Why I Love the Bible

Before today’s devotional – a quick note. This week, Asbury released a mobile app for smartphones. You can download this app and listen to my weekly sermons, read this devotional, and find out all that’s happening here at Asbury. To download the app for iPhones/iPads, click here. To download the app for Androids, click here.

Now, onto today’s reflection!

In this passage Peter is sharing with the people about Jesus. He is telling how God, through Jesus, longs to give salvation to all that would believe. Jesus lived, preached, taught, was betrayed and rose from the dead. He was the offering for us all, and through Him, all of us can know the power of salvation and grace and peace.

Today listen to part of Peter’s sermon in Acts 10:39-43:

And we are witnesses of all that he did both in the country of the Jews and in Jerusalem. They put him to death by hanging him on a tree, but God raised him on the third day and made him to appear, not to all the people but to us who had been chosen by God as witnesses, who ate and drank with him after he rose from the dead. And he commanded us to preach to the people and to testify that he is the one appointed by God to be judge of the living and the dead. To him all the prophets bear witness that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.”

I love what Peter says in that last verse – all the prophets bear witness to Him. In other words, all the scriptures point to Jesus. All of it.

That’s why I love the Bible. It is God’s love note to us. Are there things there are hard to understand? Yep. Are there things there that can be a little confusing? Yep. Can Leviticus be a book that’s a challenge to read? Yep.

But all of it, from Genesis to Revelation, paints a picture of God’s love for us and a picture of God’s plan of salvation for us through Jesus Christ.

So, as we said, there may be things that we don’t understand, John 3:16 shows that love. Romans 10:9 shows that love. Today’s passage shows that love. Jesus Christ came so that all who believe in Him will receive forgiveness.

All of the scripture, all of it, points to this. Jesus. His love. His life. His forgiveness. God is working all of it out for this point. To show us, me, and all the world, that we are loved, forgiven, and accepted.

Today’s passages points to this truth. All the bible points to this this truth. And that’s why I love the bible.

The Biggest Thing about God that I don’t Understand

God seeks us out. That’s it. That is the biggest thing about God that I can’t understand. That doesn’t make sense to me. That I can’t understand.

God seeks after us. God comes to us. God chases after us. No matter what we’ve done. No matter what has happened in our lives. God comes to us.

We don’t have to earn His approval. We don’t have to earn His love. We don’t have to earn His grace. It’s just freely given to us. No matter what.

God is a God that seeks after His children. That delights in His children. That gives love even when that love is undeserved or unwarranted.

Listen to what the Word says in Ezekiel 34:11-15:

“For thus says the Lord God: Behold, I, I myself will search for my sheep and will seek them out. As a shepherd seeks out his flock when he is among his sheep that have been scattered, so will I seek out my sheep, and I will rescue them from all places where they have been scattered on a day of clouds and thick darkness. And I will bring them out from the peoples and gather them from the countries, and will bring them into their own land. And I will feed them on the mountains of Israel, by the ravines, and in all the inhabited places of the country. I will feed them with good pasture, and on the mountain heights of Israel shall be their grazing land. There they shall lie down in good grazing land, and on rich pasture they shall feed on the mountains of Israel. I myself will be the shepherd of my sheep, and I myself will make them lie down, declares the Lord God.

God seeks us out. God comes to us. God looks for us.  Even thought we are lost sheep. Even though we have forsaken His ways. Even though we have turned away and failed.

God seeks us out. God comes to us.

My mind can’t fathom that. In this world we live in, we have to earn everything. Our jobs, our education, even for some of us the love of other people. We always have to perform. Do right. Act right. Hit the mark. No matter what.

And then if it doesn’t happen, we are out. We are unloved. We are unworthy.

We have to earn everything. No free lunch.

That simply is not the case with God. He loves you. He seeks you. He cares for you. No matter what. Even if you walk away. Even if you don’t return it. Even if you forsake it.

He loves you.

That blows my mind, that God loves me, no matter what. I can’t explain it. I struggle to accept it. I don’t understand it.

I just know it to be true. And that knowledge has changed my life and changed everything about me.

Today, no matter where you are in your life, in your walk with Him. He is seeking after you.

He loves you. And there’s nothing you can do about it. 🙂

Other than accept it!

The One Thing I Do Know

What do you truly and totally understand? Well, I guess it depends on what we are talking about, huh? I don’t understand how at this point, my Rebels can lose this many SEC games in a row, but that’s not important in the grand scheme of things.

What is important in the grand scheme is God. Is faith. Is Scripture. Is salvation. These things matter; these things are important.

And we want to be able to understand them. We want to be able to really know what is important.

But, we don’t fully know, do we? We don’t fully understand, do we? There are things about God, faith, salvation, and scripture that we may not fully understand this side of glory.

Today in John 9:24-25, we see a many questions about his healing by Jesus. He is being asked by the religious leaders, what about this? What about this? What about this?

Listen to what the man says:

So for the second time they called the man who had been blind and said to him, “Give glory to God. We know that this man is a sinner.” He answered, “Whether he is a sinner I do not know. One thing I do know, that though I was blind, now I see.”

He finally says, I don’t know the answers to the questions you are asking, but one thing I do know. I once was blind and now I see.

I love that answer. There are lots of things about faith I don’t understand. Lots of things that don’t make sense to me. Lots of things in life that I can’t figure out.

But, I do know this. I once was blind. But now I see. I once was lost and now I’m found. I once was wandering away from God and now I’m home.

I can’t understand every deep thing about God. But I do know that He loved me enough to save me.

Just as He loves you that much.

Today, no matter what you don’t know and don’t understand, one thing I do know. God loves you and wants to be in relationship with you.

And that’s the best thing of all!

He Will Rejoice

We spend a lot of energy as Christians, both mental and emotional, trying to make God happy. We really want to please Him. We really want him to be proud of us. We really want to Him to smile upon us and aprove of our actions.

We want God to be proud of us. Really, we do.

And that’s a good thing. We want to be motivated to live for God, to glorify Him, to please Him with our actions.

But, if we aren’t carful, we can take our walk with Him to a place that isn’t good for us. Instead of living in a way that brings honor to God, we can think that we have to earn His love.

Instead of living in His love, we can think that we have to earn God’s love. Instead of living as response to God’s love, we can feel like we have make God love us.

And then when we mess up, when we fall down, we fell like failures. We feel like we will never earn God’s love. We will never make God love us. We will never be good enough.

The truth is, we aren’t good enough. We can’t make God love us. We can’t earn God’s love.

We dont’ have to. He loves us anyway; no matter what. Today, listen to what God says in Zephaniah 3:17:

The Lord your God is in your midst,
a mighty one who will save;
he will rejoice over you with gladness;
he will quiet you by his love;
he will exult over you with loud singing.

We are told that He will rejoice over us. He will quiet us. He will love us.

No matter what.

Today, let’s live our lives not trying to “earn” God’s love. Let’s live our life as a joyful response to a God that rejoices over us.

Why Behave?

Why do we try to be faithful?

I mean, why do we try to live a life glorifying God?

There may be a lot of reasons.   Maybe we are afraid of God and afraid of judgement.  Maybe we are afraid of what our sins will do and afraid of what God will do to us because of our sin.

Maybe we just feel like we “have” to.  Just a child has to do what their parents say, maybe try to behave because we have to it. It’s just our duty. It’s just what we are supposed to do.

May we do it because someone is making us. Our parents.  Our spouse.   Some outward pressure.  Maybe that’s why.

There’s a problem with each of these motivations.  In these, we are not being faithful because we want to. We would be doing it because we have to. Anything that we “have” to do, we will eventually get tired of it. We eventually give up. We will find that we can’t make ourselves do it.

Listen to what the Psalmist said today, talking about this in Psalm 86:

Teach me your ways, O Lord,
that I may live according to your truth!
Grant me purity of heart,
so that I may honor you.
With all my heart I will praise you, O Lord my God.
I will give glory to your name forever,
for your love for me is very great.
You have rescued me from the depths of death.

He honors God, because God has rescued Him.

Why behave?  Why do right? Why be faithful?  Why try to do what God wants us to do?  Why try to love and serve and care?

That is the response of a thankful heart. God has loved you. He has given you His son. He has showered you with love that will never end and never stop.

Why behave?

He loves you, that’s why.   And the only response we have to a love so great is to love others. And love Him.

Today, out of a thankful heart, may we be faithful. As we have been shown so great love, may we show that same love to others.

Good Gifts

God wants good things for us.  Really, He does.

Now, saying that is a dangerous statement. Because our understanding of what good things are is not always the same as His understanding of what good things are.

Our understanding of good things often turns to earthly success or earthly possessions.

God giving me good things doesn’t necessary mean that Ole Miss is going to win the national title this year. Thought that would be AWESOME.  God giving me good things means that He wants to give me what is best for me.

And He wants to give you what is best for you.  This may not be what we want.  It will be what we need.

Listen to the story that Jesus tells today in Luke:

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

We, as earthly parents want what is best for our kids. We want for them what will help them, help them grow, help them be the people that they were made to be. We want them to know life and love and success and purpose and happiness.

And we as parents, we all know that we sincerely want these things for our kids. We all do.  We all know that.

Every parent wants that for their children.

In that, if we, who are sinful, imperfect people want this for our children, how much more does our loving, perfect Father want that for each of us?

Today, in your life, even when don’t believe it or can’t understand it, God wants what’s best for you.

He really does.

He wants to give you good gifts.

Today, may we see His goodness in all things, and may we know that God really does want what is best for us.

And may we learn to trust.


We Remember. Then Forget

If you’ve read my thoughts for any time at all, you’ll know that I just love the Psalms. I think they are my favorite parts of scripture.  They are full of worship of God,they are full of emotion, they are full of all the things that we go through and we experience.

They describe our success,they describe our failure.

They describe how we are faithful, the describe how we go wrong.

They, in short, lay out for us the whole of the human experience. Everything we know, everything we can do, we can find there in the Psalms.

Today, listen to the words of Psalm 106.  It’s a little bit longer passage of scripture than I normally reference, but it lays this out for you:

Like our ancestors, we have sinned.
We have done wrong! We have acted wickedly!
Our ancestors in Egypt
were not impressed by the Lord’s miraculous deeds.
They soon forgot his many acts of kindness to them.
Instead, they rebelled against him at the Red Sea.
Even so, he saved them—
to defend the honor of his name
and to demonstrate his mighty power.
He commanded the Red Sea to dry up.
He led Israel across the sea as if it were a desert.
So he rescued them from their enemies
and redeemed them from their foes.
Then the water returned and covered their enemies;
not one of them survived.
Then his people believed his promises.
Then they sang his praise.
Yet how quickly they forgot what he had done!
They wouldn’t wait for his counsel!
In the wilderness their desires ran wild

This describes the history of the people of Israel. The people forget what God has done. They forget His faithfulness. They forget His saving hand.

And, in spite of that, He saves them anyway.  He restores them anyway.  He stands for them anyway.

In spite of what they’ve done wrong. In spite of their sin. In spite of their failing. God loves them. And He acts out of His great love for His people.

And all is right, for a little while. The people obey. The people listen. The people follow. For a little.

Then, they forget.  They forget what God has done, and then they fall back into sin.

And it happens again, and again, and again.

They remember, and then they forget.

And in spite of it, God loves.

Today, don’t forget what God has done for you. Don’t forget what God is doing for you. Don’t forget how God has saved you, loved you, forgiven you.

Don’t forget.

Because when we forget, we get ourselves in trouble. We fall into sin. We make the mistake. We are wrong. We make that wrong step.

Remember. Remember what God has done, remember how God loves, remember who is His.  Never forget.

And cling to His love for you, even in the tough times. Don’t forget.

He loves you.  Don’t take it for granted. Don’t forget.


Sometimes in a devotional, there is the need to tell a story to help connect someone the truth of scripture to their life. Sometimes there is the need to further explain what is happening in the text, or what is happening behind the scence or what the intent was, or whatever.

But, here’s the thing about the Bible. It doesn’t need my (or anyone’s) help. It speaks for it’s self.  It proclaims truth in it’s self. At the end of the day, there’s nothing to add to it. It speaks truth.

Today, I want to share a passage with you that I read, and really, there’s not a lot I can add to it. This is from Romans 8:

And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today, nothing will seperate you from God’s love.  Nothing.

Not life, not death, not anything created, nothing in your life, no worries, no fears, no doubts, no mistakes, no failiures, no nothing (yes Enligsh majors/teachers. That’s a double neagive. Sorry 🙂 ). Through Jesus,  nothing can separate us from God’s love.

So, today, remember though Jesus Christ, nothing is going to separate you from God’s love.  He loves you. And He wants you to live in the reality of that love.  That’s where life, hope, peace, everything is found in.  God and His love.

Today, let’s God’s love form you.  Let it shape your actions.  Let it shape your thoughts.  Let it form your very being.  You are loved.  Today.  You are.  Live in that knowledge. Live in that hope.  Let that sink down deep in your soul.  You are loved.

And nothing can take that from you.  Nothing.

Live in that knowledge today.  Live with that confidence today.  Live in that assurance today.  Through Jesus Christ, nothing can separate you from God’s love.


Listen to This

There are some days when I am reading the scripture and working on this morning devotionat, that I have a passage that I feel the need to explain a little. I feel the next to expand it. Or explain it. Or work with it. There is something I need to “do” to help you better understand what God is saying it.

Or perhaps help you to see something about it in a new way. Maybe to think about it in a way that you’ve never thought about it before.

I’m a preacher. That’s what I do 🙂 It’s what I really love doing, and in doing it I hope I’m a help to your faith.

That can be the joy of scripture. We can read the same passage, over, and over, and over again, but each time get something different out of it; each time here the Lord say something that we didn’t expect to hear.

Today, though, today is a passage that I want you to just listen to do. Today, no matter where you are, and what you are doing (unless you are driving when reading this!) I want you to stop.

Stop what you are doing. Take a five-minute break from work.

Slow yourself. Breathe. And listen to what Paul writes in Romans 8:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? (As the Scriptures say, “For your sake we are killed every day; we are being slaughtered like sheep.”) No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Today, I don’t really have a lot to add to that. Just think about it.

Nothing will separate you from God’s love. Nothing. Nothing you have ever done. Nothing you could ever do. Nothing in creation. Nothing at all. Nothing.

God loves more today than He ever has. God loves you.

Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, God has given everything to know you, to love you, to save you.

You are loved. Block away everything that’s ever happened in your life. Block away every mistake. Every failing. Every fault. Everything.

And know that you are loved today. Nothing can separate you from that love.

Are you living out that love today? Outside of living through God’s love, we will always be restless. But, living in the power of God’s love, we’ll find life.

Today, nothing can separate you. Nothing. Live in that love.

Who Are You

Who are you?

That’s an odd question to start off a devotional with. What do I even mean by that?

What I mean is what defines you or makes you who you are?

Is it your job that makes you who you are? Your family? Your spouse? Your kids? Your success? Your failure? You house? You possessions? Your car? Your friends? Your power? Your . . . . whatever?

When you think about who you are, you life, your identity, what do you fall back on? What defines you?

Who are you?

Listen to the words of Psalm 100 this morning:

Acknowledge that the Lord is God!
He made us, and we are his.
We are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

I just love that line – we are the sheep of His pasture. It is God that made us. It is God that formed us. It is God that defined us. We are His.

And we are the sheep of His pasture.

Life is not defined by what is our prized possession. Life is defined by who’s prize possession we are. God’s. We are His treasure. As Scripture says, we are the apple of His eye. We are His beloved.

What’s who we are.

Do you believe that? Do you live like that? Do you live with that assurance and hope and life?

Your life is not found in stuff or success or possessions. Its found in this – you were created by God. You are His. You are the sheep of His pasture.

That’s who you are. Live in this knowledge. Live in this hope. Live in this assurance.

Who are you? You belong to God. You are His. Live in that joy today!