You Will Face Temptation Today

In his first letter to the church, Peter spends a lot of time telling the folks how they should live. How they should act. What they should do.

And so, when I saw today I was going to be reading from 1 Peter, I knew immediately. He’s going to be talking about holiness. And part of me when, ugh.

Because I don’t know about you, but most of life, I don’t feel very holy.

So, I began to thinking, ok, this is going to convict me and make me realize I’ve got a long way to go to being the person that God wants me to be. And then I read it. And something jumped out at me.

Listen to what Peter writes in verses 13-16:

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

urlIt’s that first verse that really jumped out at me. Prepare your minds for action. What a great concept. I think, at least in my life, I get myself in trouble, when my mind is not ready. When I’m not prepared. When I’m not ready. When my mind is not focused on Jesus.

Are our minds ready today?

Today, you will face temptation. It’s coming. It may be happening right now.

You will face discouragement. It’s gonna happen.

You will face troubles and trials and worries. It’s gonna happen.

Get your mind ready. Be ready. Don’t be caught by surprise. These things will come. Center your mind on Christ. Make Him your focus. Make Him your light, your rock, your hope, your strength.

Trouble will be coming. That’s truth. That’s the way that it is. Temptation will be coming.

Prepare your mind. Get ready.

And the God of all strength and comfort will give you what you need for this day.

And each day. Get ready. God will be with you.

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.

What Does it Look Like to be Holy

What does it mean to be holy? What does it look like to chase after God? What should that look like in the scope of our lives?

God calls us to follow Him, to become more like Him, and to live the life that He calls us to live, that He has created for us.

Ok, we all know that. That’s a given. But, once again, what should that actually look like in our lives? What should that cause to take place in our lives?

Listen to what Paul tells us today in Romans 13:9-10 for an answer.

For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

He tells us to fulfil the commandments this is what we do – love. Love fulfils the law.

He said if we love, we will not murder. We will not steal, we won’t break any of the commandments.

Love fulfils the law.

That is what it means to be holy. That’s what it looks like to be holy. To love.

Loving your neighbor equals being holy. Because when we love, as it says, we will fulfill these things.

So, how do we do that? How do we love our neighbor in that way?

We love God. We let God’s love fill us. We focus on Him, and His grace will call us to love each other fully and completely.

Today, be holy. Today, fulfill the law. Today, be obedient to what God would have you to do.

Today, love your neighbor. And in that, you will be fulfilling the law.

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.

Is God Love? Is God Holy? Yes

I was listening to a podcast the other day by Tim Keller, one of my favorite preachers to listen to. He was talking about the ways that the devil will get at us. He said the devil will use one of two lies against us.

One is accusation. He will accuse us of our sins, and get us to think that we are a failure. In this mode of attack, the devil hides God’s love from us. He wants us to focus only on God’s holiness and forget that He loves us. He hides God’s love from us.

The other is temptation. In this, the devil will tempt us into sin, and he will hide God’s holiness from us. He will make us think that forgiveness is nothing, not a big deal. He will make us forget the great price that our forgiveness cost – the death on the cross of God’s own son.

Love. And Holiness. Both are part of who God is. And both need to be remembered. And treated with balance and respect.

The devil will try to hide one or the other from us, based upon our weakness and our faults. From some of us he will try to hide God’s love. From other’s God’s holiness.

It’s not either/or. It’s both/and. God is not love or holy. He’s love and holy.

Look at the John 8:7-11 today:

And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him. Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

He forgives. He offers grace and mercy. And then He says, go and sin no more.

And today, all of us are somewhere in this. Maybe today, the devil is making you feel like you are worthless and you can’t be forgiven. You can be. You are. You forgiven and you are loved.

Don’t forget.

Maybe today, you are thinking that your sins aren’t a big deal. Forgiveness is nothing. Nothing to it.

Never forget the price that Jesus paid to redeem you. Yes you are forgiven. But never forget the cost.

The devil will to hide one from you today. Which is it for you?

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.

Be Different

We were talking yesterday at our Asbury staff day apart about what we are things we are to do as a church. What are we trying to accomplish and how are we trying to accomplish it?

Well, that made us talk about what God’s goals are for us? What does God want for us? What is God’s desire for us?

I had a friend ask me once, what is the “goal” of salvation.

For many of us, when we were younger, the goal of salvation was fire insurance. We want to avoid hell and gain heaven.

But we find when we look at the Bible that God doesn’t just have intentions for our eternity, He has goals and intentions for today, as well as our tomorrow.

Well, what are they?

Listen to what Paul tells us in Romans 12:1-2 today:

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.

God’s goal for us is to be different. To be “holy.” To not be like the world. To not model ourselves and our lives after the way that the world is living, but to model ourselves and our lives based off the way that God wants us to live.

Today, we are told renew your mind. Where is your head at? Do you think of the things of God, or the things of the world. Where does your mind linger. Where do your thoughts remain? Where do you spend your mental energies?

Today, let’s submit all we are to God. Our hearts. Our minds. Our lives. Our dreams. Our all.

That is how we are different. That is how we are holy. That’s how we are totally His. s

By giving it all to Him.

Today, be different. Be you unique. Be the person that He has made you to be. Give it all to Him.

And in giving it to Him, you will find all you need.

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.

Be Holy (Gulp)

One of the commands of for His people is one that I don’t like to hear, and is one that I’m just as likely to run away from as I am to want to obey.

Be holy.

Gulp.

That’s hard. And it doesn’t sound like fun. Or something that can do. Or something that we can achieve. Especially when we see each day how much we mess up.

How much we fall.

How many times we make mistakes. How many times we blow it. Surly God’s not serious. Surly He doesn’t mean holy, like you know, well holy.

Listen to what He says in 1 Peter 1:13-16:

Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. As obedient children, do not be conformed to the passions of your former ignorance, but as he who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, since it is written, “You shall be holy, for I am holy.”

Peter tells us don’t be conformed to the ways that we used to be. Be holy as God is holy. Be different.

And that’s it. That’s what holy is. Holiness isn’t perfection. Holiness isn’t being sinless. Holiness is not about never making a mistake.

If so, none of us could be holy or aspire to be holy. That’s not something we can do.

So, then, what does God expect? If He calls us to be holy, what does that even mean?

To be holy is to be different. To be changed. To be transformed. To not be the same person we used to be. To be different from culture. To be different from those around.

To be the kind of person that lives a life that makes others say – man, I want what they have.

Being holy isn’t what we’ve made it out to be. It’s not about “perfection.” It’s about being different. Standing out. Being the unique creation God has made you to be.

That’s what it means to be holy. To be different. To live in such a way that makes others want to have what have.

And today, you can do it. You can be different. You can stand out. You can live like that. You can be holy.

Today, let’s do 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.

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.

It’s a New Day

Today in the text we read, Isaiah encounters God. He is in Temple praying and God shows up. He is there, and the Lord God Almighty decides to make an appearance.

And one of the things that I love about this passage is what Isaiah says when God shows up.

Listen to what happens in Isaiah 6:4-7:

And the foundations of the thresholds shook at the voice of him who called, and the house was filled with smoke. And I said: “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips; for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” Then one of the seraphim flew to me, having in his hand a burning coal that he had taken with tongs from the altar. And he touched my mouth and said: “Behold, this has touched your lips; your guilt is taken away, and your sin atoned for.”

Paraphrasing he says – “Uh oh.”

He realizes how big, how awesome, how mighty God is. God is holy. God is other. God is different than we are. He is the creator of all this, both seen and unseen. He is the author of life. He is the sustainer of everything. His the very reason and purpose of life.

He’s kind of a big deal.

And Isaiah realizes how imperfect, unholy, and unworthy he is. That’s how we can feel when we really encounter God, huh?

Unholy. Imperfect. Unworthy.

We quite often in our faith feel unworthy of God’s love. We can feel like we don’t deserve that God. In light of God’s perfection, we see our mistakes.

And so, look what God does for Isaiah. He makes him clean. He restores him. He allows him to start over. He gives him a fresh start.

Have you done everything right? No? Are you perfect? No. But you are forgiven. Through what Jesus Christ has done, you are forgiven.

Before God sent Isaiah out for the mission He had for him, he restored him. God started over. He let Isaiah begin again.

Today, God has something for you. He has a great mission for you. Something awesome. Something great. Something you may feel unworthy of.

It’s ok. Today, through Jesus, you are restored. It’s a new day. You are forgiven. Today, live in this new life given to by Jesus.

Today, no matter what has happened in the past, it’s  new day. You are restored.

Live in that grace.

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.

Watch Me

Paul says something really big and scary in today’s reading. Something I’m not sure I’d want to say or any of us would want to say.  It’s some big words.  But, it’s something that we each say, each day of our lives.  Listen to what he writes in Philippians 3:17-20:

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,

Paul says this – you want to know what a Christian is? You want to know how you walk the walk God has set before us? You want to know how a Christian is supposed to live?

Watch me. Follow me. Imitate me. Do what I do.

Wow. That’s a big statement. That’s a powerful statement. I tell folks I’m afraid to put one of those fish on my car because I’m such a bad driver that I don’t want to embarrass God.

That’s how we all can feel sometimes. We see our shortcomings. We see our mistakes. We see what we do wrong.

Paul says, watch me. Do what I do. If you want to see what a Christian does, watch me.

Two things then – first, let’s make sure we surrond ourselves with those that are an inspiration, that are a role model, that help us to know how to live.

Who do you look up to? Who do you follow? What crowd do you associate with? Are the folks in your life helping you to live the life that you’d like to live?

And second, realize that there are always eyes watching us, to see what we do and how we live. These are the little eyes of our children, our grandchildren, our nieces or nephews, those little ones in our lives.

They are watching us. They are seeing what we do. They are seeing how we live. Let us not forget that. Let us remember.

Let’s make sure that we are doing what we need to do in our lives, so that those little eyes can have examples to follow.

Paul says, watch me. In our lives, that’s already happening. May we each live in a graceful manner and set that same example.

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.

Because of the Tender Mercy of our God

In the passage today that we are reflecting upon, we see Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist, praise God for what God is going to do through his son. We know from the story of John the Baptist, that he was a man that, shall we say, lived outside the norm.

John lived away from it all, and he lived a life with a singular purpose – to point the way and prepare the people for the coming of Christ. He was the baptizer, out by the river, calling folks to righteousness, calling them to repent, calling them to follow the path of God.

And calling them to get ready for the one that would save the people from their sin. Calling them to salvation.

Why? Why did John do this? Why did God call him to this, and why did God give Zechariah and Elizabeth at their advanced age this child that would grow into this man? Listen to what Luke says in Luke 1:74-79:

that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people in the forgiveness of their sins, because of the tender mercy of our God, whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

We see – because of His tender mercy. Because of His mercy, God gives light. Because of His mercy, God gives hope. Because of his tender mercy, God gives the freedom to serve.

Look at what it also says in verse 74 – we might serve Him without fear.

God desires today that you serve Him, but not out of fear. Out of love. Out of grace. Out of His tender mercy. He loves you. He gives His son for you. He gives us each folks pointing the way to Him.

And He wants us to respond. To serve. To love. To care. To obey. Because of the tender mercy of our God we have been given grace and salvation.

And He wants us to serve Him without fear. Today, and each day, may we do that!

What is our Goal?

Sometimes in our lives, we feel like changing ourselves and our actions can be a hopeless cause. What can we possibly do? What can we do to make ourselves better, or more holy, or more obedient?

When we try, we fail. We try to be good. We try to behave. We try to do right. And when we do, we find ourselves falling time after time after time.

As CS Lewis said – “No man knows how very bad he is until he has tried to be good.” The frustrating thing can be trying so very hard to do good, to do right, to get it right; and then we fall down

So we quit trying. What’s the point? We’ll never do it right. It will never happen. There’s no reason. We’ll never be good enough to get it right.

Strangely that’s what God is saying through Ezekiel 36:25-26.  Listen to what He says in this passage.

I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you shall be clean from all your uncleannesses, and from all your idols I will cleanse you. And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh

Notice, God doesn’t say that you will do this, you will do that. God says, I will do it. I will sprinkle you clean with water. I will give you a new heart. I will remove your heart of stone.

God says I will do it. You can’t do it on your own. It’s not possible.

So, who does it? God does you.

You can’t change yourself. God can change you. So, today, you goal shouldn’t be to be a “better person.” Your goal should be to draw close to God.

If we draw close to God, He will do the rest. He will take care of the rest. He will clean and change us.

Being perfect a daunting goal. Drawing close to God, that’s a goal we can do today. He will clean us, He will change us.

Today, our goal is to draw close to God. May we do that will all that we have!