Keep on Moving

One of the things that I know most about faith is that we are going somewhere.  We are on the move.  We have a direction and a purpose.

Now that somewhere, in time, is heaven.  Yes.  One day, for those of us that believe, we will cross over into eternity and we will forever be with the Lord.  That’s something to hope in, believe in, and rejoice in.

But that’s not just what I’m talking about it.  Listen to what we read today in Hebrews 6: 1-3:

Therefore let us go on toward perfection, leaving behind the basic teaching about Christ, and not laying again the foundation: repentance from dead works and faith toward God, instruction about baptisms, laying on of hands, resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And we will do this, if God permits.

Summer_Palace,_Beijing-StairsWe are going on to perfection.  Woah.  That’s scary.  We don’t like the sound of that.  Perfection?  None of us are nowhere near that!

And you know what?  That’s exactly true.  None of us are anywhere near perfection. But just because we aren’t anywhere near it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be moving towards us.  We aren’t perfect.  That’s right.  But you know what?  We are working to be faithful.  And that’s always the first step, the first key.

And second, we have to understand that.  What does it mean to be perfect?  Well, let me ask you this, what is the point of our faith?  What are we after?  What are we doing?  We are seeking to, by His grace, to be more like God.

And what is God?  Holy and Love.  That’s His character.  So, how does Jesus tell us to be like Him?  Well, He says the greatest commandment is to love the Lord our God with all that we are, and love our neighbor as ourselves.  That’s what true obedience looks like.

That’s what true holiness looks like.

That’s what perfection looks like.  John Wesley didn’t talk about perfect in action.  He talked about perfect in love.

That’s what we are chasing. That’s what we are after.  Perfect, in love.

Today, let’s keep moving.  Let’s keep being faithful.  Let’s keep working.  Let’s keep growing.  Let’s keep trying to be perfect in love. And let’s see what God does with it!

If you’d like to receive these thoughts by email, be sure to click here and join Andy’s email group!

As Best You Can, Live in Peace!

Just a reminder, if you’d like to sign up and get these reflections through email, click here!

We are called to live in peace with one another.  Really, we are.  We see so many passages in the Bible about loving your neighbor, doing right, being faithful, being the body, all of these things.

We are even told in the Beatitudes that blessed are peacemakers.  We are told to live in peace with one another.

But sometimes that’s hard, isn’t it?   Sometimes that’s nearly impossible.  That’s why I really like what it says today in Romans 12: 18-21:

If it is possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all. Beloved, never avenge yourselves, but leave room for the wrath of God; for it is written, “Vengeance is mine, I will repay, says the Lord.” No, “if your enemies are hungry, feed them; if they are thirsty, give them something to drink; for by doing this you will heap burning coals on their heads.”  Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

eiMAAdnKTIn as much as it depends upon you, live peaceably with all.  I really love that.  As much as it depends upon you.

Now notice, though, that’s not a “get out of jail free card.”  You (and I) still have to do our part to live in peace with one another.  So, look what it says.  Don’t avenge yourself.  If you’ve been wronged, don’t worry about getting them back.

As a Christian revenge should not be in our vocabulary.

In fact, look what the text says we should do.  We should feed our enemies. Give them something to drink.  And then it says in doing this, we heap coals upon their heads.

So, if we do these things, they will feel bad about themselves, right!  We win.  Well, not exactly.  The job of a coal in the sacrifice is to purify.  When we love our enemies, we show them God’s love. And we help them be drawn closer to God.

In as much as it depends upon us.  That doesn’t excuse us.  It doesn’t let us off the hook.  We still have to be faithful, not seek vengeance, and love.

But know this. You don’t control their response.  You only control yours.  If you have done the right thing, if you have shown grace, if you have shown mercy, and they do not desire for things to be right, you know what?

You’ve done what you can do. That’s all you can do.  Do what you can do.

You only have control of yourself.  So, in as much as you can, live in peace with others.  Do your part.  Leave the rest up to God.  And the results are not up to you.

So you can rest easy.

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!

The Fear of the Lord

fear of the lordOne of the things that we are told in the Bible is the fear of the Lord is the beginning of all wisdom. Most of all of us have heard that, and have struggled with that.

What does it mean? What does it mean to fear the Lord? How can wisdom start with fear?

I was thinking about that when I read today’s passage, Jeremiah 33: 8-9. Listen to what it says:

I will cleanse them from all the guilt of their sin against me, and I will forgive all the guilt of their sin and rebellion against me. And this city shall be to me a name of joy, a praise and a glory before all the nations of the earth who shall hear of all the good that I do for them. They shall fear and tremble because of all the good and all the prosperity I provide for it.

When I was younger, my image of God was that He was a really angry old many in heaven, just waiting for me to mess up so that He could smite me. I say my image of God was that He was a really angry Col. Sanders.

That’s what I thought of when I thought of the fear of the Lord. I was afraid of that God.

But, as I’ve grown, I’ve come to realize that to fear the Lord isn’t be afraid of God, but it’s to have a holy reverence of God. It’s to respect Him. Honor Him. Know that He is different that we are. Understand that He is God. He is other. He is different.

And know that He still loves. That, to me, to fear the Lord.

And today, look what is says in that text. We will fear the Lord because of how good He is. We shall fear Him because of His blessings. We shall fear Him because of His love.

We don’t think of that as a reason to fear. Because we have the “fear of the Lord” wrong. We fear Him; we honour Him; we respect Him.

For He is good. He is love. He is love. He is grace. He is not a man, He is God. He does not (as we would) come in wrath, but He comes in mercy. He does not (as we would) come with vengeance in store, but He comes with hope for what is God.

We fear Him because He is not us. He is different. He is God. And He loves, no matter what.

We fear Him; we honor Him; we respect Him, because He is good. He is. He is good.

The fear of the Lord is beginning of fo wisdom. Yes. Yes, is it. May we have that holy, loving fear of our holy, loving God.

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!

Daily

Sorry these posts have been so irregular recently. Summer has been helter skelter for me.  I will post tomorrow and then I will attempt to post next week as well. I’ll be preaching Camp Meeting at Shiloh in Rankin County starting Sunday and will be preaching through the next Sunday. If I have internet access I will up date each day.  If not, I may not be back into the routine until the first Monday in August. We’ll see!

Romans 12:1-2 is one of my favorite passages of scripture. It’s one of those neat passages that has so much to see and look at when you first see it, but the deeper you look, the more that you can see.

Listen to what it says:

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

We could spend a lot of time talking about not conforming to the world and how our lives, our thoughts, our dreams, who we are, they should be different from the world all around us.

We are called to be holy. To be holy is not be perfect, it’s to be different. We start being different by having our mind in the right place – on Jesus.

abo2But, look above it. There’s that great verse about being a living sacrifice. And I love that image of us, as a living sacrifice, laying our entire lives down upon the altar of God. I love that image, I love that though, I love thinking about.

Our entire life, it is a sacrificial offering to God. Everything we do. Every moment of our lives, everything. It’s a sacrifice to God!

And that’s awesome. Except for this one thing. A living sacrifice can get up off the altar and walk away. So, today, we lay our burdens down upon the altar. We lay our worries down upon the altar. We lay our fears down upon the altar. We lay our sins down upon the altar.

And, because we are living, we walk away. We pick them back up, and we walk away. Because we can.

It’s not a one time laying these things down – fear, worry, sin, etc – it’s a daily laying them down. Every day. Because as a living sacrifice, we can crawl off the altar, and take our stuff with us.

So, today, lay it before Jesus. And tomorrow. And the day after. And the day after. And the day after. Lay it there. Give it to Him. Daily.

Every day. Lay it down.

And in doing that, we will that peace, hope, and life that we are seeking. May we do it, daily.

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

A Holy Place

Today is a holy day.

You are standing in holy place. This is a sacred moment. You are, right now, at a moment, in a place, in a space, that is holy.

How can this be so? You may be reading this on your phone at work. You may be reading this at your home. You may be reading this in a place that you may not consider “holy.”

How can this place be holy? This is just a place. It’s not church. It’s not a place of significance. It’s just a place.

Nope.

It’s holy. Why? Because God is here. If God is here, then any place is holy. No matter where it is.

Look at what happens to Moses today in Exodus 3:2-6:

And the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” When the Lord saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God.

urlThere he is, tending his sheep, minding his business. And he sees it. He sees a bush burning, but it is not consumed. He sees that something is happening. Something is different. Something is not as it should be.

So he goes to look. And what does he find? He finds the Lord. He finds that the Lord is there, that He is calling him, and that God has a mission for him.

God is there. So, since God is there, this place is holy. Even through it’s not church. Even through its plain. Even through there is nothing “holy” there, this place is holy.

Because God is there.

So is this moment in your life. So is this place where you are reading. So is this time. It’s holy. Why? Because God is here. Because God is with you. Because God will not forsake you.

This is a holy place. God is here. God is present. God is with you. God has not forgotten or forsaken. God is with you.

And will be. Through the Holy Spirit that lives in you and through you, as believer, God is present and with you. Never forget. Today, this moment, it holy.

Every moment, it is Holy.

God is here. That’s all that matters!

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.