SCRIPTURE FROM: Ephesians 4:11–13 (ERV)
TEXT: 11 ….. Christ gave these gifts to people: He made some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to go and tell the Good News, and some to care for and teach God’s people. 12 Christ gave these gifts to prepare God’s holy people for the work of serving, to make the body of Christ stronger. 13 This work must continue until we are all joined together in what we believe and in what we know about the Son of God. Our goal is to become like a full-grown man—to look just like Christ and have all his perfection.
OBSERVATION: While many of us wish that we could help others more than we feel like we have the ability, or capacity to, I believe that we are challenged with ideas on ways to accomplish this feat. Look again at verse 12 above. God gave each of His children important gifts – but notice that they are given so that we may serve others in order to make the body of Christ stronger. To help one another achieve their best in God. Wow!
APPLICATION: Wow, how often do we receive a gift, told how to use it, and then rewarded for using it? I believe the part that really touches me, is that God would trust me enough to bless me with a gift from His precious hand. I believe it is awesome that God would then direct me to use that gift to enrich the life of one that I might come into contact with! Ever thought of the fact that God is constantly looking for ways to touch His children and make us stronger in the faith? Ever thought about the fact that when we accepted Jesus as Lord of our lives, we committed ourselves to be more like Him every day, and live to mirror His ways and His character before a lost world? So would it be impossible to think for a moment that God could actually prepare us to be a ‘holy people’ who will serve others for the benefit of making the church stronger? Friends, we might tend to think that we are nobodies and that we don’t count in God’s big scheme of saving the world, but did you also consider that the angels in heaven rejoice over one sinner who repents! Friends, we will find that a sinner repents after receiving convicting evidence that Jesus is alive and that He loves and cares for all who will call on His name in repentance. Often that conviction will come through you and I, as friends of the individual, or even as an acquaintance. God can and will use all means possible to reach the hearts of His lost children. I truly believe that you and I are a vital part of that team, fellow Christian! So when we read the Word and read the exciting news that God will strengthen and embolden us to serve His church and make it stronger, please don’t brush that aside as being the responsibility of the pastor, or the elder or deacon. Take it personally, as He can and will use all of us who are trying to be just like Him in every way to actively work in His service and strengthen the lost who are searching for the Savior of the world.
PRAYER: Lord I believe in You, so I take my role seriously that You could use even me to serve Your church and make it stronger. Lord, I can only imagine the awesome work that a ‘STRONG’ church can do in it’s community, and the impact it could have on the lost, who need a Savior. Please help us to take our role seriously. It may be as simple as sharing Your love with those who feel unlovable, or it may be as extreme as preaching or teaching Your Word, so that the world will know about You. Our abilities mean very little, but our availability to be used by the King of kings is the ultimate soul winner and encourager. May You be glorified in all that You accomplish through us, and may Your kingdom be enriched from every possible thing accomplished through us. AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Isaiah 43:1-3 (TLB)
TEXT: 1 …… I have called you by name; you are mine. 2 When you go through deep waters and great trouble, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown! When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up—the flames will not consume you. 3 For I am the Lord your God, your Savior, the Holy One of Israel….
OBSERVATION: Notice the personal involvement of God in the phrases throughout these 3 short verses! Notice the person to whom these blessings pertain – you, not ya’ll; not the church in general; not the city of ???, but ‘YOU’. Now theologians might want to correct me and say that this was specifically spoken to the family of Jacob and of Israel, but when I read Ephesians 2:15, I am reminded that we are all children of the King, not just Jacob and the country of Israel. God is bold enough and personal enough to pinpoint His intention to us personally, and has no need to generalize. He’s my God, and I’m His child! You can say the same if it pertains to your commitment with Jesus Christ. How awesome is that?!!
APPLICATION: I wonder how personal we become with God? I wonder how often we stop to think that He created us and placed us in a world that He created. He saw the challenges we had in living life to the fullest and in line with the glorious provisions that He provided, so He created, miraculously, a Son that would mirror the Father, but yet He would live among us to show how personal and caring He truly is. I wonder how often we stop to ponder that when God created us, it was in His image that He chose to create us. So the choice He gave us then is: what will we decide to do personally? God strategically placed here on earth for such a time as this? To be ‘Christ-like’ and then act like Christ’s oppressor, His enemy; His mocker, His persecutor, wouldn’t that make us extremely miserable inside? Friends, these verses from Isaiah reminds us of the awesome God who created us. What He told us through the prophet has already been proven, so to sit back and question, or analyze whether God can do these things through us, is nothing short of you looking for an excuse to be disobedient and follow your own imperfect will, or to give Satan full reign in your life. Where are you at today, friends? Are you convinced that you are God’s and that He is yours? Are you convinced that what He says is actually true, possible and in fact happening in and through you as you place your faith and trust in Him and allow Him to love you, guide you and give you strength for each day? I would like to encourage you friend, not browbeat you into a feeling of guilt and worthlessness. I am just like many of you, where I struggle with the temptations of life every day, and find it extremely challenging to live in total opposition to the world around me. But praise the almighty power of God, I am a child of the King, saved from my sin by the grace offered through Jesus. Although I live on earth and face the challenges of this world, greater is He that is in me, than he that is in the world. My whole purpose in sharing these journals with you friends, is that you might be encouraged by my experiences and in my joys with the Lord. Today will be a perfect day for you to place yourself before the Master and ask Him to examine you and see if there be, any fault or sin that might separate you from His most gracious Son, Jesus. Please read my ‘Footnote’ for Scripture references surrounding a close(er) walk with the Lord. Please contact me so that I may pray with You as you strive to draw closer to the Lord.
PRAYER: Lord You are good, and Your mercies endures forever! Thank You for being patient with me and for prompting me through Your gracious Holy Spirit each and every day. Lord, may You be glorified in everything that I do and through everyone that I encounter, for I want so bad to be a living sacrifice for You, and a mirror of all that You want sinners to learn and witness from You. Lord, may You be praised, lifted up and honored this day, especially while sinners surrender their lives to You. This is my prayer, my deepest requests and my plea as I walk with You daily, AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Isaiah 40:27-31 (TLB)
TEXT: 27 ….. how can you say that the Lord doesn’t see your troubles and isn’t being fair? 28 Don’t you yet understand? Don’t you know by now that the everlasting God, the Creator of the farthest parts of the earth, never grows faint or weary? No one can fathom the depths of his understanding. 29 He gives power to the tired and worn out, and strength to the weak. 30 Even the youths shall be exhausted, and the young men will all give up. 31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength. They shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.
OBSERVATION: These verses speak to the ever daunting problem of mankind, where one becomes overwhelmed with the differences between what they desire, or want, and the perfect way that they feel something should be done, versus the actual way and means in which things occur. Added to this, mankind will often feel like no one listens, or cares about their explanation of how they feel. Not personally being a psychologist, I’m sure that there are lots of holes that you might poke into that description of what might cause one to become disheartened or disillusioned or depressed. Let’s meditate on how God responds to us through His servant Isaiah on similar matters….
APPLICATION: I was encouraged when I read these verses again, and was reminded that the God we serve is the one who created this world! He created mankind, to live in this world, and because He carefully put everything into place around the globe, where might He ever send us, that He wouldn’t best direct our path and make sure that we would wind up serving His children for His ultimate glory? There are times in our life that we feel like no one truly understands how we feel, or why we act the way we do. In fact, we may embarrass some very close to us, and we may actually look to God and question why we are so unique. Friends, we are talking about the God who created us with every piece of individuality that exists in us. The One who would one day cause a scientist to stop and question, how in the world can everyone have a truly unique fingerprint? Can you imagine a time that something would be going on in our lifetime, or that awaits in our future, that God is surprised about, or caught unawares about? May I be the first to remind you today that: There is nothing too big for our God! Nothing that He is unaware of; Nothing that He wouldn’t do for His precious children (us); Nothing that He would lead us into that He will not bless and carefully help us succeed in; and no one that He would place in our presence that He would not allow our influence, or Christ-likeness to rub off on! Therefore friends, please tell me: Why would you not trust your Father? Why would you not consult with Him when you feel like you don’t have all of the answers? Why would you not consult with the only One who knows the future, when you look for direction in making the right decisions about tomorrow? Why would you not be faithful to the end, after being reminded of how faithful Jesus was right up to His final moments? Why would you not share often about the Savior who stood in the gap for you and saved you from eternal damnation. The same One who declares the best news ever heard of, when He assures us of our eternal home in Heaven, where we will rejoice around the feet of He and His Father for all eternity? Friends, for those of us that rest our faith and trust in our Lord Jesus Christ, the Word of God declares that He Will Renew our Strength! For it is then that we will spread our wings like eagles, run but yet not get tired or weary, and walk our daily path of life without growing faint! Run to the source of all this friends, and you too can enjoy the exciting benefits that I have given you a hint of today! Jesus loves you, and wants you to love Him also! Praise Him for His goodness, and Chat with Him about your uncertainties, for He’s your Friend, your Savior and Your everlasting King!
PRAYER: Precious Lord, thank You for reminding us yet again how awesome You are, and how truly powerful You are. We are such spoiled children, who forget so easily about the Savior who gave His very life for our salvation. Please forgive us Lord, and please renew a right spirit within us – one that will open our blinded eyes and cause us to become obedient, humble and totally surrendered to You. Please help us to connect these dots first, so that in the eyes of the lost, they will truly see ‘children of God’ and not spoiled children wandering around trying to gain the world for our own selfish needs and wants. Thank You Lord for saving my soul, thank You Lord for making me whole, thank You Lord for giving to me, Thy great salvation, so rich and free! AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Hebrews 10:35-37 (TPT)
TEXT: 35 So don’t lose your bold, courageous faith, for you are destined for a great reward! 36 You need the strength of endurance to reveal the poetry of God’s will and then you receive the promise in full. 37 For soon and very soon, “The One who is appearing will come without delay!”
OBSERVATION: It seems like the whole human race is built around reacting to situations and circumstances in response to the impact that these things have on our emotional and personal gains. Think about the things that make us happy, versus the things that really upset us. In our Scripture today, we are being encouraged to look at our end goal, which never changes. Can you do it, even when things are tough? Let’s examine this a bit closer…
APPLICATION: It seems natural that we rejoice when things are happening around us that tend to make people happy, contented and satisfied. We tend to praise God for these things, as we often hope and pray that these things will happen every day while we wait for the soon return of Jesus. After all, we are anxiously awaiting the day when we will sit at the feet of Jesus and worship Him, and the Father, endlessly. However, let’s review the circumstances that tend to make people sad, disappointed and unclear, as to the end results of these circumstances. How often are we strong enough to stand in the middle of these scenarios and look beyond the obvious ‘box’ of challenges and always see the ‘end goal’? I know that it is virtually impossible to praise God in the storms of life, but friends I can assure you that there is peace in the heart of the believer knowing that God is in control of the most challenging situations that they may be faced with. Our Lord Jesus, He is the One who encourages us and blesses us at every opportunity. That’s what true ‘LOVE’ is all about friends. He proved His love for us by giving everything, when He hung on that cruel cross at Calvary. He still loves us today and watches out for us at every circumstance of our lives. Do you know Him, friend? Are you experiencing that peace in knowing that He cares for you in every circumstance of life? Are you persistent in your walk with Christ, reflecting that you trust Him and that you know the ‘end goal’ is always in sight and available for you? Verse 37 encourages us to be ready, because at any moment now, the Master could appear and come to earth to gather His own. My life’s desire is to be one of those that Jesus takes back with Him, and I would be overjoyed if He includes each of you that dig into the Word each day with me through Nuggets From God’s Word! It will be worth it all, friends!
PRAYER: Thank You Lord for saving my soul, thank You Lord for making me whole, thank You Lord for giving to me, thy great salvation so rich and free! To reflect back on the span of a lifetime and recognize all that God did to prepare us for eternity with Him, will be the crowning glory of heaven. For to see my Savior, and to enjoy His love, compassion and ti immerse myself in His eternal peace, will be more joy that I could imagine! Thank You Heavenly Father for loving even me! Please bless my readers today, and may they also catch a glimpse of You through this devotional, AMEN!
SCRIPTURE FROM: Isaiah 29:13-14 (ERV)
TEXT: 13 The Lord says, “These people come to honor me with words, but I am not really important to them. The worship they give me is nothing but human rules they have memorized. 14 So I will continue to amaze them by doing powerful and amazing things. Their wise men will lose their wisdom. Even the most intelligent among them will not be able to understand.”
OBSERVATION: Isaiah was told by God that people were gathering in His name to worship Him, but that He was not really important to them. They were taught how to worship, so they were following that pattern and doing as they were told. Doesn’t this sound very similar, especially from outward experiences, at our weekend services? Let’s look deeper into this as we apply the Scripture today…
APPLICATION: Can you imagine with me how we might feel if we entered into a basketball arena and as soon as we sat down we were encouraged to start cheering? We look to the courts and there’s nothing. How enthusiastic do you feel like you might get? As the team starts entering the courts, you’re still not feeling anything, because this is your first time to an official basketball game. However, there’s a whole row in the back of you where the fans are going nuts, as they cheer their favorite team onto the courts. So what’s the difference? Why are you not feeling anything? Could this be a sample of what happens in our churches? Could we have folk that leave church on a Sunday morning and get into their busy lives and a multitude of other priorities, and if they feel like it, and have nothing else to do, they may show up the next Sunday morning? Could this be due to there not being any personal interaction with God throughout the week? Would the divorce rates skyrocket if we acted with as little enthusiasm and interaction with our spouse? My understanding from what God is sharing through his prophet, is that when we have no relationship with Him, we may go through the motions of attending a worship service, but it may prove very challenging to worship Him, when we’ve had no personal interaction that promotes a reaction from us. If we attend a worship service we may do so with hopes of stirring up an emotion inside of a dead, silent, non-relational body that we walk around in, or we may want that wife, mother, or child to get off our back for a while, in forcing us to attend church. On the flip side of all this friends, there are many of us who have accepted Jesus as our personal Savior, and we have surrendered Lordship of our lives over to Him, to guide, protect and enable us to walk this earth imitating Him in every way. In fact, we make this a daily affair, for we turn to His Word for encouragement and direction, and we call on Him to walk us through all situations in life. In return for seeing Him treat us as His very own child; care for us unconditionally every day; see evidence of His love through His Word, and in all aspects of life, we become so full of adoration for our Lord and Savior, that praise becomes a vital part of our lives, including group services that we look forward to on Wednesday and Sunday. If you’re not feeling an attitude of praise friend, it may not be the praise team at church, nor the pastor, it may be because there is just no relationship there that causes you to worship a very personal Savior in whom you place your faith and trust in every day. I’m merely helping you recognize any shortcomings in your life friend, for God is looking for an honest, sincere, soul-searching attitude of worship from you – regardless of what is, or is not, happening around you. Seek God, and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you my friend!
PRAYER: Thank You Heavenly Father for touching our lives in every way every day. Please help us to recognize You and acknowledge You in all the miraculous things that happen to us, or around us, and may we seek to worship You in all sincerity each and every day. To God be the glory, for all the great things that You do at every turn, for such an undeserving generation. AMEN!