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.

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30 Days with Wesley – Day 15: Grave Opener

grave(Optional Reading: Ezekiel 37:12-14)

One the biggest and toughest questions to answer is: “Why do bad things happen?” Today, we see pain and destruction all over the place. We see broken families, countries at war, people being taken advantage of and hurt. Why?

Sadly, I am not able to answer that question. Some say that God puts hard times in our lives to help shape us into who He wants us to be. Others would argue that a loving God would not choose to allow terrible and evil things to happen to someone. Which is the right answer? It is not perfectly clear. 

I believe that evil in this world is a result of the cause and effect nature of our God given free will. Every choice we make has an affect on others around us. We never make decisions in a vacuum.

Paul writes in Romans 8:28, “We know that God works all things together for good for the ones who love God, for those who are called according to his purpose.” I can say with confidence, wherever you are and whatever you are going through, God can use it to bring good about in your life.

I don’t want to say this is the cure all and just glaze over every evil and hard thing that someone might be facing and say… Suck it up… God will turn it to good. Just because God is going to work for the good doesn’t always make enduring the evil easy. but may this truth possibly bring a sliver a hope to you if you need it today.

Ezekiel writes of the God who opened the philosophical graves of Israel and restore them to their fruitful land. Perhaps you are in a situation today where you feel emotionally dead. May you know that God is seeking to open up the grave of your heart and restore you to your fruitful self. Know that, God is working to bring about good from your situation.

Before, I finish this post with the Lord’s prayer, it should be said that I believe God also works through other people who can help individuals in different situations. If you are someone reading this and you are in the midst of a situation that you need help (bullying, abuse, harassment, etc) or any personal/emotional struggles (addictions, depression, etc), please seek professional help and support. You do not need to face these struggles alone.

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 14: Loving Revenge

30 Days with Wesley(Optional Reading: Romans 12:13-21)

There is a law of the land that we all live by. There are many different elements that make up this law. Thing like; don’t spit into the wind, don’t drink coffee right after drinking orange juice (I learn that one awhile ago. Don’t try it), and toilet paper should always roll over not under. Ok, those might not be huge laws but there is one law of the land that many people today live by: An eye for an eye.

Sometimes, we live in an early elementary age way of thinking. If someone was a jerk to me, I’m going to be a jerk to them. The difference is, we become more malicious as adults. We hold grudges, we talk behind someone’s back or even belittle someone’s value as an individual. If you are wanting to be someone who is follows the teachings of Jesus, we have to begin to look at our enemies in a different way.

Paul writes in Romans, “If possibly, to the best of your ability, live at peace with all people. Don’t try to get revenge for yourselves… Don’t be defeated by evil, but defeat evil with good.” (Romans 12:18-19, 21)

Jesus calls people to a life of loving revenge. These two word might not seem like they should go together, but they can. Paul paints a beautiful picture of loving revenge. “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him a drink.” (Romans 12:20).

When someone mistreats us, Jesus calls us to seek out an act of loving revenge. May we love those who hate us. May we pray for those who persecute us. May we not be defeated by evil but defeat evil with good. 

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 12: What Hurts You Should Be Wrong To Me

stumbling-block(Optional Reading: Romans 14:1-21)

Freedom in Jesus is not to be taken lightly or treated with disrespect. Paul writes about freedom in chapter 14 of Romans. Specifically, Paul is writing about the freedom to eat anything. Christians were not limited to eating only vegetables or only certain meats. Jesus came and fulfilled the law of Moses and, in a way, freed Christians from a strict diet dictating law. This freedom must not be taken lightly though.

Paul continued in chapter 14 to lay out a law of love. This love is a love from Christ. Verse 7 and 8 states, “We don’t live for ourselves and we don’t die for ourselves. If we live, we live for the Lord, and if we die, we die for the Lord” (CEB). Our lives are God’s and we need to be living a life of love to those around us, as Jesus did.

This is where freedom comes into play. Paul says not to fight over what food is right or wrong for someone to eat. Rather love someone by not causing conflict or creating stumbling blocks for them. Paul writes, 

So stop judging each other. Instead, this is what you should decide: never put a stumbling block or obstacle in the way of your brother or sister… If your brother or sister is upset by your food, you are no longer walking in love. Don’t let your food destroy someone for whom Christ died. And don’t let something you consider to be good be criticized as wrong. God’s kingdom isn’t about eating food and drinking but about righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit.” (vs 13, 15-17 CEB)

Simply put, if it hurts someone, it should be wrong for us. If you know that your brother or sister in Jesus struggles with drinking alcohol and is trying to quick, we should not let our freedom in Jesus say… “Sorry but I am going to drink anyway.” When we respond this way, Paul says we are no longer living in love. It can be anything. If you friend is trying to give up smoking… sugar… video games… swearing… etc, you should lift them up and not create ways for them to stumble. 

As Jesus followers, we must live a life of love that is willing to sacrifice our freedom for the sake of others growing closer to Jesus. When we make this sacrifice, we find that we are truly becoming Christ-like in our love. 

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 11: A Miracle Filled Life

30 Days with Wesley(Optional Reading: Romans 8:35-39)

There is a questions that many people ask today. “Does God still do miracles?” I am not bringing this question up to have a debate breakout out in my comment section. I bring up this question because I believe it is an important question to ask ourselves. In today’s reading, I read Psalm 77:13-15 and in those verses it states, 

“You are the God who performs miracles;

you display your power among the people”

I don’t know what side of the fence you are on in response to the miracle question. You might argue that God miraculously heals people today. I have actually witnessed God’s healing power within my own family. You might also be reading this and think, I have never seen God heal anyone and you might think God doesn’t do miracles anymore.

When we ask the question “Does God still do miracles?” we need to also realize that each and every person who has committed their lives to following Jesus is a miracle. The reading today from Romans explains that nothing can separate us from the love of God. Each person that is a follower of Jesus is someone who was lost in darkness and came into God’s redeeming light. We were lost and Jesus found us with his unstoppable love. One of the greatest miracles Jesus has done is to take a life that was broken and make it whole.

If you feel like you have never seen God perform a miracle, perhaps there is one in front of you every time you look in the mirror.

God may we live in response to the miracle of your redeeming love. May our lives point others to you. Continue to transform us into the children of light you call us to be.

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.