Listen to the Word

open-bibleEvery day I try to share with you a biblical passage and a short reflection on it.  It is my sincere hope that this is a help to you and your faith.  I enjoy doing this, and I truly hope it is a blessing.

I always want the Word of God to be fresh and relevant to you, and I try to put some story or some take it on to help it sink into your life.

Today though, as I was reading this passage, it spoke to me so loudly, that I just want to let the Word speak.  Whatever it is that you are doing, please take a moment, and read this.  Listen to it.  Ponder it.

And try to apply what it says to your life today.

I know that I am.

This passage speaks so loud, about what the Christian life should be.  The Christian life is not a life of just Facebook statuses or Tweets or Christian music or anything like that.  It is a changed life.  It is about the grace of God wrecking us and changing us.  We should be changed people, by His grace.

Today, no frills.  Just stop for one moment.  And listen to the Word.

Romans 12:9-21:

Let love be genuine. Abhor what is evil; hold fast to what is good. Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor. Do not be slothful in zeal, be fervent in spirit, serve the Lord. Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer. Contribute to the needs of the saints and seek to show hospitality.

Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse them. Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with one another. Do not be haughty, but associate with the lowly.  Never be wise in your own sight. Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all.  If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave it to the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” To the contrary, “if your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink; for by so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

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.

Impact

You have no idea the impact that you can make today. Seriously.  You could change the world, today.

Today, through some action, through some word, through something you do, you can change the world. You can do something amazing. And the the thing is this, you can do this amazing thing, no matter where you.

How?  Look at what happens today in John 1:40-42:

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

impactAndrew was impacted by hearing Jesus.  He heard His teaching.  He followed Him, he allowed Jesus to change him.

And then, with the change that Jesus made in his life, he told someone about Jesus.  He told his brother, we’ve found the Messiah.  We’ve found the one that will save us, that will change us, that will redeem us.

And Peter was the one that preached the sermon at Pentecost, where thousands were saved.

And Peter would have never known Jesus if not for his brother Andrew, that took him to Jesus.

And Andrew would have never done that, if Jesus hadn’t changed his life.

Today, you can make a huge impact.  How?  First, understand this truth. God loves you.  More than any mistake you’ve ever made.  You are a loved child of the king.

Seriously.  You are.  Hear those works.  Believe that.  Let it impact you.

And, let the impact of grace in your life, bleed over into all your life. As one affected by grace, let that grace touch others.  Let it impact others.  And you never know the difference that will make.

Just like the difference that it made in Peter.  And through Peter.

Today, you can make a huge impact.  Let God’s grace truly warm your heart today. And let that grace, through your life, impact someone else.

Today, we can change the 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 phone.

A Choice

Today’s reading from Mark 5:17-20 offers a pretty clear choice to us.  Listen to what it tell us:

And those who had seen it described to them what had happened to the demon-possessed man and to the pigs. And they began to beg Jesus to depart from their region. As he was getting into the boat, the man who had been possessed with demons begged him that he might be with him. And he did not permit him but said to him, “Go home to your friends and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” And he went away and began to proclaim in the Decapolis how much Jesus had done for him, and everyone marveled.

SocialClassChoiceIn this, we see two “people,” if you will. We first see the man who was healed from demon possession.  He had been plagued for many years by these demons, to the point that when Jesus found him, he was literally naked in a grave yard.

Jesus came to him, healed him, brought him back to sanity.  Jesus literally gave him back his life.  Now this man who was an outcast, that was not a part of the community, that was cast out, that was nothing, now he was whole again.

So, he goes out and tells people about what Jesus has done.

So, the town comes to see this Jesus that has healed this man.  And when the see Jesus, see His power, His might, who He is, they do this.  The ask Him to leave. They tell Him to get away. They want nothing to do with Him.

He is scary.  He is different. They are comfortable.  They don’t want it.

And so, today, that’s our choice.  Who will we be? Will we be the man, changed by Jesus, that can’t wait to tell others about Him, in every way possible?

Or will we be the crowd, that asks Jesus to leave, because we may not want to do what He may ask of us?

Today, we have a choice. Today, what will we choose?

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.

How’s Your Heart

One of the things that I love about the Christian faith is this. Actions start with the heart. What is on the outside starts with what is on the inside.

Our hearts shape our actions.

If you want to “act” right, you need to “get” right. For what is done/thought/believed in the heart will show it’s self in our actions.

Listen what is said this morning in Deuteronomy 30:4-6:

If your outcasts are in the uttermost parts of heaven, from there the Lord your God will gather you, and from there he will take you. And the Lord your God will bring you into the land that your fathers possessed, that you may possess it. And he will make you more prosperous and numerous than your fathers. And the Lord your God will circumcise your heart and the heart of your offspring, so that you will love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, that you may live.

heart_circumcisionIn Deuteronomy God is giving the law for the second time. In this book, He is giving the law to the children of Israelites that left Egypt. The parents had disobeyed God, and because of that, they were not allowed into the promised land.

Now, the children are getting ready to cross the Jordan River and take possession of the land. But before, God gives them the Law. And tells them that there will come a time when God will not just mark them outwardly, but He will circumcise their hearts.

He will change their hearts. And when their hearts are changed, it will change their actions, it will change their lives. It will start from the inside. And what starts on the inside will change the outside.

We are an inside out religion. What happens on the inside changes the outside.

So, if your actions are not what you’d like them to be, or what God would like them to be, let me ask you a question. How’s your heart?

If He has your heart, He will have your actions. That’s the way that it works.

Today, for our lives, our families, our everything, how is your heart. Your heart will determine your actions. In that, that’s the way it flows.

Today, may God make our hearts in new. And in that, may we live the life of grace that He wants us to live!

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.

Why Do Love Our Enemies?

Jesus tells us a lot of things that we like to hear. Things about forgiveness. Things about mercy. Things about grace and compassion and joy. Things we like.

But, Jesus also says some things that are tough to hear. Some things that are challenging. Some things that we don’t understand and really, may not even like.

Like what we read today.

Listen to what Jesus says to us in Luke 6:27-30:

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

urlMan. We we look at that, I don’t like that. I don’t want to have to forgive my enemies. I don’t want to have to have to do those things.

They’ve wronged me. They’ve hurt me. They are my “enemy” for a reason.

Why? Why do I have to do that? Why does Jesus tell us to do that?

First, prayer can change them. Really. I can. Prayer can change you enemies. It can. It can change their hearts. Soften them. Make them a new person, a different person. Prayer can really change your enemies make them a different person.

Pray for them. It will change things.

But, even if it doesn’t change them, it can change us. They may stay the same. They may not be different.

But, prayer will change us. It will change our heart. Our patience. Our ability to deal with them.

Prayer will change things.

It will change who they are. And, if now, it will change who we are.

The best thing you can do for you enemies is pray for them. The best thing you can do for you is to pray for them.

I know it doesn’t make sense. But it’s true. Today, may we pray for everyone. And pray for those that are our enemies.

And God will do great things.

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.

Charging Hell with a Water Pistol

There’s some days when I’m reading the bible and it just says to me – Boom!

One of my professors used to talk about that sometimes when we really believe, I mean, really believe what we can do, or better said, what God can do through us, we will be so fired up that we will want to charge hell with a water pistol.

The odds may look long, but we know that with God on our side, me, you, a super-soaker, and God can defeat the power of Hell.

Today’s passage did that for me.

Look at what happens in Act 17:6-7 today:

And when they could not find them, they dragged Jason and some of the brothers before the city authorities, shouting, These men who have turned the world upside down have come here also, and Jason has received them, and they are all acting against the decrees of Caesar, saying that there is another king, Jesus.

They dragged the disciples before the leaders and said – these are the ones that have turned the world upside down.

Come on now. That’s it right there.

Don’t you want them to say about us, those are the ones that have turned the world upside down. They have this King Jesus, that they follow and the change the world.

They help heal broken families. They love the unloveable. They help the poor. They feed the hungry. They proclaim the freedom that is found in no other name but Jesus.

They are crazy enough to think that they can change the world. They have turned the world upside down.

Through following Jesus, through His power and life, through proclaiming the gospel, so can we!

It doesn’t have to be the same. It can change. We can change. The world can change. Through Christ and His power, we can turn this world upside down.

We can do it. Today. Through His power. Let’s turn the world upside down. Jesus told us that the gates of will not triumph against His church. Let’s charge hell with a water pistol today. Today, through Christ, we can do it!

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.

Change of Plans

I like having plans. I like knowing what I’m going to do. Even as I sit here typing this reflection out, my mind is thinking through the various things that I have to do today. My schedule, my meetings, my appointments.

I like being able to stick to a schedule. I like knowing whats going to happen. I like having that idea and plan for what is coming.

I don’t like having my plans disrupted. I don’t like it when things don’t go according to schedule. I don’t like it when it doesn’t go the way I planned.

So, what do we do when that happens?

Listen to what Paul says today in 2 Corinthians 1:15-19:

Because I was sure of this, I wanted to come to you first, so that you might have a second experience of grace. I wanted to visit you on my way to Macedonia, and to come back to you from Macedonia and have you send me on my way to Judea. Was I vacillating when I wanted to do this? Do I make my plans according to the flesh, ready to say “Yes, yes” and “No, no” at the same time? As surely as God is faithful, our word to you has not been Yes and No. For the Son of God, Jesus Christ, whom we proclaimed among you, Silvanus and Timothy and I, was not Yes and No, but in him it is always Yes.

Paul wanted to come by Corinth and visit the church. He wanted and had planned to come and teach them, share with them, be in ministry with them.

But, he wasn’t able to stick to his plans. Was it because he was wishy-washy? Was it because he wasn’t really sure what he wanted to do? Was it because he decided to just change his plans?

No.

It was just not able to happen. For whatever reason, it was not able to take place.

So, what did Paul do? He kept on going. He kept on being faithful. He kept on being obedient to God.

You plans may not work out. It may not happen the way you want, when you want, how you want. It may be totally different from anything you’ve ever wanted.

Keep going.

Sometimes I have to remember that there plans bigger than my plans. The Bible tells us God’s ways are bigger than our ways and His thoughts are bigger than our thoughts.

That means that God’s plan for us is sometimes different than our plan for us.

Keep going. Even when the plan doesn’t make sense. Even if it’s not the plan that you had made. Even if it’s a change of plans for you.

God knows what He is doing. He has a plan. And even when we don’t know His plan.

We know Him.

Today, 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.

Not Who We Used To Be

We know Paul as Paul. The guy that wrote most of the New Testament. The guy that started churches all over the known world. The guy that is the reason that those of us that are Gentiles (i.e. non Jews) are Christians. He took the gospel to the Gentiles.

So, Paul’s kind of a rock star. That’s who we know him as.

But, that was not how he was always known. Listen to what happens right after Paul starts preaching in Acts 9:20-22:

And immediately he proclaimed Jesus in the synagogues, saying, “He is the Son of God.” And all who heard him were amazed and said, “Is not this the man who made havoc in Jerusalem of those who called upon this name? And has he not come here for this purpose, to bring them bound before the chief priests?” But Saul increased all the more in strength, and confounded the Jews who lived in Damascus by proving that Jesus was the Christ.

They say, hey, wait, how can this be Saul (when God saved him, He changed his name from Saul to Paul)? How can this be Saul? Remember what he used to do? Remember the havoc he used to raise?

Surly this guy up there preaching can’t be the same guy that we all used to know. There’s no way!

But that’s what God does. He changes us. He makes us new. He restores us. He recreates us.

He changes our name. He changes us.

So, two things this morning. First, when your past is brought (others, the devil, yourself) remember, you aren’t who you used to be. You are new. You are changed. You are different.

Remember the work that Christ has done in your life. You are new!

And likewise, when you meet a new creation today, someone that is not who they used to be. Remember.

They are not who they used to be.

Don’t allow the devil to bring up your past.

Don’t you be the one bringing up someone else’s past.

I am forgiven. You are forgiven. They are forgiven.

Today, let’s all live in the newness of life that God has given to us. Let’s be the people that God is calling us to be.

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.

Who God Uses

The Apostle Paul, before the Lord changed and transformed him, was named Saul. And let’s get something straight right off the bat.

Saul was not a good dude. Really. He wasn’t a good dude. He, before the Lord changed him, had one purpose, and one purpose only.

To destroy the church.

Listen to what happens in Acts 9:1-7:

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. Now as he went on his way, he approached Damascus, and suddenly a light from heaven flashed 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.”

Today, in this passage, Paul is on a mission. He is going to Damascus to destroy the church there. He is going there, under the authority of the high priest to destroy the church and bring the Christians back to Jerusalem for trial.

The high priest picked his meanest, most ruthless, most determined man to complete this task. That was Saul. That’s who he was. He helped in Acts 7 with the murder of Stephen and he was out for destruction again.

But the Lord had other plans. The only thing that Saul had “earned” was judgement. God said not only was judgement coming at that point, but God said – I’m going to save him use him.

Saul became Paul. Saul persecuted the church. Saul worked against God. Saul tried to stop the movement of God. Saul was not a good dude.

And God used him for amazing things. Awesome things. Things no other person could do. God had a plan for Paul. And God was going to use him.

Today, no matter what has happened in your past, and in your life, God will use you. I won’t even say if your willing, because when we read this, Saul wasn’t even willing. But God had plans for him. God was going to use him.

Today, God will use you. That’s not the question.

The question is this. Today, will you let 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.

Braggin’

As an Ole Miss fan, I don’t get the chance to brag very often on my team. Right now, it’s a lot of holding my head down and avoiding eye contact. One day I may get to.. One day!

In our lives, there are lot of things that we brag on. Our teams. Our families. Our jobs. The things that we do well. Our stuff. Our favorite restaurants. So many things that we enjoy or that are a part of our lives; we enjoy bragging about them.

We all do. If something impacts us or means something to us, we will brag on it.

So, today, let me ask. When was the last time you bragged on Jesus? When was the last you bragged on what He has done in your life and what He’s doing in your life?

Listen to what happens today in John 1:40-42:

One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “So you are Simon the son of John? You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

We see here in the passage Andrew was affected by Jesus. We see Him changed by following Jesus. So, what does He do? He goes and He finds His brother Peter and says, we have found Him. We have found the Messiah. We have the one that can make a difference in our lives. We have found the one that has made a difference in my life.

He went, and he bragged on Jesus.

So, today, as we spend our time braggin’ on the things that we enjoy and have impacted us, or braggin’ on the things that we are good at, have we taken the time to brag on Jesus? He makes the biggest difference in us all.

Today, and each day, if we brag on anything, may we brag on Jesus.

May we brag on the difference He has made in our lives. May we brag on the change He has brought to our lives. May we brag on the peace, the hope, the life, the joy, the purpose, the very life that He has given.

Cause in the end, what compares to Him? What can this world offer that compares to Him? What can be as great as Him?

So today, as we live our lives, and we tell others about the great things in our lives; the great things we’ve experienced, the great things we’ve see, may Jesus be on the top of that list.

Today, may we spend time braggin’ on Jesus!