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Thomas

When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.”After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!”Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name. (John 20:19-31, NRSV)

Thomas gets a bad wrap.

I mean where was he when Jesus came the first time, the night of Easter? He wasn’t locked away with everyone else who was afraid for their lives…

And when the disciples tell him what they saw, he asks for no more than they got. They didn’t believe until Jesus showed them His hands and side.

And when Thomas sees Jesus, he doesn’t have to put his finger or hand anywhere. He sees Jesus and says, “My Lord and my God!”

He trusted in his heart at that point that everything they were told by Jesus was true. Even though they couldn’t prove it or understand it, it was true.

Do we have that kind of trust?

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Praise for God’s Goodness to Israel

I will come into your house with burnt offerings; I will pay you my vows, those that my lips uttered and my mouth promised when I was in trouble. I will offer to you burnt offerings of fatlings, with the smoke of the sacrifice of rams; I will make an offering of bulls and goats. Selah (Psalm 66:13-15, NRSV)

Maybe we don’t understand offering sacrifices of animals but we can all sacrifice something to or for God. We can make promises Just as God made promises to us.

How can we Show God that we trust His promises to us?

How can we show the world we trust God?

Do you trust God?

 

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The Joy of Forgiveness

Many are the torments of the wicked, but steadfast love surrounds those who trust in the Lord.

Be glad in the Lord and rejoice, O righteous, and shout for joy, all you upright in heart.

(Psalm 32:10-11, NRSV)

Many are the torments of the wicked. I have to admit that if that is the case I must be pretty wicked right now. I feel like I am being tormented all around. But I fret not in these torments because I trust in the Lord and know He surrounds me with love.

He helps me be the person He created me to be. I know no matter what happens that the Lord is always with me. And my trust is in Him.

Where is your trust?

 

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The Joy of Forgiveness

I will instruct you and teach you the way you should go; I will counsel you with my eye upon you.

Do not be like a horse or a mule, without understanding, whose temper must be curbed with bit and bridle, else it will not stay near you.

(Psalm 32:8-9, NRSV)

The Lord will show you His ways and teach you how you should live. Listen to His good counsel and heed His teaching. For we are not like horses or mules who need a bit and griddle to follow directions. God has made us to discern His leading and to follow.

He will guide you and watch over you. Are you ready to heed His leading?

 

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The Glorious New Creation

For I am about to create new heavens and a new earth; the former things shall not be remembered or come to mind. But be glad and rejoice forever in what I am creating; for I am about to create Jerusalem as a joy, and its people as a delight. I will rejoice in Jerusalem, and delight in my people; no more shall the sound of weeping be heard in it, or the cry of distress. No more shall there be in it an infant that lives but a few days, or an old person who does not live out a lifetime; for one who dies at a hundred years will be considered a youth, and one who falls short of a hundred will be considered accursed. They shall build houses and inhabit them; they shall plant vineyards and eat their fruit. They shall not build and another inhabit; they shall not plant and another eat; for like the days of a tree shall the days of my people be, and my chosen shall long enjoy the work of their hands. They shall not labor in vain, or bear children for calamity; for they shall be offspring blessed by the Lord— and their descendants as well. Before they call I will answer, while they are yet speaking I will hear. The wolf and the lamb shall feed together, the lion shall eat straw like the ox; but the serpent—its food shall be dust! They shall not hurt or destroy on all my holy mountain, says the Lord. (Isaiah 65:17-25, NRSV)

The wonder of the creation that is to come in God!

Where no one will die and we will all be together with our creator!

There will be no more weeping or distress or illness!

We will rejoice day and night in the presence of our Lord!

Believe it. It is promised over and over again in the pages of our story. And God is good to His word.

It is a promise we will see fulfilled.

So wait for Jesus and wait on God. Knowing they love you and will give you all they have said.

 

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The Good News of Deliverance

The spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me; he has sent me to bring good news to the oppressed, to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and release to the prisoners; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to provide for those who mourn in Zion— to give them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit. They will be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, to display his glory. They shall build up the ancient ruins, they shall raise up the former devastations; they shall repair the ruined cities, the devastations of many generations. Strangers shall stand and feed your flocks, foreigners shall till your land and dress your vines; but you shall be called priests of the Lord, you shall be named ministers of our God; you shall enjoy the wealth of the nations, and in their riches you shall glory. Because their shame was double, and dishonor was proclaimed as their lot, therefore they shall possess a double portion; everlasting joy shall be theirs. For I the Lord love justice, I hate robbery and wrongdoing; I will faithfully give them their recompense, and I will make an everlasting covenant with them. Their descendants shall be known among the nations, and their offspring among the peoples; all who see them shall acknowledge that they are a people whom the Lord has blessed. I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my whole being shall exult in my God; for he has clothed me with the garments of salvation, he has covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decks himself with a garland, and as a bride adorns herself with her jewels. For as the earth brings forth its shoots, and as a garden causes what is sown in it to spring up, so the Lord God will cause righteousness and praise to spring up before all the nations. (Isaiah 61:1-11, NRSV)

Good news to the oppressed!

Proclaim liberty to the captives and release to the prisoners!

To give all beauty out of ashes!

Gladness instead of mourning!

A mantle of praise instead of a faint spirit!

God is doing a mighty thing, and He wants you to be the bearer of the good news.

Tell all of the world that all will be set free from the prisons that hold them. They will have joy instead of mourning and a spirit of praise instead of brokenness.

God will cause all of this to happen.

Do you believe it?

Will the coming savior bring it?

God will do a mighty thing here. We can trust in Him!

 

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Four Israelites at Babylonian Court

In the third year of the reign of King Jehoiakim of Judah, King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon came to Jerusalem and besieged it. The Lord let King Jehoiakim of Judah fall into his power, as well as some of the vessels of the house of God. These he brought to the land of Shinar, and placed the vessels in the treasury of his gods. Then the king commanded his palace master Ashpenaz to bring some of the Israelites of the royal family and of the nobility, young men without physical defect and handsome, versed in every branch of wisdom, endowed with knowledge and insight, and competent to serve in the king’s palace; they were to be taught the literature and language of the Chaldeans. The king assigned them a daily portion of the royal rations of food and wine. They were to be educated for three years, so that at the end of that time they could be stationed in the king’s court. Among them were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, from the tribe of Judah. The palace master gave them other names: Daniel he called Belteshazzar, Hananiah he called Shadrach, Mishael he called Meshach, and Azariah he called Abednego. But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the royal rations of food and wine; so he asked the palace master to allow him not to defile himself. Now God allowed Daniel to receive favor and compassion from the palace master. The palace master said to Daniel, “I am afraid of my lord the king; he has appointed your food and your drink. If he should see you in poorer condition than the other young men of your own age, you would endanger my head with the king.” Then Daniel asked the guard whom the palace master had appointed over Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah: “Please test your servants for ten days. Let us be given vegetables to eat and water to drink. You can then compare our appearance with the appearance of the young men who eat the royal rations, and deal with your servants according to what you observe.” So he agreed to this proposal and tested them for ten days. At the end of ten days it was observed that they appeared better and fatter than all the young men who had been eating the royal rations. So the guard continued to withdraw their royal rations and the wine they were to drink, and gave them vegetables. To these four young men God gave knowledge and skill in every aspect of literature and wisdom; Daniel also had insight into all visions and dreams.At the end of the time that the king had set for them to be brought in, the palace master brought them into the presence of Nebuchadnezzar, and the king spoke with them. And among them all, no one was found to compare with Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah; therefore they were stationed in the king’s court. In every matter of wisdom and understanding concerning which the king inquired of them, he found them ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in his whole kingdom. And Daniel continued there until the first year of King Cyrus (Daniel 1:1-21, NRSV)

The 4 Israelites brought into the king’s court were taught along with the nationals and learned all that they did. They were given the same rations and treatment. Only they did not want to eat the rations and drink the wine. They asked for only vegetables and water. But the one in charge of them feared for his life and so told them this. They asked for a test.

And after 10 days they were bigger than those who had eaten and drank the rations. So God was with them.

You see Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were following after God and remaining devoted to Him through all of their life. God saw this and helped them in everything.

Do we trust God enough to do the same?

As we wait for God do, we trust Him?

 

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