Friday, April 25, 2014

Thomas and his doubts.

So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!”  Thomas said to them, “Unless I see the scars of the nails in his hands and put my finger on those scars and my hand in his side, I will not believe.” John20:25

Thomas, one of Jesus’ original disciples has the reputation of a bad boy.   The title ‘doubting Thomas’ has dogged him for the last two thousand years and I think it’s a bit unfair.  It wasn’t as if Thomas had betrayed Jesus for silver or denied him in public.   When the other disciples told him about Jesus meeting them in the upper room after his death and burial, Thomas was dubious and I reckon his reply was nothing short of sarcasm. 

 If we are honest, most of us would state something along the lines of “I’ll believe it when I see it!” when presented with something that goes beyond the boundary of credibility.   Jesus obviously wasn’t offended by Thomas’ comment, as he was quite happy to go to Thomas and ease his doubts by showing him his scars.

We all have doubts now and then.  But at the same time, I don’t think those doubts offend Jesus.  In fact, I believe it’s his desire to ease those doubts.   We just need to allow Jesus come close enough so he can ease them.

What do you think?

Thursday, April 17, 2014

The Words That Would Change The World Forever

And he (Pilate) released to them the one (Barabbas) they requested, who for rebellion and murder had been thrown into prison; but delivered Jesus to their will. Luke 23:25

In a dank room filled with acrid air, a man silently sits.

It's dark outside and he knows that his life will soon end.  He thought about begging for mercy but was told he deserves all he gets. The man hopes that his death may be quick although he also knows it will be painful.  He hears footsteps get louder as they reach the door. He looks up as the cell door swings open and he sees the guard looking directly at him. The next words uttered by the guard would change both their lives and the lives of everyone in the world forever.  "Barabbas, you are free to go."

I think we are all like Barabbas to one extent or another. We sit silently waiting for our punishment thinking if we beg for mercy, God will turn a deaf ear to us.  However, our self built cell door was swung open when Jesus said 'it is finished'.  Like Barabbas, we just have to walk through the door to claim our freedom.

What do you think?

Monday, April 14, 2014

Qualified for Jesus

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son (Jesus), so that everyone (that’s you and me) who believes in him may not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 emphasis mine

Have you ever felt that you weren’t good enough for Jesus or maybe felt that you didn’t know the right words when you pray?   Maybe you look at others in church and you feel that they know more about the Bible than you and you feel totally lost or inadequate.

I don’t think you are alone in thinking that.

Isn’t it funny how we think there are rules about what qualifies or disqualifies someone for acceptance by Jesus?  The truth is that no one is good enough for Jesus but because Jesus himself paid the price on the cross, he made us all good enough.   When Jesus died, the curtain was torn in two; the things that separate us from the Holy of Holies have been rent apart for all eternity.  Not only that, God, in the form of the Holy Spirit came to live within the hearts of all believers everywhere.

The God who created the stars in the sky and the grains of sand on the beach is now no further than a whisper or a thought away.    We don’t need to know special words or certain rituals to connect with Jesus.  We simply need to know Jesus and that and that alone is what qualifies us. 

What do you think?

Monday, April 7, 2014

God's Kneads his Church

In response to all he has done for us, let us outdo each other in being helpful and kind to each other and in doing good.  Let us not neglect our church meetings, as some people do, but encourage and warn each other, especially now that the day of his coming back again is drawing near.  Hebrews 10:24,25

The other morning I was in the kitchen kneading pizza dough.  I reckon if I was pizza dough, I wouldn’t like to be kneaded because it would hurt. But then again, the kneading would make me a better pizza, which is the point of the exercise, I guess.  

 It occurred to me that a cook can take a few ordinary ingredients and turn their finished dish into something delicious.   For the record, my dough was made of flour, water, yeast, sugar, salt, and oil, and according to my husband, my pizza base is scrumptious. However, if I had left out just one of those ingredients, the dough would have turned out flavourless and according to my husband ‘a bit of a failure’. 

I reckon God looks at his church the way a cook looks at his or her dough.  He takes ordinary people and kneads us together, even if that kneading makes us uncomfortable and at times we can feel hurt.  This kneading teaches us grace and love and patience towards one another. And it’s through this process of gaining grace, love and patience, we, the church, becomes a powerful world changer.  But at the same time, if just one of those seemingly ordinary people are missing, the church can turn out somewhat flavourless.  

In my opinion, each and every person, no matter how ordinary or minute they feel, are a valuable ingredient in making a powerful world changing church.   Each and every person is necessary to God’s flavourful church. 

What do you think?