As Best You Can, Live in Peace!

Just a reminder, if you’d like to sign up and get these reflections through email, click here!

We are called to live in peace with one another.  Really, we are.  We see so many passages in the Bible about loving your neighbor, doing right, being faithful, being the body, all of these things.

We are even told in the Beatitudes that blessed are peacemakers.  We are told to live in peace with one another.

But sometimes that’s hard, isn’t it?   Sometimes that’s nearly impossible.  That’s why I really like what it says today in Romans 12: 18-21:

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

eiMAAdnKTIn as much as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.  I really love that.  As much as it depends upon you.

Now notice, though, that’s not a “get out of jail free card.”  You (and I) still have to do our part to live in peace with one another.  So, look what it says.  Don’t avenge yourself.  If you’ve been wronged, don’t worry about getting them back.

As a Christian revenge should not be in our vocabulary.

In fact, look what the text says we should do.  We should feed our enemies. Give them something to drink.  And then it says in doing this, we heap coals upon their heads.

So, if we do these things, they will feel bad about themselves, right!  We win.  Well, not exactly.  The job of a coal in the sacrifice is to purify.  When we love our enemies, we show them God’s love. And we help them be drawn closer to God.

In as much as it depends upon us.  That doesn’t excuse us.  It doesn’t let us off the hook.  We still have to be faithful, not seek vengeance, and love.

But know this. You don’t control their response.  You only control yours.  If you have done the right thing, if you have shown grace, if you have shown mercy, and they do not desire for things to be right, you know what?

You’ve done what you can do. That’s all you can do.  Do what you can do.

You only have control of yourself.  So, in as much as you can, live in peace with others.  Do your part.  Leave the rest up to God.  And the results are not up to you.

So you can rest easy.

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!

Different

I have a joke that I like to make at Asbury, that is more than a joke – it’s true.

I tell my people, if you tell folks that you are a Christian, and they are surprised, that’s probably not a good sign.

Our lives should be different. Our lives should be different from the world and the culture around us. Our lives have a different purpose, a different goal, a different plan, a different hope.

We are supposed to be different.

Why?

Jesus makes us that way. Look at what happens today in Luke 10:5-8:

And when Jesus came to the place, he looked up and said to him, “Zacchaeus, hurry and come down, for I must stay at your house today.” So he hurried and came down and received him joyfully. And when they saw it, they all grumbled, “He has gone in to be the guest of a man who is a sinner.” And Zacchaeus stood and said to the Lord, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor. And if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I restore it fourfold.”

Zacchaeus was a man who was a tax collector, meaning that took up taxes for the Roman government. He was also able to skim as much from the top as he could through that.

In other words, he was a thief. And when he met Jesus, he changed.

He was different. Jesus made him different. Jesus changed him.

That’s what He does for us as well. He wants to make you different today.

Not a bad different, a good different. Give you hope, peace, joy, life.

Give you something worth having.

Today, be different. Jesus has life laid out for us today that is amazing.

Today, be different. Today, know His life.

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.

Be Different

We were talking yesterday at our Asbury staff day apart about what we are things we are to do as a church. What are we trying to accomplish and how are we trying to accomplish it?

Well, that made us talk about what God’s goals are for us? What does God want for us? What is God’s desire for us?

I had a friend ask me once, what is the “goal” of salvation.

For many of us, when we were younger, the goal of salvation was fire insurance. We want to avoid hell and gain heaven.

But we find when we look at the Bible that God doesn’t just have intentions for our eternity, He has goals and intentions for today, as well as our tomorrow.

Well, what are they?

Listen to what Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 today:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

God’s goal for us is to be different. To be “holy.” To not be like the world. To not model ourselves and our lives after the way that the world is living, but to model ourselves and our lives based off the way that God wants us to live.

Today, we are told renew your mind. Where is your head at? Do you think of the things of God, or the things of the world. Where does your mind linger. Where do your thoughts remain? Where do you spend your mental energies?

Today, let’s submit all we are to God. Our hearts. Our minds. Our lives. Our dreams. Our all.

That is how we are different. That is how we are holy. That’s how we are totally His. s

By giving it all to Him.

Today, be different. Be you unique. Be the person that He has made you to be. Give it all to Him.

And in giving it to Him, you will find all you need.

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.

Be Holy (Gulp)

One of the commands of for His people is one that I don’t like to hear, and is one that I’m just as likely to run away from as I am to want to obey.

Be holy.

Gulp.

That’s hard. And it doesn’t sound like fun. Or something that can do. Or something that we can achieve. Especially when we see each day how much we mess up.

How much we fall.

How many times we make mistakes. How many times we blow it. Surly God’s not serious. Surly He doesn’t mean holy, like you know, well holy.

Listen to what He says in 1 Peter 1:13-16:

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Peter tells us don’t be conformed to the ways that we used to be. Be holy as God is holy. Be different.

And that’s it. That’s what holy is. Holiness isn’t perfection. Holiness isn’t being sinless. Holiness is not about never making a mistake.

If so, none of us could be holy or aspire to be holy. That’s not something we can do.

So, then, what does God expect? If He calls us to be holy, what does that even mean?

To be holy is to be different. To be changed. To be transformed. To not be the same person we used to be. To be different from culture. To be different from those around.

To be the kind of person that lives a life that makes others say – man, I want what they have.

Being holy isn’t what we’ve made it out to be. It’s not about “perfection.” It’s about being different. Standing out. Being the unique creation God has made you to be.

That’s what it means to be holy. To be different. To live in such a way that makes others want to have what have.

And today, you can do it. You can be different. You can stand out. You can live like that. You can be holy.

Today, let’s 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.

Not What We Would Have Done

One of the things about Jesus is that He doesn’t always do what we expect.

He doesn’t always play by our rules.

He doesn’t always ask us to things that make sense to us.

Sometimes He wants us to do things that just not what we would have done.

We see that happen in Luke’s Gospel today:

3He got into one of the boats, the one belonging to Simon, and asked him to put out a little way from the shore. Then he sat down and taught the crowds from the boat. 4When he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, ‘Put out into the deep water and let down your nets for a catch.’ 5Simon answered, ‘Master, we have worked all night long but have caught nothing. Yet if you say so, I will let down the nets.’ 6When they had done this, they caught so many fish that their nets were beginning to break.

These guys were fishermen. They did this for a living.  They knew what they were doing. They had problem had many nights like this before when they didn’t have a catch. They knew what they should do.

And Jesus comes with a different solution.  He tells them to do something that was not what they would have done.  And they did it.

And they caught more fish than they could have ever imagined.

Sometimes, Jesus calls us to do something that do not want to do.

Take a step out on faith.

Forgive someone.

Say a kind word.

Share our faith.

Something that was not what we would have done, if we were doing what we would have done.

But, when He asks to do these things, remember.  They are for His glory.  And for our good.

He knows what He is doing.  He knows what He is doing.

Let me say that again, He knows what He is doing.

Trust. Even when what He asks doesn’t make sense. Trust.

It’s for our good. And His glory. Trust.

Even when it was not what we would have done.

Different

This morning as I was reading through of the passages of scripture that we all have heard a lot and that we know pretty well, the Fruit of the Spirit, I was struck by the last verse in that section in a way that’d I’d never noticed before.

Paul writes this:

Live by the Spirit, I say, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh.

and this:

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

As I read this, I began to think about that notion of crucifixion. This notion of putting to death these things.  That we are supposed to die to our sinful passions and desire.

In short that we are supposed to be different.  As Christians, as those that follow Christ, we are called to be different that the world.

We are called to be different than the culture.

We are called to live, to love, to serve, to be different than the culture we are in. Different from the world.

We have a different Lord – so we have a different calling and a different way that we are supposed to live.  Not a life of self righteous judgment, mind you, but a life of love and service.

But, it comes back to that truth. We are called to be different. To put to death the past and it’s desires and live in the newness of life Jesus offers.

Today, are we different? Are we different than the world?  Do folks notice something different about us?  Do folks wonder what makes us different?  Why we have hope, peace, and joy?  Why we love?

Are we different?  If we are led by the Spirit and have put to death the old, we will be.

May we be different for our Lord in this day!