October 31 – Devotional: Promises Kept

Have you ever broken a promise? More than likely you have. Maybe circumstances changed, or you were somehow providentially impaired. It is never a good feeling, but the worst feeling is when someone promised you something and they did not keep the promise.

oct31promise

It does not take too many of these failures until you begin to trust the person less and less.  Aren’t there just some people that you take what they say with a grain of salt? That phrase, by the way, comes from the idea that if you take something with a grain of salt it makes it easier to swallow.

But, God is not like that, He is the great promise keeper, if there ever has been one.  In Joshua 21:43-45, long after the promise was made, the promise is kept concerning the Promised Land. Listen to what it says:

“Thus the Lord gave to Israel all the land that he swore to give to their fathers. And they took possession of it, and they settled there. And the Lord gave them rest on every side just as he had sworn to their fathers. Not one of all their enemies had withstood them, for the Lord had given all their enemies into their hands. Not one word of all the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.

Now, you better know exactly what God promises, you can’t just make it up or insert yourself into a promise not directed to you.  But, once you know God’s promise you can know He will keep it, with no salt added.

Joshua 21:45

“Not one word of the good promises that the Lord had made to the house of Israel had failed; all came to pass.”

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 30 – Devotional: Life Choices

I am sure I have spoken about this before, but on my last trip to stuff mart I ran into a predicament. My wife sent me for a few items . . . 2% milk, a particular type of cereal, (which I took a picture of the box to guide me) and some vanilla ice cream. It was simple enough . . . until I began my search. There were literally dozens of brand offerings for vanilla ice cream but after weighing the prices and the quality, I decided on Breyers.

oct30icecream

That should be easy, right? Breyers Vanilla. But, it wasn’t. I then had to decide if I wanted fat free, lactose free, French vanilla, homemade vanilla, extra creamy vanilla, or natural vanilla. I did not know. I ended up getting chocolate.

Life is so full of choices today, and sometimes I feel overwhelmed. What are we supposed to do?  I was reading through Jeremiah when I came across this advice. “Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look,
and ask for the ancient paths,
where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’ ”

Rest for you soul . . . that sounds pretty good to me.  Not because we retreat from this world because we don’t like it and want to return to the good ole days, but rather when we return to the teachings of God we rediscover our purpose.  Today, like in Jeremiah’s time, people had abandoned the ways of God and replaced it with a multiplicity of options, which really led to more ways to disobey God.

Now, I am not saying having lots of ice cream choices are bad, it is just that it can be distracting. In a world like ours, it is good to look back for those simple ancient paths to God.

Jeremiah 6:16

“Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls.’ But they said, ‘We will not walk in it.’ ”

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 29 – Devotional: Power Of A Group

Have you ever been pressured into a role you were not looking to take? Maybe to teach a Sunday School class or serve on some committee? Recently, I was kind of pressured into leading the men’s noon Bible study. At our church on Tuesdays we have 7:00 a.m., noon and 7:00 p.m. men’s Bible studies. Because of schedule conflicts, last year’s leader could not do it, so they were scrambling around for a leader and finally asked me.

oct29guys

Nothing like being a fifth string quarterback, huh? I would have volunteered earlier but my schedule does not allow for consistency on Tuesdays. But, with no one else to lead, and the fact that I am the pastor, I said yes.

The study is going to be really good though, and there are some great guys in the group. Our study is one by Gene Getz called Shoulder to Shoulder. It is a study of the 12 Disciples, you remember, according to Matthew 10, “And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.”

I love how Getz describes them, “They recklessly followed, denied, loved and betrayed our Lord, still Jesus called them and bestowed on them the responsibility of spreading the gospel.  Each one brought a mosaic of backgrounds, experiences, personal strengths and weaknesses and together they stood shoulder to shoulder and would change the world.”

Do you have anybody that you get to stand shoulder to shoulder with? What a powerful feeling that must be. Are you in a group of people where you get that feeling? I think it is especially important for guys, because when you are shoulder to shoulder you can do almost anything. So what are you waiting for? Go get in a group.

Matthew 10:1

“And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction.”

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

Getz, Gene A. “Shoulder to Shoulder: Insights Into the Life of the Apostles” (Men of Purpose.) 2004. Serendipity House.

 

 

 

October 28 – Devotional: Saving Others

I was waiting for a meeting and I did not have a lot of time, so I thought I would read through a book in the bible while waiting. So, wanting to make sure I completed the assignment I had given myself, I chose the book of Jude. It is only a few verses long, one chapter with a mere 25 verses.  It had been awhile since I had read it and I had forgotten what powerful warnings concerning false teachers and our need to contend for the faith are included. But, those verses also provide a powerful explanation of how we can do that.

oct28snatching from fire

In verses 20-23 we are told what we are to be doing while we are in this battle for truth, “But you, beloved, building yourselves up in your most holy faith and praying in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in the love of God, waiting for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ that leads to eternal life. And have mercy on those who doubt; save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”

We are to be building ourselves up in the faith. (Surely than means engaging in Bible study and fellowship with other believers.) We are also to pray, and then we wait until the Lord comes. But, we don’t wait and do nothing; we wait with a purpose, with a task. We are to dispense mercy to everyone, especially those who doubt and snatch people out of the punishment that comes, by telling them about Jesus and living a life that matches our claim that we have been changed.

You can wait and grow bored, or you can wait and actually accomplish something.  What will you do, today?

Jude 1:23

“Save others by snatching them out of the fire; to others show mercy with fear, hating even the garment stained by the flesh.”

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 27 – Devotional: Habit of Prayer

Have you gotten into a routine yet? Around our house, with two boys and a wife who all go to school, it is a tremendous shock to go from summer back to school. The first couple of days are okay; there is an excitement in the air, and anticipation of new friends, new schedules and the anxiety of the unknown.

oct27habit prayer

Then a few weeks into it, the routine begins to take shape and we move into life as normal, at least for the next semester. Then, Labor Day shows up and messes with that schedule again. The Tuesday after Labor Day is back to the routine with none of the excitement.

I like a routine, and it seems that God does as well with 24 hours, seven days, and four seasons, all include routine along with some variation in the weather to make it interesting. But, Jesus modeled routine as well. While we don’t have a daily journal from Jesus’ life, we can pick up some patterns.

Luke 22:39-40 says, And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed him. And when he came to the place, he said to them, ‘Pray that you may not enter into temptation.’ ”

Jesus had a custom of praying; it was part of his routine. Other passages also indicate this ongoing practice of prayer, often in seclusion away from crowds. Do you have prayer as a part of your routine? Is your day ordered in such a manner that there is built in time to pray? I guess it does not matter if it is early or late, as long as it is often.

Routines are hard to get started, so start a habit of prayer, today.

Luke 22:39

“And he came out and went, as was his custom, to the Mount of Olives, and the disciples followed 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 26 – Devotional: Kingdom Man

A friend of mine gave me a book. I like books. I like books a lot. When I walk into a bookstore I feel like I am home. So, it was like giving candy to a kid. (I don’t always read books; I am losing my attention span and have switched to reading articles mostly. Although, I am reading a 900 page book on the life of George Washington right now.) Anyway, I glanced at the title, not that impressed, but it was the sub title that caught my eye.

oct26 kingdomman

It was called The Kingdom Man, by Tony Evans, Every Man’s Destiny, Every Woman’s Dream. I thought, “I am going to read this book.”  What man is not interested in destiny and the admiration of a good woman?  In this new book Dr. Evans calls us to be a Kingdom Man. By that he means, “A kingdom man is a man who visibly demonstrates the comprehensive rule of God underneath the Lordship of Jesus Christ in every area of life.”

I look forward to the read, because I know Jesus was consumed with the kingdom and desire for us to be a part of it.  Mark 1:14-15 tells us, “Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’ ”  Entrance to the kingdom of God is repenting and believing the gospel, but that is only the beginning.

Are you in the kingdom? Are you a kingdom man? Maybe you should check out the book, or buy a copy for your husband. Your destiny and dreams await.

Mark 1:14-15

“Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.’ ”

Evans, Tony. “Kingdom Man: Every Man’s Destiny, Every Woman’s Dream.” (2012) Focus on the Family.

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 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)

oct25trials

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