From the desk of Pastor Cherie – April 19, 2020

“I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!”- Mark 9:24

My dear St. Giles Family,

In times of struggle, it seems that our faith goes one of two ways…it either strengthens, or it wavers. We immerse ourselves more deeply in God, or we question whether God is there. And you know what? Both are ok. Because, it is in our doubts, in our questions, in our testing, we come to have a deeper relationship with God. Think about it, do you ask questions of those you have no interest in knowing? Nope. Do you want answers to the things you care nothing about? Nope. It is the time when we actively look, question and struggle that we come to have a better understanding of God and ourselves.

This is a time of struggle…let’s face it, we have never had to deal with things like this before. And you might be asking questions of God. You’re in good company, Moses did, David did, even Jesus did. And these were people of great and abiding faith.

I invite you to take some time this week in prayer, talk to God about your doubts and your struggles. Tell him of your fears and your worries. God is there to listen, to comfort, to walk with you during this time.

And our amazing St. Giles family is here with you too. We are facing these difficult times TOGETHER! Take some time today or this weekend to reach out to one another, to offer encouragement and support and to point to the HOPE that we all have, in Christ Jesus.

Don’t forget! We are live-streaming our Sunday morning message on Facebook Live and then it will be available on our St. Giles website later each day. Won’t you share this with your friends and family? This is the good news of encouragement and support you can share at this time. I will also have a copy of my message available for any who would wish to read it instead.

Please know that I am here for you, to listen, anytime. Call me, text me, email me, I’m always available for you. Missing you all, especially this weekend.

Be safe, be well, you are beloved.

Pastor Cherie

Sharing Church, Being Church, Together

To give you a fuller experience of our Sunday morning, I am including a prayer for you, the scripture reading, some hymns to think about (I have also included links you can click on to hear and see them performed) and a devotion for your day. I will also make available my sermon available in print for anyone who wishes it or wishes to pass it on to a friend.

Here’s how we can pray together, before watching our live-stream or video message or at some point today, I invite you to pray this prayer…

Prayer:

Lord God, “I do believe, but help me overcome my unbelief!” We say we believe, but we want proof. Proof of your presence, proof of your existence. We want to reach out and touch you. We want to be able to see you. But Lord, you ARE with us. We CAN see you! We can see you in each flower bursting forth from the soil after a long winter. We can see you in the sun that shines brightly to warm the earth and rains that flow down to nourish our planet. We can see you in the faces of those we love and those that love us. We can see you in the myriad of ways that we are coming together during this time of challenge to support, encourage and care for one another.

Jesus, our saviour, we know that you are with us, that you gave us life, that you gave us YOUR life, YOUR death and YOUR resurrection so that we could have life and eternal life. In that we believe.

Give us your strength, and give us great faith so that we might say, “I believe”

Amen

 

Scripture: John 20:24-31

One of the twelve disciples, Thomas (nicknamed the Twin), was not with the others when Jesus came. They told him, “We have seen the Lord!”

But he replied, “I won’t believe it unless I see the nail wounds in his hands, put my fingers into them, and place my hand into the wound in his side.”

Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said. Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and look at my hands. Put your hand into the wound in my side. Don’t be faithless any longer. Believe!”

“My Lord and my God!” Thomas exclaimed.

Then Jesus told him, “You believe because you have seen me. Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.”

The disciples saw Jesus do many other miraculous signs in addition to the ones recorded in this book. But these are written so that you may continue to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that by believing in him you will have life by the power of his name.”

Hymns for you to ponder on:

Just as I am, without one plea https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-wjbP35j6c

I know not why such wondrous grace https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZsFoFVRRYPk

My Lighthouse https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=reAlJKv7ptU

All Things Possible https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wXRNX5NrX5A

Devotion for today: from Hope in the Dark by Craig Groeschel

It’s tempting to think that many of us will reach a point in our lives where we’ll be forced to question all that we believe, and then after this struggle we’ll never doubt again. The truth, however, is that all of us test our beliefs every day. Every time you make a decision about how to respond to someone who is rude to you, your beliefs are front and center. Every time you feel that ache in your body, when your car breaks down on the same day that your spouse overdraws your checking account, you’re forced to confront your own beliefs — about human nature, about life, and about God.

The more I’ve lived life and the more I’ve sought to know and understand God, the more I’m certain that doubts are essential to our maturity as believers. If we want a stronger faith, then we might be wise to allow our doubts to stand as we work through them instead of trying to chop them out of the way.

Judging from what I see in Scripture, I’m convinced that God honors those seekers who sincerely look for the truth, just like that boy’s father who wanted to believe so badly that he asked God to help him overcome his unbelief (Mark 9:21–24). Maybe you can relate. You are like so many others who want to believe but feel like life has gotten in the way.

Even Jesus questioned His Father’s will in the garden of Gethsemane as He wrestled with accepting what He would have to suffer on the cross. And then, on the cross, He cried out in agony, My God, my God, why have you forsaken Me? — Matthew 27:46

Maybe in some strange way, God allows us to doubt Him sometimes. Maybe He knows that’s one of the ways for our faith to grow stronger. One of the best ways.

Think about it. If you understood everything completely and fully, you wouldn’t need faith, would you? But without faith, it’s impossible to please God (Hebrews 11:6). Why? Because faith and trust must emerge from love, not from a business relationship, a transaction, or some situation in which we have no choice.

If you’re in a swirl of doubt right now, don’t let it guilt you. Just turn your questions to Jesus. He doesn’t mind your lack of omniscience! He wants your questions if you’re ready to listen. Are you? Are you willing to ask honest questions? To wrestle? And more important, are you willing to listen for God’s answer?