As I was reading John 20 this morning, I was reminded of the personal relationship I have with Jesus. I was reminded that each of us have a different relationship (or absence thereof) when it comes to Jesus. It all comes down to how we engage with God’s Word and with our Savior. Remember in John 20:20, we find Jesus appears to His disciples and He shows them His hands and side. He shows them His hands and His side. Later Thomas, or Doubting Thomas as many call him, returned. He missed the grand arrival of Jesus, and though the others noted that He came, Thomas would not believe. He said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand in His side, I will not believe” (v. 25 NIV). Thomas desired a personal encounter.
Jesus appears later, this time Thomas was with the others. The Bible says that even though the doors were locked, Jesus came in. He said, “Peace be with you!” Then He directs Himself to Thomas. He says, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe” (v. 27 NIV). Immediately Thomas responds – “My Lord and my God!” Thomas had a personal encounter with Jesus.
We are often hard on Thomas. Yes, he demanded to have this personal moment with Jesus. He demanded to see Him, to touch the nail marks. He desired to look upon the One Who once bled for Him. He desired to reach his hands out and put his finger where the nails once were. He needed to have this personal encounter. Yes, he doubted. Yes, he needed some evidence. Most of all, He needed to encounter the risen Jesus Christ. He needed it to be personal. Remember, once this happened he immediately exclaimed, “My Lord and my God!” Today, seek out that personal encounter with Jesus. Ask Him to reveal Himself to you in a new way. As you reach out and grasp a hold of Jesus, may you exclaim, “My Lord and my God!”
When the word overflowing comes to mind, I always think of the disasters that occurred over the years. The pots on the stove that overflowed while cooking, creating a huge mess. The clog toilet that overflowed. One of the biggest things that comes to mind is the time the creeks, lakes, and rivers overflowed during the flood and we saw people paddling down the streets, and houses and roads devastated by flood waters. Something that overflows is excessive and unable to be contained.
Now think of overflowing love. This is a love that pours out of us in excess. It is outrageous. It is uncontained. It is something that comes from God. Remember, God the Father loved us so much that He sent His one and only Son (John 3:16). Jesus Christ commanded us to love one another just as He loved us (John 13:34). The Holy Spirit poured out to all believers produces fruit, and love is the first mentioned (Galatians 5:22).
God’s love is described as unfailing, unconditional, and eternal. God’s love is overwhelming, immeasurable, and relentless. The Spirit of God can help you to love deeper and wider. Pray for the compassion, love, for a heart for people. Ask the Spirit to help you to love like God loves. Pray that your love with overflow. May this love be excessive. May this love be outrageous. May this love pour out everywhere you go and point everyone you encounter to the One Who is Love.
“I pray that your love will overflow more and more, and that you will keep on growing in knowledge and understanding.” – Philippians 1:9 [NLT]
When my kids were little, I remember watching over them like crazy. I keep a watchful eye on them still today; however, things have certainly changed over the years. I remember when they were babies. I would stare at them as they slept. When they started to climb on things, I was worried they would hurt themselves so I would stand ready to catch them. I removed the coffee table from our living space to keep their heads safe due to a mishap. I had the oh so lovely outlet protectors everywhere. Most parents understand what it means to watch over their little ones.
Now consider how the Lord watches over you. He does! And unlike human parents who are limited by place and time (eventually we leave the room or fall asleep) God is always watching. He is always standing beside you as “your protective shade.” And unlike human parents who are limited in ways to help, we can trust that God is always in control.
Not only does He watch over you, but “the LORD keeps you from all harm and watches over your life” (Psalm 121:7 NLT). He not only stands beside you as your protective shade but He keeps you from harm. This verse says that He “watches over your life.” This doesn’t mean that you won’t go through pain or be harmed in some way. This means He keeps your soul. Remember, nothing can snatch you from His hand (John 10:28). Today, may you stand firm and live courageous, trusting that you are watched over, you are loved, and nothing will snatch you from your Father. You are never out of His reach. You are never out of His sight. You are watched over.
“The LORD himself watches over you! The LORD stands beside you as your protective shade.” – Psalm 121:5 [NLT]
We live in a world full of choices. Sometimes I stand before a menu or I look to make a purchase of coffee or gum, and I wonder what to decide. We have so many choices, so many options. But when we look at life, there is no gray area. We have life and death. We have a blessing and a curse. God’s Word is very clear. You have the choice. He paved the way.
Don’t complicate God’s Word. The options are clear. You can choose life or death, heaven or hell, a blessing or curse. The world tells you that God sends people to hell; that is a lie. People choose hell. God’s Word is very clear. Anyone who believes in Jesus Christ is saved (Romans 10:13). Anyone who chooses not to believe in Jesus Christ will be condemned.
Today, look at the big choice you have made. Have you made the choice of life or death, prosperity or disaster? Have you made the choice between a blessing and a curse? Do not think because you are good, that you are going to heaven. Only those who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ will find everlasting life. Know this truth. Share this truth. Don’t love your family and friends to hell. Tell them that there is only one way to the Father, and His Name is JESUS (John 14:6).
“Look, today I am giving you the choice between a blessing and a curse!” – Deuteronomy 11:26 [NLT]
“Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster. For I command you this day to love the LORD your God and to keep his commands, decrees, and regulations by walking in his ways. If you do this, you will live and multiply, and the LORD your God will bless you and the land you are about to enter and occupy. But if your heart turns away and you refuse to listen, and if you are drawn away to serve and worship other gods, then I warn you now that you will certainly be destroyed. You will not live a long, good life in the land you are crossing the Jordan to occupy. Today I have given you the choice between life and death, between blessings and curses. Now I call on heaven and earth to witness the choice you make. Oh, that you would choose life, so that you and your descendants might live!” – Deuteronomy 30:15-19 [NLT]
Imagine if you had this precious gem that was worth more than anything else in the entire world. Imagine if you found something that’s more amazing than anything you have ever encountered. Imagine if you discovered something more powerful than anything you have seen before. Now consider the Truth. Consider the Gospel, the Good News of Jesus Christ. This is the precious gem. This is the “something that’s more amazing.” This is the “more powerful than anything you have seen” and so much more!
Jesus said that He is the way, the truth, and the life (John 14:6). We understand that all truth is God’s truth. As believers in Jesus Christ, we believe that the Gospel is true. Because we believe in Jesus, we are called children of God. We are sons and daughters of the King. Sadly, it is easy to trade the truth about God for a lie. It has happened in the past and it will continue to happen. Paul wrote about people who did just that, and they “served the things God created” instead of serving God.
Be careful not to do the same. Keep your eyes focused on the truth. To be able to detect the lies of the world, it is crucial that you know the Word of God. To know His Word, you must spend time chewing on it. Read it. Remember it. Keep it with you. Study it. Meditate upon it. The more you embrace His Word, the less likely you will trade the truth for a lie.
“They traded the truth about God for a lie. So they worshiped and served the things God created instead of the Creator Himself, Who is worthy of eternal praise! Amen.” – Romans 1:25 [NLT]