Where Life Comes From

One of the constant reminders of our faith, truths about our faith is this.  Where is it that our strength comes from?   1 Corinthians 1: 26-31 today tells us exactly where that is:

26 Consider your own call, brothers and sisters: not many of you were wise by human standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. 27But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; 28God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, 29so that no one might boast in the presence of God. 30He is the source of your life in Christ Jesus, who became for us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31in order that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.’

what-is-life-660.jpgPaul is speaking here to early believers, that were not powerful or wealthy, or had any status at all.  He’s telling them, remember, God will take the weak, so that when they boast, they have to boast in the Lord.

God will take the humble, the small, the insignificant and use them.  He will use them, so that when they win the battle, there can be no doubt.  The victory is because of the Lord.

I once heard a Rabbi say the reason why God chose the nation of Israel in the Old Testament was because He could not find a more insignificant people.  That way, with every battle, He would have to the receive the glory.

Look at what the text says in verse 30 – He (God) is the source of your life in Jesus Christ.  In other words, our life, our hope, our everything, they are in Jesus Christ.  Jesus is our all in all.  If we have Him, we have all that we need.  If we do not have Him, we have nothing.

Jesus is our life.  With Him, there is peace in the storm, there is sense in the madness, there is purpose, there is life.

Without Him, we could have everything, but in the end, have nothing.

Jesus is life.  Really.  He is.  He is life.

And we know Jesus because God has called us to Himself.  He is the source of it all. All that is good, all that is pure, all that is life.

It comes from God.  That is where life comes from.  It all comes from God.  And as long as we remember where our life comes from, we will have the joy that comes from that life.

Today, remember where life comes from!

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The Secret

saint-john-the-baptist-09John the Baptist is one of the coolest characters in all the Bible to me.  One of the reasons why is because when you read his story, he has such courage.  Man oh man, he’s not afraid of anything.  He says what he needs to say, sometimes in a VERY bold way, and he does what he needs to do.

He said what he said, wore what he wore, did what he did with great courage.

You ever wonder what his secret was?

What was it that he had that gave him such courage?  Well, when we read his story, this is what we see.  We see that he knew that he had one job in life, and that was to point to Jesus. Everything he did was for that purpose.  He did in everywhere and in every way.

He pointed to Jesus.  And was the source of his courage.  He knew that if he did what he was supposed to do, that was his purpose.  And all would flow from that.  Listen to what happens today in John 3: 27-30:

27 John answered, “No one can receive anything except what has been given from heaven. 28 You yourselves are my witnesses that I said, ‘I am not the Messiah, but I have been sent ahead of him.’ 29 He who has the bride is the bridegroom. The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. For this reason my joy has been fulfilled. 30 He must increase, but I must decrease.”

Here’s John, who is a big deal, has people coming from everywhere to hear him preach.  Folks are talking to him, saying are you the messiah?  Are you the one that is to come?

And John says – no!  I am not the one.  I am a friend of the one.  I point to the one.  But I am not the one.  And then he says that great statement in verse 30 – He must increase, but I am must decrease.

Wow.  That’s a tough thing to say, isn’t it.  Jesus must decrease.  We’re good with that one. That one’s cool.

But I must decrease.  I’m not so sure about that one.  I’m not sure that I want to decrease.  That’s tough.

But John knew that he had to.  He knew his life was not his own, but it was Jesus’.  And the only way that he would be able to find true life was to decrease.  Because living for himself would never lead to life.  Living for Jesus would lead to true life.  Now, and for all eternity.

He had to decrease.  Jesus had to increase.  That’s the secret.  That was where his courage, his purpose, his life came from.  He knew that if increased and Jesus decreased, he’d never find life. But, if he did all that he could do to point to Jesus and point others to Jesus, he’d fine life. And that life leads to courage.

Today, how about us?  We were made for that very purpose.  To point others to Jesus.

Today, may we live out our purpose. And if we do that, we will find the courage that we desperately need.  Today, may He increase and we decrease.

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Thirsty

I’ve been trying something recently.  I read somewhere that one of the reasons that we get tired in the afternoon hours of the day is because we are dehydrated.  So, what I’ve been doing is drinking more water, especially in that afternoon time.  See, what I used to do was just drink more coffee, that’s kind of my answer to everything – more coffee.  Sometimes it worked, sometimes it didn’t.

So I’ve been drinking more water, and you know what?  I think it’s working.  I was thirsty, but I didn’t really even realize it. Drinking that water has helped me feel better and have more energy.  And I didn’t even know that I needed it.

Listen to what it says today in Psalm 84: 1-4:

How lovely is your dwelling place,
O Lord of hosts!
My soul longs, indeed it faints
for the courts of the Lord;
my heart and my flesh sing for joy
to the living God.
Even the sparrow finds a home,
and the swallow a nest for herself,
where she may lay her young,
at your altars, O Lord of hosts,
my King and my God.
Happy are those who live in your house,
ever singing your praise.Selah

thirstyI love that verse – my soul longs, indeed it faints for the courts of the Lord.  Our souls are thirsty for God.  Our souls long for that communion with God, that worship of God.  That’s what we are made for; that’s what we are created for.  To know God.  To love God.  To worship God.  To be in relationship with God.

That’s our purpose.  That’s what we are made for.

But here’s the thing.  We get so busy, we don’t realize that we are thirsty for Him.  We know something is wrong, we know that we don’t quite feel right, we know that something is off, but we aren’t sure what it is.

What is it is that our souls are thirsty for God.  And we have tried so many other things, and nothing satisfies.  No work, not pleasure, not status, nothing.  We remain thirsty.

Our souls long for God.

But here’s the thing.  God desires you, as well.  He wants you to be in relationship with Him.  He is love, and being love, He desires for you to walk with Him.  So, today, if your soul is thirsty, and really, all our souls are thirsty, know that there is living water that will satisfy.  Our souls have been crying out, but we may not have realized it.

Today, drench your soul in His grace, His presence, His worship.  You are loved, you are valued, you are pursued.  Today, we need God.  And God desires us.

Today, may we find our strength and our life in Him.

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Why We Rejoice

One of the great blessings in life is to celebrate the ways that God works and moves.  Sometimes, in our bid to stay humble, we can forget to give testimony to what God has done.  Now, we do want to be careful, making sure that God gets the glory for whatever good happens in life, but we need to stop and realize what God has done.

It says in Revelation 12:11 the devil is defeated by the blood of the lamb and the word of our testimony.  In our lives, we should, as often as we can, stop and testify and thank God for what He has done and is doing.

So today in our text, something surprising happens.  Listen to what we see in Luke 10: 17-20:

The seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, in your name even the demons submit to us!” He said to them, “I watched Satan fall from heaven like a flash of lightning. See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you. Nevertheless, do not rejoice at this, that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”

shutterstock_86099122-1Jesus said, yes, all these great things happen. You have authority to do so many things.

But don’t rejoice because of that.  Rejoice because your name is written in heaven.  We don’t rejoice today because of what we’ve done.  Or what God has done through us.  We don’t rejoice because of any of these things.

We rejoice because we are His.  We rejoice because He has given us life, life now, and life for all eternity.  We rejoice because we know the source of our life and our hope.

We rejoice because God has made us His very own.

Our identity is not found in what we do.  Our identity is found in who we are.  We are His.  That’s where our joy comes from.

May we never forget that!

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Who We Are

title-who-we-areAs we walk together through this season of Lent, it’s very important for us to remember who we are, and whose we are.  We are the people of God.  That’s our identity, that’s our purpose, that’s our calling.

We have to remember that.  We belong to God.  We are His.

Seriously.  We are His.  And that means this.  We are not our own.  We don’t live our lives the way that we want to live (or at least we shouldn’t), we don’t chase after our purposes, our plans, our goals, our stuff.

We are called to chase after God’s.  That’s where life is found.  In Him, and through Him.

But, why are we God’s people?  Is it because of our perfection, our goodness, our righteousness, our stuff?  Is God lucky to have us on His team?  No, in fact, it’s quite the opposite.  Listen to what we are told today in Deuteronomy 7: 6-8:

“For you are a people holy to the Lord your God. The Lord your God has chosen you to be a people for his treasured possession, out of all the peoples who are on the face of the earth. It was not because you were more in number than any other people that the Lord set his love on you and chose you, for you were the fewest of all peoples, but it is because the Lord loves you and is keeping the oath that he swore to your fathers, that the Lord has brought you out with a mighty hand and redeemed you from the house of slavery, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.

Today we are told yes – we belong to God.  But we aren’t God’s because of our worth or our might, but we are God’s so that He can show His power through us.  We are God’s because He wants to use us to show His strength.  In the Old Testament, He didn’t choose Israel because they were the greatest.  He chose them because they were the weakest.  And in their weakness, when they were faithful and did great things, that just shows the power of God.

It’s the same for us today.  You aren’t perfect.  You don’t have it all figured out.  You don’t have it all figured out.

And you know what?

That’s ok.

God still wants you.  He still desires you.  He still desires to be in relationship with you.

Not because of you. Because of Him.

Today, you belong to God.  Live for Him.  Live by His strength.  Live in His power.  Live for His purpose.

And if it goes wrong, remember this.  You aren’t His because you are perfect.  You are His because He is perfect.

Rest in that.

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!

God’s Plan for You

plansEver feel like your life doesn’t have a plan?  Like you are drifting with no purpose or even reason for being around?  I know that we can all feel that way sometimes.  We can be in a place, at a point, where just aren’t sure what it is that we are to do, we can be unsure of even God’s plans for us.

And that feeling can gnaw at us.  It can make us question ourselves, our worth, our ideas, our dreams, everything.  It can make everything seem wrong, it can make everything seem pointless.

It can make us seem like there is no reason for any of this.

When we feel like that, let’s not live just where we feel.  Let’s take those feelings and compare them to what God’s Word says.  Listen to what we are told today in Isaiah 49: 1-3:

Listen to me, O coastlands,
and give attention, you peoples from afar.
The Lord called me from the womb,
from the body of my mother he named my name.
He made my mouth like a sharp sword;
in the shadow of his hand he hid me;
he made me a polished arrow;
in his quiver he hid me away.
And he said to me, “You are my servant,
Israel, in whom I will be glorified.”

God tells Isaiah – before you were born, I knew you.  Before you were born, while you were still in the womb, I call you.  You have a purpose.  You have a cause.  You have a reason.

You do.  Now, the specifics of your life, I don’t know.  I’m not sure of that.  But I know God’s plan for you.  I really do.  I am 100% certain of God’s plan for you.

Want to know?  It’s right there in verse 3.  You are God’s servant.  And He will receive glory through you.  That’s God’s plan for you.  That’s your purpose.  That’s your reason for existing.

To bring glory to God.  Now how does this happen?  By living the way that God would want.

And what does that look like?  Jesus tells us – to love God and love our neighbor with all that we.  That’s the entire point of it all. That’s what you are here for.  That’s what I am here for.  All of us.  To love God and love our neighbor.  That’s your purpose.  That’s God’s plan.

Now the specifics, I don’t know. But you know how you’ll find out?  Live out your purpose.  Love God.  Love your neighbor. And God will show you the specifics.

God has amazing things in store for you today and through your life.  Amazing.  He has a plan for you.  May we be faithful to the plan that He has shown us.  And in doing that, may He shows us the specifics of our life!

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!