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 retired Pastor, Larry Donner


John 20:24-29

But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 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.’

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.’ 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.’ Thomas answered him, ‘My Lord and my God!’ 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.’

The “Doubting Thomas Story” from John is the First Sunday after Easter Gospel text used all three years of the Lutheran Lectionary (a book appointing sections of the Bible to be read on Sundays or other days of the year).Interns and associate pastors are well-acquainted with Thomas since, invariably, they are the ones who end up preaching about him while the Lead Pastor flits off to Florida following a grueling Lenten/Holy Week schedule!

This is arguably the most famous Gospel story dealing with doubt but there are many others, a terrified Peter looking for water wings as he sinks into the Sea of Galilee or the male disciples thinking the women’s report of an empty tomb to be just an idle tale being two prime examples. I love all these doubt stories because the characters are so much like I am with all my doubt. Yet, despite their doubt, they end of becoming strong witnesses to faith in Jesus. I take heart in that because it gives me hope and affirms what one of my favorite theologians, Paul Tillich, states: Doubt is not the opposite of faith; it is one element of faith.”

Let’s be clear: doubt is neither unfaithful nor sinful. It’s merely part of that normal human wrestling we do with God that I wrote about yesterday. Grappling with doubt often leads to an even greater faith as we find ourselves yet again in the grip of a loving God. Think here of Job who, losing everything, is immersed in doubt but then emerges with a faith that lacks for nothing. Or Thomas, who cannot – will not – believe without benefit of the same proof all the other disciples already received, but then when met by the living Jesus expresses one of the greatest exclamations of faith we find in Scripture: “My Lord and my God!”

Sure, Jesus says, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” He is talking about us here. But he is not condemning us should we doubt. He is allowing us to embrace it and then providing the means for our doubt to be overcome by his grace in scars on hands and feet, in bread and wine, in reconciling words, in loving actions, and in all the other ways we are met by the living Lord. Such is the love of Christ that faith is found through doubt.

The next time you are wracked by doubt, remember good old Thomas – the patron saint of all us doubters – and the fact that his story is misnamed. It should be titled “The Believing Thomas Story,”

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«January 2022»

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