Fourth Sunday after Easter
SUNDAY, May 8
It’s human to question and even doubt that what we have asked of God will be answered. When we don’t readily see what we have hoped for, it’s easy to get discouraged and move into a space of unbelief. When it seems like we have been waiting for days, months, and years, we naturally give up hope.
In today’s passage, Jesus says to the Jews, “I told you, but you don’t believe”
(v. 25, MSG). In the same way, the Bible has already told us the promises of God—promises such as Deuteronomy 31:8, which says, “God goes before you,” or Psalm 32:8, “I’ll show you the way you should go,” or Romans 8:28, which declares it’s “all working together for our good.” But still we doubt and don’t believe. The good news is we get to hope again, believe again, dream again.
Today, no matter what it looks like, our reminder is to keep believing.
Today, God, I hold onto your promises, and I choose to hope again, believe again, dream again. Amen.
You Are with Me
MONDAY, May 9
At some point in this life, each of us has felt alone. Although family, friends, colleagues, and others are around, we can still feel by ourselves. Or maybe you have an issue, problem, or situation that no one seems to understand, which causes the feeling of aloneness. We all have had moments when the way does not seem clear and the path is not as straightforward as we would like. Jesus himself cried out because he, too, was touched by the angst of loneliness.
In those cloudy moments when we feel alone, this psalm of David offers an anchor to ground us. The Scripture notes, “You are with me” (v. 4). When we embrace this truth, we can understand that we are never alone. God is with us always in whatever space or place we find ourselves. For today, be encouraged that God is with you, and you are never alone.
God, I know that you are with me and that I am not alone. Amen.
Peace to You
TUESDAY, May 10
Vocabulary.com describes peace as “a stress-free state of security and calmness that comes when there’s no fighting or war, everything coexisting in perfect harmony and freedom.” That definition describes a kind of peace based on external circumstances. But we know, for sure, that if obtaining peace is based on external circumstances in this world, then we will not have peace.
When Jesus offered the words “Peace to you,” it was because peace is ours—apart from any circumstances we may be facing. Real peace is an internal gift. When we have true peace, we don’t let ourselves become undone, because we know the battle is already won. When we have peace inside, we cease our worrying ways and instead give God thanks and praise. When we have peace on the inside, instead of complaining, we rest our mind because we realize God is good all the time. Circumstances change. God does not. Peace to you, friend.
Dear God, thank you for letting peace be mine today. I receive it. Amen.
In the Presence
WEDNESDAY, May 11
Jesus has already died and risen by the time we read of the disciple Thomas doubting. When this story is told, more often than not the focus is centered around the doubting disciple, rather than on the fact that the disciples are in the presence of Jesus. For today, Christ’s presence is the highlight.
Perhaps our days have been busy lately, and our nights have been long. Maybe we had planned to read our Bible, pray, and spend time with God, but the to-do list once again got the best of us. When other things in life grab our immediate attention, it’s easy to put being in the presence of God on the back burner. By the end of today’s passage, we read, “Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples” (v. 30). In the presence is where miracles happen. It’s where deliverance takes place, hearts are changed, and minds are transformed. It’s where the impossible becomes possible. Don’t miss being in the presence.
God, today I am thankful that I get to spend time with you and be in your presence. Amen.
THURSDAY, May 12
I know you’ve heard it a gazillion times, and it may be hard to believe, but it’s true: God loves you! There is nothing you can do to make God love you any more or any less. God loved you before the foundation of the world. People may be fickle and offer conditions to receiving their love, but thank goodness we have a God whose love is never conditional. Unconditional love is what we call perfect love. Many of us find it hard to perceive the meaning of being loved perfectly. But we are not loved only when we can feel it. The love of God is not predicated on whether we think we deserve it or not. Nor is God’s love based on whether we love God back or we have a good or bad day. At all times, we are loved by our God.
Jeremiah 31:3 says, “I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore, I have continued my faithfulness to you.” My friend, you are loved.
Kind and wise God, I am grateful that you love me unconditionally. Thank you for loving me before the foundations of the world. Amen.
FRIDAY, May 14
Did you know that there is an art to full course meals? A six-course dinner usually includes hors d’oeuvre, soup, appetizer, salad, main course, and dessert. What catches my attention in this passage in the Message translation is this verse: “You serve me a six-course dinner” (v. 5). Why a six-course dinner, and not dinner in general, or even breakfast or lunch? Because breakfast and lunch are cheaper in cost. A six-course dinner implies fine dining, a fancy meal, more extravagant in nature. It is not average—it is abundant. God, being an excellent, hospitable host, is mindful of us and doesn’t just give us any ole’ thing. At the Lord’s table, our needs are met, and we find plenty. It is the place where we are satisfied because there is more than enough. All we must do is partake. Knowing that the table has already been prepared for us, let us anticipate a feast and expect nothing less.
Great God, thank you for your abundance. Because of you, I have all that I need. Amen.