Day Thirty-Five with Mark: Mark 9:1-8

Today we look at one of the more amazing stories in the Bible in Mark 9:1-8.  We see Jesus’ transfiguration:

1 And he said to them, “Truly I tell you, there are some standing here who will not taste death until they see that the kingdom of God has come with power.”

The Transfiguration
2 Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain apart, by themselves. And he was transfigured before them, 3 and his clothes became dazzling white, such as no one on earth could bleach them. 4 And there appeared to them Elijah with Moses, who were talking with Jesus. 5 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it is good for us to be here; let us make three dwellings, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 6 He did not know what to say, for they were terrified. 7 Then a cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud there came a voice, “This is my Son, the Beloved; listen to him!” 8 Suddenly when they looked around, they saw no one with them any more, but only Jesus.

transfiguration2003-3This is why I like this story.  In this, we see Jesus for who He is.  He is glorious.  He is powerful.  He is majestic.  He is strong.  He is God.

We see Jesus today in all of His power and might.  We truly see Jesus as is He.  He left the right hand of God to be born of a virgin, to be fully God and fully man, to redeem humanity.  While on the earth, He suffered.  He bled.  He was abandoned.  He was betrayed.  He walked around Israel and Judah with a group of followers.  He lived a tough life.  He did.

He was tested as we were, yet remained without sin.  He was tested and tried.  He experienced the death of friends, He felt rejection from family, He did not have an easy time fulfilling His Father’s plan.

And, by the way, that was for us.  All that He went through was for our sake and for our salvation.  Let us not forget that.

But today, today we see Jesus in His glory.  We see Him in His power.  We see Him as He is.  King of Kings.  Lord of Lords.  Alpha and Omega.  Beginning and the End.  The First and the Last.

He is the visible image of the invisible God.  He is the firstborn of all creation.  He is God Himself.

Don’t forget that.  Don’t forget who He is.  Don’t take Him for granted.  Don’t forget His grace.  His mercy.

And His strength.  And His power.  And His might.

He is Jesus.

Monday we’ll look at Mark 9:9-13.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Remember Who He Is

One of the things that we so often in the Gospels is we see the lengths that God went to, through Jesus, to bring us back home.  We see Jesus, who is both fully God and fully human (a term called the incarnation) walk among us, suffer, go through everything that we go through as human, live, die, and be raised again.  And through all this He overcomes sin, death, and the grave, and through His power, allows us to overcome sin, death, and the grave.

That’s how we see Him in the Gospels.

But there are moments, moments of divine glory, where we see Jesus in all of His power and might and majesty.  Moments where we truly see Him for who He is.  Today’s text is one such moment.  Listen to what happens in the Transfiguration as found in Matthew 17: 1-6:

Six days later, Jesus took with him Peter and James and his brother John and led them up a high mountain, by themselves. 2 And he was transfigured before them, and his face shone like the sun, and his clothes became dazzling white. 3 Suddenly there appeared to them Moses and Elijah, talking with him. 4 Then Peter said to Jesus, “Lord, it is good for us to be here; if you wish, I will make three dwellings here, one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” 5 While he was still speaking, suddenly a bright cloud overshadowed them, and from the cloud a voice said, “This is my Son, the Beloved; with him I am well pleased; listen to him!” 6 When the disciples heard this, they fell to the ground and were overcome by fear.

6.-Window-34-Transfiguration-HagopianHere, we see Jesus as He truly is.

Sometimes in an effort to understand Him and relate to Him, we can take the majesty away from Jesus.  Not on purpose, mind you, but just in treating Him so common and ordinary.  Sometimes faith gets ordinary.  Sometimes the stuff of faith becomes ordinary.

Sometimes we can take for granted or not really even think about who it is we pray to.  We can forget the majesty of who Jesus truly is. We can forget His power.  Forget His might.  Forget His strength.

Not on purpose, mind you.  It just becomes so regular and ordinary, we just forget.

Today, remember who is it we pray to.  Remember who has saved us. Remember who has sustained us. Remember His power, His grace.  See Him as He is.

He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords.  He is the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.  He is the Way, the Truth, and the Life.  He sits at the right hand of God will judge the living and the dead.

He is Lord.

Remember who He is today.  And let us be thankful He hears our prayers and in on our side!

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Why Does God Allow Suffering?

painThe other night someone text me and asked me, in three sentences, to give my opinion why God allows suffering. Wow, that’s a tough thing to do, especially in just three sentences.

Many folks smarter than I am have written books about suffering and why God allows it. So, what could I possibly have to add to that conversation?

But, I thought about it. Why would God allow suffering? There really aren’t many good or easy answers, because in short, we don’t fully understand the mind of God, we don’t totally understand His power and His control, and the complexity of human free will.

All of these factors come into play on this issue.

I thought it would be interesting to share my answers with you, and do this a little bit different from our normal devotional. What do you think? Do you agree with my thoughts? Do you have a different perspective? A different view? I’d love to hear it, if so comment below, I’d love to hear it.

And I will also say; something I do when thinking through complicated things is do not depart from scripture. I believe that in all things, scripture must be our guide.

Here’s my one bullet point about God’s power and suffering.  I believe this as much as I believe anything in life:

The power of God is not that He stops bad things from happening. The power of God is that He can bring good out of anything.

That’s who He is.

Also, remember this.  Through the cross, God, through Jesus suffered as we suffered.  He knows what it is like feel pain and hurt.  Listen to what it says in Hebrews 2:17-18:

Therefore he had to be made like his brothers in every respect, so that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in the service of God, to make propitiation for the sins of the people. For because he himself has suffered when tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.

God knows our pain.  Has suffered as we suffer.  Hurt as we hurt.  Was abandoned as we are abandoned.  We don’t suffer alone.  God is with us (Psalm 23).

So, with that said, here are my three sentence on why God allows suffering, along with a biblical foundation and explanation.

1. He uses all things in life; even those we can’t understand at the time, for our good. (Genesis 50:20) God is at work in ways that we can’t understand, working out all things, even ours and other’s choices, for our good. That passage in Genesis says that what man intended for evil, God intended for God. God uses everything, in time, that is key to remember, for good. We man not know or understand it now. But looking backwards, we will see something good come out of everything.

2. He uses suffering to reveal to us who we really are; he knows us, it is we who sometimes need to know ourselves. (Genesis 22 – Abraham sacrificing Isaac). Abraham was tested, but this test and suffering wasn’t for God’s benefit, but for his. He had made mistakes, and this test shows that he was more faithful than he thought he might be. He was more than his mistakes. Testing from God’s perspective isn’t about us. God knows us, knows what we will do, knows our choices. Testing is for us. It is our chance to see who we are. When we suffer, and we hold on fast to Jesus, we see that we are more faithful than we can ever imagine. It is in times of suffering we find our who we really are. God uses those times to let us know ourselves.

3. He uses all things, in the end, to bring glory to His name. (Romans 8:28). All things, not only work for our good, but most importantly, all things work for God’s glory. God is glorified through our suffering. How? Well, He may do amazing things in our suffering that give us a testimony, and that may impact someone else. He may give us strength to stand that we didn’t know that we had. He may change some life through what we go through. In the end, even terrible, terrible events, God will ring something good out of it. He will.  Perhaps because of what you are going through, you may be able to show grace and mercy to someone that needs it.  You may able to understand their pain, and be the hands and feet of Jesus to them.  You may be able to to change their life.

I hope these are helpful to you in your walk.

What do you think?

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The Glory of God

One of the things that Paul talks about a good bit in his writings is that whatever is behind us is not as great as what is to come.  All the stuff of the past, it doesn’t hold a candle to the stuff that is to come.  And we often think of that as negative.  The past is done. The future is great.  God will take away the past mistakes, the past failings, the past stuff, and give us amazing, full, life.

That’s how I think about it, a lot. But listen to something that Paul writes today in 2 Corinthians 3:9-10:

For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory. Indeed, in this case, what once had glory has come to have no glory at all, because of the glory that surpasses it.

glory-sunshine-from-the-edge_1152x864_71915He’s talking about the old law, how the people used to have live, what they ate, how they washed, all the stuff that they had to do under the old covenant. And Paul says what had glory before, now has no glory. Because of this glory that surpasses it all.

What is this glory that surpasses it all?

Grace.  The love of God that sweeps us off our feet, the love of God that restores us.  The love of God that forgives us.  The love of God that makes us new.

Yeah, the past as good as it may have been, it really doesn’t compare to the future.  Even the best of the best, the things that were the greatest, the things with the most glory and most purpose, they are not what really matters or counts.

What does?  The glory of God that comes through grace.  The glory of God that comes through relationship.  The glory of God that comes through His life.  The glory of God.

Today, no matter how great the past was, the glory of God is better.  No matter how dark the past was, the glory of God redeems.  No matter how unworthy you may feel, the glory of God restores.  Today, may matter how drift less you may feel, the glory of God gives purpose.

This glory, it is the anchor for our life.  You were made for 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.