Day Fifty-Three with Mark: Mark 14:26-42

Today in Mark, we look at Chapter 14: 26-42:

26 When they had sung the hymn, they went out to the Mount of Olives. 27 And Jesus said to them, “You will all become deserters; for it is written,

‘I will strike the shepherd,
and the sheep will be scattered.’
28 But after I am raised up, I will go before you to Galilee.” 29 Peter said to him, “Even though all become deserters, I will not.” 30 Jesus said to him, “Truly I tell you, this day, this very night, before the cock crows twice, you will deny me three times.” 31 But he said vehemently, “Even though I must die with you, I will not deny you.” And all of them said the same.

Jesus Prays in Gethsemane
32 They went to a place called Gethsemane; and he said to his disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 He took with him Peter and James and John, and began to be distressed and agitated. 34 And he said to them, “I am deeply grieved, even to death; remain here, and keep awake.” 35 And going a little farther, he threw himself on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. 36 He said, “Abba, Father, for you all things are possible; remove this cup from me; yet, not what I want, but what you want.” 37 He came and found them sleeping; and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not keep awake one hour? 38 Keep awake and pray that you may not come into the time of trial; the spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” 39 And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words. 40 And once more he came and found them sleeping, for their eyes were very heavy; and they did not know what to say to him. 41 He came a third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and taking your rest? Enough! The hour has come; the Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Get up, let us be going. See, my betrayer is at hand.”

A couple of things stand out to me about these passages.  First, let us remember, that it wasn’t just Judas that betrayed or didn’t stand up for Jesus in the moment.  Everyone (but for John) deserted.  And here is the thing to remember about Jesus in this.  He still loved them.  Even though the failed, even though they weren’t faithful, His love for them did not change.  Remember, Jesus love for us is not based upon our actions or our faithfulness, His love for us is based upon who He is.

We are not loved because we are good.  We are loved because He is good.  And it is His goodness that in time makes us good.

We see this the most in Peter.  Peter was the leader and after Jesus says that He will be left by everyone, Peter says, no, not I.  And Jesus says, you will deny me three times.

jesus-praysWe see the disciples begin to fall away, when Jesus was praying. And to me, that’s the second thing that stands out in this passage.  Look at how Jesus prayed.  Look at the passion, the pain, the hurt.  Remember that Jesus was both fully human and fully divine.  He knew the cross was coming.  He knew what was going to happen.  He knew what awaited.

And He still chose it. Because He loved us.  He loved His disciples that would deny Him soon, and He loves us, who do much the same.  He knew what must be done for the salvation of the world.

No one took Jesus life from Him.  No one murdered Him.  He willing chose the cross.

So when you read the story of the Garden, remember the prayer He prayed, remember the help He sought from His Father, remember the passion and strength it took.

Remember the choice He made, for us and for the world.  Remember God’s plan, from the very creation for our redemption.

Remember how much you are loved.

Tomorrow we’ll look at Mark 14:43-52.

What questions do you have?  How does this strike you?  Shoot me an email, comment below, or connect with me through social media.

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Storms

10172814_10204137258500002_7656639446906731660_nIt’s been a tough few days here in the south, and yesterday was really tough here in Mississippi.  One of the things that happens when you have served all over the state is  you know people everywhere. So, I heard about Tupelo and I thought of friends at The Orchard and FUMC.  I then saw pictures of St. Luke, where I went to meetings at all time and was stunned.

Then, I hear about Louisville, and the hospital being destroyed.  I text a friend to check on him, and find out he’s busy, moving nursing home residents into his church’s gym after their nursing home was badly damaged.

Then, we hear of Brandon and Pearl, and Holly and I have family there; lots of friends. So, we are texting and calling.  Trying to find out what is going on.

And here in Petal, and at Asbury, this all cuts close to home as it was this time last year we were recovering from tornadoes that destroyed so much of our town and left so many without homes.

Storms come into our lives, both “weather” related, as well as storms of sickness or addiction or tragedy.   Storms come.  Today I was reading from the book of Psalms, and listen to what it says in Psalm 57: 1-3:

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me,
for in you my soul takes refuge;
in the shadow of your wings I will take refuge,
till the storms of destruction pass by.
I cry out to God Most High,
to God who fulfills his purpose for me.
He will send from heaven and save me;
he will put to shame him who tramples on me.
God will send out his steadfast love and his faithfulness!

In the midst of the storm, sometimes we just have to take refuge in God and just hold on.  Hold on tight to Him.  Trust in Him.  Rely on Him.  In the storm, in the darkness, in the fear, in all of it, just hold on.

The destruction will pass.  The storm will pass.  God will send His love and faithfulness.

He will.

And, sometimes, we are the way that He sends it.  God will send help from heaven to help those in the storms to help.  Maybe, just maybe, that help is from you and me.  We can give or we can give.  We can pray.  We can serve.  We can call/text.  We can support.

We can do so much.

So, today, to those of us in the midst of the storm, take refuge in God.  He will protect you in the shelter of His wings.

And to those of us that have made it through the storms, maybe our job it to be that help from heaven. Today, how can you help someone in the storms (either the literal storms of yesterday, or the storms that swirl around us daily).

How can we help today?  How can we be salt and light today?  In our day today; may that be our mission.

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Why Do Love Our Enemies?

Jesus tells us a lot of things that we like to hear. Things about forgiveness. Things about mercy. Things about grace and compassion and joy. Things we like.

But, Jesus also says some things that are tough to hear. Some things that are challenging. Some things that we don’t understand and really, may not even like.

Like what we read today.

Listen to what Jesus says to us in Luke 6:27-30:

“But I say to you who hear, Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who abuse you. To one who strikes you on the cheek, offer the other also, and from one who takes away your cloak do not withhold your tunic either. Give to everyone who begs from you, and from one who takes away your goods do not demand them back.

urlMan. We we look at that, I don’t like that. I don’t want to have to forgive my enemies. I don’t want to have to have to do those things.

They’ve wronged me. They’ve hurt me. They are my “enemy” for a reason.

Why? Why do I have to do that? Why does Jesus tell us to do that?

First, prayer can change them. Really. I can. Prayer can change you enemies. It can. It can change their hearts. Soften them. Make them a new person, a different person. Prayer can really change your enemies make them a different person.

Pray for them. It will change things.

But, even if it doesn’t change them, it can change us. They may stay the same. They may not be different.

But, prayer will change us. It will change our heart. Our patience. Our ability to deal with them.

Prayer will change things.

It will change who they are. And, if now, it will change who we are.

The best thing you can do for you enemies is pray for them. The best thing you can do for you is to pray for them.

I know it doesn’t make sense. But it’s true. Today, may we pray for everyone. And pray for those that are our enemies.

And God will do great things.

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.

God Hears

We see when looking at the story of the Israelites in Exodus a lot of things that can impact our lives and our walk with God.

We see God’s power. We see how strong He is. We see our powerful He is.

We see in Moses the power of good, Godly leadership. Leadership that seeks God before all else and that seeks to lead the people to be faithful to God in all things.

We see the power of God to lead His people through the wilderness.

We see so much.

But today in Exodus 3: 7-10, we see something else.  Listen to what it says:

Then the Lord said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

We see in this passage something that need to always remember. God hears. God hears our concerns. He hears our fears. He hears our cries. God hears us. He does not turn a deaf ear to us.

No matter what we are going through. No matter what is happening. No matter what is going on.

God hears.

Even when it feels like He is not. Even we our lives feel like He is ignoring us. Even when we feel abandoned or alone.

Don’t worry. Don’t fear. Don’t forget. God hears.

He hears our cries. He does not forget us. He will not leave us. We are His. Rejoice. And remember. No matter what.

God hears.

It’s All About Timing

God hears every prayer.

And God answers every prayer.

We like that notion. We like that truth.

There’s only one problem.

Sometimes, the answer is not the one that we’d like. Sometimes, the answer to our prayer is not the answer that we would wish for or that we would hope for.

Sometimes the answer is no.

Sometimes the answer is even harder to hear.

Sometimes it’s wait.  No is not the time or the moment. The time or the moment may be coming.  But now, now may not be the time.

We see an example of that in Acts today:

6 They went through the region of Phrygia and Galatia, having been forbidden by the Holy Spirit to speak the word in Asia. 7When they had come opposite Mysia, they attempted to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit of Jesus did not allow them;

They were forbidden (by God) from speaking.

Why? Why would God do that?

Why would God keep them from speaking?

That may not have been the time. That may not have been the moment.

It’s all about timing.  What you think is the right time might not be the right time. What you think is the right moment might not be the right moment.

God’s time and God’s moment may be very, very different from ours.

So, even if the answer is no, have faith. This may not be the right time. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Don’t quit.

Even if the answer is wait.  Even if it’s no.

Now may not be the time.

It’s ok. God is at work. Believe. Have faith. God will not leave you.

Trust in God’s timing.  Even if it’s not your own. Trust in God.

Today.