What Kind of Day It Will Be

Is today going to be a great day?  Or is it going to be a terrible day.

It all depends upon your perspective.  You perspective today will have a lot to do in determining what kind of day it will be.  Listen to what is says today in Psalm 18:4-6:

The cords of death encompassed me; the torrents of destruction assailed me; the cords of Sheol entangled me; the snares of death confronted me. In my distress I called upon the Lord; to my God I cried for help. From his temple he heard my voice, and my cry to him reached his ears.

questionMark-backgroundThere are two ways to look at what happens today in this Psalm.  Both are true, by the way.

Way number one is to focus on the trouble and the pain that the Psalmist felt.  He was legitimately scared and worried. Death lingered.  He was distressed.  He was afraid.  We aren’t sure what was going in his life, but whatever it was, it wasn’t a good thing.

He probably felt at the end of his rope.  He probably felt like giving up.

We can focus on this. We can focus on the troubles and pains of the world, of the day. We can focus on all these things.

And today will be terrible day.

Or, we can focus on the second part of this passage.  The Psalmist cried for help. And God heard him.  His cried reached God. God heard, God understood. And God will send help.

God heard him in his pain. And will not leave nor forsake him.

God hears our hurts, our pain, our loss, our worry, our stuff.  God hears, God knows, and God never leaves.

No matter what.

So, today, what kind of day will it be. Will we focus on the problems in our lives that overwhelm us?  Or will we focus on God that never leaves, in spite of the trouble. The God that sends help, each day?

Today, what kind of day will 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 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.

Freedom

imgresOne of my professors in college used to say this about freedom.  You have the right to swing your fist in as much as it does not hit your neighbors nose.  At that point it turns from you swinging your fist around to hitting your neighbor.

We go from looking at ourselves and our stuff, to harming our neighbor.  In that situation, we aren’t using our freedom for the right thing.  We are free, not to do what we want. But we are free to do what is right.

Listen to what Paul writes today in Romans 15:1-3

We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.  Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.  For Christ did not please himself, but as it is written, “The reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.

Paul says that those us that strong, we should look out for those that are weak.  Why?  Shouldn’t they take care of themselves?  Shouldn’t I just do what I want to do because I can?

No.  We don’t live for ourselves. We live for God.  We live for His glory and for His purpose.

We are here for Him.  And for each other.  And to use what we have, who we are, our freedom, to love God and love our neighbor.

Today, you have freedom.  You do.  You can do what you want to.  There is no one to make you do anything.  You have freedom.

But remember, that freedom is not given to you to do what you want to do.  Its given to you to do the right thing.

Today, use that freedom for God.  And for good.  Take care of each other. For God’s glory.

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.

Choices, Choices, Choices

Today in Galatians 5:13-15, Paul points us down two roads that we can go down.  Listen to what He says:

For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.

He first tells us that we have freedom. Today, in your life, you have freedom. You have the freedom to do what you want in your life. You can choose to do right, you can choose to do wrong.

It’s your choice. You can do as you’d like. No one will make you.

Now, Paul today tells us though, that our choices will have consequences. We were given freedom to do right. Paul tells us to love one another. The entire law, all the bible, all we are supposed to do is summed up in that phrases – love your neighbor as yourself.

That’s what being a Christian should result in. We should each other.

Now, Paul gives us the other choice as well though. He says if you bit and devour one another, watch out.

Choosing to love, to forgive, choosing to do what is right, that will result in freedom and life. It may be the hard thing to do, but it will result in life.

Choosing to hurt others, choosing to respond with unforgiveness, choosing to respond tit-for-tat, it may seem like the easy thing to do, it may even seem like the right thing to do.

But it’s not. And it will end in destruction. It will bring harm to you, and to your soul.

Today, you have choices to make. You have been given freedom. Will you choose love? Or will you choose to respond in other ways.

Today, the choice is ours. May we choose the path of loving others, forgiving others, and showing grace.

May we use and use our freedom wisely.

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.

Monday of Holy Week 2012

One of the conversations I was having last night with my Disciple Bible study was the conversation about the death of Jesus on Good Friday.

Did Judas have any choice in what was happening? (My answer, yes, all humans have free will). What if he’d have not done it? We were talking all the questions that so many have about the cross, the suffering of Jesus, and all that happened to our Lord.

On this Monday of Holy Week, listen to what happened on this day, according to John 12:1-8:

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

We see Him being anointed as for burial. We see Him say that He would not be there much longer. He knew what this week would hold for me.

And in reading it, the point struck me, that struck me last night in our conversation. In regards to his crucifixion, Jesus knew what He was doing. He chose to go to the cross. He chose to go to Jerusalem. He knew what was going to happen.

He knew that the cross awaited Him on Good Friday. He knew what was to happen. He willing chose it. Judas had a part to play, yes, but remember.

Jesus choose to lay His life down.

For you, and for me. He went to cross, suffered its pain an anguish. For us. For me. For you. For our forgiveness. For our salvation. For our hope.

Jesus knew what was happening. And He chose it. For us.

But, one other thing I stressed last night. No one killed Jesus. He’s not dead! He’s alive. He rose from the dead, He’s alive forever more.

On this Monday of Holy Week, let us remember that our Lord willing chose what was to happen, for my sake, and for your. And let us remember that even the pain, and agony of the cross could not defeat our Lord!

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.

A Choice

Life is found in interesting places. One of my favorite books of the Bible is Ecclesiastes. In this book, the author seeks to gain every pleasure in life. He seeks after everything he could possible get. At one point he said that he withholds no pleasure from himself. There’s nothing that he desires that he doesn’t get.

And he says all throughout the book, vanity, vanity, it’s all vanity. In other words, all the things that he thought would give him pleasure and life were really worthless. They didn’t give him pleasure. The didn’t give him life. The left him feeling empty.

Today, Jesus offers us another pathway to life.  Listen to what He says in Luke 9:23-25:

And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. For whoever would save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. For what does it profit a man if he gains the whole world and loses or forfeits himself?

So, today, we see Jesus come with another offer. Instead of seeking to gain our desires and our wants, we should live seeking His. We should lay down our lives for His sake and His kingdom, and in doing that, we find life.

So, today, we are left with a choice. Will we see to live seeking what we want and desire, thinking that this will lead us to happiness and peace. Or will we live seeking not just what God wants, but actually laying down our desires. Not choosing us, but choosing Him?

It’s sounds like a hard choice. But it’s really not. The Word tell us choosing our way leaves us empty. Jesus promises us today that laying down our life for His sake gives us life. And in dying to self and living for Him, we find more life than anything we think this world coud offer.

Today, and each day, we have a choice. Live for us, live for Jesus. Only one road gives life.

Today we a choice. What will we choose?