The Greatest Gift

Today I was reading a passage that we have heard many times, a passage that we’ve probably all heard a lot of sermons about.

It’s the story of the man that’s paralyzed and his friends bring him to Jesus. It’s a great story. I read it as found in Mark 2: 1-12. There are so many things that I like about the story. The way that the friends are willing to do anything to get their friend to Jesus.

How Jesus heals the friend and impressed with their faith.

His response to the Paraphrases and religions leaders.

But today, something jumped out at me that I didn’t notice before. Look at what happens in the end of this story in verses 8-12:

And immediately Jesus, perceiving in his spirit that they thus questioned within themselves, said to them, “Why do you question these things in your hearts? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? But that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—he said to the paralytic — “I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!”

16ordinarioB7What is the greatest gift this man gets? His healing? Well if you look at the text, the healing isn’t there for its own sake, but it’s there to show and prove that the greater gift was given.

The greatest gift Jesus gave this man wasn’t His healing. It was that Jesus forgave His sin. That’s the greatest gift that Jesus gave to this man, He forgave him for all that he had ever done.

That was Jesus greatest gift to this man.

And that’s Jesus’ greatest gift to us. Forgiveness. He has forgiven you. In spite of everything that you’ve done, you are doing, you will do, if you repent and confess, you are forgiven.

That’s the greatest thing ever. That’s where true healing begins. True healing in our lives, in our families, in our relationships, in our families, in even ourselves, that’s where it begins. With forgiveness.

With God forgiving us. And our realization that God has forgiven us.

And then we forgive others.

Today, in Christ and through Christ, you are forgiven.

That’s the gift He wants to give you today.

Will you accept 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, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

No One Wants to be Alone

Christ-in-garden-of-gethsemaneI know this may sound like a simple statement, but is one that is really true. If we want to know how to live and what we should do in life, we need to look to Jesus.

The Bible tells us that if we want to know God’s heart, we need to look to Jesus (Colossians 1:15). To know God, we need to look to Jesus.

And I think we sort of know that already. There is something though that I think we know, but we forget. The Bible teaches us that while Jesus is fully God, He is also fully human.

What does this have to do within anything? Listen to what we read today in Matthew 26:26-38:

Then Jesus went with them to a place called Gethsemane, and he said to his disciples, “Sit here, while I go over there and pray.” And taking with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, he began to be sorrowful and troubled. Then he said to them, “My soul is very sorrowful, even to death; remain here, and watch with me.”

Jesus is fully God, right? But we also know that He’s fully human. And, when this hour comes, what is one thing that He wants? He doesn’t want to be alone.

He wants to be surrounded by the people who He loves, and that love Him. He doesn’t want to be alone.

And neither do we.

And you know what we see here in this text? That’s ok. If Jesus, the very Son of God, creator of all that is, both seen and unseen, knows that in times of trial, He doesn’t want to be alone, it’s ok for us to know that as well.

It’s ok for us to realize that there are some loads to heavy, some hills too high, some rivers too deep, that we don’t want to deal with them along. It’s ok. Neither did Jesus.

So today, if you are going through a tough time, don’t be alone. Surround yourself with folks that love you. Lean on there, let them help. Let them be a friend. Cling to them.

And if you have something you love going through a tough time, walk with them. Be there. Hold their hand.

No one wants to be alone. Neither did Jesus. That’s why we have each other.

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!

What Lasts

I was having a talk with someone yesterday about Christmas and buying presents and all the stuff that goes into this time of year.  Think about how much work, how much effort, how much everything goes into this time.

And think about how much of it we remember a few months from now.  I was talking about someone about buying a present for a 3 year old, and we all agreed that the best present that you could buy for them would be a cardboard box.  An empty, cardboard box.

And we could laugh at them playing in that empty box. And just enjoying it.

The greatest challenge of this Christmas season is to remember what really matters.  Listen to what Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 4:17-18:

For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal.

karen-tribett-faith-family-friendsSo many things that we put so much stock into are just passing.  They are not eternal.  They are not lasting. They will pass.  So many of the things that we put so much effort into will not be here in a year.

They many not ever be remembered in a week.

So, what matters?  What counts?  What should we count on?  The way I often put it is the “F’s.”  Faith.  Family. Friends.

These things last. These things count. These thing are not passing. These things are the things that we remember and that we cling to in all of life.  These things are where life is truly, truly found.

Faith. Family. Friends.

In this Christmas season, may we remember what is truly most important.  And what lasts.

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.

 

Friends

I tell folks that one of the reason that church matters is that in our live, we’ve got to know that there is someone who is on our side. That there is someone in our life that cares for us, is pulling for us, and will be there for us.

There’s got to be someone in our life that is on our side.

We all need friends.  We all do.  You do. I do. We each do. We need a friend.

Listen to this story of friendship that we find in Matthew 9:1-2:

And getting into a boat he crossed over and came to his own city. And behold, some people brought to him a paralytic, lying on a bed. And when Jesus saw their faith, he said to the paralytic, “Take heart, my son; your sins are forgiven.”

FriendsThese guys so their friend in need, and they knew that only Jesus could fix it. So, what did they do? They took their friend to Jesus. They did everything in their power to make sure that their friend met Jesus.

Man, don’t we want those kind of friends in our lives?  I think that we all do.  Someone that will be there for us and do all that they can do for us.

How do we find those type of friends?  We become those kind of friends.  We be that person.  We be that friend.

So, today, do you have those type of friends in your life?

Our we being those type of friends for others?

Today, may we be the friends to others 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.

How Far Will You Go?

How far will you go to share the love of Jesus Christ today?

How far are you willing to go in this day to share with others, through your words, your actions, your expressions, through everything, how far are you willing to go to show others Jesus today?

How much of your routine are you willing to change? How much out of your comfort zone are you willing to get?

How motivated are you to show that love of Jesus to others?

See, as Christians, I believe what we know is the hope of the world. The hope of the world is Jesus Christ. Through relationship with Him, people are find their true purpose in life, find they are loved, and experience the power of peace, joy, and life.

How far will we go today to show that love?

Listen to this story in Mark 2 today:

When Jesus returned to Capernaum several days later, the news spread quickly that he was back home. Soon the house where he was staying was so packed with visitors that there was no more room, even outside the door. While he was preaching God’s word to them, four men arrived carrying a paralyzed man on a mat. They couldn’t bring him to Jesus because of the crowd, so they dug a hole through the roof above his head. Then they lowered the man on his mat, right down in front of Jesus. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralyzed man, “My child, your sins are forgiven.”

Ok. Let’s think about what really happened here. Forget what you’ve heard and the stories you knew from the past.

These four dudes cut a hole in someone’s roof.  WHAT?!?!?!?!

They cut a hole in someone’s roof.  Literally. They cut a hole in roof of someone’s house and lowered their friend down.

Because they wanted him to meet Jesus.

Wow.  That’s how far they would go to make sure that their friend met Jesus.

Today, how far will we go?  Will we witness about Jesus with our words?  Our actions? Will we talk in a way that reflects His grace? Will we share about our faith? Will we invite someone to church?  Will we show Jesus to others with all that we do.

These folks when a long way to show Jesus to their friend. Today, how far will we go?