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Devotions

What It’s Really Like

Have you ever put someone else’s needs/wants before your own? I have! Mostly in parenthood. Playing Blippi on YouTube instead of your favorite songs while driving so your child will be happy on the way to the grocery store (or keep them calm before having an emotional break down because they can’t eat a Tim Bit every time they see Tim Horton’s). Maybe you go above and beyond at work or invest more than buying lunch from time to time in friendships, you invest prayer and the unconditional love of Jesus. If you have, congratulations! You have represented the very nature of Jesus and His mission– loving God and loving people.

Easter 2018 was celebrated at Grace Church with family and at my in-law’s with food. I made fresh green beans with bacon, so good. If holiday dinners were at my house every year, I’d order pre-cooked dinner packages online from Kroger Click List, being they provided that. No shame in my store-bought game.

Empty Reese’s wrappers and Bible crafts filled my house this Easter. Grace Team taught children about the most horrifying yet glorifying story in the Bible, provided easter eggs filled with candy for kids to collect in the gymnasium (indoor egg hunts in April because Michigan), all in honor of how Jesus served humanity by His death and resurrection.

Here are a few photo’s of my priceless fam on Easter ❤

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When I read the story of Jesus from Luke 22-24 to remind myself the truth about Easter and what it took for Jesus to lay His life down so I could freely live, the Garden of Gethsemane found in chapter 22 resonated within me. Read with me as I elaborate:

“Jesus left the upper room with his disciples and, as was his habit,
went to the Mount of Olives, his place of secret prayer. There he told
the apostles, ‘Keep praying for strength to be spared from the severe
test of your faith that is about to come.’ Then he withdrew from them a
short distance to be alone. Kneeling down, he prayed, ‘Father, if you
are willing, take this cup of agony away from me. But no matter what,
your will must be mine.” Luke 22:39-42 TPT

Jesus actually asked the Father for an alternate route? Like, He literally came to the realization after living on earth as fully human for 33 years how painful and agonizing His death was going to be. Talk about humbling!

But He submitted to God anyway.

He trusted God to fulfill His Word. He chose truth over feelings. He knew the pain but He believed in the promise. He surrendered and He saved. The same will happen in our lives if we would 1) Trust in God 2) Choose truth over feelings 3) Believe in His sovereignty 4) Surrender to His Will.  That’s when darkness is overcome and when people around us are set free. Jesus didn’t have to be beaten and die, He chose to out of His deep love for the Father and for us.

Imagine what miracles and fruit our lives would produce if we would just follow those 4 steps; trust, choose, believe, surrender. I know it’s not easy to, as the cliché goes, “let go and let God.” Life seems hopeless at times, especially when our feelings and emotions appear more real than the truth. But they’re not. Truth is truth, no matter the feeling. Stop feeding your feelings with polluted thoughts and start renewing your mind with the truth of God’s Word.

Your heart will be healed. Your soul will be made whole. Your mind will be renewed. Your strength will have new stamina. Your marriage will thrive. Your family will be saved. Your purpose will come alive. The more truth you believe the less lies you belong to. That’s what living is really like, not for feelings, but for Him. Simple surrender.

 

Categories
Devotions

Doubting the Truth

May this encourage those who are hoping on the promises of God for something but aren’t sure if God is really going to prove Himself true.

“Jesus Appears to Thomas
24One of the twelve wasn’t present when Jesus appeared to them—it was Thomas, whose nickname was “the Twin.” 25So the disciples informed him, “We have seen the Lord with our own eyes!”

Still unconvinced, Thomas replied, “There’s no way I’m going to believe this unless I personally see the wounds of the nails in his hands, touch them with my finger, and put my hand into the wound of his side where he was pierced!”

26Then eight days later, Thomas and all the others were in the house together. And even though all the doors were locked, Jesus suddenly stood before them! “Peace to you,” he said.

27Then, looking into Thomas’ eyes, he said, “Put your finger here in the wounds of my hands. Here—put your hand into my wounded side and see for yourself. Thomas, don’t give in to your doubts any longer, just believe!”

28Then the words spilled out of his heart—“You are my Lord, and you are my God!”

29Jesus responded, “Thomas, now that you’ve seen me, you believe. But there are those who have never seen me with their eyes but have believed in me with their hearts, and they will be blessed even more!”

30Jesus went on to do many more miraculous signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not even included in this book. 31But all that is recorded here is so that you will fully believe that Jesus is the Anointed One, the Son of God, and that through your faith in him you will experience eternal life by the power of his name!”

John 20:24-30 TPT

Sometimes, we may under estimate the reality of human nature in not only the disciples, but ourselves. Imagine all of your closest friends, the people you left your family and what you knew as life to follow Jesus with, were claiming Jesus visited them after you watched Him be arrested, beaten and put to death! I don’t know about you, but if it were me, I’d be like Thomas. Thomas replied, “There’s no way I’m going to believe this unless I personally see the wounds of the nails in his hands, touch them with my finger, and put my hand into the wound of his side where he was pierced!”

Now look closely at scripture. Jesus did eventually visit Thomas like the rest, but note* it was over a week later! 8 days to be exact. Everyone who knew at the time were probably still reliving every word and deed Jesus said and did while He visited them without you. Think about all the rational and irrational thoughts you’d have. “Jesus is dead! I witnessed it with my own eyes!” “Peter is not denying it and I really trust his word.” “Why wouldn’t Jesus wait to visit until I was with everyone, too?” “There’s no way after the beatings and piercings Jesus took that He could live.” “How could the seal be broken and stone be rolled away without the help of many men?”

26Then eight days later, Thomas and all the others were in the house together. And even though all the doors were locked, Jesus suddenly stood before them! “Peace to you,” he said. 27Then, looking into Thomas’ eyes, he said, “Put your finger here in the wounds of my hands. Here—put your hand into my wounded side and see for yourself. Thomas, don’t give in to your doubts any longer, just believe!”

How true and loving is the character of Jesus? Though He may delay in visiting you with proof of who He is, He doesn’t leave you out of the loop. Your friends and church family may seem to have this awesome relationship with Jesus and you’re thinking to yourself, “Is God even real? I’m not seeing Jesus and encountering Him the way everyone else is.” “Oh, you fasted and had a vision of Heaven? Cool. I skipped breakfast to make it on time to this class. Does that count?”

Don’t miss verse 28.

28Then the words spilled out of his heart—“You are my Lord, and you are my God!”

What spilled out of Thomas’s heart revealed the truth of his faith. Jesus, moved by compassion and grace, allowed evidence for Thomas’s request in order to help him believe.

God does that for us, too. “God, if I can’t marry this person then I don’t know if You really love me.” “Lord, if You just help me make a little more money I promise I’ll start giving more.” “Until I see my family saved I’m not sure I can keep living for You. It’s getting too hard and they aren’t accepting of my new lifestyle.” In all of Jesus’ goodness and mercy, He may grant your requests and demands- because He really does love you that much!

As for others, He may not.

29Jesus responded, “Thomas, now that you’ve seen me, you believe. But there are those who have never seen me with their eyes but have believed in me with their hearts, and they will be blessed even more!”

If thats you, embrace the trust God is entrusting to you. He tells us that those who believe in Him, yet don’t see Him, will be even more blessed! What are you hoping for in the promises of God but haven’t yet seen? Whatever it is, I can assure you it’s not more real than the presence of God in the waiting- the 8 days. Endure the unknown. Embrace the wait. Jesus promises to come back and make this all right again. Stay blessed.