November 26 – Devotional: The Real World

I could not help over hearing the conversation behind me. They were talking really loud.  The two ladies back to back with me at the airline gate were sharing that her brother was moving from Chicago to Lake of the Ozarks. We were to share a Chicago to Branson flight. The person beside them also was able to hear and joined the conversation.

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She said, “Well, I moved from Buffalo to Lake of the Ozarks and I cried for two years.”  She then began to point out all the good things and the bad things about living in the middle of nowhere. “It is like going back in time,” she said. “We are behind the real world.”

Then, she went on to explain. The people know each other, they rely on each other, and they have to help each other. The schools are great, it is a wonderful place to grow up and it is safe.

Is that really going back? Is that what it means to be behind? Well, I am actually okay with that, it sounds like the real world is what is behind to me. There always seems to be an arrogant air by those in the city to those in the country. And yet, God always seems to favor the “weak” or the “poor” or the ones to be pitied.

In Deuteronomy 7:7-8 the people are reminded, “It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers.”

I am okay with not living in the real world; the Lord loves me anyway.

Deuteronomy 7:7

“It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples.”

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

 

 

November 25 – Devotional: Count The Cost

Have you ever agreed to a term without have read what you agreed to?  Most of us wouldn’t, unless we need whatever it is badly enough. What do I mean? Well, recently I was sitting in the airport trying to write one of these devos. (This one, actually.) I needed to get online to check on a scripture reference, and I noticed the airport was providing free wifi.

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I was so desperate to get it completed that when that little box popped up and asked, “Do you agree to the terms of agreement?” I clicked “yes” without even thinking. For all I knew I could have just authorized them to come to my house and steal my kitty cat. But, I did not care. I wanted what they provided without thinking.

In Luke 14 he said, For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.’ Or what king, going out to encounter another king in war, will not sit down first and deliberate whether he is able with ten thousand to meet him who comes against him with twenty thousand? And if not, while the other is yet a great way off, he sends a delegation and asks for terms of peace. So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

In order to follow Jesus you agree to renounce everything. It is the greatest deal you will ever make.

Luke 14:33

“So therefore, any one of you who does not renounce all that he has cannot be my disciple.”

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

 

 

November 24 – Devotional: What Race Are You Running?

In 1936 Jessie Owens shocked the world and humiliated Adolf Hitler. If you can recall from your history, it was the year that Berlin hosted the Olympic games. It was supposed to be a showpiece of the new world order and the superiority of the German people and the Aryan race.

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But Mr. Owens, an African American, spoiled those plans. As you know, he won 4 gold medals; a feat never accomplished before and not matched until Carl Lewis did it when the Soviets and most of the other Eastern Block countries boycotted.

Now you can own a piece of that history. SCP Auctions president, David Kohler, says that his company has acquired one of the four gold medals won by Jesse Owens in the 1936 Olympics in Berlin and will sell it to the highest bidder on Dec. 7.  He expects it to sell for more than a million dollars. (ESPN)

I think that piece has appreciated in value quite nicely, but not as nicely as a different prize. In Corinthians 9:25 Paul tells us that every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath – like Owens did. As valuable as it is, it will perish, but as followers of Christ, we receive an imperishable.

What is that prize? It is eternal life through Christ and that is something that can never be auctioned.

I Corinthians 9:25

“Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever.”

Darren Rovell. “Historic Owens Medal to Be auctioned.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 24 Nov. 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

 

 

November 23 – Devotional: Need A Guide?

My young worship leader talked me into going backpacking. I bought all of the gear, backpack, super light sleeping bag, one-man tent, camping pad and headed off into the woods. Two hours later we left the well-marked trail for another one, not as well marked. He said, “This one is not even on the map.”

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Thirty minutes later after what he called a “scramble to the top” we reached an overlook that produced one of the most amazing views I had ever seen.  It was a great moment.

After spending the night and a two and half hour hike back out in the rain (plus an hour drive home) I headed to the shower and a nap. That night I looked for the place on a map but I couldn’t find it. So I asked him later what the place was called. He said that he calls it “Cecil’s Bluff” but that it is not listed on any map.  It was an offshoot of the Bench trail, but someone showed him this unmarked path and he’s led lots of others on it as well.

It caused me to think about Isaiah 48:17 which says, “Thus says the Lord,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.’ ”

Sometimes that way is not found on any map, the only way you can find it is led by a well-versed guide. I was rewarded with an amazing view because I followed my guide.  No telling the reward you will experience when God is your guide.

Isaiah 48:17

“Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel; ‘I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.’ ”

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

 

November 22 – Devotional: Humble Yourself

According to Henry Samuel who writes for the Telegraph, ‘Two trendy Parisian restaurants have been accused of seating guests according to how good-looking they are to raise the tone of the establishments. Former hostesses have claimed that the owners have introduced a highly discriminatory selection procedure for guests of their restaurants overlooking the Louvre.’

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“The good-looking ones are led to the good places, where they can be easily seen . . . As for the non good-looking ones, it is imperative that they be dispatched to the corners of the room.”  I guess that is why I am always in the corner. (The Telegraph)

Obviously, this kind of problem has been going on a long time. In Luke chapter 14, beginning with verse 7:

Now he told a parable to those who were invited, when he noticed how they chose the places of honor, saying to them, “When you are invited by someone to a wedding feast, do not sit down in a place of honor, lest someone more distinguished than you be invited by him, and he who invited you both will come and say to you, ‘Give your place to this person,’ and then you will begin with shame to take the lowest place. But when you are invited, go and sit in the lowest place, so that when your host comes he may say to you, ‘Friend, move up higher.’ Then you will be honored in the presence of all who sit at table with you. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

So, go ahead and let them sit you in the corner, Jesus will find you and give you the seat He paid for you to have.

Samuel, Henry. “French Restaurants Where Your Looks Decide Your Seat.” The Telegraph. Telegraph Media Group, 04 July 0042. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

Luke 14:11

“For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.”

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

 

November 21 – Devotional: Father Knows Best

Have you ever had one of those days when nothing is going your way? On one particular day recently, I called to confirm the oil change I had scheduled online only to discover they had no record of it. They were kind and agreed to work me in, but they could not guarantee my wait time. Then, I got an email that my flight schedule was all messed up and would take some significant work to make it match my original request. On top of that, I had a short day with a tight schedule and I had to wait for someone else to show up.

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For a person like me who is punctual, organized, and scheduled – things like that can be frustrating. But, it was a great reminder that this world does not run on “Neil time”. As much as I wish that it would (and how much better it would run) it still doesn’t. Yet, I am often reminded that my timing is not always best and that my Father above knows best.

Even Jesus knows that, but He knows it much deeper than we can ever imagine. You see, it wasn’t just His schedule that got disrupted but He actually lost his life over it. Yet, He was willing to have His schedule and His will to be ruled and overruled by the Father. In Luke 22:42 in the garden of Gethsemane He begs, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Of course, you know the rest of the story. The sacrifice of His life, brought us life. God used the difficulty (tragedy, really) and brought something great out it. So, the next time your day does not go as planned – submit your will to His, and something good just might happen.

Luke 22:42

“saying, ‘Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.’ ”

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

 

November 20 – Devotional: God’s Road Map

I was surprised that the federal government was actually going to stop doing something.  In a day and age where the government seemingly wants to expand in every direction, they chose to take a step back, which they thought was a step forward. You see, since 1862 the United States government has been printing nautical maps.

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Requested by Thomas Jefferson in 1807, these “road maps” of the water identify underwater hazards like rocks and shipwrecks. The 4-by-3-foot lithographic maps are sold for about $20 apiece, with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration selling about 60,000 of them a year. But now – sailors, boaters and fishermen will have to use private on-demand printing, PDFs or electronic maps to see the information.

Not such a big deal I guess, unless you need one of those maps. Maps really are important, especially if you don’t know where you are which is what I love about God, He is so specific. In Ezekiel 47 he spells out the exact border of the Promised Land He was offering to his people. I can’t pronounce half the names, much less know where they are. But to the people who first heard, they knew exactly what God was talking about.

Our Bible is kind of like a road map to the Promised Land. No, it is not a physical location here on the earth, but a spiritual place that is just as real. And the bible will get you there if you read it and follow its teachings. That is true whether you have a digital version or the printed one.

Ezekiel 47:13-14

Thus says the Lord God: “This is the boundary by which you shall divide the land for inheritance among the twelve tribes of Israel. Joseph shall have two portions. 14 And you shall divide equally what I swore to give to your fathers. This land shall fall to you as your inheritance.

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