I have the privilege of sending to several people, here and elsewhere, a daily thought.
Invariably, I receive comments about how helpful they are.
Because they find them helpful, I will share several with you. May you be inspired, comforted and possibly challenged.
“For he is like a refiner’s fire and like fullers’ soap; he will sit as a refiner and purifier of silver, and he will purify the descendants of Levi and refine them like gold and silver.”
We don’t go to the doctor without a reason. We may be sick, need a checkup or want the doctor’s advice about healthy living.
There are many reasons to go to God in prayer, but none is as important as seeking a cure for our spiritual illness and restoring our relationship with God.
After all, Jesus says there will be great joy in heaven for the one who repents.
When we repent, we come to ourselves in truth and recognize our very real need of God’s forgiveness.
Then we are ready to be washed in God’s love.
“And on the seventh day God finished the work that he had done, and he rested on the seventh day from all the work that he had done. So God blessed the seventh day and hallowed it, because on it God rested from all the work that he had done in creation.”
Getting tired, worn out and feeling defeated— it happens.
Things don’t go right at work.
Life at home can be a real challenge because of tight finances or a strained relationship.
Many aspects of life keep us running. Even our recreation—supposed to "re-create" us— is tiring.
We must rest from all our work and worry. We must have a day in which we make the time to rest and allow God to recreate us.
After all, if God took time to rest, who are we to think we must keep pushing 24-7, 365 days a year?
It seems pretty arrogant to think we must keep pushing without rest.
“The Lord God took the man and put him in the garden of Eden to till it and keep it. And the Lord God commanded the man, 'You may freely eat of every tree of the garden; but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall die.'"
Well, most of us know how that turned out!
Sometimes, being told we cannot do something makes us want to do it all the more.
Why is that?
Is it that we don’t like being denied anything, or do we think what we don’t have must be wonderful— otherwise we wouldn’t be told to avoid it?
Quite often, what we think would be great, enjoyable or fulfilling actually leads to devastating and long-lasting consequences.
Jesus said to Thomas, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
What do you want to pursue that you know would not be pleasing to God?
Now, don’t do it.
Jesus is talking about us. We are the blessed ones who have not seen him in the flesh.
Or have we?
Have you ever seen Jesus in the warm embrace of longtime friends?
Have you ever heard Jesus in the tender dialogue between a woman and her worried grandchild?
This is not the same Jesus that Thomas and the other disciples physically saw after the resurrection. Rather, this Jesus reveals himself through the lives of all who have faith in him.
Seeing Jesus alive and touching his wounds brought deeper faith and hope to Thomas. Believers today are called to be signs of hope for all who, like Thomas, struggle to believe.
You may not have seen the physical Jesus, but how have you seen him?
Perhaps more important: How have others seen him through you?
The Rev. Mark Broadhead is pastor at Laurel Hill Presbyterian Church and First Presbyterian Church of Crestview.