October 21 – Devotional: Grow In His Grace

The British are growing; the British are growing . . . at least according to a report from the BBC. Over the last one hundred years the average height of British males at age 21 rose from 167.05cm (5ft 5in) in 1871-1875 to 177.37cm (5ft 10in) in 1971-1975. Professor Tim Hatton of the University of Essex said, “Increases in human stature are a key indicator of improvements in the average health of populations.” (The Daily Star)

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Dr. John Middleton, Faculty of Public Health, agrees saying, “Increasing height is a reflection of how the availability of food and nutrition had broadly improved, until the recent excesses of fat and sugar.” (The Daily Star)

Whether it is a result or in spite of our diets, most of the industrialized world has been growing, which is a good thing, but there is another area where believers ought to be growing. With all of the readily accessible bible studies, sermons, podcasts, books, conferences and yes, even apps, we ought to be growing in accordance to 2 Peter, “In the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. For to him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity. Amen.”

Our personal spiritual growth comes as a result of our partnership with God. He truly is deserving of praise for this both now and forever, but just like physical growth can’t happen without eating of the better food, neither can our spiritual growth happen unless we partake of these great resources.

So, be thankful for all the resources that are at your disposal, and your growth will be measureable as well.

2 Peter 3:18

“But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be the glory both now and to the day of eternity.”

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

“Men’s Average Height up 11 cm Since 1870’s.” The Daily Star. BBC Online, 02 September 2013. Web. 28 September 2013.

 

October 20 – Devotional: God’s View Of Life

I had a little time to myself the other day; the family was gone so I decided to pop in a DVD.  I don’t watch that many movies and when I do, they are typically produced by Pixar, but on this occasion I went back to my childhood and put in the original Star Wars movie.

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Having seen it multiple times since 1977, I selected the audio commentary.  This is where, while the movie is playing in the background, the people who worked on the movie (either as actors or behind-the-scenes) talk about what is going on as it plays.

It is a pretty fascinating way to experience it as they tell how they made that sound, or what inspired the scene or even funny stuff that the actors remember that happened on that day of filming. I was kind of getting some inside information.

Don’t you wish you sometimes had God’s commentary of what is really going on? Just like in the book of Job where we get this behind-the-scenes conversation between God and Satan. Everything that is going to happen to poor old Job has not as much to do with Job, but is more between God and Satan.  I bet Job wishes he had heard that, the difficulties might not have been so hard to bear.

Well, we may never get the benefit of an audio commentary about all the things happening in our lives, but we do have God’s word and His promises, which are similar to that. Which is why it is so important to be reading the Bible every day, it helps provide insight into the Maker’s mind as He guides our lives.

Job 1:12

“And the Lord said to Satan, ‘Behold, all that he has in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.’ ”

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

 

 

 

October 19 – Devotional: Stand Firm

If there has ever been a voice of courage, it must be that of Winston Churchill.  From his never give up speech, to his “we shall defend this island, we shall fight on the beaches, on the fields, in the streets,” he literally poured courage into the British people in particular and to the allies in general.

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I recently finished watching a documentary and as always I came away impressed. Not only of what he was able to see before anybody else could see it, but also in his ability to get people to believe it, make sacrifices for it and against all odds achieve it.

There are times in our lives that we need someone to do that for us. In some final instructions to the church in Corinth Paul writes to a people needing encouragement, “Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

I wonder, though, if there is someone in your life that needs encouragement?  Is there someone who is facing difficult circumstances and the person can’t seem to believe?  Maybe you are to play the role of Churchill, the role of Paul in that person’s life.

Maybe you should take to them this passage, and with your best British accent say, “Stand firm in the faith, act like a man” (if they are one) and tell them to be strong.  You might be surprised what the Lord might do in that person’s life, British accent or not.

I Corinthians 16:13

“Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.”

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

 

 

 

October 18 – Devotional: Let Us Sing

A recent study found that music can strengthen the heart. Seventy-four patients suffering from heart disease were divided into three groups. One group was enrolled in exercise classes for three weeks. A second group of patients were put in the same classes but also instructed to listen to the music of their choice for 30 minutes a day. A third group would only listen to the music and do no exercise classes.

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At the end of the trial, those that only listened to the music had improved their heart function by 19%. Those that only took the exercise class boosted their heart function by 29%.  But, those that did both the class and listened to music improved their exercise capacity by 39%. (University Herald)

There really is something about music, any music, to help the heart but music that is directed toward God has the ability to not only help the heart, it can soothe the soul.  Which is why we are so often urged to worship our God. Psalm 95 begins, “Oh come, let us sing to the Lord;
let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving;
let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”

Are you discouraged; is your heart a little weak? Want to get into both physical and spiritual shape?  Then turn up your tunes, and sing praise to the Lord, you will feel better both in body and soul.

Psalm 95:1-2

“Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation! Let us come into his presence with thanksgiving; let us make a joyful noise to him with songs of praise!”

Adkins, Stephen. “Listening To Your Favourite Music Can Strengthen Heart and Improve Stamina, Study : News : University Herald.” University Herald RSS. University Herald, 03 Sept. 2013. Web. 28 Sept. 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

 

October 17 – Devotional: Walk Through The Valley

Though he died in 1936 his writings are just as fresh as the day they were when written.  Things like: “The Bible tells us to love our neighbors, and also to love our enemies; probably because generally they are the same people.” And, “Marriage is an adventure, like going to war.” (Goodreads)

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But, the English writer GK Chesterton said many other profound and helpful insights that can help us process and live life well.  One of his quotes that I ran across recently read, “One sees great things from the valley; only small things from the peak.” (Goodreads) Have you ever thought about that? . . . I think he is right, yet most of us would rather spend our lives on the peak and despise those moments in the valley.  But, what if there was something we could see or experience only from the valley?

Would you be more willing to spend time in the valley? What if I told you that God spends a lot of time in valleys – that He really is there in our valleys? You no doubt remember Psalm 23:4 which says, “Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
 your rod and your staff,
 they comfort me.”

Somehow God promises to be there, right beside us when we walk through the valley.  Are you going through a valley?  Know that God will be with you, in ways you can never experience on the peak.

Psalm 23:4

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”

Chesterton, G.K. “The Bible Tells Us To Love Our Neighbors, and Also to Love Our Enemies; Probably Because Generally They Are the Same People.” Goodreads. 2013 Goodreads, Inc. n.d. Web 28 Sept. 2013.

Chesterton, G.K. “One Sees Great Things From the Valley; Only Small Things From the Peak.” Goodreads. 2013 Goodreads, Inc. n.d. Web 28 Sept. 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

 

 

 

October 16 – Devotional: The Word Of Truth

A few weeks ago our church kicked off our Awana year on Wednesday nights.  If you are not familiar with the word, AWANA, it is an acronym for Approved Workman Are Not Ashamed based on 2 Timothy 2:15 which reads, “Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

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It began as a children’s program at the North Side Gospel Center in Chicago in 1941. Lance Latham, North Side’s senior pastor, collaborated with the church’s youth director, Art Rorheim, to develop weekly clubs that would appeal to churched and non-churched kids, leading them to trust Christ for salvation while growing them in enduring faith and service to God.

Other churches learned about the success of the program and inquired about its availability. In 1950, Latham and Rorheim founded AWANA as a Para church organization. Since that time it has continued to grow with over 18,000 churches worldwide using the material. (Awana).

Without our Awana program our Wednesday nights are kind of quiet, but when it starts back up the building is bursting at the seams. Not only is that part fun, but I know that students of all ages are memorizing Bible verses that we hope get hidden in their hearts.  We believe that in times of need and struggle that somewhere in the back of their minds the Holy Spirit will bring those verses to mind to provide guidance and encouragement.

Are you actively memorizing God’s word? If not, you can begin today. You say you can’t remember anything?  It is probably because you are not trying.  Remember the kids of Awana, and start memorizing God’s word, today.

2 Timothy 2:15

“Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth.”

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
“What is Awana?” © 1997-2012 by Awana® Clubs International. All rights reserved. n.d., n.p. 28 September 2013.

October 15 – Devotional: Fan Or Follower?

Jesus never called anyone Christians. He called his followers “disciples”.  According to Gotquestions.org (which is a great website, by the way) it says the name “Christian,” meaning “belonging to Christ,” appears to have been invented by those outside of the church. It was most likely meant as a derogatory term. Only two other times does the word appear in the New Testament (Acts 26:28; 1 Peter 4:16). The idea that the term Christian was originally a pejorative finds some support in the first epistle of Peter: “However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”

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That name has kind of stuck, and the term “Christian” today has been used as a label for everything from music to breath mints.  But being a “disciple”, well . . . that just sounds hard. Isn’t that word linked to the word discipline, like it might take some to actually follow Jesus?

Which is why there may be such a disconnect in a Christian nation that does not often act like one would think it should. So, which one are you? Do you identify with the beliefs, history and background or are you actually following Jesus, applying the spiritual disciplines of prayer, bible study, tithing, and service?

Today you can make a decision to be a follower of Jesus, not just one of his fans. Christian or disciple, the choice is up to you.

I Peter 4:16

“However, if you suffer as a Christian, do not be ashamed, but praise God that you bear that name.”

“What Is the Difference between a Christian and a Disciple?” GotQuestions.org. Got Questions Ministries, n.d. Web. 28 Sept. 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