Doubting Thomas received his name because he said he would not believe Jesus was risen unless he saw the scars himself. He may be the one most talked about as someone who doubted, but there were others. “After these things he appeared in another form to two of them, as they were walking into the country. And they went back and told the rest, but they did not believe them.” (Mark 16:12-13) In the following verse we read about Jesus rebuking them for not believing. The rebuke was not followed by any anger or punishment, but instead He assigned them work to do. “And he said to them, “Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.” (Mark 16:15) That assignment still applies to us today. Just like His disciples, we should not let an occasional doubt or fear stop us from doing His work.
Today’s reading: Mark 15-16
Early in Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians he reminds them of the source of comfort. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ’s sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.” (2 Corinthians 1:5) Later in this epistle he lists some of what he had endured; 5 times he received 39 lashes, 3 times beaten with rods, stoned one time, 3 times shipwrecked, and the list goes on. With all that he went thru, Paul is definitely qualified to give advice about enduring affliction.
Today’s reading: 2 Corinthians 1-3
Jeremiah repeated the words from God to the people, but that did not make him very popular. “And when Jeremiah had finished speaking all that the LORD had commanded him to speak to all the people, then the priests and the prophets and all the people laid hold of him, saying, “You shall die!” (Jeremiah 26:8) Jeremiah did not back down after this threat, but continued to warn the people. He was doing as God had commanded him and knew that the people needed to hear these words from God. “Then the officials and all the people said to the priests and the prophets, “This man does not deserve the sentence of death, for he has spoken to us in the name of the LORD our God.” (Jeremiah 26:16) Jeremiah is a great example to us of not being afraid to share God’s word even when it may not be the most popular.
Today’s reading: Jeremiah 22-26
Elihu gave his opinion to Job of the trials and suffering that he had endured. One good point that he made was about opportunities God provides us to repent and get our lives right with Him. His point is still fitting in our lives today. “Behold, God does all these things, twice, three times, with a man, to bring back his soul from the pit, that he may be lighted with the light of life.” (Job 33:30) We know that God does not want anyone to be lost. “…who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” (1 Timothy 2:4)
Today’s reading: Job 33-34
In chapter 49 the Psalmist reminds us that riches of this world are not to be envied nor feared. “Why should I fear in times of trouble, when the iniquity of those who cheat me surrounds me, those who trust in their wealth and boast of the abundance of their riches?” (Psalms 49:6) Money is necessary for us to live, but the pursuit of great riches has the same end for everyone who strives for it. “For he sees that even the wise die; the fool and the stupid alike must perish and leave their wealth to others.” (Psalms 49:10)
Today’s reading: Psalms 48-50
An Amalekite man came to David and gave him news of the death of Saul and Jonathan. When questioned by David how he knew they were dead, the man claimed to have taken Saul’s life at his request. Since Saul had been trying to kill David and his death meant David would now be king, the man was probably expecting to be considered a hero. David did not have the same feeling about it. “David said to him, “How is it you were not afraid to put out your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed?” Then David called one of the young men and said, “Go, execute him.” And he struck him down so that he died.” (2 Samuel 1:14-15) It is easy to be happy when something bad happens to someone who we consider an enemy, but that is not God’s will. “Do not rejoice when your enemy falls, and let not your heart be glad when he stumbles, lest the LORD see it and be displeased, and turn away his anger from him.” (Proverbs 24:17-18)
Today’s reading: 2 Samuel 1-4
After the Israelites were finally able to leave Egypt, Pharaoh and his army chased them. When the soldiers caught up to them, the Israelites were scared and said they would rather serve the Egyptians than die in the wilderness. Even after they had seen God’s power in the plagues He used to get Pharaoh to let them go, the Israelites still doubted God and complained to Moses. “And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.” (Exodus 14:13) This time He showed them His power by parting the Red Sea to allow them to cross safely. We can read this and wonder how the Israelites could have such little faith in God after all He had done for them. We know God’s power and how He always takes care of His people, but are we ever guilty of doubting His plan like the Israelites did?
Today’s reading: Exodus 13-15
The importance of prayer is emphasized by the fact that even the Son of God had a strong prayer life. One of those times of prayer we read about was before His crucifixion. “And going a little farther, he fell on the ground and prayed that, if it were possible, the hour might pass from him. And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36) He knew what He was about to be required to endure and was searching for any alternative. He even made a repeat of His request. “And again he went away and prayed, saying the same words.” (Mark 14:39) We can learn from this example that it is not wrong to pray for the same thing multiple times. We also learn that like Jesus did, we should be desiring that the answer to our prayer be God’s will even if it does not match our request.
Today’s reading: Mark 13-14
Paul knew the fruits of his labors were abounding and visible to all. He admitted this fact, but did not take credit for them. “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” (1 Corinthians 15:10) Paul knew that whatever good things or talents he had, it all came from the Lord. His desire to work hard he says was a gift from God, but he did not hold back that desire. We can all have that zeal to serve if we will look for ways (and pray for guidance) to use what God has given us. Each of us was blessed with different abilities to use in His kingdom. “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.” (Ephesians 2:10)
Today’s reading: 1 Corinthians 15-16
God told Jeremiah to go down to the Potter’s house and He would speak to him there. As the potter was working on a vessel and it messed up, he just reworked the clay and seemed pleased with his work. God uses this example to compare to His connection with His people. “O house of Israel, can I not do with you as this potter has done? declares the LORD. Behold, like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand, O house of Israel.” (Jeremiah 18:6) He gives us free will to make our own choices, but by studying His word and applying it to our lives we can be His clay.
Today’s reading: Jeremiah 17-21