September 27 – Devotional: The Perfect Guide

I had a little bit of a shock on the first day of school this year. Every year in dropping of my children at the local elementary campus, we have had a person or two serve as traffic controllers. The campus is built in a round pattern allowing for traffic to come in and out at various places along the circle.

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Volunteers, in good weather and bad weather, were there to stop one flow of traffic to allow the other to come in.  And while from time to time I would disagree with their decisions (seemed like they always changed the traffic flow when I was next) it ran relatively smoothly.

Until this year . . . First day of traffic and there was no traffic controller. People, including me, did not know what to do. I noticed in one place there was a stop sign where the person used to stand but at the main entrance there was nothing. It was kind of interesting to see what people do when there is no one to tell them what to do. The first couple of days we all kind of retreated into a “Lord of the Flies” kind of thing.

Without restraint, we kind of turn back to our nature, which is not very nice. Which was the warning God gave the Jewish people in Psalm 81:11, “But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me. So I gave them over to their stubborn hearts, to follow their own counsels. Oh, that my people would listen to me, that Israel would walk in my ways! I would soon subdue their enemies and turn my hand against their foes. Those who hate the Lord would cringe.”

I miss the traffic controllers, but I guess we will survive as long as some of us have the Holy Spirit to guide us.

Psalm 81:11

“But my people did not listen to my voice; Israel would not submit to me.”

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

 

 

September 26 – Devotional: Power Of The Tongue

I was recently traveling by air with a new friend.  We had never traveled together, but we were attending a church conference and were already planning an international mission trip together so we thought it would be a good thing.  He volunteered to make all of the arrangements, to which I happily agreed.

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As we got to the airport, he handed me my boarding passes and I immediately saw the words, “exit seat”.  I am not opposed to sitting in an exit row, you get early boarding and a bit more legroom, I just don’t often do that because of all that extra pressure of opening the door in the case of an emergency.

So, I listened carefully to the instructions- the flight attendant said the door weighed 42 pounds and asked if I had any issues with that.  I said no, thinking in a true emergency I would have enough adrenaline pumping through my body that I could rip a hole in the side of the plane.

But, it caused me to start thinking . . . A mere 42 pounds is plugging a gaping hole in the side of the plane. A hole that if breached would cause a whole lot of trouble and in a multi-ton plane.

Just because something is small, does not mean it is not important or powerful.  Consider what James wrote when he said, “Look at the ships, though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small ruder wherever the will of the pilot directs.”

Has your tongue ever gotten you in trouble? It is a small thing, but has gotten me into all kinds of trouble and caused all kinds of hurts along the way.  Remember that before you open the emergency door of your mouth.

James 3:4-5

Look at the ships also: though they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are guided by a very small rudder wherever the will of the pilot directs. So also the tongue is a small member, yet it boasts of great things. How great a forest is set ablaze by such a small fire!

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
 

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

Gollner, Adam Leith. “The Book of Immortality.” 2013. Random House, LLC.

 

September 25 – Devotional: Second Death

Abraham Lincoln is credited with saying, “if you want your name to be remembered after your death either do something worth writing or write some thing worth reading.” Well recently, a man must have done just that because his death was written about twice. Seems that ABC recently tweeted a story about the death of Neil Armstrong. The only problem was he died a year ago.

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Apparently someone was writing a story on the one-year anniversary of his death, but it got all messed up and incorrectly stated he had just died. I was even fooled, which is really bad since I was named after the first man who landed on the moon. I did not remember he had already died. (USA Today).

While this second death announcement was not new to the family it was probably a little disconcerting. Of course, many in the media are making jokes about his second death, but you and I know there really is a second death and it is no joking matter.

At the end of the book of the Revelation we have this scene of the final judgment.  In part it reads in chapter 20, verse 14: Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

How do you get your name in the book of life? Well, you ask Jesus to include you.  It’s pretty simple, and He will, if you repent of your sin and believe. While Mr. Armstrong did some pretty amazing things that caused his name to be remembered, I am not sure whether Mr. Armstrong’s name was in the book of life. But yours can be, if you just ask.

Revelation 20:14-15

“Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.”

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

Eversley, Melanie. “Neil Armstrong IS Dead, but It Happened a Year Ago.” USA Today. Gannett, 28 Aug. 2013. Web. 17 Sept. 2013.

 

September 24 – Devotional: Respond To The Call

I got a call the other day from a person I had never met. He was a leader in Montana and invited me to come and speak at a conference they were having in a few months. Now, I don’t know anybody in Montana. I had never been and had no real plans to go, but my schedule was open and I had made a commitment that as my schedule allows I would go and speak wherever I was asked. So I said yes.

sept23montana

That is kind of the way the gospel reached Philippi. The apostle Paul got a call from a man and he responded. Acts 16 tells us the story, in verses 9-10: “And a vision appeared to Paul in the night: a man of Macedonia was standing there, urging him and saying, ‘Come over to Macedonia and help us.’ And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.’ ”

I don’t compare myself to Paul, and neither should you, but I wonder if you have ever heard from God to go and do something?  Maybe not as dramatic as Montana, or Macedonia, but maybe somebody at church is asking you to serve in some way, or you have been asked to go on a mission trip . . . While I am not saying you should say yes to every invitation, I think if the request has to do with sharing the gospel it is something you should seriously consider.

I wish Montana was the only invitation I received recently, but I had another one which is much more intense and scary which I am praying over and probably going to say yes.  So, just be ready, you never know when or where the Lord may call you to go but just be ready with a yes.

Acts 16:10

“And when Paul had seen the vision, immediately we sought to go on into Macedonia, concluding that God had called us to preach the gospel to them.”

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

 

 

September 23 – Devotional: The Beginning Point

I stumbled on it by accident. It was like finding the Holy Grail without even looking at it.  I was riding around with a friend near the Atlanta airport looking for a place to eat dinner.  Even though I never have any luck with Siri on my iPhone, I decided to ask about restaurants near me.

sept23 chicken2

When I asked the question, up popped Dwarf House. My heart skipped a beat. Really?! . . . It can’t possibly be true. I plugged in the address and after a couple of wrong turns through some less than desirable neighborhoods, there it was . . . The Dwarf House, the birthplace of Chick-fil-A. We went in, sat down and ordered at the counter. I chose the Chick-fil-a platter with macaroni and cheese and sweet potato soufflé. My friend was about to order a cheeseburger just to spite those cows, but he relented and had the spicy sandwich.

This classic diner was Truett Cathy’s start where he “invented the chicken sandwich.”  It was a rich experience thinking that it all began there. I have had that feeling before, but in a much more profound way when I was at the Western or Wailing Wall in Jerusalem.  It was there according to Genesis 22:2 that God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son on Mount Moriah. That is exactly what he was willing to do because of his faith, which led to the creation of a great nation, of which you and I are a part of today.

Oh, I know, I know . . . comparing the temple mount to the Dwarf House is almost sac religious, but beginning points are so important to our lives. We all look back on them with profound fondness, like maybe the place where we began to follow Jesus. Ironically, we don’t always know how important those moments are until much later.

Take today for instance; will what you do today for God be a beginning point that others will remember decades later? Who knows, it just might.

Genesis 22:2

“He said, ‘Take your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell 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

 

 

 

 

 

September 22 – Devotional: Keeping Sin Secret

I am not exactly sure where the phrase, “a skeleton in your closet came from.”  The Internet is full of lots of different rather colorful stories, but we are all familiar with the meaning. A skeleton in the closest is a secret source of shame, potentially ruinous if exposed, which a person or family makes efforts to conceal. (At least according to the British website, The Phrase Finder.)

sept22skeleton

It is driven by fear of someone finding out something you are trying to hide. Now, I am sure most of us have some rather embarrassing things that we would rather everyone not know (which may be why many of us move away from the towns where we grew up) but a true skeleton is something that can ruin you.

 

Sin can be like that. Yes, we all are sinners and have committed sin, both acts of commission and acts of omission but there are some sins that have some rather dire consequences. Which is what some of Job’s friends thought he must have done. In chapter 10 of the book of Job, he cries out, I have not done anything to deserve this! What is happening to me? But his friend Zophar tries to remind him that we have all sinned and deserve much worse than what he is experiencing.

He gives some good advice and says, “If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear.”

But, Job was also right. There was not a direct connection to sin and punishment; neither Job nor Zophar had the benefit of God’s conversation with the adversary. So, where does that leave us? Well, I think we should put sin far away from us, but be thankful that God forgives the sin that is in our closet.

Job 11:14-15 “If iniquity is in your hand, put it far away, and let not injustice dwell in your tents. Surely then you will lift up your face without blemish; you will be secure and will not fear.”

Martin, Gary. “A Skeleton in the Closet.” A Skeleton in the Closet. Gary Martin, n.d. Web. 10 Sept. 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

 

 

September 21 – Devotional: God Is Everlasting

It will soon be soccer season again in the Franks family. For the last six years I have been assistant coach to a guy named Randy. I started helping out with my oldest son’s team as our boys are the same age, and a couple of years ago added helping with Travis’ teams as well.

sept21frog

Neither Randy or I are experts in soccer coaching, but we love the game and love the kids. We work pretty well together so I really enjoy it. Since we like to play up a division we have found ourselves going up against some pretty good teams with boys several years older than ours.  In order to help motivate the team, Randy will introduce a cartoon of a frog.

The picture has a bird, which looks like a crane with a frog in its mouth, but the frog has his hands around the throat of the frog preventing him from being swallowed.  Even though the frog looks like he is in trouble, as long as he holds on to the throat of the bird, there is no way he can be swallowed.

When things are down, Randy will shout from the sidelines, “remember the frog!” And it works. You and I have something so much better to shout to each other from the sidelines. It is found in Isaiah 40: “Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. He gives power to the faint, and to him who has no might he increases strength. Even youths shall faint and be weary, and young men shall fall exhausted; but they who wait for the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.”

Okay, remember the frog is easier to say, but if we can remember those three verses, we can never lose.

Isaiah 40:28

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable.”

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