Devotions

Monthly Archives: July, 2017

Sharables Lesson 10 – Devotion 1

Sharables Lesson 10 – First Love
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

Matthew 21:28-32
“What do you think? A man had two sons. And he went to the first and said, ‘Son, go and work in the vineyard today.’  And he answered, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he changed his mind and went.  And he went to the other son and said the same. And he answered, ‘I go, sir,’ but did not go.  Which of the two did the will of his father?’ They said, ‘The first.’ Jesus said to them, ‘Truly, I say to you, the tax collectors and the prostitutes go into the kingdom of God before you.  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 second son says he will work in the vineyard and then does not (maybe he wanted to get paid).  This frustrates all of us.  We want someone to be true to his or her word.  The son starts off by recognizing his father’s authority in replying obedience, but then ignores or snubs his father’s authority by not backing up his words with some action. 

The context of this passage centers on the authority of Jesus.  This son represents the chief priests and elders (the Jews).  They start off by saying they will keep every law, but then fall away and even question and refuse the authority of God (Jesus).

We can often see where our heart is by where our money goes. 

Money can change us.

Colossians 4:14
“Luke the beloved physician greets you, as does Demas.”

Philemon 1:24
“And so do Mark, Aristarchus, Demas, and Luke, my fellow workers.”

Demas was a follower of Jesus working alongside Paul.  He is even called a fellow worker.  Then something happens.

2 Timothy 4:10
“For Demas, in love with this present world, has deserted me and gone to Thessalonica. Crescens has gone to Galatia, Titus to Dalmatia.”

Demas started as a follower of the Lord but then fell in love with the world.  He was like the son saying yes, but not willing to obey in action.  He fell in love with the world and hence the things of the world.  His talk became cheap.  His actions were louder than his words.

Revelation 2:4
“But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first.”

Have you lost or forgotten your calling?  Have you slipped away from the Lord?  Does your life look like you have fallen out of love with the Lord?

Hebrews 12:1
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us.”

Are you on the right path?  Will you remain true to your testimony?

Does your walk match your talk?

Sharables Lesson 9 – Devotion 6

Sharables Lesson 9 – Boss
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

July 29

What thoughts cross your mind when you hear the word “boss?”  I saw an acronym that said Built On Self Success.  It is a pessimistic thought to think all bosses are selfish.  We know Jesus was the ultimate leader and He led by serving.  He washed the feet.

Adonai is the name of God that refers to Him as The Lord; My Great Lord.  He is our Master, the majestic Lord, and our total authority.  He is Boss.

Psalm 8 gives a beautiful portrait of Him.

“O Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory above the heavens.

2 Out of the mouth of babies and infants,

you have established strength because of your foes,

    to still the enemy and the avenger.

3 When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers,

    the moon and the stars, which you have set in place,

4 what is man that you are mindful of him,

    and the son of man that you care for him?

5 Yet you have made him a little lower than the heavenly beings

    and crowned him with glory and honor.

6 You have given him dominion over the works of your hands;

    you have put all things under his feet,

7 all sheep and oxen,

    and also the beasts of the field,

8 the birds of the heavens, and the fish of the sea,

    whatever passes along the paths of the seas.

9 O Lord, our Lord,

    how majestic is your name in all the earth!”

God is amazing.  Look at the sky tonight at sunset.  The vibrant colors, the clouds, the moon with enough power to affect the oceans’ tide, and the stars all lined up in design and formation.

Take a walk in a park or the woods.  Examine nature.  See the glory of God.

In Habakkuk 3:19 the title of Adonai is used again, “God, the Lord, is my strength; he makes my feet like the deer’s; he makes me tread on my high places.”

God is our strength.  He cares about us.  He loves us.  I too wonder, “What is man that you are mindful of him?”  However, He is mindful of us.

Praise Him!  Worship Him!  Look all around and see Him.

The awe we feel encourages our actions of obedience.

Sharables Lesson 9 – Devotion 5

Sharables Lesson 9 – Recharged
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

Recently one of my former students and golfers text me asking if I wanted to get together with him and golf.  I immediately text him I would like it.  We met that next Monday morning at the golf course.  He “rolled up” on an electric bike with his golf clubs on a pull trailer.  He had biked nine miles pulling clubs.  He said it was easy because as he peddled the “battery” put out extra power propelling him to upwards of 20 miles per hour.  He then just had to recharge it when he got home.  I was very impressed.

Energy is a hot topic.  There are all kinds of sources for energy beyond fuel.  There is coal, oil, hydropower, nuclear power, solar energy, wind energy, and even nuclear power.  I even heard that the E85 gas has corn as a base for its energy.  There are even reports that chocolate can be used to produce energy.  I know chocolate gives me some more energy.

Scripture calls Jesus the source of life in referring to Him as the True Vine.

John 15:1-7 says,

“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser.  Every branch in me that does not bear fruit he takes away, and every branch that does bear fruit he prunes, that it may bear more fruit.  Already you are clean because of the word that I have spoken to you.  Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.  I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.  If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned.  If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you.”

We need to produce fruit.  The only way we can produce fruit is by being connected to the True Vine, Jesus Christ.  The word “abide” is used seven times in these seven verses.  To abide means to remain.  It emphasizes the idea of “being” not “doing.”  Being plugged into Jesus recharges us.  John 8:31 says, “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed him, ‘If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples.’” 

Stay in the Word and let the Word dwell in you.  It recharges us.  It helps us get connected to the Ultimate Source in Jesus Christ.

Sharables Lesson 9 – Devotion 4

Sharables Lesson 9 – Extra Mile
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

Finding a good babysitter is hard.  Typically we tried to use the grandparents.  We are fortunate.  We both knew you marry a family and not just a person.  We are blessed.  However, there were times when we needed some “outside” help.  As a youth pastor and high school teacher, I knew potential babysitters.  All situations went well, but we did have two babysitters who went through all of our cabinets (they did not cover it up well).  We had another babysitter who got conned by our seven-year-old son to have a snack before bed that included cereal in chocolate milk.  Finally, there was Amy.

Amy brought crafts for the kids, would read to them (she is now a teacher), got them to put their toys away, put them to bed, and cleaned the kitchen.  We were just hoping for someone to “watch” the kids but got much more than we paid for.  She went the extra mile.

Luke 17:7-10 gives a parable doing what is expected and doing more than just our duty, “Will any one of you who has a servant plowing or keeping sheep say to him when he has come in from the field, ‘Come at once and recline at table’?  Will he not rather say to him, ‘Prepare supper for me, and dress properly, and serve me while I eat and drink, and afterward you will eat and drink’?  Does he thank the servant because he did what was commanded?  So you also, when you have done all that you were commanded, say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done what was our duty.’”

A servant was paid to work from sunrise to sunset.  He was fortunate to have a way of earning some money.  When he finished in the fields, he would come help in the house.  It was his job.  He got paid.  There was not anything special.

In Matthew 5:41 in His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus talks about going the extra mile, “And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles.”  Most people know the phrase and concept, but do not know where the extra mile concept came from or what it literally meant.  In the first century, the Romans ruled Israel.  Legally a Roman official could demand that a Jewish citizen carry his luggage a mile (some say they counted off 1,000 steps).  It is even believed that Jews marked off a mile from their house so they knew where they could stop.  Jesus was radical in saying to go the extra mile.  Can you imagine the face of the Roman official as they started the second mile?

Is there something extra you can do for your family today?

Is there something extra you can do for a friend today?

Is there something extra (good) you should do for an enemy today?

Is there something extra you can do for the Lord today?

God the extra mile!

Sharables Lesson 9 – Devotion 3

Sharables Lesson 9 – Shrewd
Dr. Randy T. Johnson | Growth Pastor

Luke 16:1-9 gives the parable of the Unjust Steward.  The story goes that a manager was caught wasting the owner’s possessions.  He does not want to be thrown out onto the streets to beg, so he has a plan.  He goes to everyone who owes the owner money and agrees to a 50% discount if they pay right now.  It works, and he is able to turn in a lot of money to the owner and save face.  The owner was pleased.  Verse 8 says, “The master commended the dishonest manager for his shrewdness. For the sons of this world are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than the sons of light.”

Jesus gives the explanation in verses 10-13, “One who is faithful in a very little is also faithful in much, and one who is dishonest in a very little is also dishonest in much.  If then you have not been faithful in the unrighteous wealth, who will entrust to you the true riches?  And if you have not been faithful in that which is another’s, who will give you that which is your own?  No servant can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.”

The manager was considered “shrewd.”  Google gives the definition, “Having or showing sharp powers of judgment; astute.”  It goes on to give an excellent list of synonyms:  sharp-witted, sharp, smart, acute, intelligent, clever, canny, perceptive, perspicacious, sagacious, and wise.

The definition brings no negative connotation on being shrewd.  In the back of my mind, I had a slight feeling of it being negative because Jesus said, “Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves; so be shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Matthew 10:16 NASB).  Maybe I associate shrewd with serpents and serpents with Satan.  But being shrewd is commendable.  If we strive to be shrewd with money, how much more should we be with the souls of others?  We read books, talk to friends, and even hire a professional in handling our money.  How can we be shrewder in reaching others?

Who has God placed in your heart and mind?

What is your plan?

Be shrewd!



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