December 19 – Devotional: Wearing The Right Shoes

I noticed that my shoes we wearing on the outer edges of the heel.  I had not noticed it before, and then it dawned on me that my knee had been hurting a bit, and that my back was not feeling so good.  So I decided to go into one of those shoe stores where they have you stand on a computer pad and they analyze your stance.

dec19

“Well here is your problem!” said the polite young man.  “You are wearing the wrong kind of shoes!”  He went on to explain that the shoes I had been sold were designed to kind of force you to walk on the outside of your heels.  But, I did not need that kind of support, I in fact needed something that would force you to walk toward the inside.

Whether that is right or not, we will see, but he ended up selling me two pair of shoes, but how strange I thought, to be wearing the wrong shoes.  Have you ever been walking in the wrong shoes?  Anytime we try to be somebody we or not we are walking in the wrong shoes, shoes designed for someone else.

I think about the leadership transition between Elijah and Elisha in the book of 2 Kings.  The mantle of leadership falls to Elisha and the temptation he must have felt to be just like Elijah. God called him to be the prophet just as he called Elijah home in a fiery chariot.

So the next time you are trying to be somebody you or not, or you find yourself having to follow an amazing leader, make sure you are wearing the right shoes … yours!

2 Kings 2:14

14 Then he took the cloak of Elijah that had fallen from him and struck the water, saying, “Where is the Lord, the God of Elijah?” And when he had struck the water, the water was parted to the one side and to the other, and Elisha went over.

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

 

 

 

 

December 18 – Devotional: Don’t You Care?

Have you ever been accused of not caring?  Or better yet, have you ever accused someone of not caring?   Maybe it was a friend who was not there for you, who did not sense the urgency or the depth of anguish you were going through. —– Have you ever accused God of not caring?

dec18care

If you ever have you are not alone.  I think most of us from time to time wonder if God cares about the pain we are suffering or the injustices that have come our way.  So much so that don’t you wish you could walk right up to Jesus and air your complaints?

Well in the 10th chapter of the book of Luke, Martha, a friend of Jesus, walks right up to him and says, “Lord, Don’t you care…?”  Now to give you a little background, Martha has a sister named Mary.  And while Martha is hosting Jesus she is taking care of the food, the hospitality, and Mary is sitting at the feet of Jesus listening to all that he is teaching.

Martha, frustrated with the lack of Mary’s help goes to Jesus and asks, “Do you not care?” Can you imagine being Jesus for just a minute?  I wonder if he is thinking, Let’s see do I care?  Well, I left heaven and all of my glory, came to live as a first century man long before the internet and modern conveniences, and I am headed after leaving your house to the cross so that I can pay for your sins and the sins of all humanity, let me think.  Yes, I would say that I care.

Ok, he did not say all of that, but he did say, “Martha, Martha, you are so distracted, you are anxious and troubled, and you cant see what is really going on. Mary has chosen the better thing.”  The same is true of you and me.  We can become so bothered with seemingly urgent things, which while they are ok, are not the best things.

So let me ask you before you start serving the Lord today, have you spent time with Him?  Have you been distracted from what is most important, by all of these lesser things?  Why not begin each morning by sitting at Jesus feet, before you get on yours.

Luke 10:38-42

38 As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. 39 She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said. 40 But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!”

41 “Martha, Martha,” the Lord answered, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one, Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

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

 

 

 

December 17 – Devotional: Being In Style

I was sitting in a board meeting the other day. I am saying it was a ‘boring meeting’ but a board meeting.  I have the privilege of serving on a trustee board and the discussion came up on what should be done to one of their buildings. The building was built in 1926 and looked like really really run down.  In the 1970’s, in an effort to make the building look more modern, they decided to do upgrade the building. Now that they want to restore the building back to the 1926 look.  The problem is that in the 1970s zeal to make the building look modern, they destroyed everything underneath the walls.  I am sure they were thinking that the 1926 look would never come back in style.

Marshall-Sq-Building_1926

To me it seems short sighted.  This kind of remodel would cost in the range of 4 million dollars to take it back to what it looked like in the first place.  It was a very good reminder to me that architectural styles will change and our preferences will come and go.  So shouldn’t we be careful that we don’t marry the modern, or what is currently modern?  Even the modern will become the past.

What a great illustration for the church and the believer.  No matter how much we like our methods that we use to lead people to Jesus, they are only that, methods.  There is one thing that stays the same, and that is the word of God.  Isaiah 40:8 says, “The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.”

Rather than spending our time worrying too much about staying modern, and run the risk of being dated, why not wrap our lives around the on thing that remains.  His word will never go out of style.

Isaiah 40:8

The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God will stand forever.

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

December 16 – Devotional: Failure Is Not An Option

If you were alive in 1995 you probably saw this movie.  If you weren’t around then you probably have seen it along the way, either on DVD or on network television.  The movie is Apollo 13.  It’s a great movie by almost every standard and directed by Opie himself, Ronnie Howard.  The story, of course, tells the events of the aborted lunar landing, the Apollo 13 mission, which was the third flight scheduled to go the moon.  During the flight, an small explosion on board the rocket would not only prevent the lunar landing on the moon but put the crew at extreme risk of not making it back to earth!

Apollo-11-rollout-500x387

In the movie, flight control director Gene Krantz informs the rest of the flight crew that they must determine a course of action to return to earth safely and he says the words, “Failure is not an option!”  It’s a great cinematic moment, of course, and the truth is that Krantz never said the phrase in the real life story.  Even still, it accurately described the attitude of the ground crew as they sought to save the lives of the astronauts.

You and I know that in real life failure is an option.  It’s an option you and exercise almost daily.  Have you ever wondered how Jesus responded to failure.  I am not talking about just the occasional oops that you forgot to have bible study time kind of failure, but rather the epic failures that we really do experience.

In John 21, Jesus, after his resurrection, meets with Peter on the beach.  In a setting very similar to his original calling, (fishing) and very similar to his failure (around a fire) he asked Peter three questions.  Notice he doesn’t ask Peter to apologize, and he doesn’t say, “Aren’t you sorry for what you did to me?”  So often that is my approach with my own children when they fail. Jesus asks, “Peter do you love me”?

Jesus asks Peter the question three times, the same number of times that Peter denied him.  Each time Peter answers,  “Yes, Lord”.  And then Jesus states the original calling to his life saying, “Follow me.”  Wow, that is what forgiveness is and what a change that made in Peter’s life.  I wonder what kind of impact we would have on others if we had that kind of forgiveness.

So the next time you fail the Lord, listen for his forgiveness, and the next time someone fails you, why not pass that forgiveness on to them.

John 21:15-17

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

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

December 15 – Devotional: Alignment With God

Okay, so everyday I take my boys to school. The first one has to be there at 7:45 a.m., the other not until about 8:20 a.m. Since we live close to both schools, I take the first boy, and then come back to the house to pick up the other and get to work about 8:30 a.m.  It has taken a few weeks to get the system down to a finely oiled machine, but we have it down cold.

garagedec15 garagedec15

Until this week. After dropping off the first boy I returned home and noticed that the garage door was open. I always close it when I leave for the first drop-off, but it was still open. So, I pushed the button and the garage door started going down and right before it hit the bottom, it started going back up. I got out of the car, made sure the sensors at the bottom were properly aligned (the yellow light on one side, the green light on the other indicating they were aligned) and I pushed the button again. The same thing happened, it went down and then right back up.

Running out of time, I pulled the emergency release to close the door, and called a friend to come over and help. He couldn’t figure it out either. To make a long story short- later that night, my son and I got to looking and we noticed something. As the garage door was going down, right before it got to the bottom, there was a slight flash of green light and it sent the door back up. We surmised that the pressure from the door on the track (right where the garage door goes by) was just enough to knock them out of alignment, breaking the light beam and sending the door up.

I thought about my life. Under normal circumstances, I seem to align with God pretty well. It is not until I get placed under some kind of pressure, that I find I sometimes get knocked out of perfect alignment with the Father. Under normal circumstances it cannot be seen. Just like my garage door sensor. (My son remembered that he might have bumped that sensor getting the ladder out for me.)

So, today, why not check your alignment with God? Are your passions the same as His?  Are you spending daily time with Him? Perfect alignment will not only help your garage door, it will help your walk with God.

Proverbs 3:5

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.”

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

 

 

 

December 14 – Devotional: The Secret Gift

Have you ever played secret santa?  Every Christmas our church staff engages in this game for fun.  I don’t really get into it, but several of our team enjoy it so who I am to be the Grinch and steal their secret santa fun.  Anyway, we are assigned a name of a team member for whom we will be the santa providing inexpensive gifts.  We buy three gifts over the month of December and leave them for that person.  During our wild and crazy staff Christmas party, we bring a fourth and final gift, at which time you try and guess your secret santa.

dec14vers

I will admit that it is kind of fun to see if you are caught in your gift giving.  Some of our staff are pretty sluthful in their gift giving. Then there’s others, like me, that aren’t.  For weeks leading up to the Christmas party it does raise some intrigue around the office, especially the action of guessing who is giving you the gift.

I think there is a lot of people out there today who have no clue that all the good things that happen to them are also a gift.  They are not gifts from Santa, but rather, from God himself.  James 1:17 reveals this unseen force that some call good luck or others call Karma.  James identifies the giver of the gifts as God.  He writes, “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.”

Part of our job, as believers, is to help people identify this giver of gifts to them, by introducing them to Jesus.  When is the last time you sat down and talked with someone who really did not know Jesus?  Let me encourage you to have that conversation.  It is a whole lot more fun revealing Him, then letting that person go on not knowing this Father of Lights, who sent His Son into this dark world.  Yes, its ok to play the Secret Santa gift game, but it is so much more fun to reveal Him to someone who needs Him.

James 1:17

17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

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

 

December 13 – Devotional: Bouncing Back

Have you ever had one of those wind-up toys that change direction when it hits a barrier? Say one heads off into a wall, and then bounces back in another direction, staying on course until it runs into another barrier, where it does the same thing. Those toys seem to capture the attention of both young and old alike.

dec13

The young, because the fascination and novelty of it, the old because it so much looks like our life’s experience. I was trying to explain that to my interns. Both are in the stage of life where they are trying to figure out what God wants them to do with their lives.  One day they think it is to do this, the next day to do that.

Lamenting they cry out, “If He would just tell me what He wants me to do.” But, He is.  Just not like you think He should. In Psalm 32 He says, “I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.”

He does, but it is not with a detailed agenda or with writing in the sky, it is through a journey and a relationship with Him. It is a process as you learn about Him and His heart. You will discover things about yourself that you didn’t really know like your true abilities, your real hopes, hidden desires, even your flaws and weaknesses. Those are lessons that you would not be able to learn unless you hit a few barriers along the way.

So, if one plan does not work, just bounce back and let God lead you into the next one.

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 © 2013