detour-signEver had life all planned out?  Knew what you were going to do?  Had a schedule, had an agenda, had it all figured out?

And something happened that blew all of that out the water?

Ever had to take a major detour?  Yeah, most of all of us have at some point in our life.  That’s part of life.  Something that happens all the time.  It’s part of our human experience, something that we each go through.

It’s even something that Joseph and Mary went through.  There were some very unexpected detours that they had to take in Jesus’ early life.  Listen to what happens today in Matthew 2: 13-15:

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”

We see that they were in Bethlehem, but they they had to flee to Egypt to escape Herrod.  We don’t really think about this, the chaos this would have caused to Joseph and Mary.  Joseph had a job waiting for him back home. They had a life planned out.  They were going to be faithful, they were going to follow God, but they knew what life would be about.

And now this.  Now they have to run away to Egypt. They were being faithful. They were doing it right. And life still made a detour.

Why?  Because God had a plan.  He was going to call Jesus back out of Ebphy, just as He called the Israelites out of Egypt.  God had an amazing plan for Jesus in this.

What may have looked like a detour to Joseph and Mary was part of God’s divine plan for Jesus.

Today, the detour you face may not be that.  It very well may be part of God’s divine plan for you.

You just have to trust.  God has a plan.  He knows what He is doing.  Even if we don’t know what He is doing.

These detours, they aren’t that.  They are something greater, something bigger.

Today, trust.  God will use your detours in amazing ways.  Ways you can’t even imagine.

Today, may we trust in the detours of our life.

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Monday of Holy Week – Are We Thankful?

Holy Week is the week that stretches from Palm Sunday to Easter. There are several “highlights” if that’s the right word to use. Maundy Thursday is the time when we stop, and remember the betrayal of Christ, and remember His giving to us the great gift of Holy Communion.  On Good Friday, we take time to remember the cross, and the penalty that Jesus Christ paid for our sins.

And while are the really significant times of this week, there are other moments that are important. And through this week, we will take time to look at what happens each day of Holy Week, and see what we can learn, as we move towards the cross and the empty grave.

Today we read from John 12:1-8:

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.  Jesus said, “Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.  For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

6a00d8345254ac69e20133ec49dbda970bThere’s a lot that we can unpack in this passage, but I want to focus on Mary’s devotion to Jesus.  He has raised her brother Lazarus from the dead, and now He has come to their home.  And what is Mary’s response?  Pure thankfulness.

She takes this perfume and anoints Jesus, then she wipes His feet with her hair.  It is an act of pure, humble, devotion and love.  You could argue it’s nearly humiliating to do this.  But she doesn’t care.  She is so thankful to Jesus for what He has done for her, for your family.  Her heart overflows with thanksgiving for the work of Jesus in her life.

And contrast that with the grumbling of the disciples.  Judas speaks here, but the other gospels allude that he is merely speaking up for everyone.  (Though John does give us a little insight in Judas’ character.  His motives weren’t pure.  Neither are ours, all the time.)  They all thought that this was a waste of resources. They could have done something with it.

And Jesus says this – you won’t always have me with you.  Be thankful.  Be thankful.  That’s our first job today.  To be thankful.

Your first job today is to be thankful. Before you go. Before you serve. Your first just to merely be thankful for what God has done for you.

Then, with thankful hearts, go and serve.  But, first, we must give thanks.  We must.  For true service comes from there.  From a thankful heart.

Today, are we thankful?  That’s our first job.

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.


CS Lewis, in his great book The Screwtape Letters,  wrote these words:

“courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality.”

Courage is what is required to do that which is right, to do that which God desires, that which is that next step of faithfulness.  That is what God wants for us. That which God wants from us.

God wants us to take that next step.  God wants us to be faithful.  God wants us to be brave.  God wants us to have courage.

No matter what we are facing, no matter what is next, no matter what is going on, I promise you this.  God wants us to take that next step. God wants us to have courage.  In many ways, the story of Christmas is the story of courage.  It took great courage for Joseph to be faithful to God’s plan, to do what God wanted him to do, and to be obedient.  Listen to what he had to do, in Matthew 1: 19-25:

And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.

courage4When all this happened, Joseph was tempted to walk away.  He was tempted to just get out, as simply and pain free as possible.  That’s what he was going to do.  But he didn’t.

Because God had other plans.

And Joseph followed.  He had courage.  He took that step.

And God did amazing things.

Today, have faith.  Have courage.  Believe.  Hope.  Trust.

And God will be faithful.  May we do the same.

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.

Nothing is Impossible

What mountain are you trying to climb today?  What hill are are looking at, thinking that there is no way that you can do this?  What challenge do you face that is worrying you to death?

What are you up against today?  What thing do you face, that to you, looks impossible, and leaves you with no hope?  What are you to do?

Listen to what happens in Luke 1: 35-38:

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

Fra_Angelico_AnnunciationThis is the story that’s called “The Annunciation.”  This is where the angel tells Mary that she will give birth to Jesus. And her response, with a greater challenge than anything we will face is “let it be to me according to your word.”

How could she have such confidence?  How could she have such hope?  How could she trust in a situation that seems to hard, to challenging, to much, for someone to handle?  This is how.

She believed the word that that the angel spoke – Nothing is impossible for with God.  Nothing.  Nothing.

God is bigger than that mountain.  That challenge. That fear.  That doubt. That hurdle.  That, whatever.  God is bigger.  God is stronger.  God is more powerful.  With God, nothing is impossible.


Believe that, today.  Have hope in that today. With God, nothing is impossible.  Hold tight to Him.  Trust in Him.  And He will make a way.

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.