January 17 – Devotional: Make The Best Decision

As the great Yogi Berra said, “If you come to a fork in the road, take it.” Oh, if it were just that simple Yogi. If you are not familiar with Yogi and his “Yogi-isms”, you might just take a few minutes and Google him. He lived a pretty amazing life. One of the greatest catchers of all time, a hall of famer, who played in and won more World Series as a player than any one else. More impressively, he has been married to his wife Carmen since January 26, 1949. (Yogiberra.com)

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Known for his bungling of phrases and his pithy witticisms, he is actually right about this one. Many times in our life we come to decision points . . . forks in the road, places where choices have to be made. Choose A and your life goes in that direction and Choose B and it goes in a completely opposite direction.

I become paralyzed in those moments, as I weigh the ramifications of such a decision. But, we have to make one, we have to take that fork in the road. The Bible does give guidance, even if it does not explicitly say what to choose, it does help us know how to choose.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

 

In other words, ask God, listen to God, and then make the best decision you can. Ask Him to guide you in making the decision and then to redirect you if you don’t get it right, but you have to move forward.

You see, Yogi got it right – take the fork.

“Quotes By Yogi Berra – Yogi-isms.” Quotes By Yogi Berra – Yogi-isms. LTD Enterprises. A Berra Family Corporation., n.d. Web. 09 Jan. 2014.

Proverbs 3:5-6

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.”

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 © 2014

 

 

January 16 – Devotional: You Did Not Ask!

It is always fun to get with my nephews around the holidays and as usual we end up playing some games. Sometimes we play board games, other times video games. As my boys have gotten older I spend less time playing and more time watching them play. It was while watching my son play against my nephew in FIFA Soccer on the XBOX that I got to see a little sweet revenge.

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You see, my son always beats me in video games. I don’t play that much and never have gotten used to having more than one button to have to push. But, his cousin beat him soundly. More importantly, he knew some moves and tricks that my son did not know. When Nathan asked him why he did not tell him about those moves, he said, “You did not ask.”

That is normally what happens to me. “Well, son, I did not know I needed to ask how to slide tackle or run faster.” He has this bad habit of explaining the game only as he is beating me in that game.

In the book of James, we are told that when it comes to spiritual matters – we don’t have because we don’t ask.  Even the times we do ask, we ask with the wrong motives. So, could it be in your walk with God that you don’t have some things you need like peace, holiness, or joy because you haven’t asked?

So go on and ask Him, you just might be surprised what He teaches you.

James 4:2

“ . . . You do not have, because you do not ask.”

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 © 2014

 

 

January 15 – Devotional: Follow Him

It must have been a pretty big shock to Rebekah, when the Lord said to her, “Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided;
the one shall be stronger than the other,
the older shall serve the younger.”  You remember what happened, right? Esau was born first with his twin brother right after him, grabbing on to Esau’s heel.

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Not anymore unusual, I suppose, than the twins born to moms “Yaleni” of Washington, D.C. and “Lindsay” of Toronto. Both of these moms delivered a healthy set of twins. No big deal, I suppose, except that the twins were born in separate years. That is right, one twin was born in 2013 and the other in 2014. Just 3 minutes apart in one case, 8 minutes in the other, but enough to have them celebrating every future birthday a year a part. (ABC News)

Twins are funny things, my grandfather was a twin and I have a niece and nephew who are twins. (No, they are not identical; so don’t ask.)  But these twins, Jacob and Esau, ended up on opposite ends of things. Same mom and dad, but they ended up in vastly different places.

Our choices can do that to us. Esau the first-born was to be the son of blessing and receive all of the benefits, but he traded it away. And Jacob just as unrighteous in so many ways – ended up meeting God, getting his name changed and became Israel.

You probably are not a twin, but even if you are – how you respond to God is so much more important than genetics. So, decide to follow Him today.

Genesis 25:23

“Two nations are in your womb, and two peoples from within you shall be divided; the one shall be stronger than the other, the older shall serve the younger.”

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 © 2014

 

Goldman, Russell. “Mom Says Twins Born in Different Years Will Get Separate Parties.” ABC News. ABC News Network, 02 Jan. 2014. Web. 04 Jan. 2014.

 

January 14 – Devotional: Sacrifice For Others

It is always fun to travel and stay with family. Since we live four hours away from our families, we tend to stay multiple days when we come to visit. Very quickly it becomes apparent that every family has its own way of doing things and have found its own rhythm to life with everything from what time everyone wakes up or goes to bed, what television shows are watched and what temperature to set the thermostat.

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In our house, we are cheap. In the winter our heat is set to about 67 degrees, but my parents set it to about 76 degrees. After becoming accustomed to 67, 76 can feel like 95.  Now, we gladly adjust to it. (It is their house not ours, and we run around in t-shirts and shorts.) But, we’re constantly asked, “Aren’t you guys cold?”

But, after a day or so my parents begin to live out Philippians 2:3, which says,  “Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

In other words, they defer their needs for ours. It may not sound like a big thing, but comfort is huge, especially when it comes time to fall asleep. So, their sacrifice is a tangible expression of their love. They would not do that for us and inconvenience themselves by wearing a sweater and three snuggies, unless they loved us.

In what way can you sacrifice and love someone by counting him/her more significant than you? It could be something pretty grand, or it could just be a thermostat, either way, put love into practice.

Philippians 2:3

“Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.”

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 © 2014

 

 

January 13 – Devotional: Right Way To Pray

I did not know that I had been wrong all of these years, especially when it comes to something so simple. Who knew that there was another way of peeling a banana? I was peeling it the wrong way. I always (and so has everyone else I have ever seen) peeled a banana from the stem side. But, after a trip to Silver Dollar City and listening to someone give a science lesson, I learned that the proper way to peel a banana is not from the stem side but the other side. At least that is the way the monkeys do it.

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So now, after all of theses years, I have switched how I peel a banana because I had been doing it wrong. I wonder if at least a part of that might have been going through the minds of the disciples when they asked Jesus to teach them to pray. These Jewish men knew how to pray, they had been praying all of their lives, but listening to Jesus pray showed them he was doing it differently.

Of course, the biggest difference in the model prayer as found in Luke 11 is the focus of the prayer.  You remember, right after the part that goes “Our Father, which art in heaven, hallowed by thy name . . . ” Jesus says, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done.” Most of our prayers are about our kingdom and our will and trying to convince God to act on our behalf. But, what if prayer really was about His kingdom and our acting on its behalf?

It just might be more revolutionary than peeling your banana backward.

Luke 11:2-4

“Father, hallowed be your name. Your Kingdom come. Give us each day our daily bread, and forgive us our sins, for we ourselves forgive everyone who is indebted to us. And lead us not into temptation.”

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 © 2014

 

 

January 12 – Devotional: God Knows All

Recently, I missed a Sunday morning. As a pastor, that is kind of a big deal. Most people don’t think I work if they don’t see me on Sunday morning. But, it was a very worthy cause; I was away to celebrate my wife’s parent’s 60th anniversary.  Yes, 60th, that is a pretty big deal.

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The funny thing about that is since our services are now streamed live, I can watch what is going on in the church house from anywhere. One of my worship guys even said to the congregation, “The good news is the boss is away, the bad news is that he is probably watching me.” And I was.

There is someone else who is always watching and it is a good thing. The Psalmist writes, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

It may not be comforting to know that your boss is watching you (as many do with the availability of cameras and Internet access) and it is not all that unusual. Employers have discovered that employees do better if they think that someone is watching. It is just human nature.

While you might think God watching you is intimidating, if you know Him, really know Him, it is not intimidating, but encouraging. He knows what you are going through, He knows how you are trying to serve Him, He knows your heart and your real desires.

You better do what your boss says, because he may be watching you online; but also know that there is a God who cares and knows where you are and what you are going through.

Psalm 32:8

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon 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 © 2014

 

 

January 11 – Devotional: Do You Have A Plan?

Do you have a plan to support the local church you love? I was listening to Andy Stanley on the way back from a basketball game when he asked that question. He stated that only 30% of those who regularly attend a local church, financially support that church in a systematic way.

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Sure, most people will jump in when it comes to a special offering, or an obvious need, but only 30% give significantly and regularly to the ongoing work. Which is pretty odd when you think about it. Nobody wants to go to a church where the preacher is begging for money every week, but if not mentioned, the person may not think that the church needs the money.

It is kind of a catch 22, and it has been for a long time. Which is why God through Malachi had this to say in chapter 3:8-10, “Will man rob God? Yet you are robbing me. But you say, ‘How have we robbed you?’ In your tithes and contributions. You are cursed with a curse, for you are robbing me, the whole nation of you. Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

So, put together a plan to support your church. They are the ones who will be there when your marriage gets in trouble, or your teenager needs a little direction. Surely that is worth some thought and investment. You have a plan for lots of things, go make one to support your local church.

Malachi 3:10

“Bring the full tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. And thereby put me to the test, says the Lord of hosts, if I will not open the windows of heaven for you and pour down for you a blessing until there is no more need.”

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 © 2014