Solving Mysteries

article-new_ehow_images_a07_jt_sj_solve-mystery-games-kids-800x8002In life, there are a lot of mysteries.  There are always things that we don’t know, that we don’t understand, that are unsure of.  There are always mysteries.

What will happen in the future?  What will happen to our kids, our grandkids?  What will happen today?  What decision should we make?  What door should we go through?

Where do we find our answer?  In Daniel, the king quite often had dreams, had things he needed/wanted to know an answer too.  And he looked to the stars and the magicians of his day for answers. When they couldn’t answer he turned to Daniel.  Listen to what Daniel says today in Daniel 2: 26-28:

The king declared to Daniel, whose name was Belteshazzar, “Are you able to make known to me the dream that I have seen and its interpretation?” Daniel answered the king and said, “No wise men, enchanters, magicians, or astrologers can show to the king the mystery that the king has asked, but there is a God in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days.

The answers for the uncertain in our lives don’t come from this world, but they come through God.  Now, God will often speak through other people, like He did through Daniel in this text, but Daniel is sure to say – the answer to these mysteries, they don’t come from any human, but they come only through God.  How do we know the answers?  How do we solve the mysteries?

God will speak to us and reveal these things to us when we seek Him in His Word.  Reading Holy Scripture consistently is one of the ways that God will reveal the plans He has for us.  So many answers will be revealed when we take time to listen through His Word.

God will speak to us through prayer.  As we seek His face through our time with Him, God will show His face to us and allow to know only know which way to go, but better yet, to know Him.

God will speak to us through worship.  As we gather together with other believers, through worship and the Word, God speaks to our souls and opens our eyes.

God will speak to us through His people. God will often place someone in our path that will have the word that we need to hear. The question is, will we be watching and listening for that word?

And know this, He will reveal the answers that you need, when you need to know them.  So, if you don’t have the answer you seek yet, don’t give up.  It will come.  It will.  Because God is faithful and true.  And all knowledge comes from 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, and you thought our app, you can now watch our worship services from Asbury too!

When We Don’t Know What to Do

Sometimes we don’t know what to do. We don’t know what decision to make. We don’t know what road we should choose.  We don’t know what door we should open.

Sometimes we just don’t know what we should do. We are at a loss. We just don’t know.

We’ve all been there. We’ve all had that happen. We all can be unsure.

What do we do?  Listen to what it says in James 1:5-6 when we are unsure:

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.

two_pathsJames tell us this morning that when we are unsure and don’t know what to do, what we should do is this.  Ask God for wisdom.  Ask Him for help. Ask Him and allow Him to lead us to what we should do.  I think that this verse shows us that there are two main things that we should in these times of indecision and uncertainty.

First, ask God for wisdom.  Ask Him for help.  Stop trying to figure it out on your own. Stop trying to think that you’ve got all the answers and have it all figured out.  Ask God for help.  Really.  I know it’s simple. But do it.  Stop.  And seek His face.

Many of us do that pretty well. The second can be a little bit harder.

Second, have the confidence of belief that God is going to give you that wisdom. Believe it. Claim it.  Know it.

Have faith. Even when it’s hard, challenging, or doubtful.  Believe.  Trust.  Hold fast.  He is going to give you wisdom.  He is.  He promised.  He has assured us in His word that He will.  Trust in it.

Trust in Him.


So, today, if you are in a situation where you don’t know what to do, ask God for wisdom. And believe, truly believe, that He will give it. And hold fast, until He leads you in the way that you should go.

He will not fail 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.

Fear of the Lord

One of the commands and encouragements of scripture can be hard to understand sometimes. Lots of the things that we are supposed to do make sense. Love. Forgive. Care. Support. Pray.

These things make sense to us as first.

But, listen to what is put forth in Psalm 128:1-4:

Blessed is everyone who fears the Lord, who walks in his ways! You shall eat the fruit of the labor of your hands; you shall be blessed, and it shall be well with you. Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table. Behold, thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.

fear of the lordBlessed is everyone who fears the Lord. Thus shall the man be blessed who fears the Lord.

Fear the Lord. That’s a command that we hear over and over again the Bible. It’s one that we know, that we’ve been told about, that we know that we should do.

But, what it is? What does it mean to fear the Lord?

The way that I’ve understood it best is to have a holy reverence for God. To understand, to know, that He is God. He is different. He is other. He is not a man. He is not human.

He is God.

And we are not.

And we will never fully understand or know Him totally this side of Glory. There is a mystery to Him.

To fear the Lord is understand. He is the God of the Ages. The Ancient of Days. The Sovereign Lord of Heaven. The Creator of all that is, both Seen and Unseen. He is the Author of Life. The Rock of Age.

He is God.

And knowing that fact is where happiness and life starts. Because knowing that fact reminds us that we are in His hands, we are His, and He has this.

In many ways, to fear the Lord is a lot like trusting the Lord. Because when we understand who He is, in His glory and in His honor, we can trust Him.

So, today, you don’t have to be afraid of God. He loves you. But, we do need to fear Him. Respect Him. Honor Him.

Trust Him.

And in that, we find 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.

The Proof is in the Pudding

The proof is in the pudding. I have no idea what that phrase means. But I like it.

And I think I know what it means, just not where it came from.

In life, and in faith, the proof is in the pudding. What Jesus wants for us and from us is not just for us to talk about our faith, but for us to live out our faith each day of our lives.

Our faith must move from something that is in our mind or in our heart to something that in our hands and in our feet. Our faith must be an active thing. A thing that calls us. Pushes us. Changes us.

To love, serve, and forgive just as Jesus would.

Listen to what it says today in James 3:13-14:

Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.

We’ve talked a lot this week about wisdom. Today we see this encouragement (i.e. calling and command) – show it. Don’t just talk about wisdom.

Live it out.

Let your wisdom be reflected in your works. In your words. In your conduct. In your meekness.

But, if we have lives and hearts full of jealously. Or selfish ambition, be careful. Don’t boast about our wisdom.

Don’t claim to be more than we are. Be humble. Be meek. Be wise.

Depend upon Him. Live for Him. Serve for Him. Love for Him.

Today, in our lives, the proof is in the pudding. Let’s not just talk about being faithful or being wise.

Let’s do it. Let’s live it. Let’s be 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.

What Would You Ask For?

Today in a passage we are reading, we see the Lord tell Solomon, whatever you ask for you, you will get.

Wow, that’s something to think about, huh?

What would you ask for? If you got the chance to ask for something or for one thing, what would you ask for? What would it be?

Well of course, I know the first thing we’d all ask for would be for an Ole Miss national title. Duh, that’s a given, right? 🙂

What next. What after that? Something personal? Something for others? What would it be?

Listen to what Solomon does today in 1 Kings 3:9-12:

Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?” It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.

He asks for wisdom. He asks for the ability to see things as God would have him to see. That’s, after all, what wisdom is. Seeing thing through God’s eyes. Seeing things as God would have us to see.

So, today, what would you wish for? What would you desire? What would you long to have?

Is it wisdom? Is it that ability to see, to know, to understand as God would have us to?

If so, then today, today is your day. For the Word tells us in James 1:5 – If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.

Today, you can have it. You can see as God would have you to see. You can know as God would have you to know. You can understand as God would have you to understand.

You can have wisdom. Now, will you know all things? No, you want. But God will give us wisdom. We can discern His will. His way. His plan.

Today, you can. Ask. Pray. Listen.

What is He saying to you right now.

In this instant, what is God saying to you. Listen.

May we have the grace to ask. To listen. And to obey.

Today, if we ask for wisdom, God will give. Today, may we follow in God’s plan for us. And may we be salt and light with all we are!

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.

Strength and Wisdom

Strength is not always strength.

The ones that are strong, they are not always the strong ones.

The ones that should be wise, they are not always the wise one.

Strength and Wisdom, they don’t always come from the ones that it looks like they should.

They can, and will, come from very surprising places.

Listen to the text read today from Ecclesiastes 9:15-17

But there was found in it a poor, wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city. Yet no one remembered that poor man. But I say that wisdom is better than might, though the poor man’s wisdom is despised and his words are not heard. The words of the wise heard in quiet are better than the shouting of a ruler among fools.

In this, the hero of the passage is not the invading king or army, but it is a poor wise man, who in his wisdom saved the town.

I think today, this passage can share a couple of things with us. First, don’t be so sure that you know today how and where God will speak to you. In this passage, who would long to hear from a poor man. What wisdom could he have?

In turn, this man as able to impart the wisdom that saved the town.

Today, listen to everyone. Don’t over look anyone. Don’t think that anyone is unimportant.

Because you never know who God may choose to speak to you through.

Second, today, you may not feel like you have much to contribute or much to say. You may feel like you aren’t strong or wise.

And that’s the very best place to be to find strength and wisdom. Strength and wisdom don’t come from ourselves, but come from God.

Today, you can do it. You can be strong and wise. You can speak in amazing ways. You can do amazing things.

Today, you can do it. No through your own power and might. But through God’s.

Today, look for God to speak to you in ways you’d never expect. And know that today, if you will let Him, He will use you in ways you’d never expect!

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.

Wise in Our Own Eyes?

One of my Small Groups has been walking together through the book of Proverbs. And I’ve been thinking a lot about some of the advice offered in this wonderful book.  Proverbs is filled with simple wisdom that, while it might not make your life perfect, will really help to steer your life in a healthy manner.

This past week, we were reading through Proverbs 3 and verses 3-7 have really resonated with me all week. Listen to what they say:

Trust in the Lord with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths.
Be not wise in your own eyes;
fear the Lord, and turn away from evil.

So much good stuff here. We could spend a long time looking at this. But to me, it is some thing in the beginning and in the end that have stuck with me.

Trust in Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.  And then in verse 7, be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord and turn from evil.

Our wisdom, our ability to make wise choices, our very strength, it doesn’t come from ourselves. It doesn’t come from our own smarts, our own mind, our own power, our own “anything.”

Be not wise in your own eyes – turn to God.

Today, that thing you are dealing with. That choice you are trying to make. That struggle you are having, that thing that is robbing your sleep – have you given it to God?

Have you really sought His wisdom?  Have you really given it to Him?

Or, have you made the mistake that I make a lot – coming up with a plan and then asking God to bless that plan.  Instead of listening first to His voice.

Today, have you taken time to listen?  Have you taken time to really seek His will and His voice?  Have you humbled yourself to realize that you (nor I) don’t have all the answers? Only He has the answers.

And we can’t hear that truth until we humble ourselves and turn to Him.

Today, lean not on your own understanding. Turn to Him. Listen to Him. Seek Him. Find His knowledge, strength and wisdom.

Be not wise in your own eyes.  And in His wisdom and truth, we will find true life.

Two Roads

I had a teacher in high school that loved poetry. So, part of what he did for (perhaps to) us was that he made us memorize poems. Some of this memorization was standard class stuff. Others were for extra credit or to replace a bad grade.

Fail a test?  Memorize a poem.

Need more points?  Memorize a poem.

In his class, sometimes it seems like the answer to almost every question was memorize a poem.

And believe it or not, I’m thankful.  Almost 20 years later I can remember bits and pieces of almost every poem that he had us memorize, and I’ve found as a preacher, that can come in handy a lot of days!

When I read the passage that I read this morning from Proverbs 3, I always think of the poem by Robert Frost – The Road Not Taken.  You know it, “Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and sorry I could not travel both.”  In life, there are always choices, there are at least two road to choose between, sometimes there are even more.

Listen to the two roads before us this morning, as laid out by Proverbs 3: 5-7

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.
Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom.

Today, you have a choice. Will you choose your own road, or will you choose God’s road?

Will you choose your own wisdom, or will you choose God’s?

Will you choose your own route or will you let God guide you down the steps that you need to be going down?

There are two choices before each of us today. Our way or God’s way.  Our wisdom or God’s wisdom. Our leading or God’s leading.

Today, we have a choice. Who’s way will we follow? Who’s wisdom will we trust?  Who’s direction will we place our trust in?

If we trust in ours alone, we will fool ourselves into thinking we are heading down the right path.  If we trust in God’s, He will direct our steps.

Today, what path are we walking down? Today, who are we trusting?

Useful Words

Paul always does something interesting at the end of his letters.  He spends a lot of time in his letters discussing theology or questions that the churches have asked him about.

He combats heresy or deals with problems or sometimes even encourages.

But at the end of his letters, quite often, he ends with useful words.

Just practical words of wisdom that can be applied to one’s life. They aren’t supper complicated. The don’t deal with great mysteries. They are simply words that can apply to our lives right now, and be of great worth to how we live.

Listen to what Paul writes at the end of 1 Thessalonians:

12 But we appeal to you, brothers and sisters, to respect those who labor among you, and have charge of you in the Lord and admonish you; 13 esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves. 14 And we urge you, beloved, to admonish the idlers, encourage the faint hearted, help the weak, be patient with all of them. 15 See that none of you repays evil for evil, but always seek to do good to one another and to all.

Just good, simple stuff that will make our lives better as well as the lives of those all around us.

Today, Paul tells us to respect one another, esteem those that work among us.  Be peaceful. Don’t be lazy (a personal favorite of mine!). Encourage the faint and the weak.

And, be patient with others.  Perhaps the hardest.

Paul encourages to help make the world a better place, help folks become the best they can.  Encourage when we need, speak when we need, care when we need.

But, in all, be patient.

Be aware of your weakness and your sin, and when you are aware of your weakness and your sin, you will be more loving towards others in their weakness and sin.

These words are not complicated. They are just sometimes hard to do.

But, in living a life as put forth by Paul today, I guarantee we will find more life than we will find anywhere else.

Today, may we put these useful words to practice.