Daily Devotion for April 26, 2011
Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come; Thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
Prayer for the Morning
Heavenly Lord, you have brought me to the beginning of a new day. As the world is renewed fresh and clean, so I ask you to renew my heart with your strength and purpose. Forgive me the errors of yesterday and bless me to walk closer in your way today. This is the day I begin my life anew; shine through me so that every person I meet may feel your presence in my soul. Take my hand, precious Lord, for I cannot make it by myself. Through Christ I pray and live,
Prayer for Peace
We thank you, master and lover of mankind, King of the ages and giver of all good things, for destroying the dividing wall of enmity and granting peace to those who seek your mercy. We appeal to you to awaken the longing for a peaceful life in all those who are filled with hate for their neighbors, thinking especially of those at war or preparing for war.
Grant peace to your servants. Implant in them the fear of you and confirm in them love for one another. Extinguish every dispute and banish all temptations to disagreement. For you are our peace and to you we ascribe glory: to the Father and the Son and to the Holy Spirit, now and forever and unto ages of ages.
Eternal God, heavenly Father, you have graciously accepted me as a living member of your Son our Savior Jesus Christ, and you have blessed me with the grace of forgiveness through the sacrifice He made for me and for all people. Send me now into the world in peace, and grant me strength and courage to love and serve you with gladness and singleness of heart; through Christ our Lord.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
The Christian life is not a constant high. I have my moments of deep discouragement. I have to go to God in prayer with tears in my eyes, and say, 'O God, forgive me,' or 'Help me.'
~ Billy Graham
John 20:24-29 (ESV)
Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, 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 in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe."
Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although 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, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, 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 believed."
Notes on the Scripture
It is now eight days later, and the apostles are still on the lam. We do not know whether Caiaphas and his henchmen were actively seeking them, to kill them, or whether they were just being cautious after the mob hysteria that killed Christ; but they hid in a place with locked doors.
Thomas doubted that Christ had been resurrected until he saw him in the flesh; and when Christ appeared to him and proved that he was there in body, Thomas believed.
Christ did not appear to Thomas because he wanted to save Thomas' soul (or at least, not primarily). Rather, it was important that the apostles be able to bear witness that Christ had arisen in the flesh. His body had regained life. What people saw was not a ghost or apparition. Christ thus proved that he had defeated death, that he had defeated the earth, in the most basic sense.
There is, however, another lesson taught repeatedly that is even more important. Thomas was already a believer in Christ (although he did not believe Christ's body has arisen). Countless thousands, however, had seen Christ's miracles and heard his words, and in addition had seen how he complied with the ancient prophesies of the Jewish Messiah — and still did not believe.
And today, you will hear people who expect a sign from God in their lives. But such people are probably not going to believe in Christ even if they see a miracle. Personally, I think the sun coming up in the morning is a sign from God.
Yes, some people think they can explain everything in the world by science, but they can't. If you continue to question them, eventually they will have to admit that they don't even know the laws of physics, much less where the universe came from. If our existence and the testimony of the men who witnessed Christ's life and resurrection is not sufficient for them to find God, a "miracle" — which is, after all, just an anomaly in the tiny portion of reality we can perceive with our eyes and ears — is not going to convince them.
"The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned." (1 Corinthians 2:14) We find Christ when and only when we actively begin to seek God.