30 Days With Wesley – Day 26: In Comparison…

jesus-christ-love(Optional Reading: Romans 8:18-21)

When I read the optional reading for today, I almost laughed out loud. Not because it is a funny verse, but because of the instant connect to my day. Paul writes in Romans, “I believe that the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us.” I am currently writing this at six in the morning. Which, I know this doesn’t sound very early, but  I have been up since 3:45 AM with a pain in my neck that I can’t seem to get to go away. This pain has been getting worse and worse with each day. I don’t want to sound like I am complaining, but rather I want you to understand the context to which I read the passage today.

I understand that Paul most-likely did not mean the kink in my neck when writing about our sufferings. Rather he was talking about the persecution Christians were facing for Christ. Sometimes, we get caught up in the simple sufferings of our lives. In comparison, it is nothing compared to what Christ endured for you and me, on the cross. We must always look at the sufferings we face in life and say, “How does this look in comparison to Christ?” The answer will always be, “nothing.”

In light of this passage, I want to acknowledge all my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ who are suffering persecution right now. I want you to know that Christians around the world and myself are praying for you. As you face the threats of persecution, remember that Christ makes you more than a conquerer and that, “…the present suffering is nothing compared to the coming glory that is going to be revealed to us.”

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 25: The Logic Of God

15_John_Wesley_108(Optional Reading: Deuteronomy 4:39-40)

I don’t know about you, but I believe in a God that is logical. Throughout the Bible, God has set up different guidelines and put forward words of wisdom that can logically help us within our day to day lives. Deuteronomy 4:39-40 is one of the passages that we see the logic of God coming through.

Before we get to far into this, it should be said, we must always understand the context of the scripture we are reading. As my old college professor would say, “You must always remember that you are reading someone else’s mail.” We must acknowledged that this was written to ancient Israel and not written to modern day America (or wherever you are reading this from). As we understand this truth, we open ourselves us to truly discover what God might have for us in the passage.

Today’s optional reading shows us two things that we shouldn’t miss. First, the author declares the God is the only God. This point doesn’t require much explanation. This is something God declares from the very beginning of the Bible. It is something that requires faith. We cannot 100% prove or disprove God’s existence. As a Christian, we believe as Deuteronomy states that God is the only God.

The second thing our passage shows us the logic of God. It states:

Keep the Lord’s regulations and his commandments. I’m commanding them to you today for your well-being and for the well-being of your children after you, so that you may extend your time on the fertile land that the Lord your God is giving you forever.

As I stated before, we are reading someone else’s mail. As Christian’s we don’t believe that all of God’s Old Testament laws from the torah still apply to us today. The commands of God have taken on the commands of Jesus. When Jesus’ was asked what the most important law of Gd was, he stated,

“‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your being, and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: You must love your neighbor as you love yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39)

Here is where the logic of God begins to come together. When we begin to follow the command of God, we begin to live a life that is loving and respectful to everyone. As we live a life of love and respect we begin to establish a legacy of Christ-like living that impacts the world around us. Further, it begins to establish a life that sets an example for the generations after us. This is the logic of God. God’s commands impact us, which impact the world, which impact the future generations.

May we go today and live and continue the logic of God in your community.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 24: Room For The Holy Spirit

bigstock-Water-wave-12356810(Optional Reading: Isaiah 55:1-3)

For today’s post from 30 Day With Wesley, I simply want to let God’s word speak to you. This is the beautiful thing about the Holy Spirit. Each one of us could read the same passage and each get something different from it. I want to give space for the Holy Spirit to speak to you today out of today’s optional reading. I pray you hear and respond to what God might want to share with you today.

Isaiah 55:1-3:

All of you who are thirsty, come to the water!
Whoever has no money, come, buy food and eat!
Without money, at no cost, buy wine and milk!

Why spend money for what isn’t food,
and your earnings for what doesn’t satisfy?
Listen carefully to me and eat what is good;
enjoy the richest of feasts.

Listen and come to me;
listen, and you will live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful loyalty to David.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 23: Are You A Runner?

Runner_main(Optional Reading: Hebrews 12:1-12)

I am going to be honest with you for a second. I am not a runner. I want to be a runner. I want to be someone who wakes up and goes for a half hour runs to start their day. This desire stems out of a few things. First, I want to be healthy and lose a few pounds. Second, I want to fight against the future heart problems I will face, given my family’s heart history. The author of Hebrews is asking us, “Are you a runner?” But when we look at Hebrews chapter 12, we find he isn’t asking about our exercise habits.

In Hebrew’s 12, the author is painting a picture of the Christian journey as a race. He is calling all who follow Jesus to set aside all baggage and run. The key is the call to run. He is not calling us to swiftly walk or go at your own pace. Running requires focus, drive and passion. When you run, you have to push beyond pain and the urges to slow down.

The author of Hebrews is urging us to not let things in this life distract us from the goal of living after Jesus. We must lay everything aside and run with focus, drive and passion after Christ. The chapter goes on to say how Christ ran the race and endured to the end. So, we must also endure and when we feel like we can’t go on or take anymore the author writes, “In your struggle against sin, you haven’t resisted yet to the point of shedding blood… Bear hardship for the sake of discipline.

So, when you feel like you can’t take anymore and possibly you feel this race isn’t worth running, remember that we have not run to the point of shedding blood like Jesus did for us. I’m going to be honest with you for a second. I am a proud runner for Christ. Would you like to run with me?

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 22: Getting Straight To The Point

get-to-the-point(Optional Reading: 2 Timothy 2:8, 11-13)

Have you ever had someone tell you something but they aren’t direct about what they are trying to say? They skirt the issue and never really face it head on. Perhaps you have heard someone tell a story, but they take forever to tell it. This is how I am. I tell long stories at times, full of details, and it drives my wife crazy. She’ll look at me and say “Get to the point already!”

Paul writes to Timothy in 2 Timothy and he wastes no time getting straight to the point. “This saying is reliable:

‘If we have died together,

we will also live together.

If we endure, we will also rule together.

If we deny him, he will also deny us.

If we are disloyal, he stays faithful’

because he can’t be anything else than what he is.” (CEB)

In this passage, Paul gets straight to the point. So much so that I barely need to elaborate on what he is saying.

Paul lays out the simple cause and affect of each choice we make. The key element to remember is that Jesus will remain faithful to us no matter what happens because that is who he is. Wherever you are today, whatever you are facing, know that Jesus is always seeking after you and longs to be with you. You might have given up on Jesus, but he will never give up on you. Seek after him and you will find him.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 21: Looking Out For Who Matters

one_finger(Optional Reading: Philippians 2:2-4)

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’m just looking out for number one”? This phrase is all based on a mentality of keeping yourself the focus and benefactor of your life. If something is worth doing it better be beneficial to you.

Paul writes in Philippians 2:2-4:

“…complete my joy by thinking the same way, having the same love, being united, and agreeing with each other. Don’t do anything for selfish purposes, but with humility think of others as better than yourselves. Instead of each person watching out for their own good, watch out for what is better for others.”

What is your focus in life? Are you looking out for number one or are you possibly looking out for number two? Paul calls us to unite in love and care for others. This is also shown to us through the life of Jesus. Jesus gave up everything, even to the point of his own life, for the sake of others. If Jesus was just looking out for number one, where would we be today?

I think we will also discover that when we begin to look out for who matters and live within this selfless mindset of Christ, number one will be taken care of. We will live a life of fulfillment and great joy. Who are you looking out for? Are you looking out for number one or for who matters?

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 20: Weakness Is Our True Strength

Weakness-Strength1(Optional Reading: 2 Corinthians 12:7-10)

I can admit that I am not in the best shape. I am always trying to think of ways to improve my health and build strength in my life. Just yesterday, I got sucked into a youtube ad that was telling me about how I can build muscle and burn of fat quickly and easy. I sat there for who knows how long watching this guy explain how his awesome workout plan could change my life. For a few simple payments.

Many people, including myself, are in this constant search for true strength. We try different pills, workouts, diets, machines, etc to transform our lives. There never seems to be a perfect answer.

The same is true in our minds, we are always seeking for the next big truth, the next big ah-ha moment that will bring our mind and life to the next level. Paul writes about this in 2 Corinthians 7. He even explains the secret to true strength. The truth is our weakness is our greatest strength. Paul writes of a thorn in his side. He longs for God to take it from him, but he continues to have it so that he doesn’t become conceited.

Then Paul points out the amazing truth about our weaknesses. It is in our weaknesses that God begins to make us strong. It is when we acknowledge the fact that we cannot do this Christian life without God’s grace and empowerment. I have found that within the Christian life success follows humility. If we are prideful about something, it usually comes back to bite us.  Thought when we honestly admit our weakness in an area, God blesses this weakness and uses us in spite of that weakness.

If you want true strength, you must first admit that you are weak.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.

30 Days With Wesley – Day 19: The Path To Forgiveness

Green Path(Optional Reading: 1 Peter 4:8-11)

“Above all, show sincere love to each other, because love brings about the forgiveness of many sins.” 1 Peter 4:8

In life, we occasionally create these things call “unforgivables.” These are the things that we whisper under our breathe aloud, saying things like: “If he does that to me… I’ll never forgive him.” or “If she even says that to him one more time… I’ll never forgive her.” These are our unforgivables. Many of our unforgivables can be very serious things that have lead to broken relationships and broken families. Possibly even the loss of a loved one.

Jesus calls us to a life of forgiveness. Jesus forgave us of a great debt, therefore we are called to turn and forgive those who have hurt us. I don’t want to make it seem like I am saying that forgiveness is easy. I understand that people are facing individuals who have caused pain and loss on a huge level. Forgiveness might not come quickly to those situations, but I do believe that Jesus desires for us to move towards forgiveness. One step at a time.

Peter lays out the very first steps to beginning on the path of forgiveness in 1 Peter 4. It all comes down to love. If we can begin to show sincere love to those who have wronged us, we are taking a step towards forgiveness. It is all about baby steps. This sincere love can take on many forms. It might mean you pray for the person who hurt you. It might mean you talk to him. Or it might just mean you choose not to wish harm upon her that day.

God, may we live with sincere love for those who need forgiveness in our lives. May we be Christ to them today. May we daily take another step on the path to forgiveness.

Our Father in heaven,

hallowed be your name,

your kingdom come,

your will be done,

on earth as in heaven.

Give us today our daily bread.

Forgive us our sins

as we forgive those

who sin against us.

Save us from the time of trial,

and deliver us from evil.

For the kingdom, the power,

and the glory are yours,

now and forever.

Amen.