Wednesday of Holy Week 2012

Somethings in life are bigger than us. Somethings in life are beyond us. Somethings are bigger than our ability to understand or our ability to plan.

God’s plan of salvation is one of them. When we think about the cross and Jesus dying upon it, there are so many things that we can focus on.

Who’s fault was it?

Why did it happen?

What about Judas? What about the devil? Where was God? Did Jesus have a choice? Why did it have to happen this way?

Lot’s of questions. Lots of things that we wonder about. Lots of things that we don’t know.

Today, we see in this passage for this Wednesday of Holy Week, something bigger is playing out.  Listen to what happens in Luke 22:1-6:

Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. And the chief priests and the scribes were seeking how to put him to death, for they feared the people. Then Satan entered into Judas called Iscariot, who was of the number of the twelve. He went away and conferred with the chief priests and officers how he might betray him to them. And they were glad, and agreed to give him money. So he consented and sought an opportunity to betray him to them in the absence of a crowd.

God’s plan of salvation was bigger than one person, bigger than one choice, bigger than one betrayal. It was His plain to bring us to Himself.

He knew that we could earn it or work our way to salvation. He knew that we weren’t good enough or faithful enough. He knew that we could never do it on our own.

So He did it for us. He did for us what we could not do for ourselves.

And so, yes, the devil entered into Judas. And Judas made a choice. And earlier Jesus made the choice to come to Jerusalem. And yes it was bad and messy and ugly. Yes it was painful. Yes it awful.

And God did that for us. For our sin. For our redemption. For our forgiveness and salvation.

Yes, there are things about all this that I don’t understand. But I do understand this. Jesus loved you, and me, enough that He willing did it.

And it was God’s plan of salvation all along. I am thankful that God loved us enough that He went to this length for us.

May each of us, in our lives, be faithful to God today, as He was faithful to us.

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God Has a Plan

Before today’s reflection – 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 Andorids, click here.

Now, on to today’s reflection!

God had a plan for Paul. God had big things for Paul. Paul was going to go to Rome and preach the gospel before Caesar. God was going to use Paul to literally change the world. God was going to use Paul to make sure that the Good News of Jesus Christ was heard all around the world.

God has a plan for Paul.

Listen today what happens in Acts 27:23-24:

For this very night there stood before me an angel of the God to whom I belong and whom I worship, and he said, ‘Do not be afraid, Paul; you must stand before Caesar. And behold, God has granted you all those who sail with you.’

In the text today, it looks like the plan may be in trouble. Paul and his companions on the ship they were sailing in have now been shipwrecked. It doesn’t look good. It looks like they will be stranded. It looks like the plan won’t happen. The story looks over.

Paul says no – an angel appeared to him and said that he WILL preach in Rome. It will happen. Don’t worry. Don’t fret. God had a plan.

The same is true for us today. God has a plan. God has a plan for our lives. God has a plan for what He wants to do. Now, it may look like we stranded on an island. It may look like the plan won’t happen.

Don’t worry. God has a plan. God has this. God has a plan.

We don’t have to spend our lives worried about everything. We don’t have to spend our lives terrified of everything; of every mistake. God has a plan.

Even if we are stuck on an island. Even if we feel along. Even if we think that it’s over. God has a plan. Don’t worry. Trust. Hope. Keep going.

God has a plan. Today, and each day, we can trust in that.

God’s Last Hope?

I had a professor of mine in college that used to always remind us that we are not God’s last hope. God has more up His sleeve than any of us can imagine. God is always doing more than we can see.  He always has a great plan than our minds can fathom.

We need to be reminded of that. Sometimes we can feel like we are God’s last hope. That we are all He has.  No one is righteous, just us.  We are all that He has.

This can be a problem for a couple of reasons. First, we forget that God has a plan.  Do we honestly think that God is surprised by anything that happens?  That He is shocked?  That He thinks, wow, I didn’t see that coming.

Of course not. God is at work in all things that are happening in our life, and in our world.  God has not forgotten us, forgotten the world, forgotten His plan.  He is at work, even in the things that we feel like He can’t be.

Even in a bad economy.  Even in a fearful age.  Even when we are worried about all kinds of things.

God is at work.

The second reason we are not God’s last hope was driven home to me into day’s reading from Romans 11 where Paul writes this:

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, a wild olive shoot, were grafted in their place to share the rich root of the olive tree, 18 do not boast over the branches. If you do boast, remember that it is not you that support the root, but the root that supports you.

It is not we that support the root, it is the root that supports us. We don’t support God, God supports us.

God does not need us.  He is God. He was here before us and will be here after us.  He doesn’t “need” us.

We need Him.  We need Him to live.  To serve. To be faithful. For all of us life.  We need Him for every breath, for every hope, for every dream.  We need Him.

Now, He wants to be in relationship with us.  He loves us.  He desires to know us.  He created us.  And He supports and loves us.

And we need Him.

So, don’t feel like you are God’s last hope today. Be faithful. Do good work. Love, support, pray, forgive.

But also know that God is a work in ways we can’t see. Trust in Him.  Rely on Him.  Know that the root supports you, not the other way around.

God is always at work, even today. Trust in His work, trust in His plan.