When We Can’t Feel His Presence

where-is-God-2-300x227One of the things that I believe that truly gives life, that truly changes us and gives us hope, is to be in the presence of God. To know that God is with us, to know that He is there, listening, loving, caring.

In our lives, we have all been there, at some point, knowing that God is with us, God is present, God cares.

Many of us can think of moments, right now, where we felt that way. I can; you can, we all can.

And in just the same way, we can think of moments where we couldn’t feel the presence of God. Where we didn’t know where He was. Where we didn’t think, He was there. Where we felt forsaken. We’ve all been there, too.

So, what do we do? What do we do when we don’t feel God’s presence? Today, in Psalm 105: 4-6 we are offered two suggestions. Listen to what it says.

Seek the Lord and his strength; seek his presence continually! Remember the wondrous works that he has done, his miracles, and the judgments he uttered, O offspring of Abraham, his servant, children of Jacob, his chosen ones!

First we are told this. Keep seeking. Keep seeking after God. Keep doing the things where you experience God.

Keep reading His word. Keep praying. Keep serving. Keep looking. Keep listening. Keep seeking. And you will find Him. You will. He is there.

And second, remember what He has done. Remember where He has been faithful. Remember where He has shown Himself. Remember how He has loved you, saved you, called you, been there for you. Remember. Remember.

Never forget. Never forget who He is. Never forget what He has done. Never forget how He loves. Never forget.

He hasn’t left. He hasn’t. Even if you can’t feel Him. He is there. Keep seeking Him. He is there. Keep remembering. He is there.

Even if you can’t feel it, don’t quit. Don’t forget. He is there. Hold tight to that.

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!

More Than Just an Option

Recently I’ve issued a challenge to my people at Asbury, and I’d like to issue that same challenge all of us here that read this devotional.

Who do we believe that God is? Is the Lord God of Heaven? The Maker of all that is, both seen and unseen? The Alpha and Omega, Beginning and Last? The Triune, Sovereign God?

The God that loves died for us and was raised us. The God that saves us shows us mercy, grace, and love?

That is who Scripture paints Him to be. That is what Christians have believed for thousands of years.

But the question I have for you this morning is this. Is this true? Do you believe that this is true? Do you believe that God is who scripture paints Him to be?

(waiting for you to answer that question. No, really, right now, in your own heart, answer that question)

If God is who He says that He is, doesn’t He deserve to be more than just an option in our lives?

choose-your-pathFor most of us, God is just an option. He’s something we pay attention to when we have time. We don’t plan our days, weeks, months, lives around God. We do what we want, and if we have time, we give God what we can.

We make God an option. He’s just one of the options in our lives.

And doesn’t He deserve more than that? Doesn’t God deserve to be Lord of our lives, not just an option?

My challenge this year is this. Give God a year. Truly, as best you can, don’t let God just be an option for you and your family. Truly let Him be Lord.

And you know what? If you do, if you really do, and God doesn’t honor that, I’ll shut up about it. I won’t bring it up again.

Is God just an option for you. Or is He Lord?

I don’t know what you will do, but we live by the words of Joshua 24:15:

And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the Lord, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

For me and my house, God will be more than just an option. I hope that He will be for you and yours as well.

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!

If God So Loves Us . . .

My childhood pastor (Bill Poole) was one of the most gifted pastors and teachers I’ve ever had in my life. Even though I was young when he was my pastor, so many things he said have stuck with me through the years.

One of the things that he said that I always remember is that “if” is the biggest word in the Bible. Anything that comes after “if” is huge. Just huge. “If” is one of those words that holds the Bible. “If” determines so much about life, faith, everything.

Normally “if’ is the word that hold’s God’s truth together with our action.

Listen to what we read today in 1 John 4: 10-11:

In this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.

love-each-other2In this passage, we are reminded that God loves us. And then we are told, if God has loved us, then we ought to love one another.

That’s it. That’s what we have to do. That’s what we are called to do.

The first question in this we must ask ourselves is this. Does God love us? The answer to that, without a doubt all throughout Scripture is yes. God loves us. He adores us. He sent His son to die for us and be raised for us.

He loves us. Really. He does. Do you believe that?

That’s the first question you’ve got to answer is do you believe that?

“If” so, then we must love each other. We must. We are not given an out. We are not given a choice. We are not given an excuse. We must love each other.

Love is the language of faith. Love is our hope, our peace, our joy, our purpose. God has loved us. He has. We have to love each other.

It’s hard. Very hard. We don’t want to sometimes. But we must. Because as believers, it’s who we are.

There’s that old hymn “They Will Know We are Christians by our Love” (Jars of Clay did a cool version of it a few years ago that I really like) that really sums this up – that always comes back to that statement – they will know we are Christians by our love.

Today, that’s our calling. Even when it’s hard. Even when you don’t want. Even when you don’t want to. It’s who we are.

It’s who we are.

It’s who we are.

It’s who we are.

If God has loved us, we must love each other. Today, may each of us do that, through the grace and love of our Father.

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!

The Father’s Love

1796522_10153839360110043_622034866_nBeing a dad has been the thing in my life that has truly changed and sharpened my view of God. As a father, that really does love my children; I get, in just some small way, what God’s love is like.

I’m telling you; nothing makes me happier than seeing my children happy. And nothing, nothing, nothing makes me more upset than seeing my children upset.

And I’m not special in that. Every parent feels that way. Every dad, every mom, we all understand that. We all want what is good for our kids. We all want to do what is right for our kids.

We all love seeing our kids smile, don’t we? I mean really, every parent loves seeing their child happy and loves being the cause of that happiness.

Listen to what Jesus tells us today in Luke 11: 9 – 13:

And I tell you, ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened. What father among you, if his son asks for a fish, will instead of a fish give him a serpent; or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Jesus says, all of you that are parents, when you child asks for a fish, will you them a snake? Of course not. No parent would do that. That’s not what parents do.

So, if you (and me) who are imperfect, if we know how to (and want to) give good things to our children, how much more will our perfect heavenly Father long to give good things to us.

I really love my kids. And I am imperfect.

How much more does our perfect heavenly Father love us. Think about that for a second. Your love for child (as great as it is) is only a smidgen of the love that God has for you.

That blows my mind. I can’t understand it. But it’s true.

As much as we, as imperfect parents, love our kids, our perfect heavenly Father love us more.

You are loved today. You are. No matter what.

Today, live in that love.

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 Is Jesus to You?

Who is Jesus to you? That’s the question that really matters in our lives. Not who is He to our parents or grandparents.

Not who is He to our children or our family or our church.

But who is He to me? Who is He to you? Who is He? Listen to what it says in Mark 8: 27-29:

And Jesus went on with his disciples to the villages of Caesarea Philippi. And on the way he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that I am?” And they told him, “John the Baptist; and others say, Elijah; and others, one of the prophets.” And he asked them, “But who do you say that I am?” Peter answered him, “You are the Christ.”

question-markPeter confessed Jesus as Lord. He said, you are the Christ. You are the Messiah. You are the anointed savior of the world.

And that’s what everything comes down to. So, today, starting a new week, that’s my question. It’s not what trials face you.

Or what circumstances stand in your way. Or what worries cloud your mind.

What defeats jog your memories. What successes cloud your eyes.

None of these. Those are not the question. This is the question.

Who is Jesus? Who is Jesus to you?

In this week may He be your friend, your guide, your savior, and your Lord. May He be your entire world.

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!

What is Peace?

Christ-Our-Peace-Postcard-2012What is peace? What do you think of when you think of peace?

For most of us, we think of some vague feeling or concept, something that we “feel” that we may not even be able to explain what it is that we feel or experience. We think of the passage where it says that the peace that passes understanding will guard our hearts.

So, for most of us, we associate peace with that “sort of” feeling.

And that is great, but the only problem with associating everything with feelings is what about when we don’t “feel” it. What happens when we don’t have that feeling? Do we still have peace? Or joy or whatever?

I want to share with you something I read this morning. Listen to what it says in Ephesians 2: 14-19:

For he himself is our peace, who has made us both one and has broken down in his flesh the dividing wall of hostility by abolishing the law of commandments expressed in ordinances, that he might create in himself one new man in place of the two, so making peace, 16 and might reconcile us both to God in one body through the cross, thereby killing the hostility. And he came and preached peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near. For through him we both have access in one Spirit to the Father. So then you are no longer strangers

It says in Ephesians that peace is not a feeling or a concept, but it is a person. Jesus. We are told today that Jesus is our peace. He guards our hearts. He is the one that keeps it all together.

What does this mean for us today? Seek Jesus. If you want peace, don’t seek “peace.” Seek Jesus. Because here’s the thing.

If you seek a feeling, you may or may not get it or feel it. It may not happen. But, if you seek Jesus, if you chase Him, if you are faithful to Him and seek Him, with your whole heart, you will find peace.

You will.

Jesus is our peace.

Peace is not a feeling. Peace is a person. Jesus. He will guard us. He will keep us. He will save us.

Today, don’t chase after that feeling. Chase after that person. Chase after Jesus. And you will find peace. Because He is our peace.

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!

What Are You Thankful For?

illustration_today_i_am_thankful1What are you thankful for today? There are lots that we can be thankful for.

We can be thankful for our family. For the great nation in which we live. For those that protect and take care of us. For the teachers and schools that take care of our children. For our churches. For all the things that we have been given.

But it’s not just the things that we’ve been given, it’s the things that we get to do. We have this day. We have a calling. We have the chance to make a difference.

We have so much to be thankful for.

But listen to what Jesus tells us today in Luke 10: 17-20:

The seventy-two returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in your name!” And he said to them, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven. Behold, I have given you authority to tread on serpents and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy, and nothing shall hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

Jesus tells us; it’s great that you’ve done all these great things. It’s great that you have seen and done this. But be truly thankful in this.

Your names are written in heaven.

Yeah, we’ve got a lot to be thankful for. We’ve got so many blessings so many and things to be thankful for.

Even those of us that don’t have much to be thankful for, we are still so blessed to live where we live. For all of us in the west, we are so blessed, and we never need to forget that. We never need to forget our blessings.

But our greatest is this. As believers, our names are written in heaven. And nothing, nothing, nothing is greater than that.

Nothing.

So, today, be thankful. You are His, and He is yours. And everything pales in comparison to that.

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!

A Little Crazy

As a child of the 90s one the songs that always takes me back to Bogue Chitto High School is Crazy by Seal. Some of you may remember it, some of our younger audience may have no idea about the song, or Seal, or even the 90s!

Today as I was reading our text for this morning, that song was running through my head. Listen to what happens to Paul in Acts 26: 24-25:

And as he was saying these things in his defense, Festus said with a loud voice, “Paul, you are out of your mind; your great learning is driving you out of your mind.” But Paul said, “I am not out of my mind, most excellent Festus, but I am speaking true and rational words.

ARTICLE_CrazyChristiansPaul is preaching, and the King says – Paul, you’re crazy. You’ve lost it. You’re too smart, and it’s made you crazy!

And Paul says, nope. I’m not. I’m in my right mind. I am speaking true and rational words.

He basically goes on to say; I just love Jesus, and He has changed me. And that makes me, in this world, look and act a little crazy.

And so should we. We should look and act a little crazy. We shouldn’t be like the world. We shouldn’t be like the culture. We should be different. We should act different. We should never become so much like the that we aren’t noticed.

Today, as believers, we have to be different. We do. If there is no difference between us and the world, then something is wrong.

And if they think we are crazy, that’s ok. Really. It’s ok. We don’t live for their approval, we live for God’s approval.

They thought Paul was crazy. Nope, he just loved and was changed by Jesus. Today, I hope they think the same thing about each of us.

Let’s act a little crazy 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!

Today. Pray.

prayer-warrior1Today, I want to encourage you to pray. Most days these devotionals are about looking at a passage of scripture, reading it, and then talking about the a greater theme or “takeaway” that we can apply to our lives on that day and hopefully for the days to come.

My man Tim Keller has a book on prayer coming out soon, and I was reading about it this morning, and this is how he describes prayer within in – What is prayer, then, in the fullest sense? Prayer is continuing a conversation that God has started through his Word and his grace, which eventually becomes a full encounter with him ….The power of our prayers, then, lies not primarily in our effort and striving, or in any technique, but rather in our knowledge of God.

So, in other words, prayer is not about what you say, or how you say it, prayer is a conversation that God has already started with us, and that will result in our knowledge of Him.

Prayer is a conversation that God started, in which He longs to reveal Himself to us, and hear us.

Today, God hears you. He does. He hears you.

Today, though, I just want you to pray. Take a moment right now, and pray. If you are driving, feel free to pray with your eyes open. But just pray.

Pray for those that are sick.

Pray for those that are battling cancer and other diseases.

Pray for those that are grieving lost ones today.

Pray for your family.

Pray for those you love.

Pray for your church, it’s ministries and staff. Pray for your pastor. Pray for their families.

Pray for our nation. Pray for our military folks.

Pray for God to show Himself to you. Pray for awareness to understand when He does.

Pray for His will to be done on earth as it is in heaven.

Pray for the forgiveness of sin.

Pray for yourself.

Pray.

Today, no matter where you are, or what you are doing, take this moment, and just pray.

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!

The People of His Pasture

I love to read the Psalms. They are some of my favorite parts of the Bible. They speak so much to us, they are full of such beauty, such hope, such peace, such life.

I really love the Psalms. I love to read them, I love to meditate upon them, I love their gentle reminder of who God is, and who we are.

Today, one of our readings is from one of the Psalms that I feel like I read the most in my life. Listen to Psalm 95: 3-7:

For the Lord is a great God, and a great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth; the heights of the mountains are his also. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the Lord, our Maker! For he is our God, and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand.

pastureIt starts off talking about who God is, how He is the greatest; there is no one above Him, no one greater than Him.

He is the highest. He is the strongest. He is God. He is. He is bigger than whatever we face, stronger than our doubts, wiser than our foes. He is God. You can trust in Him. That’s a great reminder.

But the part of the Psalm that I really love is the end. I love what it says, we are the people of pasture, the sheep of His hand.

We are God’s. We belong to Him. He has marked us, He has claimed us. We are His. No matter who in the world claims you, know this. God does. He is proud of you. He loves you. He desires you. He takes pride in you.

No matter what. No matter what has happened. No matter what goes on. No matter what lays in your past, your present, or your future.

You are His. You are people of His pasture. You are sheep of His hand.

No matter what. You are His. Never forget that.

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!