifts Christ gave to the church: the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, and the pastors and teachers. 12 Their responsibility is to equip God’s people to do his work and build up the church, the body of Christ.
13 This will continue until we all come to such unity in our faith and knowledge of God’s Son that we will be mature in the Lord, measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ.

14 Then we will no longer be immature like children. We won’t be tossed and blown about by every wind of new teaching. We will not be influenced when people try to trick us with lies so clever they sound like the truth. 15 Instead, we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church. 16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

(Bible Translation and Location: New Living Translation – Ephesians 4:11-16)

Thoughts:

I have included more verses than I usually do, because God impacted me with Truth and I wanted to be sure that you had the whole picture as you read this devotional today. Friends, I believe that our churches are probably hurting more today than most other businesses, and it may have absolutely nothing to do with the declined economy that we have been challenged by. I believe that Paul has addressed a subject that we all should pay close attention to, even though in the very first verse you may get the distinct impression that he is outlining the responsibilities of church leaders. However, I took the liberty of bolding two sentences that really spoke to me. In the first, we are told that our church leaders are in place to equip us, and to build us up as a church, so that we can do the work of the Lord. Friends, this is a whole new concept for many today. Think about it, we invite our friends to church so they could hear the Word of the Lord. If we are equipped to do the work of the Lord, shouldn’t we be sharing the Word with our friends? Suppose they never attend church and you missed out on your responsibility to share the love of God with them, would you feel any less guilty about their dying without Christ? The second bolded sentence tells us the expected result when we have been properly taught and counseled by our church leaders. For we will: (1) become ‘mature’ in the Lord – I think of maturity as being a point of reference for new Christians; An example for new Christians to follow; Unwavering in our faith; and (2) Measuring up to the full and complete standard of Christ – I thinks of us being true examples of Christ. After all, we have fought the good race and kept the faith through the good times and the challenging times. I left verses 14-16 in so we could be reminded of what Paul saw as the ‘perfect’ church – one that meets the criteria taught in verses 11-13. Are family and friends seeing the ‘real thing’ in us as they monitor our lives and look for a genuine example to follow? Are we fulfilling the Great Commission by going out and sharing the Word with the whole world – our world?

Prayer:

Thank You Lord for setting the bar for us to follow, and such a perfect and unselfish one at that. You have reminded us that we are all ministers of the gospel for You in our own way. You have placed many of us in churches that are God led, and equipped with leaders as detailed in these verses that we studied today. There is therefore no excuse for us not to be vigilant in our work for the Lord in and through our personal lives. Please expand Your church today as You teach us these truths from your Word, and prompt us into the service You have placed before us. Each of us were, no doubt, impacted by the maturity of other family members or friends that touched us with the gospel, long before we actually surrendered our lives to You in a church setting. May each one reading this devotional today be made keenly aware of the ones looking to us for godly advice or leadership. May we be bold and unswerving in declaring our loyalty to You and in sharing Your love and mercy with all that we come into contact with. For I ask this in the precious name of Jesus, the only One with the power to overcome sin and darkness in the lives of those that we minister to, 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!

The Passion of Ministry

The Holy Bible

10 As surely as the truth of Christ is in me, no one in all of Greece will ever stop me from boasting about this.

(Bible Translation and Location: The New Living Translation – 2 Corinthians 11:10)

Thoughts:

I hope that no one will be turned off from the subject of today’s devotional, thinking that ‘Ministry’ is reserved only for your pastor, priest or congregational leader. For I believe that God’s Word is clear in designating each of His faithful children as His ministers, or imitators, or promoters, or believers responsible for sharing what we know about God. About the reason for our Joy, our Hope and our Eternal Destination! What really caught my attention in this short verse, is the point Paul made about not allowing anyone to stop him in what he was doing! Wow, do you realize how little the interruption might be that stops us from simply attending church? Can you recall how simple the reason was that prevented us from witnessing to that friend who was hurting and needing our Savior in their life? Isn’t it amazing how we tend to stay clear of those in a crowd who tend to openly witness? We hardly want to be seen associating with such a ‘freak’ or fanatic. Sad isn’t it? Interesting how we would probably place ourselves in harm’s way to protect a friend from danger, yet we would just as soon see them die and go to eternity in Hell with Satan and his cohorts, rather than simply sharing the joy in our hearts because of Jesus. Friends, time is short. Jesus could come today! That friend you’ve always felt God pointing you to share His salvation with, could go for his/her last drive or flight today and die in route to their destination. Please don’t let an opportunity pass by to share God’s love with them before it’s too late. Like Paul, don’t let anything or anyone stop you from sharing your passion, your ministry, your love for the Lord, with someone that God leads you to on this day!

Prayer:

Dear Father, You allowed Your very own Son to bear the shame of crucifixion as a sign of Your love for us, and as a sacrifice for us that enables us to one day be with You in glory! What amazing love! You sent men of passion to share Your Word with a world undeserving of the sacrifice they made, yet they did it because of Your love for them, and their dedication to, and love for, You. In spite of all that, today You have given us the choice to openly share the joy of our salvation with unbelieving family, friends and coworkers with a passion like that of Paul, or to simply hide the light and source of our happiness, and allow these ones to go on thinking that we are just that ‘good’ or ‘holy’. Please forgive us Lord. Please place a new boldness and passion in us that would ignite a new fire of desire and passion to openly share the source of our joy with all that we might come into contact with. Lord, may others have a desire to know You today, because of the change You will make in our lives. It’s all about You oh Lord, not us. I humbly ask this in the wonderful 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!