November 30 – Devotional: Master Physician

You may not have ever noticed but I have some trouble with sinus allergies. It can get pretty rough in the fall and in the spring and in the summer and even sometimes in the winter. So, I began taking an over the counter antihistamine to help manage this condition. But this year, I have not been able to stop coughing. There’s just this kind of on going tickle in the back of my throat, which causes me to clear my throat or cough.  When you’re in the business of speaking, it is a problem.

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I finally broke down and agreed to go to an allergist to see if there is a better solution. In order for the testing to be accurate, guess what they had me do? Yes, stop taking my medicine for a week.

Sometimes our symptoms have to be bad enough in order for us to discover the real solution to our problems. I guess that is the way it is with our sin problem. Until it gets bad enough for us to do something, we won’t do anything about. In order to get to the real solution the problem has to be at its worst.

Acts 3:19 says, “Repent therefore and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.”

You can put a band-aid on your problems and never really solve them, or you can self medicate, but the master physician is the only one who can heal you, if and when you repent.

Acts 3:19-20

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out, that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord, and that he may send the Christ appointed for you, Jesus.”

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 29 – Devotional: Final Sermon

The USA Today headline read, Billy Graham Prepares His Final Sermon. I was a bit taken back by the headline. Having grown up in the south, the Reverend Billy Graham has been the foremost evangelist we all grew up with.  Now at age 95, and frail, he hardly leaves his house anymore. But, in one last television blitz he was willing to speak one more time to the nation.

BGEAinK.C.04-56Filmed over the course of a year, this TV special is part documentary, part historical, but completely a presentation of the gospel. Graham is quoted as saying, “Our country’s in great need of a spiritual awakening. There have been times that I’ve wept as I’ve gone from city to city and I’ve seen how far people have wandered from God.” (USA Today)

In this nationwide television effort and a push for in-home gatherings to watch, it is hard to think that this will be his final message; his son, Franklin, admits he won’t be able to do this again.

Which reminded me of this statement from Deuteronomy 34:10 about Moses, “And there has not arisen a prophet in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and wonders that Lord sent him to do in the land . . . ”

And yet, in verse 9 of the same chapter we read, “And Joshua the son of Nun was full of the spirit of wisdom . . . so the people of Israel obeyed him and did as the Lord had commanded Moses.”

We should all grieve when the Rev. Billy Graham does pass from this life. But, just remember the kingdom that he preached about will not end with him any more than the journey ended with Moses.

Deuteronomy 34:10-11

“And there has not arisen a prophet since in Israel like Moses, whom the Lord knew face to face, none like him for all the signs and the wonders that the Lord sent him to do in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land.”

Page, Susan. “Billy Graham’s Final Sermon: ‘I’ve Wept’ for America.” USA Today. Gannett, 7 Nov. 2013. Web. 18 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 28 – Devotional: Giving Thanks

Is White Christmas really a Christmas movie? I know that may seem to be a silly question, “of course,” you might say.  But, the movie has very little to actually do with Christmas. Oh yes, it begins with soldiers celebrating Christmas Eve in a war zone and it does end on Christmas Eve with snow coming down to save a Vermont Inn. But, other than that . . .

White-Christmas

At least, that is what I was telling myself as I took my family to a live production of the musical version on November 1st.  In my world, we don’t do Christmas until after Thanksgiving. I love living in Branson, but being a tourist town that celebrates Christmas in a big way, the community begins our season on November 1st.

So, every year I go on a tangent about how we end up skipping Thanksgiving in an effort to squeeze out every dime in Christmas shopping. It is not that I am against Christmas or even capitalism, I am very much for both of them; but I am concerned that if we fail to give thanks there are some dire consequences.

Consider what Deuteronomy 8 says, “If you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish. Like the nations that the Lord makes to perish before you, so shall you perish . . . because you would not obey the voice of the Lord your God.”

I am afraid we are in danger of perishing because we fail to give thanks when we have so many things for which to be thankful. If we continue skipping the giving of thanks, it might just happen. So, I guess it is okay to see White Christmas in November, just be thankful about it.

Deuteronomy 8:19

“And if you forget the Lord your God and go after other gods and serve them and worship them, I solemnly warn you today that you shall surely perish.”

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 27 – Devotional: Coming Home

It had been a long three days, but I was finally heading home. That is a nice feeling, isn’t it – to be heading home? To pass the time while on the flight I grabbed the iPad and took advantage of the free live television offered on the plane. Finding nothing very interesting, I flipped over to a show I had never seen called “Disappeared”.

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The show is about people who disappeared and how they were found. This particular episode followed the story of a woman named Michele Whitaker. She disappeared, simply vanished. Detectives went to work and news media got involved to no avail. No trace of her was ever found.

Until six years later. The police got a tip. There was a Michele Whitaker who had a website up that shared about her daily life as a Nanny who looked like the Michele Whitaker who was missing. Police called and confirmed it was the same person. She left because she and her mom had a fight, which ended with her mom saying in the heat of the moment, “our family would be better off if you left and did not come back.” And so she did. (Discovery)

I bet that is what the prodigal thought.  In Luke 15 we find the story of the son who wanted the father’s stuff but not the father. Once he squandered it all he was afraid to go back, until he came to himself.  The father desperately wanted his son back. So much so that he spotted him a far ways off, ran to him and welcomed him home.

You might think God is mad at you because of what you have done, but His love for you is greater than any anger. The prodigal learned that lesson, so did Michele Whitaker, and so should you. Isn’t it time to come home?

“Disappeared.” Investigation Discovery. Copyright © 2013 Discovery Communications, n.d. Web. 16 Nov. 2013.

Luke 15:24

“For this my son was dead, and is alive again; he was lost, and is found. And they began to celebrate.”

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 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.

JesseOwens

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