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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Strength

Where does your strength come?  That’s one of those questions we’ve got to answer in our life.

Does it come from our own ability?  Our own talent?  Will power?  Knowledge?  Connection?  Goodness?  Morality?

These are all things that we desire and want to possess to varying degrees.  But are they really where are strength comes from?  They aren’t, because these things can and will at times fail us.  We don’t have all the will power.  We will make mistakes.  Sometimes our talent is not the right fit.  Sometimes things can just go wrong.

What then?  What do we do then? Where does our strength come from?  Listen to what Jesus tells us today in John 15: 4-5:

Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.

eclaircissageAbide in me.  The branch can’t bear fruit by itself.  I am the branch.  Apart from me you can do nothing.

Where does our strength come from?  Not from us.  We don’t stand on our own.  We don’t do it on our own.  We don’t just bow up on do it.  It’s God who does it through us.  It’s not our strength, it’s His strength.  It’s not our ability, it’s His ability.  It’s not our own efforts, it’s His efforts.

So, our mission today is not get better or stronger or smarter, our mission today is to be more faithful.  To stick closer to the Good Shepherd.  To love Him more.  To love others more.  To allow Him to work through us.  For us to get out of the way, and let me Him do what He wants to do.

He is the source of our strength, our life, our hope, our all.  Today, may we abide in Him.

And as we walk closer to our Savior, we will see the amazing fruit He wants to produce through us!

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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.

Not Alone in the Fight

We battle every day with temptation, don’t we? Every day, we fight and we fight and we fight.

Sometimes it feels like a fight that we just can’t win, doesn’t it?  Sometimes the fight seems too much. Sometimes it just feels like we will always be enslaved to sin, that temptation will always win, and that we should give up. Why fight? Why struggle? Why worry about it?  Just give in.  You can’t stop it any way.

That, my friends, is simply not true. Yes, we will always struggle with the flesh.  Yes, we will always be at war.  Yes, there is always a fight to fight, and yes, left to our own devices, we will choose wrong.

But, here’s the thing.  We aren’t left to our own devices.  Listen to what Paul says today in Romans 6:5-11:

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.

you-are-not-aloneYou aren’t left to your own devices.  You aren’t left alone in the fight.  You aren’t left alone in the war.

For, your old self was crucified with Christ, and your sin has been nailed to the cross.  Why?  So you (and I) would no longer be enslaved to sin.  You aren’t enslaved to sin anymore.  You aren’t alone against sin today.

Is your temptation big?  Yeah.  Are your struggles big?  Yeah.

But God is bigger. The power of Christ is bigger.  You are not on your own in your fight against the world, the flesh, and the devil.

You have something incredibly big, strong, and powerful on your sin.

God.

So, today, don’t give up.  Keep fighting. And know that’s God at work in the fight with you.

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.

Where Else Could We Go?

Ever been really frustrated? I mean to the point that you don’t know what to do, what to say and just want to give up? Ever been there?

I know that I have. And I’m guessing almost every one of us has at some point in our lives and at some point in our faith. Sometimes we can just be tempted to lay down and not keep going.

Today in John 6:66-69, we see many people walk away from Jesus. Jesus turns to the Twelve and asks them this:

After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.”

long_and_lonely_road_by_safuanstyx-d3b0tcnPeter (bless him, we make fun of him a lot, but he knew what he was doing, most of the time) said – Lord where else could we go? You have the words of life!

It could be tempting to quit. To lay down. To stop. To not keep going. To walk away. To give up. But, there’s not life in that.

No matter how hard the road you are walking, Jesus is with you. He is the life. He is hope. He is peace.

Where else could we go? We can’t find life anywhere else in Him.

So today, don’t give up. No matter what. Don’t quit. No matter what. You can do it. Keep going. Keep walking. Keep praying. Keep pulling. Keep trying.

Don’t quit. No matter what. You can do it. Or better said, He can do it through you. Keep being faithful. Know that greater is He who is in you than He is who is in the world.

You can do it. He life. And you won’t find that life anywhere else. Keep going.

Through Him. You can do it.

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.

Who are You?

Because I have an odd sense of humor, there are certain verses in the Bible that just make me laugh. Today’s reading has one of those passages. Listen to what happens in Acts 19: 15-17 today:

But the evil spirit answered them, “Jesus I know, and Paul I recognize, but who are you?” And the man in whom was the evil spirit leaped on them, mastered all of them and overpowered them, so that they fled out of that house naked and wounded. And this became known to all the residents of Ephesus, both Jews and Greeks. And fear fell upon them all, and the name of the Lord Jesus was extolled.

Christ the Redeemer, Rio de JaneiroToday, some people are casting out demons in their name, and basically, they get overpowered, and somehow wind up naked and wounded. But notice what they are told – Jesus I know, Paul I recognize, but who are you?

What a great reminder for us today about where our strength comes from. Jesus. In fact, look at the end of the text, what happens? What happened was made known, and Jesus’ name was extolled (or praised).

In this we can learn a couple of things. First, our strength today comes from Jesus. Not from ourselves. Our talents. Our name. Our fame. Our power. Any of our “stuff.” Our power and strength come today from Jesus.

From Jesus only. Only from Him.

Today, in times of weakness, doubt, fear, worry, don’t turn to yourself.

Turn to Him.

And, in the end, we see that this event is used for Jesus name to be glorified and praised. We see that in this, honor is brought to Jesus.

Just like, today, in your life, even in your defeats, God can and will use it for your good and His glory. He will use this, and all things, for that purpose today.

So, trust in Him today for you strength. And you will not be empty or disappointed!

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.

Boasting

Paul lived an amazing life. If you can see it, do it, or experience it, he pretty much did.

Both in terms that are pretty awesome – seeing Jesus, preaching across the world, starting churches, writing a good portion of the bible.

And things that were not so good – persecuting the church. Helping in the stoning of Stephen. Various kinds of trials and persecutions.

He has seen a lot. He had done a lot. He had a lot things to be proud of and a lot of things to hang in head in shame over. And today in 2 Corinthians 11:28-30, he talks about what it is that he will boast in. Listen to what he says.

And, apart from other things, there is the daily pressure on me of my anxiety for all the churches. Who is weak, and I am not weak? Who is made to fall, and I am not indignant? If I must boast, I will boast of the things that show my weakness.

boasting_296He says that he will boast not in his strengths and accomplishments, which he had just listed a few verses before, but says that he will boast in the things that make him weak.

Who in the world does that? And if so, why in the world would they do it?

To show that their strength comes not from themselves, but from God. Paul says that he will boast in his weakness, because his weakness shows the power of God at work in his life.

So today, in that area of weakness in your life, that area of hurt and pain, in that area, you can boast. Why? Because that area can show the strength of God within you. Because it’s not you that does it or is faithful in that area. It’s God.

Today, don’t boast in your strength. Boast in your weakness. Because in your weakness, God’s strength is show.

Today, if we boast, may we boast in Him!

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.

Temptation – Two Reminders

Today in our reading, Paul gives us two very helpful reminders about how to deal with temptation in our lives. Temptation is something that every Christian (and everyone, period!) must deal with.

Paul offers two really helpful encouragements today in 1 Corinthians 10:12-13. Listen to what God says today:

Therefore let anyone who thinks that he stands take heed lest he fall. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

Temptation_-_Cat_and_Goldfish_BowlFirst, we see this reminder – be careful. Don’t get arrogant. Don’t get prideful. Paul says that if we think we stand, be careful or you will fall.

What does he mean by that? Shouldn’t we stand?

Yes, we should. But we should remember how we stand. And remember whose strength we stand upon. If we think we stand on our strength or might or power, we will fall. We don’t stand based upon us. We stand based upon Him.

So, in your fight against temptation, be careful in your stand. Remember we stand only in Him. Don’t rely upon your power, or you will fall.

Rely upon His, and you will stand.

Second, Paul reminds us these words, that in every temptation, God will give us an escape. And out. A help.

What is that? Perhaps a Bible verse that you can call to mind in the midst of temptation. Or an accountability partner that will be there for you. Perhaps a song on your heart. Perhaps the ability to get up and walk out.

But, God has promised, He will give us an out. He will give us a way.

Don’t give up. Don’t lose heart. You can do this. You can. Through Him and His power and strength, you can.

Don’t give up. He’s with you. And will be with you. Today and every day, in your struggle and temptation.

And through Him, we will overcome.

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.