Seeking Peace

Yesterday at Asbury, we talked about how peace is not a concept that is not able to grasp, nor is a circumstance that change. Peace is a person – Jesus Christ. Peace doesn’t come through these things; peace comes through our relationship and our walk with Jesus.

I was thinking about that today when I was reading some of today’s suggested readings, and I read Psalm 34. Listen to what it says in 11-14:

Come, O children, listen to me;
I will teach you the fear of the Lord.
What man is there who desires life
and loves many days, that he may see good?
Keep your tongue from evil
and your lips from speaking deceit.
Turn away from evil and do good;
seek peace and pursue it.

img1The things of faith, the things of peace in our lives really aren’t complicated to understand. They really aren’t.

They can be just really hard to do at times (at most times!). Today, the Psalmist talks about peace. And this is his suggestion to us today.

Keep your lips from evil. Turn from evil. Do good.

In other words, watch what you say. That’s a consistent Biblical command. Our words can do great harm or great good. It’s up to us, based off how we used them.

Turn away from evil. Don’t go looking for trouble. Seriously. Trouble will find you; temptation will find you. It will. Don’t go trying to find it. Stay away from things that you are that are wrong.

Do good. The quickest way to change our perspective, to changer our attitude is do something good for someone else. Serve someone. Give. Care. Be salt and light.

Seek peace. In others seek Jesus. For He is peace. Seek Him. Chase Him. Place your heart upon Him. Nothing else.

And in this, you will find life. See, not complicated to understand. We all know these things. But just hard to do. So, how do we do it?

We pray. We read the Word. We surround ourselves with those that help us be faithful. And keep doing these things. As we do them; as we seek; as we grow, find peace. We find strength. We find faithfulness. We find life.

Today, as you walk with Jesus, you will have more peace. Live out that peace with and before others. And as we do that, we will make a difference in our life and in the lives of others.

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!

April 16 – Evil Doesn’t Win

If you have been following me for any length of time, you know that April 16 is not my favorite day of the year.  This is the day that I remember the power of evil and sin to destroy lives.

And it’s the day that reminds me that in the journey of my life (and our lives) that evil doesn’t win.

And each of us, we know the power of evil. We see it in the world. We saw it on 9/11. We witnessed it yesterday in Boston, and many, many lives were forever changed and disrupted. We have seen the force and power of evil.

Evil has it’s moment. But evil doesn’t win.

That said, I don’t like April 16.

mama-saraOn April 16, 1978, my mother was murdered.  I have always called her “Mama Sarah.”  She was killed as she was walking out of our house, with me in her arms. She was walking out of the house because she did not want me raised in an abusive situation, in a situation full of drugs and destruction. She was walking out of the house because she wanted me to have a better life.

She was walking out of the house because she loved me.

And in that, she laid down her life for me.  Literally.  I sometimes tell folks I have the burden and blessing in my life of having had two people lay down their life for me, Jesus and Mama Sarah.

And, every day I wake up and know that I am here, I give thanks for no greater love.  I give thanks that I, literally, should not be here.

And if you’ve ever wondered why I’m a little on the ADD side, this is why. I’m not going to waste a second that God has given me.

And every time I look at my daughter Sarah and mourn over the fact that she will never know the grandmother she was named for, I give thanks for no greater love.

I have experienced in my life the power of evil to bring destruction.

But I’ve also seen this.  I’ve seen that evil doesn’t win.  See, when Mama Sarah died, I was adopted by her mother and step father. I call them mama and daddy, because that’s who they are.

By the way, if you want to know the power of evil, consider this. Mama Sarah was murdered on her mother’s birthday, April 16. And she was buried on my birthday, April 18.

Evil has it’s moment. But it doesn’t win.

I was adopted and raised by my mama and daddy.  And if I had not been raised by them, I wouldn’t have been raised in the church I was raised in.  Which means that I may not be a Christian. Which means that I may not be a preacher. Which means that I may not be here, doing what I’m doing.

I may not be affecting your lives and your faith.

If I hadn’t been raised by my adopted parents, I wouldn’t have went to Bouge Chitto, which means I wouldn’t have went to Co-Lin which means I wouldn’t have met Holly, which means I wouldn’t have my family.

God brought good out of this terrible tragedy.

Was my mother’s murder a good thing?  No.  Or course not.  My heart aches for it.  But, the power of God is not that He stops bad things from happening.

But that He can bring good our of anything.

Even the worst evil.

Evil doesn’t win. My life is a testament to that.

Romans 828 says this:

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose.

All things will work for our good. And His glory.  I am thankful.

It may look bad.  But know this.  Evil doens’t win.  Let us have that hope. And let us rejoice, even in our tears.

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.

No Worthless Thing

There’s a couple of sayings that we’ve heard before – you are what you eat. The stuff you eat in many ways determines how you feel and how much energy you have. I don’t know if I buy that, buy my dietitian wife swears its true! 🙂

The second is – garbage in, garbage out. This is a computer term. Computers only process what we put in. They can’t create material, we have to input that material for them. And then they send out what we as. So, garbage in, garbage out.

Now, listen to what Psalm 101: 1-3 says:

I will sing of steadfast love and justice; to you, O Lord, I will make music. I will ponder the way that is blameless. Oh when will you come to me? I will walk with integrity of heart within my house; I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not cling to me.

David says – I will not set before my eyes anything that is worthless. David knows this – what he sets before him will affect who he is.

What he sees. Reads. Thinkings about. Talks about. Associates with. These things will affect who he is, his faith, his very life.

Because David wants in his life what is good and pure and of God, he says he will set no worthless thing before him. He only wants what is good before him, so that he will be formed and created in what is good.

Today, what about us? What do we set before us? What do we watch? Stream? Talk about? Focus on?

What do we set before us? Is it good? Does it build us up? Does it strengthen out faith? Does it help us?
Or does it harm us and our faith?

Today, in all of our lives, may we chase after God. May we set no worthless thing before us. And may we reflect, live, and know that which is good, and life-giving.

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.