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!”
My son is quite the tea tosser. What is a tea tosser? One who tosses tea! I am a coffee drinker, but even more so, I am a bigger tea drinker. One of my mugs is black so it is not as easy to distinguish if the mug is completely empty when the beverage is closer to the bottom of the mug. When my son had seen my mug sitting on the counter top and it appeared to be empty, he thought he would be funny. He grabbed the mug and attempted to juggle it around. Needless to say, he dumped my tea all over the place. We had a good laugh. He truly thought the mug was empty. The joke was on him, as was the tea!
Many times, things are not like they appear. We look at the outside of a person, but we do not see the heart. We see outward actions, but we do not know the inward motives. The Lord looks at our heart. No matter how hard we try to disguise ourselves, how much we pretend to be something we are not, God sees. He knows how much tea is in the mug, and He knows how pure and how deceitful is the condition of your heart.
The Bible tells us that the heart is the most deceitful (Jeremiah 17:9). It is clear our hearts are in need of some deep cleansing. Thank God, He has the perfect cleaner to get that accomplished (Titus 3:5). Our heart is purified by faith and cleansed by the Spirit (Acts 15:9). Ask the Lord today, “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10 NIV).
If you want to grow strong, you have to put forth effort. Getting stronger muscles requires lifting weights and strength training. You do not one day just wake up and say, “Be strong.” When it comes to life with Jesus, our faith walk requires a work out too.
“Just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him” (Colossians 2:6 NIV). As you continue to follow Jesus, walking in faith even when you cannot see ahead, your roots will grow deep. Your life will start being built on Him. “Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.”
Today, do a strength check. Have you been working out your faith muscles or are you resting in the comfort zone? Are you walking with Jesus or have you been idling? If someone would check, would your roots be deep or could you be yanked out of the ground by a small breeze?
“And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow Him. Let your roots grow down into Him, and let your lives be built on Him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness.” – Colossians 2:6-7 [NLT]
We spend a lot of money and time trying to gain knowledge and understanding. Some of us have huge student loan debts. Some of us have shelves or tablets filled with books. I know many people who have numerous degrees in various fields. I am very thankful for my college education, and I learned a lot; however, the granter of wisdom is the Lord. From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.
Many people spend a lifetime trying to understand life, not realizing that the LORD grants wisdom—knowledge and understanding come from His mouth! Some people dig deep into books and learn so much, yet they deny our Father. They can speak volumes of facts, but do not know the Source of all wisdom. As a result, they do not know the truth. They miss the greater revelation of Christ Jesus. It’s sad.
Today, spend some time with He Who grants wisdom. Dig into the Word. Seek His wisdom. Pray for wisdom. Ask for Him to reveal His truth to you. Ask for knowledge and understanding. He is the wisdom granter.
“For the LORD grants wisdom! From His mouth come knowledge and understanding.” – Proverbs 2:6 [NLT]
Often we think that we are doing everything alone. We forget Who is with us. Today’s verse is an assurance of a victory. God would cross over ahead. God would subdue them. God had a great plan and He would do just as He promised. We only had to recognize.
Recognize today that the Lord your God is with you. Recognize today that His promises are true. Recognize today that He is a devouring fire. Recognize today that you are not in this alone. He is with you. He is for you. May He make His presence known to you in a new and intimate way.
“But recognize today that the LORD your God is the one who will cross over ahead of you like a devouring fire to destroy them. He will subdue them so that you will quickly conquer them and drive them out, just as the LORD has promised.” – Deuteronomy 9:3 [NLT]
When we are blessed, it is sometimes hard to remember the Source of the blessing. The Bible tells us, “When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God.” We are reminded to be careful. It is so easy while we are in our time of “plenty” that we “forget the LORD… God and disobey His commands, regulations, and decrees.”
Today, aim to get into the habit of praising God. Continue to seek out opportunities to praise Him. As you give Him the honor and praise He deserves, you will continue to remind yourself of your dependence on Him. You will remember the Source of everything and develop an attitude of gratitude.
“For the LORD your God is bringing you into a good land of flowing streams and pools of water, with fountains and springs that gush out in the valleys and hills. It is a land of wheat and barley; of grapevines, fig trees, and pomegranates; of olive oil and honey. It is a land where food is plentiful and nothing is lacking. It is a land where iron is as common as stone, and copper is abundant in the hills. When you have eaten your fill, be sure to praise the LORD your God for the good land he has given you. But that is the time to be careful! Beware that in your plenty you do not forget the LORD your God and disobey His commands, regulations, and decrees that I am giving you today. For when you have become full and prosperous and have built fine homes to live in, and when your flocks and herds have become very large and your silver and gold have multiplied along with everything else, be careful! Do not become proud at that time and forget the LORD your God, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. – Deuteronomy 8:7-14 [NLT]
God wants the very best for us. This is something that some people cannot fathom because they do not truly know God. Often it is because we think we know what is best, that we grumble at things that are placed before us or we complain as we journey on a path that simply doesn’t make sense. But God wants the best and wherever we are and whatever we have is all a part of His plan. Trust in Him.
If you are scrambling right now, attempting to gain something you consider good, think twice about this goal. If it’s difficult to reach, is it because you are supposed to grow as you walk in faith? Or is it difficult to reach, because God has something different (and better) for you? Rest in Him.
The Psalmist understood that God will “withhold no good thing.” God is good and He will pour out His goodness upon us in abundance. If you wonder where the good is at, first look at where God is at in your life, and then look at where He is leading. Consider the way you view things in your life; sometimes we see something as not-so-good because our perspective is skewed.
Life is a journey, not a race. His timing. His plan. His way. He will withhold no good thing.
“For the LORD God is our sun and our shield. He gives us grace and glory. The LORD will withhold no good thing from those who do what is right.” – Psalm 84:11 [NLT]
Come and talk with me. We hear this often from friends and family. Since I can remember, I have heard this invitation. I love a nice chat. It’s nice that someone wants to spend time with you and just talk. The Psalmist is referencing this invitation that God gives to each of us: “Come and talk with Me.” Yes, the God of the universe wants to talk with you. God Almighty, wants to talk with you.
This invitation from God is a 24/7 invitation. It’s not like the invitations we get from friends and family. You know how life gets everyone busy and you have that moment of panic. You try to get in touch with your closest friend. Your friend is at work with a phone on silent. Maybe you have something on your mind and you cannot sleep. It’s 2am. It would not be so kind to call at that hour. But God doesn’t say, “I’m busy.” He doesn’t have a time when He is unable or unwilling to listen to you.
Today, He extends this invitation to you. “Come and talk with Me.” You have a choice. You can make time. You can answer the invitation. You do not even have to set out a specific time or schedule an appointment. You can speak with Him all day, through the day. Are you saying, “LORD, I am coming” in response to His invitation?
“My heart has heard You say, ‘Come and talk with Me.’ And my heart responds, ‘LORD, I am coming.’” – Psalm 27:8 [NLT]