Bristol Motor Speedway is hosting an Easter Celebration outside of the track @ 4pm on April 17.
In order to accommodate those in our industry space to enjoy the event, there will be a special area designated for you. With that said, if you will be attending, please let me know. The track wants to make sure there will be ample space for everyone. There will also be an area for golf cart parking.
Simply reply to this thread or send me a message if you will be attending!!
Please accept our sincere apologies. The MRO CC will not be available in Richmond due to unforeseen repairs on the toter home and community center trailer. We will be back to our regular schedule in Martinsville. Thanks for your understanding!!
Now Thomas (also known as Didymus), one of the Twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord!” But he said to them, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.”
A week later His disciples were in the house again, and Thomas was with them. Though the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” Then He said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see My hands. Reach out your hand and put it into My side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen Me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.’”
“Jesus performed many other signs in the presence of His disciples, which are not recorded in this book. But these are written that you may believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in His name.” John 20:24-31
Doubt gets a bad rap in many Christian circles. In today’s passage, we see someone whose uncertainty became so well known, his name became synonymous with doubt. “Doubting Thomas” is about as desirable a nickname as “Party Pooper” or “Debbie Downer.” Feeling doubt would likely not be anyone’s preference, just as most people prefer not to feel discomfort, sadness or anger.
But is doubt bad?
Many people add insult to injury by heaping shame on themselves when they feel doubt. But like discomfort, sadness and anger, doubt is not wrong in and of itself.
Look at how Jesus responds to Thomas, who doubted even his fellow disciples’ eyewitness testimony. He isn’t harsh with His friend, but He offers to meet him exactly where he is. He provides what Thomas needs to move from doubt to trust that Jesus is exactly who He says He is.
Jesus goes on to give a blessing for all who won’t have the opportunity to touch Him in the same way Thomas did but who will hear and believe nonetheless. Thomas’ story ought not to be used to shame or discourage anyone. Instead, Jesus went out of His way to comfort and encourage His followers.
If a little child falls, good parents don’t stand over them, arms crossed, foot tapping, yelling for them to get up or be disowned. A good parent goes to the child, offering a hand and an encouraging word. God is a good Father. He is patient and kind. Even when we cannot sense Him close by, we can keep calling out and trust that He hears, He cares and He will respond in love.
How do you feel about your doubt? How do you think Jesus feels about your doubt? Calling out for help is itself an act of faith. Don’t worry if you feel uncertain even as you call.
For a deeper dive into your doubt and how the Lord can walk you through it, consider reading Doubtless: Because Faith is Hard by Shelby Abbott.
“The person with the Spirit makes judgments about all things, but such a person is not subject to merely human judgments, for, “Who has known the mind of the Lord so as to instruct Him?” But we have the mind of Christ.” 1Corinthians 2:15-16
Stop. Take a deep breath. Inhale. Exhale. Again.
You never notice that you’re breathing unless you’re asked to breathe — like right now or at the doctor’s office. But you are constantly breathing.
It’s the same with your thoughts. Every day, all day, you make choices based on thoughts you are unaware of. Often these thoughts are negative. Lies, doubts, worries and fears creep in unnoticed.
How can you be aware of and replace negative thoughts with what is true about you, about God and about reality?
Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 2:15-16 that those who have accepted Christ “have the mind of Christ.” With Christ’s Spirit, you have the ability to think like Him.
You can begin recognizing lies you are believing by comparing your thoughts and beliefs with God’s Word. We all have lies we believe that are sometimes hard to articulate, but when we confess them and bring them into the light of God’s Word, we can experience freedom. (For example, perhaps you’re believing that you’re alone in a tough situation and have to figure it out on your own, when, in reality, if you belong to Christ, the Holy Spirit indwells you. God is with you always and longs to give you the wisdom you need.)
I practice walking in this freedom throughout my day by simply asking, “What am I honestly believing and feeling about what I’m facing right now?” Then ask, “What would God say about what I’m facing right now?” Then I pray that God would give His wisdom and lead me to answers in the Bible. When I open a dialogue with God in prayer and depend on His Spirit to guide me, God begins to replace lies with truth I find in Scripture.
Jesus fought off lies this way when Satan tempted Him in the wilderness (Matthew 4:1-11). Satan came at Jesus from all angles, including by distorting Scripture. But each time Satan tried to tempt Him, Jesus responded by quoting directly from the Old Testament. “It is written,” replied Jesus when Satan pressed Him to change stones into bread, “‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God’”
John 8:31-32 is a great reminder that holding on to Christ, the Author of truth, makes all the difference: “Jesus said, ‘If you hold to My teaching, you are really My disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free’”.
Reflect and Respond
What is a lie or worry that keeps you from the freedom that Jesus offers? Is it that you are not worthy of love? That you can’t handle whatever you are facing? That God won’t take care of you? Breathe out your negative thoughts by writing them down or saying them out loud. Then ask God what He would say about these things. What does He say about you?
Don’t know what God would say? Look for Scripture related to what you are facing. Memorize these truths. Breathe in these truths every day.
Resentment about serving builds where I used to enjoy it.
Envy rises toward people who appear to lead a simpler life.
I tabulate the work I’ve accomplished for Jesus before clocking out of good deeds for the day.
Do you, as I do, tend to function like you’re God’s employee instead of a beloved member of His family?
When I’m in this kind of funk, the story of the father and his sons in Luke 15 snaps me back to reality.
A wealthy father has two sons, and one asks for his inheritance early. This son, the younger, parties his fortune away while the other stays at the family farm, working hard to build the estate. I get that life — the life of the dutiful child.
Then the younger son returns completely broke, willing to take the place of a servant. Instead, he’s welcomed back as a cherished son.
The older brother — the responsible one — now spews his resentment. He’s never felt celebrated, and he’s angry. He was there the whole time working so hard, being so good, but missing out on life.
The father finds his older son outside the house and pleads with him. “Everything I have is yours,” the father says. “You are always with me,” he adds, pleading for deeper understanding. We are left wondering about this older brother. Does he get it? Is he ever able to receive what his father wanted to give him: an invitation into his presence, to his wealth? We are left wondering how he will respond.
Regardless of whom you identify with in Jesus’ story, this invitation is extended to you too.
If you relate to the younger son, will you come home and embrace the father waiting for you? Or will you remain far from the family, hoping to work something out on your own?
If you, like me, relate to the elder brother, will you remain in the darkness, lost outside the celebration, resentful because you worked so hard for so long to earn something that was free all along? Or will you join in on the party, accepting God’s free and complete favor extended to you through His Son, Jesus?
Spend some time reflecting on Luke 15. When have you felt lost, resentful or like you had to earn God’s acceptance? What did the older son feel that he deserved? What did the father hope his older son would see about their relationship? How is the father’s character in the story similar to or different from what you understand of God?
Alison Wilson currently works with college students at Texas A&M University.
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.”Psalm 103:8-12
“I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature. For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do — this I keep on doing. Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.
“So I find this law at work: Although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” Romans 7:15-25
Reflect And Respond
What moments or patterns of sin weigh you down? Write one or two down and confess them directly to God. Give them to Him, remembering that Christ paid for these sins and more when He died on the cross. Then read Psalm 51, knowing you are a new creation, clean and forgiven in Christ.
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by His wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
“For by one sacrifice He has made perfect forever those who are being made holy.” Hebrews 10:14
The beautiful delicately-etched drinking glass drops as if in slow motion. It can’t be grasped, so it shatters into jagged pieces as it hits the floor. The sound is final.
Some things in life can’t be glued back together — at least, not easily. Sin, which violates God’s law 1 John 3:4 and nature Romans 8:4, ravages our souls and makes them one of those things. Apart from Christ, in our sin, we’re lost in darkness and separated from God in ways that we can’t do anything about. Sin leads to death, as it fatally wounds the spirit and soul.
But God has a plan for people broken by sin. He longs to heal us. Jesus took all of your wrongdoing on Himself at the cross. The purpose of Christ’s sacrificial death, His death in your place, was to deal with your sin. Christ’s wounds heal yours when you place your faith and trust in Him to forgive you.
The sacrifice of Christ makes you right with God and brings you into a relationship with Him. It gives you a clean conscience, which brings peace with God. Because of it, you can have assurance of salvation, meaning you never have to wonder whether you can be saved. You can have the permanent gift of eternal life.
In these ways, the person who believes is perfected. To be perfected in Christ means that, while sin does remain, its penalty and power — what keeps you from God — is removed by His sacrifice. Jesus made you perfect and holy in God’s sight through His death on the cross, paying the cost for your sins.
Take time to reflect on what Christ has done on the cross for you. If you’ve never heard of Christ’s sacrifice for you, learn more here. God offers you an opportunity to be whole. Thank Him that He takes on your brokenness and binds up your wounds because He loves you.
Did you know that ever since Jesus died and rose again, each Sunday is like a mini Easter? In addition to resting, like God commanded in the Old Testament, the first Christians remembered and celebrated Christ’s resurrection every single week.
Today, God invites you to celebrate and rest in the finished work of Christ — for you and for everyone who trusts in Him.
Then Jesus said to His disciples, “If any of you wants to be My follower, you must give up your own way, take up your cross, and follow Me.” Matthew 16:24
In When Moses received the 10 Commandments, he spent 40 days on the mountain without food or water. When the prophet Daniel waited for God’s deliverance, he fasted, confessing his sins and the sins of his country. Before Christ began His earthly ministry, He was tempted in the wilderness and He fasted. But why?
When you fast, you deny yourself the necessity of food or the pleasures of this life and, for a time, you make feeding your soul by hearing from God a higher priority than feeding your body.
When you deny yourself food (or other things you rely on), you humbly admit your dependence on God alone to meet your needs. As your metabolism slows down, so can you, and you can allow the fast-paced world to fade to background noise for a short time.
Down through history, people have fasted at times when they had an urgent prayer request, were looking for direction or were taking on a special assignment. Still, fasting — a staple of the Christian life passed down through generations — may not be as familiar to you as other spiritual disciplines, like having a personal quiet time or praying.
Because we live in a “me-first” culture, we forget that life in Christ is not all about us. We’re tempted to tell God how we want Him to act so He can make our lives easier. “Give me what I want right now. Please don’t make this painful. And by all means, keep me safe.”
Fasting allows you to line up your heart and prayer life with God’s desires rather than pursuing your own agenda. You may fast for a specific time from food or from luxuries like Netflix, social media or even chocolate. Some people fast for a day, others for a week or two, and still others might fast as long as 40 days, the entire length of Lent.
By denying yourself, you invite the Holy Spirit to examine your life and lead you into the plans He has for you.
“Jesus, I want to live in line with Your plans for my life. What are You asking me to let go of for a time so that I can listen to You more clearly?”