Jealousy

Paul is the man.  He was faithful.  Seriously, he started tons of churches.  I jokingly say that he wrote half the New Testament (he did write a large part of it!).  If anyone in the Bible served God to the fullest, we see that Paul did.

And we see another thing from scripture.  Paul suffered.  Paul went through a lot. It was never easy for Paul.  He suffered abuse, he suffered rejection, he suffered so very much for the sake of the gospel.

And, for many of us in our human skin, Paul had  to face the temptation for what may be the hardest thing for us to deal with as humans, jealousy

Listen to what he says in Philippians 1:15-18:

Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defense of the gospel. The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretense or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.

eggsPaul said, some folks preach for the right reasons.  Some for the wrong.  That doesn’t matter, what matters is that Jesus is preached.  And now, it would be very easy for Paul to get jealous of those that are preaching for the wrong reason.

Perhaps get a little righteous.  Perhaps get a little angry.  Perhaps get a little jealous.

After all, here he is, doing it the right way.  Doing it right. Living right.  Doing right.  Making sure everything is done the way that God wants.

And there they are, not caring. Doing it wrong!  That’s not right!  It would be very easy to get jealous or judgmental.

And as long as they are the focus, that will happen.  When Jesus it the focus, it’s all ok. Because then He will be glorified and proclaimed, in all things.

And that was Paul’s purpose and point. And that’s what he lived for.  He kept his focus on the right thing.

How do you fight against jealousy?  Keep your focus on the right thing.

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 2013

Today is Monday, and we are in the midst of Holy Week. This is the last week of Jesus earthly ministry, and each day we see Him do, say, and teach something important.
Of His life, all of His ministry was important. But, these last few days. He really focused in on what truly matters.

What it was all about. What truly counts. What truly is important.

Today, on this Monday, we read from John 12: 3-8. Listen to what happens:

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.”

6a00e5512b13618833011278de233128a4-800wiWe see Mary anoint Jesus expensive perfume. Some will tell you that this anointing is a foreshadowing of what is to come at the end of the week, as a way of getting His body prepared for burial.

That is a good way to look at what’s happening, as it keeps our focus on cross that is coming. But, there is something else that’s really important, at least to me, in my reading of this text.

We see Judas get upset that the perfume is not sold. The bible says it’s not because he was concerned about the poor, but he was really a thief. And then Jesus says this – you’ll always have the poor with you. But He would not always be there.

What is He trying to tell us in that? What is important in that for us?

Here’s what I think.

I think Jesus is telling us to keep our eyes focused on what really matters. Him. To make Him the focus. To make Him the point. To make Him what it’s all about.

The stuff that we do, the good things, the acts of service, all of this, it’s done for His glory. It’s done for His purpose. It’s done for Him.

And we’ve got to keep things in perspective as to why we do them. And what it’s all about. It’s for Him. Every act of service. Ever good thing. Every smile. Word of encouragement. Everything. It’s for Him.

So, today, in this Holy Week. Let’s focus on Him. Let’s make Him the main thing. And let’s find our life in Him.

Because that’s where life is found.

Today, let’s keep Him the main thing.

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.

Where’s Your Head At?

One of the statements any ball player hears, and it’s one that I heard A LOT when I played ball, was where’s your head at? You’ll see a player out on the field, looking like they are thinking about everything under the sun, except the game, and then not be ready when something happens.

It’s cute when my 6-year-old is in the outfield picking flowers.

Not so cute when someone that’s been playing ball for years is just not paying attention.

Sometimes in life, in our walk with the Jesus, we have to ask ourself where is our head at? What are we thinking about? What are we focusing on? What is taking up the majority of our thoughts?

Listen to what Paul tells us in Colossians this morning:

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth. For you died to this life, and your real life is hidden with Christ in God. And when Christ, who is your life, is revealed to the whole world, you will share in all his glory.

Paul tells us to keep our heads on things above.  Set your sights on the realities of heaven. Focus on eternity and what will last forever.  What is hidden with Christ, but that is real.  It is what counts.  It is what matters most.

Your life is in Christ.  Do not forget that.

Even if things are bad, your life is in Christ.

Even in the midst of tragedy, your life is in Christ.

Even when friends betray you, your life is in Christ.

Even when you feel all alone, your life is in Christ.

Even when work or family or everything seems to fall down upon you, your life is in Christ.

Even when life is good and perfect and easy, your life is in Christ.

In the good, and in the bad, in the easy and in the hard, in the laughter, in the tears, in it all, your life is in Christ.

Never forget where your life is found.  Never forget where you need to keep your head at.  Never forget what truly matters.  Never forget your life. It’s found in Jesus.  At all times and in all things and at all places, it’s found in Jesus.

Never forget where life is found.