December 31 – Devotional: Give Something Away!

Seems like you can’t even give away something for free these days. That apparently is the way that Serge Vorobyov feels.  This 29-year-old Minnesota man says he was only trying to spread holiday cheer by tossing 1,000 one dollar bills over an upper floor railing at the Mall of America on Black Friday.  He was cited for disorderly conduct.

business man hug money

Serge said it was his last $1,000 and since he was going through a divorce, lost his car-hauling business; he had hoped the positivity of throwing the money would come back to him.  The police saw it differently as he stamped his YouTube address on the bills and later admitted it was all a publicity stunt.

What a shame that the motive was wrong.  It could have been such a nice gesture. Jesus wanted no hint of controversy when in Matthew 10 he said to the 70 he sent out that they were to proclaim as they went, saying, “The kingdom of heaven is at hand. Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.”

When is the last time you did something for free? Maybe you gave away something, or paid someone’s dinner bill.  As believers in Jesus we are called to live this kind of life. After Serge’s stunt, some will be even more skeptical when someone gives with no strings attached.  Do something to combat the cynicism we face today and give.  Be inspired to give away something in order to win the chance to share the life changing free gospel of Jesus.

Matthew 10:7-8

And proclaim as you go, saying, ‘The kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, cast out demons. You received without paying; give without pay.

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 30 – Devotional: Hiding

There are some distinct advantages of being bald.  One, I save a ton of money on hair care products.  Second, I save a ton of time.  I never have to spend time fixing my hair and I never have to be concerned about the wind blowing my hair out of place. I also never wake up worrying about bed head.

Businessman peeking behind the desk

There are definitely some disadvantages to being bald.  I seem to get cold when the temperature drops below 60 degrees.  When long hair is in, well I am out.  The biggest disadvantage is when you hit your head on something, everybody knows because you cant hide it.

Just the other day I was putting some Christmas boxes away underneath the house where it was dark.  I turned around only to strike my head on the doorframe.  After a few seconds of seeing some stars, I wandered out into the light. I made my way up the stairs into the bathroom.  I looked in the mirror and there it was a big red mark for the whole world to see.

After the injury I know I will have to answer a million questions as to what happened. Then I have to explain how dumb I was as I bumped into a doorframe.  I think it’s funny how the embarrassment hurts worse than the pain. This is exactly how Adam felt when God came walking in the cool of their day.  Adam said this, “I heard the sound of you in the garden, and I was afraid, because I was naked, and I hid myself.”

Well God knows what you have done, and he loves you in spite of it.  So instead of trying to hide it, instead tell him about, confess it and ask his forgiveness.  He died so that you could.

Genesis 3:8

And they heard the sound of the Lord God walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and the man and his wife hid themselves from the presence of the Lord God among the trees of the garden.

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 29 – Devotional: Practice Godliness

As much as I wish it were different, there is only one person I can control. I can only control me.  I can’t make my sons do what I want them to do.  I can’t make my spouse or even politicians or especially our culture do what I want them to do.  FrankIy, I have a hard enough time controlling me.  This led me to a great question.  How much time am I working on me? Instead of complaining about how everybody else is doing or not doing how much am I investing in me?  My goal should be to live under control of the Holy Spirit. That goal does not just happen, but rather it takes work and effort.

Basketball Practice

As I was thinking these thoughts I was reminded of the great book titled, Practicing Godliness by Jerry Bridges.  What a great title.  In the book he reminds us that and I quote, “Though the power for godly character comes from Christ, the responsibility for developing and displaying that character is ours.” “We are both personally responsible and totally dependent in our practice of godliness. We cannot change our hearts; that is the exclusive work of the Holy Spirit. But we can and must avail ourselves of the means the Spirit uses.”

I think that is what Paul must of meant when he said, 29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

That may be a new idea to you. This can only happen through His power.  I was talking with a friend recently who said, “I used to be afraid to have a spiritual conversation, but now I find myself doing it constantly.”  Why is my friend more motivated? He began to practice being Godly!  The more you practice anything you’ll find yourself getting better and better at it.  The same is true when you practice godliness as well.

Colossians 1:29

29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within 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

 

 

December 27 – Devotional: Anger Can Be Dangerous!

When is the last time you were angry?  More than likely you were angry because of either violated or unmet expectations.  For instance, recently I attended the funeral visitation of an old friend.  A visitation is the time for family and friends to gather after a death but before the actual funeral.  It allows time for people to come and share their encouragement and love to the family.

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I had travelled quite a ways to attend this event and I wanted to be there! But to return the same day meant I had about a four-hour drive to get back.  The visitation started at 5:00 pm.  I thought I would be able to visit the family and be on my way in about a half an hour.  That is what I expected, but when I pulled up, there was a line.

Now it should not have surprised me because this was a very well respected man and I was prepared to wait in line.  What I was not expecting was for people to “cut” in that line.  I watched person after person skip standing in line and go about midway up and make their way to be near the family.  The only thing worse at the moment was my own mom pointing out all the people who were cutting line.

Since I had a four-hour drive and all these people lived in the same town, who do they think they are? Don’t they know how a person should act at a visitation.  I was getting angry.  Anger is a natural response to an expectation violation.  In the book of Ephesians 4:26, it does not say don’t be angry, but rather it says, “Be angry and do not sin!”

It was a good thing I had been reading that passage earlier in the day, lest I would have probably stood up on a pew and rebuked the line breakers.  Which I think might have been a sin, given the circumstances.

In this world we will feel anger, but we can ask the Holy Spirit to help us and keep us from sinning and he will.

Ephesians 4:26

26 Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger.

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 26 – Devotional: Correct Others Carefully

There is a word that I constantly misspell, so much so that my assistant went into my computer and decided to fix the autocorrect so that it would both catch it and fix it.  (I am not sure what word it is exactly, but she commandeered my MacBook air and questioned the validity of my high school diploma.)  I bet it was the word ‘Ecclesiastes’.  Don’t you wish you could turn on somebody else’s autocorrect?

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Whether it be a co-worker, a child or even a spouse; sometimes other people’s mistakes cost us dearly.   Sometimes it affects us financially or our takes our time, but more often than not, the deepest cost is to our emotions.  How should we handle others mistakes, especially when they affect us?

Jesus gives us a great example in John 21.  It is the first real encounter he has with Jesus since the crucifixion. Rather than starting with accusations or demands for an apology, Jesus starts with love.

He asks Peter, “Do you love me?”  Now that may not always be the best place to start with someone who has hurt you. They may not be ready to talk, but starting with love is always right.  That is probably why you are hurting in the first place; if you didn’t love the person you probably would not care, at least not as much.

Before I try to autocorrect someone, I try to remember how God must feel about us.  Surely there are times he has wanted to prevent me from making mistakes, but somehow, some way allowing someone to make a mistake in order to learn from it, might actually be better for the person.  So next time the autocorrect feature tries to help you type, remember a God who loves you so much that he doesn’t autocorrect your life!

John 21: 15-17

15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon, son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 He said to him a second time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” He said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon, son of John, do you love me?” Peter was grieved because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” and he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.

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 25 – Devotional: Bigger Is Not Always Better!

During baseball season it often means a weekly trip to the ball fields, and a new opportunity to people watch in between innings.  I have noticed a trend among those who come out to support their children’s team and you often see the family dog tagging along.  Seems crazy to me to bring your pooch to a ballgame at the park.

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I remember one game I saw a family bring their huge Alaskan huskie that looked strong and brave.  Another family brought their teacup puppy that was not much bigger than my hand. All the sudden the two faced off and then did the obligatory sniffing and the little tiny dog rolled over.  It was pretty cute.

The dogs reminded me of David and Goliath story.  Both of them men, but what a difference between the two.  A young boy versus the giant.  But after the obligatory trash talking, it was the giant that got rolled over.  As they say, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.”

Just this week I met a pastor of a small church which has a 150 people in worship. Even though a small church, they are doing large things.  They recently started a training center for pastors in India and were raising the funds for a  27,000 square foot building. Their goal was to sponsor multiple pastors and taking a variety of trips to support the ministry project.  The first offering they took for the ministry project was $74,000. The next offering was $40,000. Consider the church size these were amazing numbers!

So the next time you see a small dog, you better warn the big dog to watch out!

1 Samuel 17:49-50

49 And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground.

50 So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed 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 24 – Devotional: Staying Loyal

Every week it began the same way.  A beautiful tropical island, a bell tower, and a man ringing the bell.  The man was shouting, “Da Plane Da Plane.”  Do you remember the show staring Ricardo Montalban? The show was called, “Fantasy Island”.  Each week various guest stars would come to his island and live out some type of fantasy.

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Fantasy Island lasted 7 seasons and they filmed 158 episodes.  Of course, there was no such place as Fantasy Island; it was actually filmed in Burbank, California. The house with the bell tower, where Tattoo (that was the guy who rings the bell), was the Queen Anne Cottage, located in the Los Angeles County Arboretum and Botanic Garden in Arcadia.  It was all one big fantasy.

The airplane they talked about was a Grumman G-44 Widgeon. That plane was real and after the show was cancelled It went on to another life. The production company sold the plane and it began a new illegal life. The famed plane was used to smuggle cocaine into southeastern Oklahoma. The Oklahoma Bureau of Narcotics announced they didn’t realize the plane had a television history until it seized the plane in an investigation and ran the tail number.

I thought about Demas when I heard that story.  Do you know him?  He was a trusted companion of Paul and did well at first, even commended him.  But in 2 Timothy Paul writes this Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica.

Now I know “da plane” had no choice in its turn to the dark side, but you and I, well we do.  May we love the Lord more than this present world.

2 Timothy 4:10

10 For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.

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