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Focus: Overcoming doubt
Ephesians 1:18-19a (NIV) I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which He has called you, the riches of His glorious inheritance in His holy people, and His incomparably great power for us who believe.
When you feel hopeless—in all honesty, you’ve given up on the power of God. Hope is what you need and hope is tied to your ability to believe in God and in His unlimited power and grace.
It’s easy to underestimate the power of God when you’re at a low spot. When you’re questioning your own power and everything you’ve ever known, and all earthly means seem to be failing you—being tempted to doubt God and lose confidence in His power, is not far from where you already are in terms of faith. Words may have already gone through your mind like, “If God is so powerful, then why isn’t He helping me right now?”
When you can’t see the physical evidence of God’s power in your present circumstances, it’s good to recall the records of His power in times past. Without a doubt, the most amazing example of the power of God was the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. There were many eyewitnesses of the resurrected Christ and we are able to read their first hand accounts of what Jesus said and did following His experience of being raised from the dead. There are also reports written by those who saw Him ascend from earth. In John chapter 20 you can read the full account of the discovery of Jesus’ resurrection. I will highlight the story.
Early on the first day of the week, three days after the crucifixion, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. She ran to tell Simon Peter and John that the body of Jesus was gone from the tomb. At this news, Peter and John ran to the tomb and looked in. Sure enough, the body was gone and all that remained were the strips of linen and the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Both disciples went into the tomb and were puzzled because they still didn’t realize that the Messiah was supposed to rise from the dead according to Scripture.
Peter and John left the tomb, and went back to where they had been staying with the other disciples. Mary remained, standing outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her why she was crying and she told them it was because the body of her Lord had been taken away. Mary turned around and saw Jesus, but didn’t know it was Him. He asked her why she was crying, and who she was looking for. Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.” Then Jesus said to her, “Mary.” Suddenly she realized it was Jesus and she cried out, “Rabboni!”, which means, ‘Teacher.’ Jesus told Mary not to touch Him yet because He first needed to ascend to His Father and her Father, to His God and her God.
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples and told them that she had seen the Lord. She told them the things He had said. That same night, some of the disciples were at a house together, with the doors locked for fear of being found by the religious leaders. Jesus came and appeared among them. He said, “Peace be with you!” After that, He showed them His hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw Him. He said again, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” Then He breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven; if you don’t forgive their sins, they are not forgiven.”
A disciple named Thomas wasn’t with them when Jesus came, so the other disciples told him they had seen the Lord. He was skeptical and said he wouldn’t believe it unless he saw His wounds for himself. A week later, Thomas was with the disciples in the same place, and though the doors were once again locked, Jesus appeared among them. He said, “Peace be with you!” Then, He told Thomas to put his finger into the places where the nails had been driven into His hands and to place his hand into the wound in his side, where the soldier had thrust a spear to make sure Jesus was truly dead, before removing Him from the cross. He told Thomas to stop doubting and believe. Thomas knew it was the resurrected Christ who spoke to him and he said, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus recognized Thomas for seeing and believing, but told Thomas that others would be blessed who did not see Him, and yet believed.
Jesus did many other things in the presence of His disciples after His resurrection, but the important things were recorded so that for all time, people would read and know that He is the true Messiah, the Son of God, and believe.
Declaration: I will find new strength and hope by remembering that my God is the God who resurrected Jesus from the dead. Nothing I am facing is too hard for Him to handle. When my faith is weak, I will read His Word, for help.
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All NEW STRENGTH posts are Copyright by Christina Cook Lee 2012. Please request permission to re-post or re-blog.