Wednesday, August 12, 2015

August 13, 2015

Now Thomas (also known as Didymus, one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in his hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into his side, I will not believe.” A week later his disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then 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.” Thomas said to him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” John 20:24-29

So they brought him. When the spirit saw Jesus, it immediately threw the boy into a convulsion. He fell to the ground and rolled around, foaming at the mouth. Jesus asked the boy’s father, “How long has he been like this?” “From childhood,” he answered. “It has often thrown him into fire or water to kill him. But if you can do anything, take pity on us and help us.” “ ‘If you can’?” said Jesus. “Everything is possible for one who believes.” Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” When Jesus saw that a crowd was running to the scene, he rebuked the impure spirit. “You deaf and mute spirit, ”he said, “I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” The spirit shrieked, convulsed him violently and came out. The boy looked so much like a corpse that many said, “He’s dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him to his feet, and he stood up.” Mark 9:20-26

“It (love) always trusts……” I Corinthians 13:7

Love tries to trust. It gives the benefit of the doubt. It is aware that to love you must trust.

This truth is illustrated in these two stories from the Gospels.

Thomas was one of the Twelve who followed Jesus.

For three years he had listened to the Master and learned from Him. He had walked the long dusty roads from village to village. He had seen the miracles and even been involved in some.

On the night in the Upper Room when Jesus celebrated the Lord’s Supper, Thomas was there.

When Jesus was lynched and led away from the garden, Thomas was there and he fled in fear with the others.

Thomas watched in horror as Jesus’ badly beaten body was nailed to the cross. He watched Him die.

So, naturally, when Thomas heard that the resurrected Jesus had appeared in their midst one day when he was gone, he had trouble believing their report.

He wanted to believe their story. He tried to trust them. But his heart had already been broken and he wasn’t sure he could trust their report. We was trying to believe but it was tough!

So, Jesus appeared to help Thomas believe. Thomas touched His hands and touched His side and his trying became trusting.

And then there was the man with demoniac son.

Jesus told the man that anything will be possible if he would believe it is possible.

This desperate dad was trying to give Jesus the benefit of the doubt. “I am trying to believe, Jesus, help me to believe.” What a great response!

You’ve been there haven’t you?

Perhaps you are there now!

Because this man was ready to believe God gave him reason to believe!

Love tries to trust. Love gives the benefit of the doubt. When you have the will to believe God makes the way.

August 12, 2015

"It (love) always perseveres....." I Corinthians 13:7

Through many years of ministry I have been privileged to share life with hundreds of people in about every life circumstance imaginable. One thing I have learned from walking through these experiences is the power of the human will.

I have seen those strong-willed people who clung to faith and steeled their resolve and endured extremely challenging challenges. They just simply refused to quit believing or praying or praising or hoping. Their perseverance brought them victory - some in this life and some in the next life. I did my best to inspire them and encourage them but they inspired me!

There have been others who were not able to persevere in their faith or maintain their hope. Some gave up on faith. Some gave up on life. They broke my heart.

It has amazed me how often I've seen a terminally ill person decide they have suffered enough and decide they want to die. Within hours they die. I have seen others fight and refuse to give up and stretch their lives far longer than anyone expected.

The Apostle Paul was a strong-willed person before he found Christ but the love of God added to his ability to endure. He is a great example of what happens when a strong-willed person surrenders his will to a Will stronger than his own!

Here are a few examples in his own words:

"More than that, we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame, because God's love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us." Romans 5:3

"And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up."  Galatians 6:9

"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons? “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor be weary when reproved by him." Hebrews 12:1-1

"Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm."  Ephesians 6:13

Do you have the will to persevere? Are you determined to stand your ground and never retreat?

You will if you will give your will to Him!