August 27 – Devotional: Sweet Sleep

Are you afraid of the dark? I never have been, but I am afraid of all of those things that might be hiding in the dark. There’s something about darkness that makes everything seem so scary . . . like waking up in the middle of the night with, well, a nightmare. We all have those from time to time I suppose. The result of some type of emotional stress, or maybe a bad burrito, but the tricky part is trying to determine if what you were dreaming was real, or just a dream.

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Maybe it is that confusion that keeps little ones up at night. Lately, my youngest has been having a hard time going to sleep. He has his own room now, so the buddy system (so effective against monsters) is no longer in force.  I am not always the most patient at those moments and normally send him to bed with just a simple “go to bed”. But, I found a Bible verse I am going to try, and maybe you should try it next time you have trouble falling asleep.

Proverbs 3:24 says, “If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

This is not a magical formula, but rather the result of following the advice given by a father to his son, which begins the chapter and reads “My son, do not forget my teaching, but let your heart keep my commandments, for length of days and years of life and peace they will add to you.”

You see, for the most part, a good night’s sleep is the result of a well-lived life, one of love for and obedience to His commands. So, the next time you can’t sleep one night, get up the next morning and live for Him.

Proverbs 3:24

“If you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down, your sleep will be sweet.”

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 26 – Devotional: Beware

You have to be careful, just because a person looks legit, doesn’t always mean he is.  Recently, along the East Coast of our country, exclusive country clubs have been targeted by a couple of thieves stealing cash and credit cards from the locker room. How do thieves break in to places like that, you might ask? Well, they dress the part.

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A surveillance camera caught a man wearing a blue polo shirt, golf pants, a hat and even a golf glove. But, he wasn’t there to golf. He and an accomplice stole credit cards and cash from unlocked lockers. They took the stolen goods and purchased over $8,000 in gift cards. But, the next time they tried it at a different club, employees recognized them from a police sketch. The authorities were called and let’s just say they will be wearing different outfits for a while.

In our world, all kinds of people try to fool us by looking a certain way, and it is not just thieves who want our money.  Jesus warned about people who want to lead us astray from the truth. He said in Matthew 7:15 “Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing but inwardly are ravenous wolves.

You see, some people may say nice things about Jesus. They may even claim to be following him, but instead they are looking out for their own needs and desires. How do you know? You will recognize them by the fruits of the way they live their lives.

So, the next time you see someone who is preaching a message in the name of Jesus, you better read the Scriptures for yourself and see how they are living their own life. They just may be dressed up to look like golfers.

Matthew 7:15

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.”

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 25 – Devotional: Pride Comes Before The Fall

How proud are you? I have prided myself on being proud, if you can do such a thing. I thought about that recently when I read about Jonathan Knight. He is one of those guys who stands on the side of the road and begs. He has his sign, has his favorite street corner upon which to stand, and spends hours every day looking into the faces of people as hundreds drive on by and a few, a very few stop to help.

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No, he is not begging for food, his sign does not say will work for food, but instead it reads, “Please Take a Resume.”  He holds a Master’s degree in Public Policy, Interred with a US Senator, but has not been able to land a job. So, every weekday he puts on his suit with tie, stands on a street corner and hopes that someone will take his resume and eventually offer him a job. (Los Angeles Times)

I am proud of Jonathan for not being proud.  He is not ashamed to say, Hey I need some help. I am qualified and I am willing to work. I am willing to be creative.  If I had an open job I think I would want to hire Jonathan.  But, I wonder sometimes if God would rather I not work for Him because of my pride.  How many times have we been ashamed of Him? In front of friends, or family members or even total strangers?

The Apostle Paul never was, in Romans 1:16 he writes “For I am not ashamed of the Gospel for it is the power of God that brings Salvation to everyone who believes.”  I don’t know if Jonathan Knight believes, but he is not ashamed to let everyone know of his need. May we not be ashamed of our God, who meets every need.

Pool, Bob. “Young Job-seeker Hopes Freeway Ramps Lead to an Entry-level Position.” Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 26 July 2013. Web. 03 Aug. 2013.

Romans 1:16

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes; first to the Jew, then to the Gentile.”

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 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.

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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.

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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