October 8 – Devotional: God’s Purpose For Your Life

If you are not familiar with Dr. Ben Carson, you really should be.  He is a true America success story, born in 1951 in Detroit he was raised by a single mother. Throughout elementary school he struggled, but his mother reduced their TV time and started making him read two books a week and then write a report on them.  His grades started to improve.

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He would finish high school; go to Yale and then graduate from the University of Michigan where he earned his Medical Doctor degree. He went on to be a world-renowned pediatric neurosurgeon and divisional director at John Hopkins University.  His medical career was inspired by his early appreciation for missionary doctors.

I had the privilege of hearing him in person and I was most impressed. He has written several books and there was one written about him called Gifted Hands that has been turned into a movie. But, I was most impressed by his story of discovering his talent.  He said, “I noticed that I had very good hand/eye coordination and I could think and see in three dimensions.”  Pretty important, I would think, for a brain surgeon. Who would ever think that such a gifted doctor would come from the ghettos of Detroit, except for God?

Listen to Proverbs 19:21, “Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”  Dr. Carson believes that his purpose was to be a physician in order to have a platform to share the gospel.  I wonder what purpose God has for you?  What has He gifted you to do? It may not be brain surgery, but you are gifted and God’s purpose for you can be lived out, if you do your part and discover it.

Proverbs 19:21

“Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.”

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 7 – Devotional: Knowing God’s Word

One day I was riding in my car when all of a sudden Andy Stanley started talking to me.  No not like in a “Hi Neil, this is Andy” sort of way.  But, one of his sermons just started playing through my car speakers. Which was a little odd since I was not tuned in to a radio station playing a sermon of his, nor had I called one up on my iPhone. (Besides, my iPhone was not even connected.)

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I was actually a little weirded out by it, but it was Andy Stanley, so I just kept on listening. Later, when I looked down I did notice that my iPhone was playing and then it dawned on me . . . I had my Bluetooth on and apparently my car has Bluetooth as well.  Somehow I must have hit the button and the two synced with each other. I just did not know the car had it. I should have known it, I am sure it was in the manual some place, I just never bothered to look.

Which is what Jesus so often took the religious leaders of his time to task on . . . Several times the Scriptures record Jesus asking, “Have you not read, did you not know?”  When asked a question about divorce, Jesus said “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female, and said, ‘Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?”

So, what do you not know that has been written in God’s word?  Why not take some time today and find out?

Matthew 19:4

“He answered, ‘Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.’ ”

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 6 – Devotional: Friend Of God

I have never really liked the song, I am a friend of God.  Oh, yes it is a catchy tune, and upbeat, one of those great “opening songs.”  But, I sometimes struggle with the potentially flippant way we approach a Holy God.

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Yes, I know in John 15:13 it says “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you. And No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to you.”

But that friendship is not based on me being likeable, or worthy of friendship with Him, rather it is as a result of Jesus sharing with us what the Father is doing.  Slaves don’t know what the master is up to, but the master’s friends do because he tells them.

And what is the Father doing? Well, this Holy God, who does not lower His standard, has offered up his Son as a sacrifice and payment for our sin, so that Christ’s perfection can be credited to our account.  Our status is changed because of the death of Christ, and instead of being enemies; we are friends because Christ died for that friendship.

Now, I will go ahead and keep singing that song, and you can too, just remember Jesus died to be your friend, otherwise you would never be able to call Him friend.

John 15:15

“No longer do I call you servants, for the servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all that I have heard from my Father I have made known to 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

 

 

 

October 5 – Devotional: Cheer For The Weak

The family was away and I had the remote all to myself.  I watched some EPL matches and then it was the kickoff to football season. After years of watching Arkansas Razorback football, I have kind of given up on the whole sport of American football.  But, I decided to cruise the channels and see who was playing whom

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Anyway, like most opening games there were the Goliaths playing the Davids . . . Oregon vs. Nichols State, University of Buffalo playing at Ohio State.  I tried to watch a game, but most of them got very quickly out of hand.  I mean, I know why the big schools play the small schools, but it is just not that entertaining, until one of those weaker teams hangs with the stronger, then it gets interesting.

I am not sure if that is why God seems to favor the weak over the strong, or not, I just know that He does.  All I know is that if He does, so should we.  Take Psalm 82 for instance, God speaking here says, “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy;
deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

I like cheering for the underdog, but God wants us to do more than cheer, He wants us to take action. So this week, look for the weak and stand with them, defend them and help them. The crowds may not cheer, but your God will be pleased.

Psalm 82:3-4

“Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

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 4 – Devotional: Wait For The Lord

Have you ever changed your schedule to be some place at a time you would not normally be there to meet somebody, only to have them not show up?  It has happened to me twice lately and it has become really frustrating.  It was time for the annual termite inspection and the company just randomly selects a date and time that is convenient for them, not necessarily for the customer.

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So, I had to call and say that time would not work and schedule a different time. Of course, they can only give you a two-hour window in which they might be there. So, I took off work and went home to wait. They were a no show. I placed an irritated phone call and got them rescheduled.

Then, I got home when I agreed to meet the person only to discover a note on the door saying that he had already been there and he missed me. But, I wasn’t supposed to be there at that time. “Ohh”, he said, “I am already home by the time they told you.” So we rescheduled another time, and he did not show . . . I am about to let the termites skip the inspection altogether.

I will be hard pressed to rearrange my schedule for a company that I can’t seem to depend upon, but there is one, that I can count on, even when He doesn’t show up when I think He should.  Psalm 27:14 says “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

Maybe it feels like you have been waiting on God as long as I have been waiting on the termite guy. But I can promise you, if you just hang on and wait for the Lord, at just the right time He will show up and all the waiting will have been worth it.

Psalm 27:14

“Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!”

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 3 – Devotional: His Mighty Acts

The other day at staff devotion time, one of our younger staff members gave what I thought was a really interesting devotional. I don’t really remember his point exactly but I loved the illustration. He handed out a bag of pennies and asked each one of us to choose one.

oct3pennies

We then went around the room with each person responsible for remembering something that happened in the year their penny was produced. A few of the pennies were from decades ago, 1929, or 1941, with no one alive during some of those dates, we were stuck with events we have been taught from our history classes.

There were also a few modern pennies, one even from last year, but me, being me I looked through the pennies and chose the one from 1971, which was my birth year.  I did not know much that happened that year, other than history began – at least for me.  What was most interesting was how we were able to remember at least a few events from each year, even the ones for which we were not alive.

It took people who were alive at that time telling people who weren’t there, in order for us to know. Writing it down sure seems to help which is partially why we have the Bible, it serves as a written story of God.  This sharing from one group to another is, of course, God’s plan. In Psalm 145:4 we read “One generation shall commend your works to another,
and shall declare your mighty acts.”

Are you writing down God’s mighty acts in your life? A simple prayer journal with a listing of requests and answers could be a good way to start. Or maybe just on your calendar – take time to jot down His mighty acts so that later on God will be praised, either by you or the one who reads about them.

Psalm 145:4

“One generation shall commend your works to another, and shall declare your mighty acts.”

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 2 – Devotional: Quick To Sell-Out

I am a big fan of Calvin and Hobbes. You may not remember it or know what it is but for a while it was one of the most popular comic strips to ever appear in the newspapers.  I know, some of you will ask what is a newspaper, but for ten years between 1985 and 1995, Bill Watterson created a world built around a precocious and adventurous six-year-old boy named Calvin, and Hobbes, his stuffed tiger.

oct2 soldout

Part of the reason that I love the strip besides its laugh out loud nature is the stand that Watterson took. You see, he never allowed Calvin and Hobbes to be merchandized meaning no stuffed animals, no t-shirts, no coffee mugs, no stickers, trading cards, or anything. He turned down lots of money, and kept his syndicate from making even more, because he felt it would ruin the integrity of the strip and violate the nature of the characters.

I find him a breath of fresh air in a time of such commercialization of just about everything. He made plenty of money, but left so much more on the table that endears me to him. It makes Esau so much more of sell-out. Do you remember Esau, brother to Jacob, who for a bowl of stew sold his birthright? Jacob shared some blame, maybe letting his brother have a free bowl would have been the brotherly thing to do, but Esau was so quick to sell out. I wonder if you are too eager as well?

I love what Watterson said in the one and only graduation speech he gave. He said, “Selling out is usually more a matter of buying in. Sell out, and you’re really buying into someone else’s system of values, rules and rewards.” Today, don’t sell out to anyone but God.

Genesis 25:34

“Then Jacob gave Esau bread and lentil stew, and he ate and drank and rose and went his way. Thus Esau despised his birthright.”

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

Watterson, Bill. “Some Thoughts on the Real World by One Who Glimpsed It and Fled.” Kenyon College Commencement. May 20, 1990.