Peace and Quiet

I’m someone that likes noise. Always have, always will. I like background noise. I like having the TV on. I like having Spotify or Google Music up in the background when I’m at church. I go to sleep each night listening to podcasts or to the news.

I like noise. Always have, always will.

Silence makes me nervous. I don’t always know what do do, or probably more important, what to say. I like the noise.

But, there are times, really deep times, really important times, when words fail. When there isn’t anything that you need to say, there isn’t anything that you need to do.

You just need to sit there, in silence, and know that you are in God’s presence, that you are loved, you are valued, and that you matter. Listen to what it says today in Zephaniah 3: 16-17:

On that day it shall be said to Jerusalem:
“Fear not, O Zion;
let not your hands grow weak.
The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

peace-and-quiet_-(3)It says here that God will quiet us with His love.  There is nothing more to say. There is nothing more to do.  You are loved.  You are.  You are valued.  You are.

The Lord is mighty to save.  He is strong to save.  He loves you.  The sovereign God of heaven, who can do all things, will sing over you.

As parents stands over, sings over, prays over their child, our loving God sings over us.  He quiets us.  He loves us.

In Him, we can have peace.  And we can have quiet.  Because of His great love.

Today, if just for this moment, sit where you are.  And know this.  No matter where you, what you are doing, what you may do, you are loved.  You are.

Let that sink in.  Let it become real.  You are loved.

You can have peace.  You can have quiet.  Because of Him.

Know that.  Today.  And each day.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

No One Wants to be Alone

Christ-in-garden-of-gethsemaneI know this may sound like a simple statement, but is one that is really true. If we want to know how to live and what we should do in life, we need to look to Jesus.

The Bible tells us that if we want to know God’s heart, we need to look to Jesus (Colossians 1:15). To know God, we need to look to Jesus.

And I think we sort of know that already. There is something though that I think we know, but we forget. The Bible teaches us that while Jesus is fully God, He is also fully human.

What does this have to do within anything? Listen to what we read today in Matthew 26:26-38:

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”

Jesus is fully God, right? But we also know that He’s fully human. And, when this hour comes, what is one thing that He wants? He doesn’t want to be alone.

He wants to be surrounded by the people who He loves, and that love Him. He doesn’t want to be alone.

And neither do we.

And you know what we see here in this text? That’s ok. If Jesus, the very Son of God, creator of all that is, both seen and unseen, knows that in times of trial, He doesn’t want to be alone, it’s ok for us to know that as well.

It’s ok for us to realize that there are some loads to heavy, some hills too high, some rivers too deep, that we don’t want to deal with them along. It’s ok. Neither did Jesus.

So today, if you are going through a tough time, don’t be alone. Surround yourself with folks that love you. Lean on there, let them help. Let them be a friend. Cling to them.

And if you have something you love going through a tough time, walk with them. Be there. Hold their hand.

No one wants to be alone. Neither did Jesus. That’s why we have each other.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Move Forward

One of the most well-known stories in the Bible, and honestly, one of the most important stories in the Bible is when Saul gets saved, and the Lord later changes his name to Paul.

It’s a story of how the Lord intervenes and has plans bigger than Saul (Paul) and bigger than any of us. God has a calling for him, and He has a calling for me and you. I was reading that story this morning, and something jumped out at me.

Listen to what it says in Acts 9: 3-6:

Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven shone around him. And falling to the ground he heard a voice saying to him, “Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting me?” And he said, “Who are you, Lord?” And he said, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting. But rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.”

arrow-forwardWhat stood out to me was the last thing that Jesus said. Saul asks who it was that was shining down on him, and Jesus responds by asking why he was persecuting Him.

But what jumped out to me was what happened next. Jesus tells Saul it’s Him, and then says “But rise and enter the city.”

Yes, Saul has been persecuting Him. Yes, Saul had done some bad stuff. Yes, there was a lot of water under the bridge. But rise and enter the city.

Look ahead. Look forward. Look to the future. Don’t worry about the past. Don’t worry about what’s happened. Don’t worry about all that has happened in the past.

Look at ahead. God has a plan that is greater than anything in your past. Don’t focus on what has happened (good or bad). Focus on what is to come. Focus on the future.

Rise and enter the city. Move forward. Keep going. God is more worried and more focused on your future than He is on your past.

God has great things in store. May we be faithful with what He is calling us to!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

How to Endure

I’ve often said that I’m not a bed of roses preacher. Sometimes the prevailing thought is this – you become a Christian, and man, life is easy! You have purpose! You have a plan; you have a goal. Man, you become a Christian and everything is a piece of cake.

I’ve heard that type of message before in sermons; I’ve seen it in Christian movies, read it Christian books. You get saved and you win the ballgame, everything is awesome!

I don’t know about you, but that’s not always been my experience. Sometimes, in fact, being a Christian seems to make things harder. Listen to what it says in Hebrews 10: 32-36 talking about this:

But recall the former days when, after you were enlightened, you endured a hard struggle with sufferings, sometimes being publicly exposed to reproach and affliction, and sometimes being partners with those so treated. For you had compassion on those in prison, and you joyfully accepted the plundering of your property, since you knew that you yourselves had a better possession and an abiding one. Therefore do not throw away your confidence, which has a great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what is promised.

hanging_threadWe are reminded in this text that there will be tough times ahead as Christians. They struggled, they suffered, they dealt with many different issues. They had their property taken. They were mocked. They had so many things happen to them.

And they had endurance.

You know why? They remembered their hope. They knew God would be there. They knew they had a greater home. They knew that while there would be tough times ahead; if they just held on, it would be ok.

They knew that God would not forget them. No matter how hard it may seem at times, God would not forget them.

They kept hope. Even when it was hard. Because they had a hope greater than this world.

So, how do we have endurance? How do we endure? Remember your hope. Your hope is not in this world. Your hope is not in fame, or power, or wealth, or popularity, or anything that this world can offer.

You hope is in God. And He will never disappoint. Hope in Him. Believe in Him. Cling to Him.

And we can endure whatever comes our way.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

How Should We Live?

I just finished a small group this morning, and we talked about one of the questions that we Christians talk about is what are we supposed to do? How are we supposed to live? What is our life supposed to look like?

We’ve all wondered. We’ve all asked. What is a Christian supposed to do? What are we supposed to be like? How, now, should we live?

Jesus takes some time in our text today to talk about what our life should look like as a Christian. What are we supposed to do? Listen to what He says in Luke 3:10-14:

And the crowds asked him, “What then shall we do?” And he answered them, “Whoever has two tunics is to share with him who has none, and whoever has food is to do likewise.” Tax collectors also came to be baptized and said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than you are authorized to do.” Soldiers also asked him, “And we, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not extort money from anyone by threats or by false accusation, and be content with your wages.”

eefd4fe8f589e64e0e66a4f2937ae4ae_XLWhat does Jesus say? What should we do as Christians? We should do our best to just to do right by people. Help people. Be faithful. Don’t steal. Share. Treat others right. Show love and mercy.

As He says in other places, treat them like you’d like to be treated.

Or as He says, the greatest commandment is to love our God and love our neighbor. Because if we do that, then we are keeping all the law. When you do right by others, you are doing what God wants us to do.

Because God loves them. He does. He loves people. They matter to Him. He sent His son to die for and to save them. God genuinely and totally loves people. He wants for all to be saved, and He wants to use us to do that great task.

And one of the ways that we can make a difference in someone’s life is by simply doing right be them. Treating them with that respect. Treating them right.

That’s Jesus’ command to us today. Do right by others. If we do that, God will take care of the rest.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Everyone

I had the good fortune last night of being able to preach a revival up in Yazoo county last night. I really do enjoy the chance to preach revivals; it’s always a joy to get to share the good news of Jesus with different churches, and it’s a joy to remind folks of just how much we that are Christians need to hear the good news again for ourselves.

And one of the things I always like to remind folks about when I preach revivals is this – who is God after? Who does God want to save? Who does God want to see come to saving faith? Who does God want to be in a relationship with?

Listen to what Peter preaches in Acts 2: 38-39:

And Peter said to them, “Repent and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins, and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. For the promise is for you and for your children and for all who are far off, everyone whom the Lord our God calls to himself.”

800px-Globe.svgPeter says this – God wants folk that are near and far, all folks, all people, everyone, to be saved. God wants all people to come to know Him. God wants all people to be in a relationship with Him.

God wants to know everyone. And God wants everyone to know Him.

Me, you, the folks we like, the folks we don’t like. Everyone. God wants everyone to make that decision to follow Him as Lord.

Who does God love? Everyone.

And so, as His followers, that’s our calling as well. To love everyone. Even the folks that we don’t like. In fact, the folks we don’t like, they may be the ones that we need to love the most.

Because they need to hear the goodness of God’s love. And need the faithfulness of doing something that we don’t want to do. We need the faithfulness of doing something impossible. Because when we do that, we actually have to trust and fully lean on God.

And then He does amazing things through us and in us.

Today, who does God want to be in relationship with? Everyone. Today, may we do that very thing in our lives.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

It’s Not Complicated. Just Hard

Hey y’all, remember me?  After a week away teaching at Camp Wesley Pines and helping with BaseCamp, I am now back on schedule!

So often, we like to make faith complicated.  We can deal with grand theologies or believes. We can struggle with the questions that we don’t understand. We can feel paralyzed by mysteries that are so deep.   We can  just be overwhelmed by issues of faith sometimes.  Sometimes to the point that we just don’t know what to do.

That’s why I like it to be simple.  And you know what?  It can be.  I’ll tell you part of what I’ve learned about faith.  It’s really not all that complicated, most times.  It can just be hard to do, sometimes.

What do I mean?  Listen to what it says today in Romans 13:8-10:

Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

simplePaul today basically pares it all down.  Own nothing to anyone, except to love them.  All the commandments, all the law, everything, it is summed up by that one simple command.  Love.  If you love, you will fulfill the commandments.  You won’t steal, you won’t murder, you won’t do all these things.

Love keeps the commandments.  That’s actually simple to understand.

It’s just hard to do.  It’s hard to love, hard to forgive, hard to do these things.  And I can’t do them.

But, Christ through me can.  So, ironically, if I want to keep this command, the command that matters, the command of love, the first thing I’ve got to do is draw my heart closer to God.  Because only through the power of the Spirit can I love.

It’s not complicated to understand this.  On our own, it’s just hard.  But, through the power of Christ within us, all things are possible!  We can do it!  We can love!  We can.  We can keep the heart of the law.

As we do that, may we make a difference for Jesus with all that we do.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Who Does God Use?

Who does God use?  Well, surly God uses the perfect.  Or the wise.  Or the sinless.  Or those that haven’t made mistakes.   Or those that are prominent.  Or powerful.  Or wealthy.  Or famous.

God would have no need for the imperfect, we think.  He would have no need for the small, or the frail.  Or the ones that are looked down upon.  Or just can’t get it right.  Right?

Who does God use?  Listen to what Peter says today in Acts 2: 17-18:

“‘And in the last days it shall be, God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh, and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams; even on my male servants and female servants in those days I will pour out my Spirit, and they shall prophesy.

Friend-of-God1Who does God use?  Everybody!  We see here, Peter preaching on Pentecost, when the Spirit falls down and the church begins, we see that God uses everyone.  He uses our sons and our daughters, young men and old men.  Male and female servants.

Everyone you.  Young and old.  Rich and poor.  Famous or infamous. God uses everybody. There’s not a soul out there that God can’t use for His purpose and for His glory.

Who does God use?  He uses me.  He uses you.  He uses each of us.  No matter where we are; what we are doing, no matter what has happened.

Today.  Where you are.  In your place.  God wants to use you.

I said yesterday at Asbury in my message that ministry is not just preaching.  We’ve made the ministry something reserved for just preachers.  No, we are all called to ministry.  If you are baptized believer, than you have a calling on your life for something for God.

You do.

Who does God use?  He uses me.  He uses you.  He uses all of us.   May we be faithful, in all that we do!  And may we live in the power of His grace today!

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Perspective

It’s so easy in life to lose perspective.  To lose perspective on ourselves, or to lose perspective on others.  To think too much of ourselves, or too little of ourselves.  To think too much of others, or too little of others.  In our lives, we really do need perspective.  We need to see things for what they are in reality.

Listen to how Paul puts it in Romans 12:3-5:

For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.

PERSPECTIVEPaul tells us this morning, keep that perspective.  Don’t think to highly of ourselves; but think about things with grace and perspective.  Now hear me, this doesn’t mean that we are to have a low opinion of ourselves or think that we don’t matter.

Please understand, that’s not what Paul is saying at all. What he is saying is this.  It’s not that you don’t matter.  It’s that they matter too.  It’s not that you are unimportant, it’s that they are are just as important as you are.

This is the proper perspective to have, we all matter.  You are sacred and of great worth.  You matter.  You are vital.  You are important.  You is kind, you is smart, you is important.

And so are they.  For we are all part of one body.  We all matter.  We all are important.  We all count.

Perspective is not thinking less of yourself.  It’s thinking as much of them, as you do yourself.

Today, live with perspective.  Don’t think as much about yourself, as you do about them.  And I promise you, in that, you’ll find more life that you ever think possible.

Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

Listen

Sorry no posts the last few days.  Holly’s grandmother passed away this last weekend and we’ve been back in Lincoln county and I didn’t have a lot of computer/internet access in the mornings.  We are back home now, so everything should be back on schedule for the rest of the week!

In today’s readings listen to what Jesus says in John 10: 25-27.  And that word listen is huge:

Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me, but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep. My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.

listen_to_god_by_teensieking-d5kts0eJesus tells the religious leaders that do not believe because they are not His sheep.  His sheep will hear his voice. They will follow Him. They will hear, and they will listen.

It’s hard to follow Jesus if we aren’t listening.  It’s hard to follow His command, if we aren’t listening.  It’s hard to know which way to go, what to do, where we should be, if we aren’t listening.  As His sheep, we’ve got to listen.

We live in a world of real distractions, things pulling at us.  Emails, texts, social media, instagram, everything.  So many things vying for our attention, for our mind, for our heart.  We’ve go to listen.  We’ve got to slow down, if just for a moment, and listen for that still small voice, calling out to us.

If are in a place of confusion, slow down, and listen.  If you struggling with things in your life, slow down and listen.  If you are unsure, slow down and listen.  Listen.

Listen for His voice in His word.  Listen in your conversations with other believers.  Is the music you listen to.  In the things you read.  Listen.

He is speaking.  He is the good shepherd, who loves His sheep.  That means us! And He will speak to us.  Listen.  He is there. Calling out.  Listen.  He will speak.
Don’t forget, you can click here to download Asbury’s mobile app and read these devotionals, as well as listen to my sermons on your smart phones, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!