Saturday, March 20, 2021

He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” (John 20:27)

As we go forward in our life of faith, we all experience moments of doubt. We may wonder, Does God really love me? Does God see what I’m going through? Is all of this teaching in the Bible real, or am I just wasting my time? These questions and others are a natural part of believing in an invisible, intangible God.

Sometimes we may fear that our doubts are inappropriate or even sinful. We may wonder if God is angry with us for doubting his faithfulness or wondering if the Bible can be trusted.

But here in John 20, we see God’s patience for doubters like us. Thomas had a hard time believing that Jesus had truly risen from the dead. But rather than scolding Thomas or dismissing him, Jesus invited him to find the proof that he needed: “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side.”

In our own times of doubt, God may similarly provide for us. He may show up through the guidance of a friend, a comforting passage of Scripture, or a well-timed sermon or devotional reading. He may even give us a sign to point us in the right direction.

There’s no reason we should be afraid of our doubts or of bringing them before God. If we are honest and open, he is faithful to provide what we need to continue following him.

A Prayer for Today
Lord, be near me in times of doubt. Provide the guidance and assurance I need to continue serving you. Amen.

Friday, March 19, 2021

Jesus said, “It is finished.” (John 19:30)

As Jesus prepares to give up his spirit, he utters one final phrase from the cross: “It is finished.” Through Jesus’ death and resurrection, God has made redemption possible for every person who believes in his power to save. Jesus has taken all of the world’s sin on himself, the one final sacrifice for all people, for all time.

At times, you and I will be tempted to believe the lie that we are not worthy enough for God to save us. We may look at our past and think we are too flawed to ever belong to God fully. Or we might get discouraged about a sin that we continue to struggle with, in spite of our best efforts.

Or we might compare ourselves to others and think that we are not doing enough for God in comparison to them. It is easy to believe that we must do more or be more in order to deserve God’s love.

But on the cross, Jesus declared, “It is finished.” No matter who you are, what you have done, or what you have failed to do, Jesus’ death is payment enough to cover all of your sin. Though we can never do enough good to outweigh our sin or to earn God’s favor, Jesus has done it for us. It is finished.

The good news is that Jesus is enough. No matter your story, he is enough to make you right with God and to assure your place at his side. Because of Jesus, you can have full life forever with him.

A Prayer for Today
Lord, help me to rest in the knowledge that your sacrifice on the cross is enough to save me. Amen

Thursday, March 18, 2021

“…Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in its various forms…” (1 Peter 4:10,)

Too often we pursue titles and positions, thinking we’ll feel good about ourselves when we have them. “When I make it to sales manager, when I get on the varsity cheerleading squad, when I’m the head usher, the senior partner, the lead supervisor…”

That’s fine. But you don’t need a title to do what God has called you to do. Don’t wait for people to approve you, affirm you, or validate you. Use your gift, and the title will come.

If David would have waited for a title, we wouldn’t be talking about him today. When he went out to face Goliath, David wasn’t a general, a corporal, or a sergeant.

He wasn’t even enlisted. He didn’t have a title, a name badge, a uniform, or a single credential. He went out knowing God had called and given him the gift to defeat Goliath. In a few years they gave him a title: King of Israel.

A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You for the gift that You have given me and for what You have called me to do. Thank You that I can just be the best that I can be with what I have, and You will take care of the rest. I believe that You will receive the glory. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

“…So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed…” (John 8:36)

In the Scripture, Rebekah instructed her son Jacob to deceive their father. Jacob turned out to be a deceiver just like her. Jacob’s Uncle Laban had the same problem. He deceived Jacob. There was a spirit of deception in that family.

It looked as though it would continue from generation to generation. But at one point, Jacob admitted he was wrong, and God changed him (see Genesis 32). That was the turning point. The curse was broken.

Some of the things you struggle with every day have been passed down to you. The dysfunction, the addiction, the low self-esteem didn’t start with you, but it can end with you. God is saying, “I’m about to break its power in your family line.”

 This is a new day. Freedom and wholeness are coming to your house. Put your faith out there and say, “Christ broke the power of this when He rose from the dead. It is finished in our family. We are free indeed.”

A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You that when Christ conquered death on the cross, He broke the power of every negative thing that’s trying to hold me back. Thank You that any stronghold of the enemy within our family line is being destroyed. I believe that we are being set free. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

“…Delight yourself in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart…” (Psalm 37:4)

Today’s Scripture doesn’t say you have to earn or make the desires of your heart happen. No, God is going to give them to you. You’ll know it’s the hand of God because it’s going to happen without a struggle.

If you keep delighting in the Lord and meditating on His Word, filling your mind with thoughts of hope and faith, then without even trying, you’re going to come into your time, and God will give you the desires of your heart.

You have to trust God’s timing when things aren’t happening as fast as you would like. Every season is not harvest. There are seasons of watering, planting, weeding, and fertilizing the ground. These are important seasons.

They are times of testing when God is seeing what you’re made of. Are you going to keep a good attitude when you’re doing the right thing but not receiving the desires of our heart? Have faith and patience. You’re closer than you think.

A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You for the desires You have put in my heart. Thank You that I don’t have to work for them or make them happen on my own, but You promise to give them to me. I will delight myself in You and fill my mind with Your Word. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Monday, March 15, 2021

“…Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him…” (James 1:12)

In the Scripture, David was anointed to be the next king of Israel at the age of seventeen. After this incredible promise was given to him, David did not go to the palace for a coronation; he went back to the shepherds’ fields.

He was anointed but not appointed. He had to pass the test of being faithful taking care of sheep. He had to pass the test of being good to King Saul even though Saul was trying to kill him. David didn’t take the throne until he was thirty-seven.

It took twenty years for him to take the throne, for him to be prepared for where God was taking him. Don’t get discouraged by the preparation process between the time God puts that dream in your heart and the time it comes to pass.

If you keep the right attitude, every struggle you go through, every disappointment, every delay is making you stronger, developing your character, growing you up. Pass those tests. It’s getting you prepared.

A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You for both the anointing and the appointing that You have for my life. Thank You for the training and preparation process that You are taking me through. I believe that I will pass the tests and get to where You are taking me. In Jesus’ Name, Amen

Sunday, March 14, 2021

“If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.” (John 15:18)

This may be one of Jesus’ hardest teachings—especially if you tend to be a people pleaser. Jesus wants us to understand that his followers will sometimes be at odds with the values of the world.

As a result, there will be times when we pay a relational price for following him. But will we be hated? Disliked? Probably. Misunder­stood? Sure. But hated? That sounds pretty extreme.

Yet Jesus chooses strong language here for a reason. Putting God first will create friction—it’s a threat to people and systems that have a vested interest in their own ambitions and ways of doing things.

Jesus invited people into the kingdom of God, and this resulted in his death on a cross. Why? Because his teachings represented a threat to the religious leadership. Following Jesus meant having less power, status, and attention, so their response was to get rid of the competition and protect their own interests (see John 11:48).

Since that is how Jesus was treated, should we be surprised to encounter hardship in our own lives because of our faith in him? No.

Yet, in spite of resistance in this world, God remains faithful to his people. Through the Spirit, we can be empowered and refreshed to continue the work God calls us to do. And in community we can find the support to keep following Jesus, no matter what it costs us.

A Prayer for Today

Lord, give me the courage to stay faithful even when others criticize or condemn me for my faith in you. Amen.

Saturday, March 13, 2021

“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)

Jesus makes a bold claim in this passage, saying he is the way, the truth, and the life. He’s the only one who can lead people to God the Father.

Many people today disagree with this. They argue that it’s wrong to make such an exclusive claim because spiritual truth is ultimately unknowable for us.

In this passage, Jesus makes it hard to stand in the “mushy middle” when it comes to Chris­tianity. Each person who reads John 14 must make a deci­sion to accept or reject Jesus’ claim. Following Christ is ­either the one true way to know God, or it’s not.

For some of us, this either-or choice may seem extreme. But as we consider Jesus’ words, it’s helpful to remember that he makes this statement while he is preparing to go to the cross.

He knows he will be arrested this very night and be crucified the next day. Jesus is comforting his disciples in the face of his impending death by reminding them of the truth.

As he gets ready to die, Jesus wants his friends to have the assurance that he and they are doing the right thing. He will give up his life on the cross in order to open the way for us to have full life with God forever.

No matter what happens over the coming days, he wants them to know that if they believe in him, they can trust that they will be with him forever.

A Prayer for Today
Father, help me to find confidence in this claim of Jesus. Give me the courage to follow his teachings, trusting that he is leading the way to you. Amen.

Friday, March 12, 2021

“…I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway…” (Romans 7:19)

Many people don’t really like who they are. They focus on their faults, their weaknesses. They’re constantly critical toward themselves. That recording of all the things wrong with them keeps playing in their mind, “You’re impatient. You blew your diet.

You should be ashamed of yourself.” They wonder why they’re not happy, not realizing they have an inner war going on. It’s very freeing when you can be happy with who you are even though you have some areas in which you still need to improve.

Think about what the apostle Paul said in today’s Scripture. Even he still struggled in some areas. If he would have been down on himself, he would have never written almost half the books of the New Testament and become one of the heroes of faith.

You don’t have to have it all together to do something great. If you’re waiting till you overcome every weakness and perform perfectly, you’ll be waiting your whole life.

A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You that though there are areas of my life that need to improve, there is no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. I know You are changing me little by little. I believe that what You started in my life, You are going to finish. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

Thursday, March 11, 2021

“…For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end…” (Jeremiah 29:11)

The Scripture says that God declares “the end from the beginning.” When God planned out your life, He started with where He wants you to end up, and then He worked backward. His plans for you are “to give you an expected end.”

The good news is that you don’t end in defeat, in failure, in disappointment, or in heartache. You end in victory, fulfilling your destiny. You can live in peace, knowing that in the end, all things are going to work to your advantage.

But there will be difficult seasons in your life when it looks as though things didn’t work out. You may be in a difficult season right now, and it may look as though your dream has died. You have to remind yourself that’s not how your story ends.

The Most High God has already planned it for an expected end. If you’ll keep moving forward, He’ll weave it all together. He’s already established the end.

A Prayer for Today
“Father, thank You that in the midst of a very insecure world that I can rest in the security of knowing that my end has been set, knowing that You always cause me to triumph. I believe that You are working all things to my advantage. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.”

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