A Sacred Highway

The Holy Bible
(Contemporary English Bible – Isaiah 35:8-10):
8 A good road will be there, and it will be named “God’s Sacred Highway.” It will be for God’s people; no one unfit to worship God will walk on that road. And no fools can travel on that highway. 9 No lions or other wild animals will come near that road; only those the Lord has saved will travel there. 10 The people the Lord has rescued will come back singing as they enter Zion. Happiness will be a crown they will always wear. They will celebrate and shout because all sorrows and worries will be gone far away.

Thoughts: The prophet Isaiah was gifted and led by God to give us a glimpse of what children of God could expect when we leave this world. I am so tired of all the crime, the hurts, the acts of Satan at every turn, that I’m afraid will only get worse for us while still here on this old earth. However, we know that God is preparing a place for us, those who have accepted Him as Lord and King of our lives, to spend eternity with Him in heaven. Throughout the book of Revelation, we see additional insights on what we might expect, but in reading this passage in Isaiah, I was overjoyed to see that God had really been giving us a ‘visual’ quite a long time ago. I was also fascinated to note the amazing agreement by God’s messengers, for Isaiah’s prophecy is very much along the lines of what we read and understand from other parts of the Bible!

Here are some points that excited me:

  • God’s Sacred Highway – the highway name alone reminds me that God is preparing a neat place for His children to travel. To think of a highway for His kids makes me feel like I am so special to Him that He wants to roll out the red carpet for my arrival – a special road just for us!!
  • Exclusively for Christians – All the preaching and evangelizing we have ever heard comes to reality in the exclusivity mentioned here, for we are constantly reminded here on earth that only those who have surrendered their hearts and lives to Jesus will be saved. This confirms the words of our pastors, preachers and evangelists who has our best interest at heart each week as they stand in front of us an preach the gospel!
  • No fools allowed – I don’t believe that God is finding bad names to give those who don’t necessarily see everything as He does, however I believe that there are many who try to fool family, friends, pastors and even God into believing that they are saved – by their giving, or their church attendance or by the way that they take care of ones they love. I believe that God sees such folk as ‘fools’ because nothing is hid from Him. He knows our heart – the very core of mankind. Yes, even ‘fools’ will be surfaced on that day and rejected by God, as He will do with all who never claimed Him as Lord.
  • No threats – We see and hear about a lot of threats to Christians today, with some being murdered for their persistent faith in God. In vs 9 we are reminded that God’s Sacred Highway will be safe from dangers that frighten and/or hurt us!
  • Pure happiness and joy – I get excited just thinking about it, but Isaiah tells us that we will wear a crown of happiness and celebrate endlessly because all sorrows and worries will be gone forever! Praise the name of the Lord!!

When we think of traveling, we get anxious about visiting beautiful places, then we immediately start asking when, and how quickly can we begin traveling. For those that fear the arrival of this important day, you may worry how much longer do you have before you need to make a decision. Friends, the Bible is clear in saying that no man knows the hour or the day. That tells me that this could occur before you ever get to read this devotional, or it may be any number of days away. When I’m about to take a trip, I start early to make preparations. I would urge you to do the same, otherwise you may never get the opportunity to. Please see the information in my ‘Footnote’ below to help you prepare.

Prayer: Lord, You know how badly some of us live to just see retirement from regular work here on earth, so I’m sure You are well aware of the excitement that builds in the heart of a Christian when we are reminded, and think about our retirement from this earth, to graduate on to glory to be with You! This scripture given through the prophet Isaiah has done just that dear Lord, and I thank You for not only the reminder, but also for the provision You have made for me! Oh, What a Savior, Oh Hallelujah! Thank You Lord for Your mercies on me! Dear Jesus, I pray that You might use this reminder to speak to the hearts of the undecided or the procrastinators. May this be the day of decision and commitment for them. Please use Your servant today in ways that might help an unsaved person to make this most important decision in their life. You are God alone, and only You can touch the heart of a person, may this be a productive day for You in the hearts of my unsaved family and friends and for all who You will cause to stumble across this devotional on the world wide web. All glory and honor to You oh King! Thank You for hearing my prayer that I ask in Your precious and holy 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! 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!

Genuine Worship

The Holy Bible (New Century Version – Isaiah 29:13-14): 13 The Lord says: “These people worship me with their mouths, and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship is based on nothing but human rules. 14 So I will continue to amaze these people by doing more and more miracles. Their wise men will lose their wisdom; their wise men will not be able to understand.”

Thoughts: I believe that it is worthy of note when a scripture is referenced in several areas of the Bible, so not only did God get my attention as I read this passage of scripture, I noticed where vs 13 was referenced and reemphasized by Jesus himself in Matthew 15:8-9 and Mark 7:6-7. Then in vs 14, the words of Isaiah was also referenced in 1 Corinthians 1:19. Friends, this may be controversial to many who may read this devotional today, but I believe that this scripture is still something that should awaken people today. For I believe that way too many people attend church services today so they can satisfy the ‘something’ that is missing in their lives; or perhaps the traditions from their upbringing; or perhaps the pressure from friends and/or family members who might influence or invite them. However, although we might receive encouragement from time spent with other believers in corporate worship, I believe that our most sincere worship comes from those times that we are awaken by something in God’s Word; or perhaps an answer to a personal prayer that you have been burdened about; or perhaps the glory of God shown to you through His marvelous handiwork, healing or call to salvation for a hardened sinner friend that you have been earnestly praying for. For it is times such as these that you realize that there is a personal connection you have with the God of this universe, the Savior of this world, the Jesus who loved us enough to die on a cruel cross just so that we might live eternally with Him. These things create an atmosphere of personal worship in our lives that cannot be explained, and was not urged on by anyone or anything other than your personal relationship with God. Friends, let me encourage you to connect with God before you get dressed for church and worship Him personally there in your home. Then take that spirit of worship with you and allow the Holy Spirit to work in and through you as you continue to worship God through corporate worship. Let’s learn to concentrate on God, not the pretty dress or suit ahead of us, or the fallacies of the preacher as he does his best to share the Word with you. Let’s look for God in our worship services, and let’s plan to worship Him personally, even if no one else is led to expressions of worship. Our worship depends on our relationship with the King of all kings, not the atmosphere or the music or even the preaching, for if it did, we would worship for the wrong reasons. Speak with God about your attitude of worship today and seek to know if you are where He wants you to be in your worship time with Him. I believe that there is no greater joy than to know that you have worshiped God in various circumstances of your life and in every walk of your life!

Prayer: Lord, the reasons why we worship You are endless, for You are beyond description in all that You have created for us to enjoy, and for all that You spare us from each and every day, and for all that You bless us with personally. You have given us Your precious Holy Spirit to guide us, protect us and lead us unto all Truth. Yes we ache, and we have our humanly/earthly issues, but these are so minor compared to the love and peace that we enjoy from knowing You and experiencing You personally. Please Lord, help us to keep our eyes fixed on You, and not the many interruptions and interference that Satan sends our way to distract us in our relationship with You. It’s You that I live for, and You that I worship dear Lord. May my praise offering be acceptable to You oh King. Please forgive me where I fail at doing this wholeheartedly at times, I ask that You touch my life and return my attention to You whenever this occurs. Please touch the hearts of those You encourage to read this devotional today. May they find peace in their worship of You, or be reminded of its importance today, is my humble and respectful prayer that I ask in the precious 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!

Reasons To Worship

The Bible – New Living Translation

Psalm 95:6–7

Come, let us worship and bow down.

Let us kneel before the Lord our maker,

for he is our God.

We are the people he watches over,

the flock under his care.

If only you would listen to his voice today!

Thoughts:

As a child, we normally question ‘Why?’ as we learn new things or when people ask us something, or tell us to do something. Is it any different as adults? We tend to question a lot also, and we tend to object when we don’t understand why we are being asked to do something. In these focused verses from Psalm 95, David encouraged us to come, and let us worship God, let us bow down, and let us kneel before the Lord. Now, let’s look at our lives today and consider why we would want to follow this idea, or command, of David’s. After all, there is no way that we would do something like this without understanding why we are doing it! Here are some reasons I discerned from David’s command:

  • God is our maker – think about this, parents play an important role in ‘making’ their children. While they don’t demand their children to worship them, they do demand respect, honor and obedience. So when we consider God as our ‘maker’ should we not worship Him as part of our respect, honor, obedience and praise? In fact, these attributes are forms of worship!
  • He is our God – Sometimes I believe that we would sooner listen to the weatherman about Mother-Nature giving us a beautiful day, and offer up thanks to ‘Mother-Nature’ for blessing us with a great day! Friends, there is no ‘Mother-Nature’, there is God! He is the one that put this world together and created you and me to populate this earth. He is the One that created rain, the sun and all other things needed for us, and plant life, to live. He is the One who deserves our praise for the awesome days; good health; food on our tables; loving families, etc!
  • He watches over us – oh how thankful we are when sitters take such good care of our children for us. I know, we don’t worship them, but I do know that we are very thankful to them and honor them for their faithfulness to our kids. These are forms of ‘worship’ friends! If you came to church with these attributes towards God, you will be offering up praise to Him and could very easily be led into worship of Him.
  • He cares for us – I’ve been physically down a bit recently while recovering from surgery, and had to depend more on my wife, child, sister and church leaders than probably any other time in my life. Am I thankful to these individuals, and appreciate their unselfish acts in helping me when I can’t help myself? You bet I am! Do you see how this is the same way that God cares for us every day? Do you see how our hearts should be filled to overflowing with praise and thanksgiving to God when we come together to corporately worship Him?

Friends, based on the above, do you see any reason why we would need help in worshiping our God? Do you see any reason why our churches are not filled with the praises of God’s children when there are planned worship services? It begins with each of us friends, for we are the church. We are the ones that must draw close to God, so that He might draw close to us. We are the ones that must ready ourselves for corporate worship each week so that we can offer honest and heartfelt worship to our God. When the world sees this, they will be drawn to God. They must see something different than what they see in their everyday life on the streets or in secular jobs.

Prayer:

Lord Jesus, thank You for being my God. Thank You for loving me enough that You gave, so that I might have an entryway into Heaven. Thank you for watching over me and caring for me. Lord, please help me, and those that I worship with each week, to stop our busy minds, leave behind the concerns of this world, concentrate on You and worship You. Lord, this is very personal, so I believe each of us must purpose in our own hearts to give all of us to all of You, so that You may be lifted up, worshiped and praised in a manner pleasing to You. May You hear a sweet, sweet sound of personal worship from us daily, and especially when we come together for corporate worship. Thank You for hearing my prayer, oh Lord, for I am asking all this in Your precious and holy name, 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.

Do You Go Through A Cleansing Process?

Anytime we prepare ourselves for meeting with a famous person, we go to great extremes to clean ourselves up – going to the hair dresser; purchasing the right apparel for the occasion, etc. Yet, just like the tribes that Hezekiah prayed for, we too go to prayer meetings and church services, perhaps less prepared inwardly and outwardly, than if we were going to the movies. Imagine for a moment if, 30 minutes prior to leaving the house, we were to go before God and lay ourselves before Him and seek His face and His forgiveness for our sin, our littleness and our selfishness. Additionally ask God to bless us individually and expand our personal borders so that we might touch the lives of others. Can you possibly dream, or imagine, what our prayer meetings and church services would look like and sound like? Friend, we will never encounter free, unhindered, personal worship when we depend on the Praise Band to build the excitement and raise the entertainment level so that we may become involved in and excited about worshipping. We can’t build our excitement from what we feel in the band, our excitement builds from all that lies within. If we haven’t cleaned up the ‘junk’ in our lives, how can we possibly go before a ‘HOLY’ God and expect to be excited about it? Remember, He knows our every deed and thought. When we haven’t cleaned up those things, we go before Him with the same guilt that we would have if we went straight to church from a cocktail party hoping that no one will smell the alcohol on us! God said that we are to be holy, even as He is holy. Why not join me in doing our best to make sure that we go in a prepared way to meet with Him and worship Him?

Book cover

In addition, many of those who had come from the tribes of Ephraim, Manasseh, Issachar, and Zebulun had not performed the ritual of purification, and so they were observing Passover improperly. King Hezekiah offered this prayer for them: “O LORD, the God of our ancestors, in your goodness forgive those who are worshipping you with all their heart, even though they are not ritually clean.” The LORD answered Hezekiah’s prayer; he forgave the people and did not harm them.

Excitement In Seeing God at Work!

I believe that even today God still speaks to Christians, and we would also get super excited if we would slow our minds from wandering, tune into God, and allow Him to speak to us through the written Word and through the preaching and teaching of the Gospel. Way too often we go to God’s house unprepared, ready to be entertained and/or preached at, and leave feeling like we have completed our Christian duty for the week. If we would only ready our minds through prayer and meditation, prior to attending church, and then seek God for how He might be responding to our prayers and desires, I believe that we too would get excited about the miraculous things that God is still doing today! Nothing is impossible with God, but it sure would help to open our minds and it would build excitement as we see Him at work, if we prepare ourselves and tune into Him, instead of being distracted with everything else around us. God is a God of miracles, but unless we ready ourselves to see and receive His blessing, we may leave church just the way we went in, untouched  by our loving and awesome God. Friend, our communion with God is way more important than anything else that Satan may place in our minds to distract us from a blessing. Try it! Ask God to remove the distractions so that you can concentrate on Him, hear Him and be blessed by Him! I believe that you too will be amazed by what you see and hear, and the blessing that will be yours for tuning in!

Book cover

Now there were then residing in Jerusalem Jews, devout and God-fearing men from every country under heaven. And when this sound was heard, the multitude came together and they were astonished and bewildered, because each one heard them [the apostles] speaking in his own [particular] dialect. And they were beside themselves with amazement, saying, Are not all these who are talking Galileans?

Benefits of Worship and Obedience

SCRIPTURE

Studied: Psalm 112

OBSERVATION

Psalm 112:1-9 ~ … The LORD blesses everyone who worships him and gladly obeys his teachings. Their descendants will have great power in the land, because the LORD blesses all who do right. They will get rich and prosper and will always be remembered for their fairness. They will be so kind and merciful and good, that they will be a light in the dark for others who do the right thing. Life will go well for those who freely lend and are honest in business. They won’t ever be troubled, and the kind things they do will never be forgotten. Bad news won’t bother them; they have decided to trust the LORD. They are dependable and not afraid, and they will live to see their enemies defeated. They will always be remembered and greatly praised, because they were kind and freely gave to the poor.

APPLICATION

I have included a lot more scripture verses than usual today because I was so touched by it. God is so moved and blessed by our worship and obedience to Him that He used David to show us that there are many benefits to us:

  • Our children will be given great power, because God blesses all who do right;
  • We will get rich and will prosper and will always be remembered, because of our fairness;
  • We will be so kind, merciful and good, that we will be an example or role model for those who endeavor to do the right thing;
  • As we freely lend and be honest in business, we will see life go well for us;
  • We won’t ever be troubled;
  • The kind things that we do will never be forgotten;
  • Bad news won’t bother us, because we are so determined to trust the Lord in all things;
  • We are dependable (so we should be some of the best employees!);
  • We will not be afraid;
  • We will live to see our enemies defeated (although I hope that we will never have enemies!);
  • We will always be remembered and greatly praised, because we were kind and always freely gave to the poor.

Wow, wow, wow! What more can we ask for? What more can we expect? If you are like me I believe that we will say, “But I just want to worship my Lord and obey His Word”, and we will have the best goal in life, but these verses are placed to let us know that there are definite benefits to doing just that! Now put that in perspective and ask why we would deserve this kind of love and I believe that, like me, you will conclude that it is the grace of God that saves us, not anything that we might do, otherwise we might selfishly boast. God is awesome, let’s devote ourselves to worshipping Him and obeying His commands, and in turn be blessed by Him beyond all that we could imagine or expect!

PRAYER

Father, I am committed to worshipping You and obeying Your Word. I acknowledge that this will require much devotion and commitment from me and much help from You to help me keep my focus and devotion to what You teach in Your Word. I know that I will have to depend on You daily, thank You for being there for me. I am so appreciative that You would love even me to the extent of blessing me in all these ways if only I will do what I am suppose to do. Thank You Jesus!