October 25 – Devotional: Going Through Trials

She is trying for the fifth time to swim across the open waters from Havana, Cuba to the Florida Keys. She first tried when she was 28 years old. Today, at 64, she was trying one last time over Labor Day weekend to swim the 100 miles. While she lives in opposition to God’s plan with her lifestyle choices, Diana Nyad does exemplify what it means to persevere and never give up. (Miami Herald)

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She has been stopped in her quest by jellyfish stings, storms, severe fatigue and exhaustion; yet, she keeps training and trying. I must admire her accomplishments if nothing else, because while “if at first you don’t succeed, you must try, try again” is not found in the Bible, the command for believers to keep trying and never give up certainly is.

In James 1:12 we are told, “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.”

Once you claim Christ as your Lord, and live according to His teachings and not the teachings of the world, you will find yourself opposed . . . often times by those whose sting is much worse than a jellyfish.  How you respond is a pretty good indication of who you really are, especially in the face of opposition.

Are you undergoing trails? Maybe as a result of your standing up for the truth? Is it getting harder and harder to follow Jesus? Don’t give up; there is a crown of life waiting for you.

James 1:12

“Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.”

Robertson, Linda. “Other Sports.” The Miami Herald. Miami Herald Media Co 2013, 18 Sept. 2013. Web. 03 Oct. 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 24 – Devotional: Delays

I was finally ready for some football. After six months of an off-season the NFL was ready to kickoff the new season. NBC had a pregame show, there were dancing girls and even Ryan Seacrest to declare the final countdown to kickoff, replete with the Swedish hair band Europe’s 1980s anthem “The Final Countdown”.  Then, with a 32 second countdown utilizing a famous player from each of the 32 NFL clubs, it was time to start.

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Only one problem . . . there were thunderstorms in the area and the game was delayed.  Sure – all of the fans were there, but it was too dangerous for the players. So, after all of the buildup nothing happened, and all of commentators who had already spent thirty minutes in the pregame show, spent the next thirty minutes rehashing all they said.  It was pretty frustrating, most delays are, even those from God.

 

Delays are also potentially dangerous. It was in a delay that the people rebelled against God. Remember when God called Moses onto the mountain?  He was gone for 40 days and 40 nights and here was the response: “When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, ‘Up, make us gods who shall go before us.’ ” Aaron caved and it did not go well for God’s people.

If you are in a delay, just relax and trust the Lord; if you don’t – you might just do something you will regret.

Exodus 32:1

“When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down from the mountain, the people gathered themselves together to Aaron and said to him, ‘Up, make us gods who shall go before us. As for this Moses, the man who brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we do not know what has become of him.’ ”

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 23 – Devotional: God Resists The Proud

Malcolm Mitchell is probably kicking himself today. The top-returning receiver for the Georgia Bulldogs injured himself in the first game of the season. Actually, he injured himself on the first touchdown play of the year. No, he wasn’t tackled scoring the touchdown; he did not even score on the play. In his exuberance he jumped up to chest bump Todd Gurley who just scored on a 75 yard run, and he landed awkwardly, tearing his ACL. He will miss the remainder of the season. Poor Malcolm. (USA Today)

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But, he is not the first to suffer consequences for excessive celebration. In Daniel 5 we are told the story of Belshazzar. He was the king of the Babylonians and to celebrate his rise to power he had all of the gold and silver cups his father, Nebuchadnezzar, had placed in the Jewish Temple removed. He threw a party using them like Red Solo Cups.

A hand started writing on the wall a message that only Daniel was able to read and he told the king that it said, “God has numbered the days of your reign and brought it to an end. You have been weighed on the scales and found wanting. Your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” That very night, Belshazzar died.

God resists the proud and favors the humble. Anytime a person tries to take credit for something he/she did not have anything to do with, bad things can happen. So, be careful how you celebrate what you presume to be your victories. They may just be your defeat.

Daniel 5:30-31

That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was killed. And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old.

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

“Georgia Bulldogs Lose WR Malcolm Mitchell to Injury.” USA Today. Gannett, 01 Sept. 2013. Web. 03 Oct. 2013.

October 22 – Devotional: Overcoming Addiction

The Bradford Regional Medical Center in Pennsylvania is opening a new rehab clinic.  What is so special about that you may wonder? Well, as far as we know they are the first inpatient clinic to work with individuals who are addicted to the Internet. According to Dr. Kimberly Young, the psychologist who founded the non-profit program, Internet addiction is growing rapidly saying “The Internet is free, legal and fat free.” (Fox News)

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Dr. Allen Frances, professor emeritus of Duke University, challenges such a notion when he wrote “If we can be addicted to gambling and the Internet, why not also include addictions to shopping, exercise, sex, work, golf, sunbathing, model railroading, you name it? All passionate interests are at risk for redefinition as mental disorders.” (Fox News)

What defines an addiction? In 2 Peter 2, we have a pretty good definition, “They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”  In other words, anything that promises freedom, but actually enslaves is an addiction.

Which is why it is so important for the believer to avoid anything that might enslave us, especially when Jesus came to set us free.  For some of us, that might mean no alcohol, for others, be careful when it comes to power, or for others it may be the Internet, because what value would it be to be given freedom, only to lock the door on your own prison door?

2 Peter 2:19

“They promise them freedom, but they themselves are slaves of corruption. For whatever overcomes a person, to that he is enslaved.”

DeMarche, Edmund. “Pennsylvania Hospital to Open Country’s First Inpatient Treatment Program for Internet Addiction.” Fox News. FOX News Network, 01 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 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