Don’t Admit Defeat!

I’ve heard it said before that there are no coincidences with God. I really believe that. Today is one of those small little moments that make me smile.

At Asbury in my Wednesday night Bible Study, we’ve been walking together through Paul’s Letter to the Romans. It’s been a lot of fun; we take our time; we chase rabbits, we laugh, we enjoy it.

Anyway, we finished chapter 6 last night an I spent a lot of time talking about verse 14. And lo and behold, what is our reading for today, out the Asbury bulletin? Romans 6: 12-14. Pretty cool. Listen to what it says:

Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, to make you obey its passions. Do not present your members to sin as instruments for unrighteousness, but present yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life, and your members to God as instruments for righteousness. For sin will have no dominion over you, since you are not under law but under grace.

defeat2For sin will have no dominion over you. That’s a powerful phrase. That’s a powerful thought. Sometimes, most times, we feel as through we are helpless against our sin.

We are going to sin, we are going to fall down, we are going to fail. So why fight it? Why push back? Why try? I mean, it’s going to happen.

That’s what we think. We build in excuses for our failure. We are going to blow it. It’s what we do. We are human. It’s going to happen.

And yes, there is truth to that. We do make mistakes. We blow it. We do fail. But.. . . we don’t need to admit defeat before we start.

I had a friend tell me this, and it’s always stuck with me. Yes, sin is powerful. It is. But, is it more powerful than the blood that was shed upon the cross? Is it more powerful than the resurrection and the empty grave?

No. It’s not. As powerful as your sin is, it’s not more powerful than the power of God. It’s simply not.

You don’t have live under the power of sin anymore. Yes, you will make mistakes. But hear this. Sin doesn’t have to control you anymore. It doesn’t. The power of God is great than the power of sin.

As believers, we can live with no more excuses. We can live in the power of God. Not in the power of sin. We will blow it sure. It happens. But have the power, through the Holy Spirit, to resist.

To fight back. To overcome.

Today, you don’t have to be defeated. You don’t. You can live under the power of God. You can.

Today we can be free.

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!

We ARE One

We ARE one today.  As Christians, as churches, we ARE one.  We are part of the same body. We are brothers and sisters. We are family.  We are.  We aren’t given another choice or option today.   We are one.

Even if we don’t like each other.  Even if we don’t agree with each other.  Even if we have different worship styles.  Or views of communion or baptism or church structure or any of these things.  We are one.

Listen to what it says today in 1 Corinthians 12: 12-14:

For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit. For the body does not consist of one member but of many.

2013-01-27-one-bodyPaul writes – “and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.”  So is it with Christ.  We are one.

Now, it’s ok to have different views.  To say we are one isn’t to say that we always agree with each other.  Or like the same thing.  Or view it the same way.  But it means this. We are family.  We are on the same side.  We are on the same team.  We have the same goal.  We have the same purpose.

We have the same Lord, and are made to drink of the same spirit.

As John Wesley said “If your heart beats with my heart in love and loyalty to Christ, give me your hand.”

We are family.  So, let’s stop fussing with each other.  Let’s support each other as churches and as individuals.  Let’s show the world the love of Christ, by first loving each other.

We are one.  Really.  Lets love in that 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.

God Pulling You Closer

You ever felt like you aren’t doing enough for God?  Felt like you don’t measure up?  Felt like you aren’t good enough?

You know that you should read the bible more.  Or pray more.  Or whatever “more.”  You feel it.  You know it.  You really know that it’s something that God is calling you to, something you should do, something you need to do to be faithful.

But yet, something happens, and you don’t do it.  And, here’s the kicker.  You feel like a failure.  You feel further from God than you’ve ever felt before.  You are sure that He can’t stand you know.  You  just know it.

Listen to what Paul writes today in 1 Corinthians 12:1-3:

Now concerning spiritual gifts, brothers, I do not want you to be uninformed. You know that when you were pagans you were led astray to mute idols, however you were led. Therefore I want you to understand that no one speaking in the Spirit of God ever says “Jesus is accursed!” and no one can say “Jesus is Lord” except in the Holy Spirit.

31-jesus-embracePaul is talking about spiritual gifts in this section and in most of chapter 12.  But I want you to notice what he writes at the very end of this passage.  No one can say Jesus is Lord, except in the Holy Spirit.

That’s what I want to focus on here.  You can’t say that Jesus is Lord, unless lead by the spirit.  So, the very fact that there is anything in you that wants to know Jesus, follow Jesus, serve Jesus, that come from the spirit.

Anything in you today that wants to be faithful, that’s from God. Anything in your that desires to do “more” that’s from the spirit.

So, there’s two ways to look at it.  We can beat ourselves for not being as faithful as we should, or we can choose to realize that anything in us that wants to be faithful, that’s God pulling us to Himself.  That’s God pulling you closer.

Today, chase after God’s movement in your heart. Chase after His spirit.  Follow where He is leading.  If there anything, anything in you at all that wants to know Him, that’s Him calling you to Himself.

Chase after 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.

Weak

There’s so much we want to do for Jesus!  We want to be strong!  We want to be bold!  We want to do things the right way, be faithful, serve, give it all.

We all do.  Sure we do.  We want to go big for Jesus.

And yet, somehow, most times, it doesn’t happen.  It doesn’t happen like we want.  We blow it.  We fall.  We fail.  Life turns out different than we planned.  We don’t get it right.

And we want to give up.  We feel so weak.

In those times, remember what happened in Mark 14: 37-39:

And he came and found them sleeping, and he said to Peter, “Simon, are you asleep? Could you not watch one hour? Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.

asleep-at-the-switchYou aren’t the first person that wanted to do it right for Jesus, but just couldn’t get it right.

You aren’t the first person that was ever weak.  Peter was too.  And he’s kinda a big deal.  He did big things.  He did great things.  He was faithful.  He was who God wanted Him to be.  He was a rock.

He was strong.

But, not every time.  Sometime, he was weak.

And that’s ok. Because when we are weak, God is strong.

He is.  You can trust that.  So, be faithful.  Do your best.  But remember, when are weak, He is strong.

And He’s got this.

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 phone.

Listen

listenOne of the pieces of advice that I offer to people quite often is to trust your gut.  Listen to what you gut tells you.

Why do I say that?  Why do I recommend that?  Well, I believe that all us, within us, have a conscience.  Now we are all broken and make mistakes and are prone to choose wrong. But, I also believe that each of us has within us a conscience that will let us know that somethings are just wrong.

That is part of God’s image within us, that the fall has not corrupted.  That is part of what God has made that is good.  And yes, sin has greatly affected us, part of God’s goodness remains.

And, for those of us that are Christians, we have within us the spirit of God.  God’s spirit lives within us, it calls us, convicts us, challenges us, comforts us, draws us to Himself.

God’s spirit within us will lead us.

Listen to it.  Listen to what God is trying to say.

Listen.

Hear what happened to Paul today in Acts 17: 16-20:

Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there. Some of the Epicurean and Stoic philosophers also conversed with him. And some said, “What does this babbler wish to say?” Others said, “He seems to be a preacher of foreign divinities”—because he was preaching Jesus and the resurrection. And they took him and brought him to the Areopagus, saying, “May we know what this new teaching is that you are presenting? For you bring some strange things to our ears. We wish to know therefore what these things mean.”

Paul listened.  His spirit was provoked.  He was faithful.  And God did great things.

Today, what is God wanting to do in you and through you?  Are you listening?  Do you hear?  Listen for God.

Listen.  And you will hear.

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.

When Words Fail Us

This past weekend at Camp Wesley Pines, all the families were sitting around eating ice cream and the camp director asked me if I liked to hunt.

I told him I have no problem at all with eating deer, or squirrel, or rabbit, or whatever. I just can’t think of a more miserable activity (for me) than hunting.

Because in my limited experience hunting involved a whole lot of sitting still and being quiet. And those are two thing that I do very, very poorly. The idea of being still and quiet for hours on end sounds like pure torture to me.

But, as much as I hate being still and quiet, there are times, times of prayer, times of reflection, times of awe, times of hurt, times of mystery when we just come before God, and we are quiet.

Our words fail us. We don’t know what to say. And you know what? That’s ok. Listen to what Paul says in Romans 8:26-27:

Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And he who searches hearts knows what is the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for the saints according to the will of God.

God knows your needs. God knows your hurts. God knows your pains. God knows your fears.

God knows.

When you are at a loss for words, God knows. When you don’t know what you need, God knows. When you aren’t even sure what to pray for, what do, what to say or how to say it, God knows.

Today, you don’t have to worry about what you have to say to God. Just come before Him. Sit before Him. Come into His presence.

And even be quiet, if you want. You don’t have to say anything at all.

Sometimes the most important prayers have the fewest words said. God knows what we need. May come before Him today with joy, hope, and peace.

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.

Think About It

There’s the old joke, that really is true, when you ask a man what he’s thinking about and he says nothing, he really means it.

He’s not thinking about anything.

Hard to believe, but true! Sometimes we just turn our brains off!

But, in our lives, we all focus on something. We all have our mind on something. Our minds return to something.

What is that thing for you? Where does your mind return? Where does your mind roam? Listen to what Paul says in Romans 8:5-7 today:

For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace. For the mind that is set on the flesh is hostile to God, for it does not submit to God’s law; indeed, it cannot.

Those that live according the flesh set the minds on the flesh. Those that live according to the spirit set them minds on the spirit.

Today, is our mind, are our thoughts on the things of flesh, or thing things our God. Where ever our mind and our thoughts are is where we will be.

Today, what do you think about? Today, where’s your head at?

What thoughts feel your down time? What do you feel your minds with? There’s an old computer saying – garbage in, garbage out. Whatever you program a computer to do, it will do. Even if it’s garbage.

The same is true for our minds. Are we choosing to focus on the things of God or the things of the flesh? What are we putting into our minds today?

What are we thinking about?

As we grow closer to God, may we focus on the things of the spirit, and ma we find life there!

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.

Closer than You Know

Jesus Christ walks with us through every day of life. Every day. There’s not a day that passes that He is not part of. He never leaves our side, in the good and in the bad. He is our closest friend, and closest companion.

Listen to what Paul says today in 2 Thessalonians 2:16-17:

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

In this passage today, Paul says something – that Jesus Christ Himself, and God the Father, they will give us comfort, hope and through grace.

By the way, anytime you hear the word grace, think Holy Spirit. Why? Because we receive grace through the Holy Spirit. So today, we have the comfort and hope of the Father and the Son through the presence of the Spirit.

In other words, today, no matter where you are in your life; God is wrapping you in His arms. He is embracing you. He is pulling you to Himself. He is walking with you, He has never left you, He is with you, He love you.

Today, feel Him embrace you. Support you. Love you. Carry you. When you think it’s tough and troubled, stop. Breathe. And look for God’s presence. It’s there.

Even if you don’t see it at first. God is closer than you know. He is with you. May you know His power and presence today.