December 8 – Devotional: Eternal Donation

I am sure it is not what Jesus meant when he said, Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” But, Ronald Phillips has raised some questions about it. He is a convicted killer, scheduled to die for his crime; but he is hoping to bring something good out of his death and has requested his organs be donated to help others.

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His mom is on kidney dialysis and his sister has heart disease. He would hope they could benefit from his organs, but if not he wants those organs and anything else that can be of use, to go to anyone in need. There are many problems with this, the potential damage done by lethal injection, the security of physicians, and the cost, in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I am not really sure what should be done; I am thankful I don’t have to make that decision. But, I am even more thankful that the death of a completely innocent man paid for the sins of the guilty.  Jesus’ death, his own sacrifice has made it possible for anyone and everyone who repents and believes to be pardoned from their own execution, a spiritual death that lasts forever.

I will pray for those affected by Ronald Phillip’s crime and those who can benefit from his death, but more than that I will pray for those who can find life in Jesus’ death.

Hanson, Hilary. “Ronald Phillips, Killer Who Wants To Donate Organs, Has Execution Delayed By Governor.” The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost.com, 13 Nov. 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

John 15:13

“Greater lover has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.”

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 7 – Devotional: God’s Do & Don’t List

Being 42 years of age, the headline did exactly what it was supposed to do, grabbed my attention.  I do lot of reading on the internet, scanning articles, looking for devotional ideas, trying to see where I might be able to connect God and current culture. So, I have read a lot of provocative and interesting headlines, but most of the time I am able to resist the temptation to click over . . . but not this time.

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The headline, “22 Things You Should Never Do Again After 50”, was just too much for me to resist. It was a cute little article, with no real value. Half of the things not to do after 50 were not things the believer should be doing before they were fifty, except for maybe, not giving up.

But, there is a list that God asks us to never do, no matter our age. They are listed in Exodus 20, let me just remind you of what He said.

1. You shall have no other gods before Me.

2. You shall not make idols.

3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain.

4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy.

5. Honor your father and your mother.

6. You shall not murder.

7. You shall not commit adultery.

8. You shall not steal.

9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.

10. You shall not covet.

Out of love for God don’t do these, but remember if you do – you have a Savior who forgives when you repent, whether you are over 50 or not.

Exodus 20: 1-17

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 6 – Devotional: Making Bad Decisions

Just imagine how the pilot must have felt. He, along with a co-pilot, landed their specially built 747 “Dream Lifter,” which carries parts for the assembly of the 787 Dreamliner, at the wrong airport. Rather than landing at the McConnell Air Force Base, they landed about 8 miles north at the Colonel James Jabara airport.

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Not only is that embarrassing, but presented a unique challenge. There was no tarmac to allow the plane to turn around, so a tug had to be sent to turn it around. More importantly, Jabara airport only had a runway of 6,101 feet rather than the 9,199 feet required when the plane is fully loaded.

Fortunately, they were able to take off without incident, and it is not the first time a plane has landed in the wrong place, though it is relatively rare. What is more remarkable is all of the people who ended up places they never intended.

Take for instance, Judas of Iscariot. One of the 12 called by Jesus to be “with him”, surely he never thought that he would be the one to betray Jesus. It did not seem to dawn on him until after it was too late. The Scripture records in Matthew 27:3-4,  “Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders, saying, ‘I have sinned by betraying innocent blood.’ ”

So, what is the lesson for us? Double check the airport before you land your plane and make daily decisions that keep your heart open to the working of God.  If you don’t, I can’t promise you where you may end up.

Moh, Catharina. “Jumbo Jet Safely Takes off from Tiny Kansas Airport.” BBC News. BBC, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 27 Nov. 2013.

Matthew 27:3

“Then when Judas, his betrayer, saw that Jesus was condemned, he changed his mind and brought back the thirty pieces of silver to the chief priests and the elders.”

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 5 – Devotional: Seeking A Sign

The headline read, “Corpus Christi Woman’s Son Finds Face of Jesus in Her Homemade Tortilla.”  According to the article written by Steven Alford of the Corpus Christi Caller Times, the woman, Annette Escamilla says a miracle happened in her kitchen.

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Her son was pulling apart the last two tortillas when he noticed the image of Jesus staring back at him. “It’s got to mean something,” she said. “It’s a sign that God saves.” According to the article, the family has fallen on tough financial times lately and Escamilla sees it as a message to keep the faith. (Caller)

I understand the desire for a sign.  Something to hold on to when we can’t see Jesus in the flesh, but drawing spiritual strength and comfort from a tortilla? I am afraid that is not the Christian path.

Even when Jesus was walking the earth, people constantly wanted a sign, some sort of validation that Jesus is who he claimed to be. Many times he did the miraculous, but it never seemed to be enough.  One sign or miracle only led to a desire to see a second in order to prove the first until finally he stopped.

In Mark 8:11-12 we read, “The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, ‘Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.’ ”

Why? Because our faith is not in a sign but in God. And He already gave the greatest sign possible when He was raised from the dead. I will draw my strength from that and not from a tortilla.

Alford, Steven. “Corpus Christi Woman’s Son Finds Face of Jesus in Her Homemade Tortilla.” Caller.com. Scripps Interactive Newspapers Group, 19 May 2011. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

Mark 8:11

“The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, seeking from him a sign from heaven to test 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

 

 

 

December 4 – Devotional: Regret or Repent?

It just goes to show you, it is never too late to change your mind. At least that is what the Harrisburg Pennsylvania Patriot and Union newspaper did the other day. It seems their editorial board wrote the following “We pass over the silly remarks of the President. For the credit of the nation we are willing that the veil of oblivion shall be dropped over them, and that they shall be no more repeated or thought of.” (Pennlive)

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They weren’t writing of today’s president, but rather of Abraham Lincoln and his Gettysburg address. That was the evaluation of the editors of 1863, however the current editors have now contradicted that conclusion, writing recently: “Our predecessors, perhaps under the influence of partisanship, or of strong drink, as was common in the profession at the time, called President Lincoln’s words ‘silly remarks’, ‘a veil of oblivion,’ apparently believing it an indifferent and altogether ordinary message, unremarkable in eloquence and uninspiring in its brevity.” (Pennlive)

In the fullness of time, we have come to a different conclusion. “In the editorial about President Abraham Lincoln’s speech delivered Nov. 19, 1863, in Gettysburg, the Patriot & Union failed to recognize its momentous importance, timeless eloquence, and lasting significance. The Patriot-News regrets the error.” (Pennlive)

It was 70 years later, but this newspaper demonstrated repentance and reminded us that it is never too late to repent. Which is better than what happened to the Pharisees of whom we read Jesus saying, “For John came to you to show you the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes did. And even after you saw this, you did not repent and believe him.”

Have you seen the way of righteousness? Then, repent and believe today.

Matthew 21:32

“For John came to you in the way of righteousness, and you did not believe him, but the tax collectors and the prostitutes believed him. And even when you saw it, you did not afterward change your minds and believe 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

 

Gilliland, Donald. “Central PA.” The Patriot-News. 2013 PA Media Group, 14 Nov. 2013. Web. 29 Nov. 2013.

 

December 3 – Devotional: Keep Your Vows

It is one of the strangest auctions I have heard of . . .

“Now that the beards of some of the Boston Red Sox players have been trimmed, you can own what was once on their faces.

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Gillette announced Thursday that it would auction off two hair balls – one that it shaved off World Series MVP David Ortiz and the other from Shane Victorino.”
(ESPN)

You get more than just their beard hair as it comes in a case along with the razor that shaved it and an autograph of Ortiz and Victorino. All proceeds will go to “Movember”, a men’s health charity that encourages men to grow mustaches this month.

Two weeks before the closing of the auction Ortiz’s beard had a bid of over $3,500.

The only other worth more than that must have been Samson’s. You remember the story, right? This man set apart with a Nazarite vow which meant he was not to have his hair cut, or lest he would lose his strength. It was a strength about as strong the fictional Incredible Hulk.

Samson loved a Philistine woman by the name of Delilah and her allegiance was with her people and not her husband. Eventually, Samson told her his secret, his head was shaved, he was captured and his eyes gouged out.

Ortiz and Victorino’s power did not come from their beards, and even if it did, their beards would grow back; it wasn’t Samson’s hair that gave him power but God.  The Bible tells us in Judges 16:20, Delilah called out, “ ‘The Philistines are upon you, Samson!’ And he awoke from his sleep and said, ‘I will go out as at other times and shake myself free.’ But he did not know that the Lord had left him.”

If you can’t keep your hair, keep your vows, or the strength of the Lord just might leave you as well.

Judges 16:17

17 that he finally told her the truth. “My hair has never been cut,” he said. “I have been dedicated to God as a nazirite from the time I was born. If my hair were cut, I would lose my strength and be as weak as anybody else.”

Rovell, Darren. “Red Sox Beard Trimmings For sale.” ESPN. ESPN Internet Ventures, 21 Nov. 2013. Web. 29 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

 

December 2 – Devotional: Fixing The Problem

It had been bothering me for a week, so I finally decided to do something about it. There is this clock at the end of our office hallway, and it had stopped working. Or, as it is sometimes said, “it was only right twice a day”, and the times I kept looking at it was never one of those times.

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So, I got the clock and put in a new battery. That is almost always the problem with a broken clock, right? You just take out one battery and put in a new one and everything is good to go, right?

If only all of our problems were solved so simply . . . just change out a brain when it quits working, or change out a “flux capacitor” in a broken relationship, or even swap out a heart. While I am sure someone is working on that in some lab somewhere, the biggest problem we can ever face has been fixed just like that.

You are familiar with 2 Corinthians 5:17 that reads, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” If you keep reading you will read the most important part in verses 20-21,  “We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.”

The battery I changed had no real choice in the matter, it was old and I removed it; but you have to ask God for the reconciliation He provides and it begins with a prayer to Him, which you could pray today.

2 Corinthians 5:20

“ . . . We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”

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