Daily Devotions

We are thrilled to once again be sharing a daily devotion with you for the season of Advent. These inspiring devotions have been written by YOU the members of Good Shepherd.  A sincere “thank you” to everyone who opened their hearts to share a small piece of their faith journey with us.   As we journey toward Bethlehem in this season, take time each day to walk with God and experience the stirrings of the deep love that took on flesh to walk with us.  

During the four week Advent season, each Wednesday our devotion will be a video reflection by Dr. Kevin Seal, Director of Worship and Music at Good Shepherd, as he shares a teaching about the Words and Music of Advent.

Each new day’s devotion will go live directly on our webpage, goodshepherd.com at 6am, (look under the worship tab at the top right of the front page) or you can follow the link that will be sent out later each morning in an email from Good Shepherd.  

Good Shepherd Lutheran Church

Daily Devotion

by Pastor Marge Anderson

John 20: 24-29

24 But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see the mark of the nails in his hands, and put my finger in the mark of the nails and my hand in his side, I will not believe.”

26 A week later his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were shut, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here and see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it in my side. Do not doubt but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”

On the Sunday after Easter, often it is Associate Pastors who preach.  And I preached a number of those days, which was really fine with me, because every year that service had the same text to preach from: the story of doubting Thomas.

I love the story of Doubting Thomas. A few days after Jesus’ crucifixion, Thomas comes into the house where the rest of the disciples are, and they tell him the amazing story that they saw Jesus, alive. He was with them! Well, Thomas doesn’t believe them, and it takes Jesus’ reappearance to convince him. You know the story.

I love that story because I think it gives us permission to ask questions. To doubt. To examine our faith and wrestle with what God is telling us, asking us to be and do. I know faith is often portrayed as a perfect, blind trust where we follow Jesus (and the church) without question. But that is not my experience. Did any of the disciples do that? Well, Peter did trustingly get out of the boat to walk on water: but guess what? Immediately he was afraid and began to sink. Did Jesus let him drown? No, he rescued him. So if none of the 12 disciples had that perfect “faith”, how can I hope to? And isn’t it in the questioning, the wrestling that we develop spiritual muscles, a stronger faith, the courage to follow?

I am a woman of strong faith, and many doubts. Is that possible? There are so many things about God that I don’t understand. “Why do bad things happen to good people?” And there have been many things Christians were taught were an essential part of “faith” that later we believe are not really. Need I mention women being silent in church? So the story of Thomas convinces me that God welcomes a questioning faith. Having doubts does not mean we don’t have faith. 

It breaks my heart to see people leave the church because they no longer believe “what the church teaches.” Well, the church teaches that Jesus came to bring us God’s love. And our job is to receive that love and share that love. And that pretty much sums up our faith. Not all the specifics of whether the story of Noah and the Ark really happened, or exactly what prayer is, or who should receive communion. Jesus showed Thomas his wounds, even after Thomas questioned. And I have no doubt that Jesus welcomes me, even with my questions.

Did I tell you that I love the story of Doubting Thomas?  

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Danelle Buelsing

Pastor Marge, I love your statement about what the church teaches. It brings me comfort to think that the other things that we might question are not what faith is all about.

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