August 23 – Devotional: Pure

I was invited to speak at a major conference. Over 4300 people were in attendance.  Now, I just spoke at a breakout session with only maybe 30 in the room, but I was treated as if I was the main speaker.  I was given access to the green room for the main speakers and got to hang out with people like Luis Palau and Jim Cymbala, and also received free snacks. Plus, at my hotel room a welcome bag was given to me.

[Vimeo-]

In it was a strange looking bottle of water. It was called Voss. I had never heard of it, but as I read the bottle it claimed to be artesian water from Norway. When I looked it up online it is supposed to be among the purest water in the entire world.  Though another report said that when a group of experts tasted the water in a blind taste test, it finished sixth out of six, even behind Helsinki tap water.

I tasted it and it was good, but I don’t know that I would pay the asking price for the water. Apparently, some people do as the water has spread to over 50 countries commanding prices by the ounce I would pay for hundreds of gallons. Its purity is what drives the price. People will pay a high price for something that is pure.

Of course, the highest price ever paid for purity would undoubtedly be the price paid for your purity. You remember what the Psalmist said don’t you? “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me and I shall be whiter than snow.”

Pure snow, that melts and turns into water.  Praise be to God, for the blood of Christ.

Psalm 51:7

“Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

 

 

August 22 – Devotional: Servant Of All

Recently, I was traveling to a conference by air. The circumstances allowed for my wife to travel with me, and I was able to bring along my assistant and one of my younger staff members. Because of the way we purchased the tickets, my wife and I were on one order and then Amy and Mark were on the other.

aug22 first class

Now, I love flying, particularly this airline because they offer lots of free things, like snacks, and allow bags to fly free. I don’t really care for the “open” seating plan where you can sit anywhere you want to on the plane. So, the sooner you board, the more options you have. Since you can check-in up to 24 hours in advance, the sooner you check-in, the sooner you can board. They have two groups, A and B with each going all the way up to 60.

The last time I flew this airline I checked in 24 hours early and was in group B, and my friend who checked in later was in group A. So, when I asked my assistant what her group number was she asked me what mine was, and so I said, “B40”. She did not want to tell me hers, when I insisted she said, “A1” and Mark who was on her ticket was “A2”.  How in the world did she get such favor? Well, she paid for the upgrade. She did not pay for my upgrade, but paid the extra money and even got a free drink to boot.

What is it about us that will pay extra to go first? (It turned out, although I got on the plane a full five minutes later than they did, the only seat left for me who got on the plane last was up front.) Jesus told His disciples “Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.”

Now, there is nothing wrong with paying for an upgrade every once and a while, just don’t expect it.  Instead, be willing to serve, even those who upgrade.

Mark 9:35

“Sitting down, Jesus called the Twelve and said, ‘Anyone who wants to be first must be the very last, and the servant of all.’ ”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

 

August 21 – Devotional: The Authority of Jesus

Recently, I was invited to speak at a conference attended by 4300 people. Now, I did not get to speak to the 4300, only to the 20 who came to my breakout session. But, I got treated like all of the other guest speakers, which gave me access to the green room.

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Have you ever been to a green room for a conference of 4300?  It was nice. They had coffee, a dozen types of beverages, lots of food, a whole plethora of snacks, extra outlets to charge your phone, soft lighting and even softer couches, it was very nice.  And why was I allowed to go back there?  Because I was authorized.

I had this badge on that said “leader”.  I could show that badge and that gave me access because I had been authorized by the owner of the conference to be back there. The Pharisees in Jesus day had a hard time recognizing his authority. In Mark 12 in the first of a series of questions, the Pharisees asked him, “By what authority are you doing these things? And who gave you the authority to do these things?”

Jesus answered their question with a question, which they could not answer. Jesus chose not to answer their question.  Instead, he told a story in which he claimed to be the son of God. Which infuriated the Pharisees because they did not recognize Jesus as having the authority of the Father.

Do you recognize His authority in your life?  He said, “I am the way, the truth and the life and no one gets to the Father except through me.”  I really liked having access to the green room because the person at the door recognized the authority we were both under.  May we submit ourselves to the authority of Jesus.

Mark 11:28

“ ‘By what authority are you doing these things?’ they asked. ‘And who gave you authority to do this?’ ”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

 

 

August 20 – Devotional: God Is Forever

Jim Paul and Clyda . . . Jack and Carolyn . . . Clyde and Jean . . . Ida Hooker . . . and then I don’t know the rest. I bet you can’t do any better. You see, I just named all of my direct ancestors that I know. Can you name your parents? Probably. What about your grandparents? Both sets? What about your great grandparents? More than likely you probably can’t.

aug 20 old time photo

Has that ever dawned on you? Just three generations back are the people who are directly responsible for your being here and you don’t even know their name? What is worse is your great grandchildren will not remember you. Let me put that in perspective for you. If you have grand kids that means their kids won’t know you. Or for me, my children’s grandchildren will not know who I was, or even my name.

That is a pretty sobering thought. In such a short span we will fade off into oblivion. But, in another sense it is okay. It really is not that important to me that great grandkids know my name, as long as they know the name of Jesus. What are you doing to ensure that three generations from now people still know the name of Jesus?

In the book of Exodus we find in chapter 3:

Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you’, and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ What shall I say to them? God said to Moses, ‘I am who I am.’ And he said, ‘Say this to the people of Israel, The Lord the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.

You may be forgotten and so will I, but God’s name never will.

Exodus 3:15

“God also said to Moses, ‘Say to the Israelites, The Lord, the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob- has sent me to you.’ ”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

 

 

 

August 19 – Devotional: I Will Be With You

You would be hard pressed not to recognize the name “Rick Warren”. Pastor of the mega Saddleback Community Church, and author of the best selling book, The Purpose Driven Life, he has been an inspiration to hundreds of millions of people, but probably never more so than a few weeks ago.

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You see, after 17 Sundays of not preaching, he returned to the pulpit hand in hand with his wife. Just a few days after Easter Sunday, he discovered the lifeless body of his 27-year-old son. His son had taken his own life. After years of love, prayer, treatments, therapies, and medication – his mental illness claimed him.

As Rick and Kay Warren stepped into the pulpit they were greeted by a standing ovation as thousands flocked to encourage the family. And yet, I believe those that gathered to minister were actually ministered to as the Rev. Warren pointed them to Isaiah 43:2 which reads, “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.”

I can think of no greater pain than felt by the Warren family. Your family may have experienced that same pain . . . one that numbs the soul and brings wave after wave of depression. There are no simple solutions, no easy answers. Just at the moment it all seems so overwhelming and that you are just about to drown, if you hold onto hope, the Lord will meet you, and provide for you.

Rick Warren has pledged a series of sermons to help; you will be able to find them online. And a friend, Frank Page, has written a book called Melissa: Lessons from a Daughter’s Suicide, which I believe to be very helpful. No matter what, if you hold on to Jesus as He holds on to you, the raging waters will not sweep over you.

Isaiah 43:2

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you.”

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013

 

 

August 18 – Devotional: No Condemnation In Christ

Every so often you hear one of those stories where a man was wrongly condemned for a crime he did not commit. Then, new evidence comes to light (maybe DNA evidence or someone comes forward and confesses to the crime) and after 14 years, or 24 years he is released.

aug18 prison orange

The latest one I heard was the story of David Ranta. He was imprisoned in 1990 for the murder of a Rabbi in Brooklyn. But after being wrongfully imprisoned for 23 years, new evidence came to light and David was released. You would think it would be the happiest day of his life, and it was. But the next day, he went from prison only to suffer a heart attack the next night. Barely 48 hours after being released from prison, Ranta suffered a massive heart attack and was rushed to the hospital. (The Huffington Post)

He recovered and is now suing the government claiming that his time in prison contributed to his heart attack.  I can’t imagine what it would be like to be falsely accused and imprisoned, I am sure I would have had something worse than a heart attack.  But, there is one place where I will never be falsely accused, and that is when it comes to sin. I am guilty as charged, and stand condemned before a holy God.

“But, God”. My two favorite words together, but God sent his son to die in my place, pay for my sin and grant me a full and complete pardon.  Romans 8 reminds all of us, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

Romans 8:1

“Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.”

Oh, Inae. “David Ranta, Man Freed After 22 Years For Wrongful Conviction In Rabbi’s Murder, To Sue NYC.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 05 May 2013. Web. 03 Aug. 2013.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

 

 

August 17 – Devotional: Lookout For Danger

It read like a bad headline from an old The Far Side cartoon. Six cats pounced on the unnamed dog owner as she walked her poodle in the city of Belfort, France.  Six cats pounce on a poodle pusher? Apparently it’s true.  The story goes on to say that she was bitten repeatedly on the arms and legs and left with a torn artery, which could have proved fatal, while the dog was also badly hurt.

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They are investigating what caused the cats to attack the 31-year-old victim, but it was thought that particularly high summer temperatures might have made the cats far more aggressive than usual.

A local police spokesman meanwhile suggested that the attack was “very unusual” and therefore “a cause of great concern”. He added: “Tourists from countries like Britain should certainly be wary – they should certainly not approach these cats, or try to feed them.” (The Drudge Report)

I’m not sure what the British have to do with feral cats in France, must have had something to do with a war in the 1700s. Why do I point this out? We don’t always recognize danger. I mean, before this video if someone had warned you about being attacked by kitty cats, you probably would have just laughed.

Often the greatest dangers are ones we don’t recognize.  In the book of Proverbs the writer says, “My son, if sinners entice you,
do not consent. For their feet rush into sin and they are swift to shed blood.”

I bet the son scoffed and said, “Dad, I can handle it. These are my friends, it will be okay.”  And I am sure the woman said, “Here kitty, kitty.”  Be on the lookout for danger, it lurks everywhere, even where you least expect it.

Proverbs 1:10,16

“My son, if sinners entice you, do not consent . . . For their feet run to evil, and they make haste to shed blood.”

“Cats Attack Tourist in France | Drudge Report.” Drudge Report. N.p., 02 Aug. 2013. Web. 03 Aug. 2013.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version® (ESV®)
Copyright © 2001 by Crossway,
a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.
All rights reserved.
ESV Text Edition: 2007

2-Minute Pastor Copyright © 2013