Facing a Challenge

Sometimes in life, something happens that we ask ourselves, can I do this?  Am I big enough for this task?  Can I handle this challenge?

We’ve all been there at some point.  We’ve all had something dropped in our laps, something go on that we think to ourselves, I can’t do this.  I just can’t.

So, what do we do when that happens?  How do we handle that challenge?  What are our options?  What do we do?  One of my favorite examples of something like this happening in the Bible is Matthias.  Listen to his story as found in Acts 1: 23-26:

And they put forward two, Joseph called Barsabbas, who was also called Justus, and Matthias. And they prayed and said, “You, Lord, who know the hearts of all, show which one of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry and apostleship from which Judas turned aside to go to his own place.” And they cast lots for them, and the lot fell on Matthias, and he was numbered with the eleven apostles.

1210_TechTips_ArticleWe don’t know much about him in scripture other than what we just read.  We know he was part of the group that was with Jesus, we know he was faithful, and we know that he was then called to step up into a group that was so very important.

And we know that he did.

So, what do you do when you face that challenge?  I think that verse in the passage is so key – “Lord you know the hearts of al, show us which one of these two you have chosen.”  When that challenge comes, we trust in the one that has called us to that place.

When God has placed your or led you to a place where you think, I just can’t do this, remember that.  God has placed you there.  God has led you there.  It is God that is at work in getting you to that point.  It is God that had called you.

Through Him, by Him, with Him, you can do it.  You can.  If He has led you to that moment.  You can do it.

That challenge me be a new opportunity.  Or it may be a moment of pain.  Or it may be a something that even hurts.  The challenge could be a million different things.  But if God is the one guiding you and holding your hand, He will lead you in that moment.

Trust.  When the challenge looks to great.  When your strength looks too small.  When you are unsure, unsteady, and maybe even unready.  Trust.

God has you there.  And He will not leave you.  He knows your heart.  And He knows what you can do.

Trust.

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!

I Know Whom I Have Believed

As Christians, we don’t believe in concepts. Well, we do, but not really.  We have concepts we believe in.  We have truths that we hold to, things we believe, all of that.  Yes we do.

But, as Christians, our faith is not founded upon concepts.  It’s founded upon a “person.”  A being.  An entity.  It’s founded upon the truth that we believe not in a concept, but we believe in God.  A huge, eternal, all powerful, all sovereign, all mighty God.

A God that spoke everything in being. A God that is bigger than we can ever imagine.

This God.

But, He is also a God that so personal. That knows our deepest fears and hurts. That knows our dreams. That knows the hairs upon our head; knows every thing about us. And loves us.

We don’t just believe in a concept. We believe in God.  Listen to what Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy 1: 11-12 today:

for which I was appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher, which is why I suffer as I do. But I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed, and I am convinced that he is able to guard until that Day what has been entrusted to me.

89A1B9A6-1905-4D67-B047EBF5559A2B52Paul is writing about some of his trials and troubles, and he said that yes, they are hard. But, he knows who he has believed.  And he know that God will guard what is given to Paul, until that day.

In short, in the circumstances of life, no matter how hard or challenging they may be, Paul knows this.  He knows who he has believed in.  And he knows that he can trust God, no matter what. Because God is not a concept.  God is personal.  He is relational.  He knows us, and wants to know us.

Paul knows who he has believed in.  And he can trust, no matter what.

So can we today.  You can trust God today.  You can.  He knows you, He loves you, and He wants to be in relationship with you today.  That’s the kind of God that He is.  Today, no matter what is going on, you really can trust in Him.

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!

When Faith is Hard

I referenced today’s text in my message Sunday at Asbury, talking about the stories in the Bible can really really hit us where we are.  For me, one of the stories in the bible that really hits me, hits me hard, is the notion of wrestling with God.

Sometimes, faith is hard.  Sometimes, it is a real challenge.  Sometimes, we just have to hold one.  Sometimes, we wrestle with God.  Listen to what is says in Genesis 32: 24-30:

And Jacob was left alone. And a man wrestled with him until the breaking of the day. When the man saw that he did not prevail against Jacob, he touched his hip socket, and Jacob’s hip was put out of joint as he wrestled with him. Then he said, “Let me go, for the day has broken.” But Jacob said, “I will not let you go unless you bless me.” And he said to him, “What is your name?” And he said, “Jacob.” Then he said, “Your name shall no longer be called Jacob, but Israel, for you have striven with God and with men, and have prevailed.”  Then Jacob asked him, “Please tell me your name.” But he said, “Why is it that you ask my name?” And there he blessed him. So Jacob called the name of the place Peniel, saying, “For I have seen God face to face, and yet my life has been delivered.”

04-jacob-wrestlingDon’t be discouraged when faith is a challenge.  Don’t give up when it is hard. Sometimes faith can be a real challenge.  Sometimes it really is work to hold on, to believe, even when it is hard.

Just because faith is a challenge, it doesn’t mean that you don’t have faith.  Just because it is work, doesn’t mean that you don’t believe.  Just because you have challenges, it doesn’t mean that you are not a believe.

Sometimes, we are like Jacob.  We believe.  We have faith.  We know God. But it’s just hard.  A hard time.  A hard season.  A hard experience.  In those times, hold on.  Cling tight.  Wrestle with God.  He won’t let go.

You don’t either. Hold on.  No matter how hard it may be, hold on.  God’s got you.

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.

SOAP – Day Two – James 4:7-10

324904370_640I’m going to do my posts this week in the method of study that I talked about yesterday, the SOAP method.  So, let’s start!

S – scripture 

We are going to read James 4:7-10.  Read slowly.  Don’t rush through this.  Listen.  If it helps, write it out yourself.  Listen for God’s voice in this.

Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.

O – observation 

What did you see when you read?  This is what I observed.

Submit yourself to God.  I am not the boss of my life. God is. I have to submit myself to Him.  It’s not about me.

Resist the devil, and he will flee.  The devil is not all powerful.  He is not unstoppable.  He is not the greatest power in the world, God is.  Draw near to God, and He will draw near to you.  God will be there.  He has promised.  He is always there. If we turn to Him, He will be there for us.

Cleanse, and purify.  Humble yourself.  My sin, my mistakes, they cause harm.  To others. To my walk with God.  To myself. I have to turn from them. I have to repent. I have to wash myself, and make myself clean.

A – application 

How will I apply this to my life today?

Today, I will not seek to do my will, but will seek to do God’s.  I will ask myself, before each decision, is this something that God wants me to do?  I will slow myself, I will consider my actions. I will think about my plans. I will submit myself to God.  I will do all that I can do today to live for Him, not for me.

I will keep my eyes open for temptation. And I will say no.  When faced with temptation, I will pray. I will turn to others for help. I will make sure that I resist temptation. I will remind myself that the devil is the father of all lies, and if it’s a temptation, it is a lie. And, I know that if I resist him, the devil will flee. God’s Word promises that.

I will truly repent of my sins. I will not just feel sorry for what I’ve done, but I will ask God to forgive me, I will accept that forgiveness, and I will allow God’s grace to allow me to be faithful.

P – prayer

God, help your Word to be made real in my life today.  Help me to submit myself to you today, to live for your purpose.  Help me resist temptation, in whatever way that it comes. And help me to understand my need for forgiveness and to truly repent of my sins.

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 phone.

A Challenge

determined-challenge-accepted-lYesterday in my sermon at Asbury, I walked our church through a method of studying Scripture that is called the “SOAP” method.  In this method, the letters stand for this.

S – Scripture

O – Observation

A – Application

P – Prayer

My challenge to my people, and to each of you reading this, is to, each day this week, seriously take some time to really read the Bible.  No rush through it. But, read it.  Listen for God to speak to you through it.  Take time to reflect upon it.

First, S, listen for God when you read.  Don’t rush.  Don’t get in a hurry.  Don’t worry about having to read a lot.  Just slow down, breathe, and listen for God to speak.

O.  What do you notice?  What words stood out? What caught your eye?  What jumped out at you? What really grabbed you?

A.  From what you read, what can you apply to your life today?  What can you carry with you through the rest of your day?  Your week?  Your life?

P.  Pray for the grace to carry through what you’ve learned today.

So, this is the challenge I have for you. Will you do it this week? Will you take the time to really read, listening for God’s voice in what you read?

Do it for a week.  And just see.

And let me know how it goes for you. What did you you learn?  email me, or post on my wall, or tweet me.  I’d love to hear back from you on this challenge!

The question is always where do I start?  Here’s some help.

One thing you can always do is just read through a book of the bible.  If you’d like to do that, I’d suggest starting with the Gospel of Mark.  It’s the shortest of the Gospels and, in my opinion, the easiest to understand.

If you’d like just daily suggested readings, you can use our Asbury Salt and Light bulletin.  If you didn’t grab one yesterday, you can read it online by clicking here.

Or you can use plans from the American Bible Society, suggested ESV reading for the day, on of the many plans from Bible.com, or a whole host of other online options.

Or you can use the passages that I’ll reflect upon each day here!

I hope these are helpful for you. And I hope you’ll take the challenge!

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 phone.