September 2 – Devotional: Are You Sorry?

Sometimes an apology just does not cut it. Take for instance, the note left at the Nevada County food bank, which read, “I apologize but I have fallen on hard times.” It was the second time in two days the food bank had been burglarized. The first time thousands of dollars had been taken and even more costly physical damage had been done. But the second time, a 1997 food truck had been stolen.

sept2sorry

It was reported that Director Toni Thompson said, “If somebody’s hungry, then they are welcome to the food. But the vandalism, ransacking, everything, throwing everything everywhere? . . . Excuse me? An apology? For this kind of damage? This kind of intrusion? It’s not acceptable. We don’t accept your apology, whomever you are out there.” An apology note could never make up for what they did. She further states, “There is no redemption in my book for this kind of atrocity to a food bank.” (CBS Local)

Does not sound like Ms. Thompson is impressed with the apology. And, I suppose God never is either.  You see, an apology and repentance are two different things. Listen as Paul explains in 2 Corinthians 7, verse 10: “For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”

By that Paul means your godly grief has caused you to change your behavior. Worldly grief is just an emotion. It is your actions that prove yourself. Here is a tip, if you steal from a food bank, just take the food. And when you sin against a holy God, may your actions prove your godly grief.

2 Corinthians 7:10-11

“For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment. At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”

“Thief Leaves Apology Note For Nevada County Food Bank; Truck Stolen Next Day.” CBS Sacramento. CBS LOCAL, 6 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 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

 

September 1 – Devotional: A Perfect Life

In bowling it is 300, a perfect score. It occurs in ten frames with every pin being knocked down on the first and only ball. It is a rare but not an exceedingly unusual feat. Still, there have only been 22 perfect games ever on TV in the Pro Bowlers Association. You can even purchase a special ring when you have a perfect game “sanctioned” by the national body.

Sept.1 -bowl

Troy Walker could almost taste the ring. He was in the 10th frame, having mowed down the first 9 frames without a pin standing, when after having thrown the ball the lane rack dropped down and the sweep came out and deflected his ball from striking any of the pins. On his next throw, he left pins standing. (The Huffington Post)

How must he have felt to be that close to perfection and yet so far away? Fortunately for me, I have never been that close to perfection. A long time ago I fell from that perfection with my very first sin, and worse yet, I keep sinning. I resemble the remark made in Romans 3:10 that says, “None is righteous, no, not one.” And so do you. Which is why we need Jesus to forgive us our sins and make us perfect in the eyes of God. Not because of what we have done, but rather because of what He has done.

Today, with advances in bowling balls, lighter weight pins and even applying oil in certain patterns on the bowling lanes that help guide the ball toward strikes, the perfect 300 game does not mean as much. (Over 42,000 were sanctioned this past year alone.)  Yet, out of the 170 million games bowled – the odds of a perfect game were still less than a perfect baseball game. And the odds of your completing a perfect life without Jesus . . .  zero.

Romans 3:10

“As it is written: ‘None is righteous, no, not one.’ ”

Dicker, Ron. “Troy Walker’s Bid For Perfect 300 Bowling Game Ruined By Mechanical Pinsetter.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 06 Aug. 2013. Web. 24 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

 

August 31 – Devotional: Love Your Wife

I am not sure Graham Anley has ever read the Bible; at least, I am pretty sure he has not read Ephesians 5. You see, recently his yacht ran aground off one of South Africa’s most dangerous stretches of ocean. He and his passengers faced waves of up to 23 feet as they were swept onto a reef. As they were abandoning ship, he first swam Rosie to shore before returning to help his other passenger. (The Huffington Post)

sept1

Who is Rosie? A Jack Russell Terrier, the other passenger was his wife, Sheryl. Yes, it seems that rescuing Rosie who was wearing a specially tailored life jacket with an emergency strobe light came first before his wife. Fortunately, all three were airlifted to safety.

While it did turn out all right, Graham is definitely not our example. Instead, we as believers in Christ are to follow the example laid out in the book of Ephesians which says, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave Himself up for her . . . In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

What a high calling that is, to love your wife as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her. Let’s face it, if Christ approached our need in the same way Mr. Anley did, we might not be here. We will not always get it right when it comes to loving our wife, but we should always be striving to do so. And when we fail, we need to apologize and ask for forgiveness.

How blessed I am to be able to sacrifice for my wonderful wife, Kendra. If you are married, why don’t you tell your wife that she will always come first, even before the Jack Russell Terrier?

Ephesians 5:25-28

“Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her . . . In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself.”

Jauregui, Andres. “Graham Anley Saves Dog From Sinking Yacht, Then Comes Back For Wife.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 06 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 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

 

 

August 30 – Devotional: Abound In Hope

Watch out for OLEVs. What is an OLEV, you ask?  Well, it is an acronym that stands for an online electric vehicle. They just switched one on in South Korea. It is basically a road that recharges electric vehicles as they drive over it. They have finished the first seven and a half miles where public buses, through a technology called “Shaped Magnetic Field in Resonance”, derive their energy directly from the road by driving on it. (BBC News)

august30train

Okay, so in reality, part of the road has been dug up and replaced with electric cables, which are buried under the road and used to generate electromagnetic fields. Those fields in turn are picked up by a coil inside the bus and converted into electricity even though the receiving equipment is as much as 6 ½” away.

Imagine never having to stop for fuel or even electricity. When would we ever get a potty break? But, it is kind of the way that you and I are powered. We have to stop and eat and go to the restroom. But, I am talking about our spiritual power. It comes from within generated by the Holy Spirit. Especially when we don’t feel like we can keep going. In Romans 15:13 we are encouraged by these words, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

I love that word “abound”. We are not given enough merely to survive, getting from point a to point b, but rather to abound or have more than we need, when it comes to hope.  Not because we travel on an electric road, but because the power of God resides within us.

Romans 15:13

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

Kelion, Leo. “South Korean Road Wirelessly Recharges OLEV Buses.” BBC News. BBC, 08 July 2013. Web. 24 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

 

 

August 29 – Devotional: Spiritual Heritage

I guess styles come and go, as I have pretty much stayed the same. I recently watched my son hang out with some of his friends at church. And I could not help but laugh. All four of them were wearing khaki shorts on a Sunday morning; I know that is wrong, but at least they were there. What I was laughing about is that one teenager was wearing bright blue socks, another red, a third neon yellow and the fourth one black- all while wearing shorts.

aug29 socks

I can assure you no self-respecting teenager of the 1980s would have been caught dead wearing colored socks with shorts. That is what old people did and we made fun of them for it.  But alas today, that is what it takes to be cool, that and $14 per pair. I can still buy a whole package of 12 pair of socks for $14.  I guess things aren’t the way they used to be.

But, I do hope one thing will stay the same for him – a spiritual heritage that he can call upon when things get tough. I had the privilege of growing up in a family that believed and followed Jesus. We always went to church, served the Lord and lived like we believed it. As a result, I came to know the Lord at an early age. For me, Psalm 71:5 is true which says, “For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.”

He has been that for me, and I hope my son does the same. But even if you did not have that privilege, you can call on Him today and let Him be your hope and your trust.

Psalm 71:5

“For you, O Lord, are my hope, my trust, O Lord, from my youth.”

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 28 – Devotional: 100% True

Can you believe this? The AccuWeather company recently debuted a new forecast.  No, it was not a 14-day or a 30-day forecast, but a 45-day forecast. They announced, “The 45-Day Forecast is yet another way that AccuWeather is helping its customers plan for the special events in their lives through superior forecasting information,” said Steven Smith, AccuWeather’s Chief Digital Officer. (WorldNow)

aug28 100true

Planning a special event 45 days in the future based on their weather forecast? When these guys can’t even get this afternoon’s weather correct? Which I guess is okay concerning a weather forecast, but a totally different thing when it comes to speaking on behalf of God.

In the Old Testament there were lots of people who claimed to be prophets speaking on behalf of God. They would scare the people with messages of destruction or win the favor of people with stories of God’s favor. It would often confuse the people. In Deuteronomy the people were told how they would be able to know whether or not the prophet was accurate.

It says in verse 22 of Deuteronomy 18: “When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”

In other words, God’s prophecies come to pass 100% of the time. You see, they are more than prophecies, they are actually promises and every promise in the Word of God will come to pass.

Why not spend some time reading His word today? You might be surprised at what the Lord has forecast.

Deuteronomy 18:22

“When a prophet speaks in the name of the Lord, if the word does not come to pass or come true, that is a word that the Lord has not spoken; the prophet has spoken it presumptuously. You need not be afraid of him.”

“AccuWeather Launches First-of-its-Kind 45-Day Forecast – ABC6 – Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather.” AccuWeather Launches First-of-its-Kind 45-Day Forecast – ABC6 – Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather. WorldNow, 5 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 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

 

 

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.

august27

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