Tag Archives: believe

21 Day Experiment-Day 20

Someone once said “seeing is believing.” It is much easier to believe when we can see the evidence. Yet sometimes faith is the belief in the unseen—otherwise, it wouldn’t be called faith. Much like the t-shirt I saw recently with this bold slogan across the front: BELIEVING IS SEEING!

The disciples fought to cling to their faith as they watched Jesus die on that wretched cross.  Everything they could see pointed to utter defeat! But what they could see with their eyes was not the whole story as they would soon discover.

The word SEE is sprinkled throughout today’s reading of John 20:

Mary Magdalene was the first to visit Jesus’ burial site. All she could see was an empty grave! Peter and John raced to the tomb to see for themselves. They looked inside to see the grave cloths folded, but no sign of Jesus anywhere!  The Bible says they “saw and believed” (John 20:8).

Later, Jesus appeared to Mary. She sees and believes. Then, He walks though a locked door and appears to the trembling disciples. They were overjoyed to see Jesus—and they believed!

Somehow Thomas missed out. So he refused to believe unless he saw for himself the nail marks in Jesus’ hands.  Jesus makes a special visit to “doubting Thomas.” He lets him see and touch the nail holes—then challenges Thomas to stop doubting and believe (John 20:27).

The Lord understands we sometimes wrestle to believe. Especially when it looks like evil has won the battle. That’s why John’s Gospel leaves us with these words of encouragement:

Jesus did many other miraculous signs in the presence of His disciples. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing, you may have life in His name” (John 20:30,31).

Signs are like God’s fingerprints.  He wants us to believe that Jesus is the Christ. That’s why Jesus left signs—to help us believe!

Have you seen God’s fingerprints during our 21 Day Experiment? Maybe there’s a friend or family member that would be encouraged by your story. In tomorrow’s post, I’ll share the story of one of my own fingperprints from God.

As we come to the end of our 21 Day Experiment, I encourage you to carve out some extra time tomorrow to reflect on—and even write down—what you’ve seen. What’s you’ve heard from God. And what you believe about Jesus the Christ.

Prayer: Lord, thank you for Your fingerprints. Keep me watchful. Alert. Above all, help me to believe, even before I see what You are doing in and around me. That’s called trust—so today, I simply trust You.

 


21 Day Experiment-Day 19

I noticed my well-worn Bible sitting on my bedside table; the collection of prayer journals stacked below. Reminders of the times I’d seen God move in my life. Answered prayers, healings, even a few miracles. A testimony to my close walk with the Lord.

Then, it hit me. If my Christian life was only about my relationship with the Lord, my world of personal concerns, and my blessings, then so what?

Now don’t get me wrong. I am incredibly thankful for my relationship with the Lord. I treasure those prayer journals—their record of answered prayers; footsteps of my journey with Christ; knowledge I’d gained through years of Bible study.

But as important as these blessings are, they were given to me so that I would be a blessing to others.  As God said to Abraham, we are blessed so that we will be a blessing to others (Genesis 12:2,3).

I sensed the Holy Spirit quietly whispering, “Your life is either a so what or a so that.”

That scenario—just as I described it—happened over twenty years ago. My epiphany that day marked a dramatic shift.  I began to look for ways to step out of my well-managed life and into a broken world. That shift has since taken me to those who are hurting in my own neighborhood. To fragile communities all over the world.

So many are thirsty for the good news of Jesus Christ. As we approach the final chapters of John’s gospel, we catch a glimpse of John’s purpose in sharing his eye witness account.

He writes, “The man who saw it has given testimony…He knows that he tells the truth, and he testifies so that you also may believe” (John 19:35).   John’s words are for us.  He told his story of Jesus so that you and I, and all that have come before us or after us, may believe!

No doubt John was blessed by his close relationship with Jesus. He was also blessed to be an eye-witness to Jesus’ signs and wonders. All of these blessings were so that he would be a blessing. So that others will believe. How can we do less?

Prayer: Lord, once again, I ask this same questionIs my life a “so what?” or a “so that?” I listen for Your whispers today, alert to Your nudges. Who is on Your heart? Show me how, even in a small way, I can be a blessing to someone who needs Your touch.


21 Day Experiment-Day 14

“No way! My older son used to exclaim to his younger brother when something amazing or unexpected had just happened. To which his little brother would answer back,” Way!”

Way can describe a course of action. Or directions to a destination: “What’s the quickest way to go to the beach?” A method of doing something: “What’s the best way to prepare a healthy meal?”  Or execute a good golf swing?

The word way in the Bible comes from hodos, translated “road.” It can describe our course of life, conduct, or behavior. The “way of the Lord” is the revealed will of God. That’s why the early church was called “The Way,” well before believers were referred to as “Christians.”

But the word way brings up an important question:  “Is Jesus the only way to God?”  Some people believe that Jesus is simply one of many ways.  Sounds appealing at first—easier to swallow. Until you think about the reality that without Jesus, there is no firm assurance of the forgiveness of sins. No promise of eternity in Heaven.

There are really only two world’s religions, as my husband David often says:

  1. You’re saved by perfectly obeying a standard of rules or laws, thus trying to work your way to God. Impossible for imperfect humans.
  2. Or you are saved by grace. You accept Christ’s sacrifice on the cross as full payment for all your sins and follow Him as the only way to God.

My watchword for today from John Chapter 14 is short and simple:   

I am the way and the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6).

People the world over would agree that Jesus was a “good man, wonderful teacher, a true humanitarian.” But not the only way to God.

Yet Jesus, Himself, claimed to be the long-awaited Messiah and the only way to the Father. Such a claim—if not true—makes Him an out-and-out liar. The very same man people esteem as a great moral teacher would be the greatest of imposters.  Or as C.S. Lewis so eloquently put it, Jesus is “a liar, a legend, a lunatic, or the truth.” I would also add, He is the “Way.”

Prayer: Lord, I pray for Your Holy Spirit to open the door to a conversation with my friend ___________ who has been seeking You—but just doesn’t know it yet.


Becoming Simple Again

Have you ever been arrested?  Not by the police,  but by the Word of God.  It happened to me the other day.  I was reading through Matthew’s Gospel, my usual chapter a day.  But when I got to Chapter 18,  I was “arrested” by Jesus’s warning to His disciples:  Unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:3 NIV).

The word used in this verse for change means to turn in a different direction, or “to repent.” What keeps me from becoming like a little child?  In what ways do I need to repent?  I pondered the question.

The next verse gave me a clue. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God’s kingdom (Matthew 18:4 MSG).  If I truly want to see the kingdom of heaven and if I want to have kingdom impact here on Earth, I have to become simple.

I can think of a lot of words to describe my life, but simple isn’t one of them. Can you relate?  We live in an incredibly complicated world.  It’s busy and noisy with to do lists and deadlines.  But simple?  Who can afford to be simple?  Jesus knew His words would hit hard.

I decided to do a little “research” of my own.  I was sharing a cup of tea one afternoon with my four-year-old granddaughter, who was feeling quite grown up as she carefully balanced the delicate china cup and saucer on her lap.  “Guess what Jesus tells grownups,” I said to her.  “We have to be like little kids if we want to know Him better.  Why do you suppose Jesus likes kids so much?”  She just looked at me for a minute as if to say, You should know that answer.  And then she said matter-of-factly, “Because they are so fun to play with.”  It was that simple. Period.

In the eyes of a child, Jesus is not only God of the Universe and Savior of  souls.  He is also their friend. He actually likes children. They know it.  My granddaughter’s natural assumption?  Jesus likes her, not because she’s wise, or rich, or in control.  He likes her just because she’s who she is.  He likes her simple faith in Him.  And probably because she’s fun to play with.

In this busy, complex world, I must repent if I want to become simple.  Yes, it’s simple to believe in Jesus.  To depend on Him.  To trust Him like a child.  Simple, but not simplistic.  It takes courage to believe.  Humility to admit my need for His forgiveness. And I have to wrestle to the ground all the doubts and fears that attack my mind.  All the clutter that robs me of clarity.  So I can see Jesus.  I have to get back to simply believing in Him.  Like a child.

 

 


Week Three: Pray with Authority

You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father (John 14:13 NLT).

As we begin week three of our 40-Day Challenge, let’s turbo-charge our prayers. That’s what happens when you combine prayer with God’s Word.

Our focus is Step Three: Pray with AUTHORITY. 

We have AUTHORITY in prayer when we are in agreement with the Word of God. Simple as that.

God’s Word works. During my atheist days,  I’d have told you the Bible was nothing but a dead book.  Imaging my surprise after I met Jesus to read that same “dead book,” only to discover that God’s Word is alive.  Active.  Powerful. Continue reading