May 23

1 Samuel 23:16-17 (NIV) 16And Saul's son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God. 17"Don't be afraid," he said. "My father Saul will not lay a hand on you. You will be king over Israel, and I will be second to you. Even my father Saul knows this."

David was going through a difficult time in his life. He had done nothing wrong or even with any impure motives, yet King Saul was hunting him down to kill him. Not only had he done nothing wrong, but he had been a faithful servant of the king, one of the best. He had fought the King's battles and soothed him when he was troubled. He was the King's son-in-law. There was no explanation but jealousy. David never said an evil word toward the King in response to all the evil the King intended upon David.

After some time of being an exile, David was discouraged. Jonathan had made a covenant of friendship with David. He risked his own standing to go out and find and encourage David. He helped him find strength in God. This is the best thing you can do for your discouraged friends. Help them find strength in God. He is the source of any genuine strength to endure.

Jonathan gave him the often-repeated Biblical message, "Do not be afraid." Many times we think all our effort is in vain. If you are being obedient to God, it is never in vain. God will see you through. Your enemies will not triumph in the end. Jonathan told David of his convictions that one-day David would reign. He could sense it was to be. Perhaps you have a discouraged friend who needs help to find strength in God. You can encourage them not to fear. You can encourage them with what you see coming in their lives. They need to look forward to what God is doing and not get bogged down in the present turmoil.

Consider: Who can I encourage today?

May 23

Luke 24:38-40 (NIV) 38He said to them, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds? 39Look at my hands and my feet. It is I myself! Touch me and see; a ghost does not have flesh and bones, as you see I have." 40When he had said this, he showed them his hands and feet.

The disciples were still hiding for fear that they would be crucified next. Behind a locked door they wondered what to do. Had everything they hoped been completely dashed? And what was this strange report that the ladies brought back of an empty tomb. Then the two that were on the road to Emmaus declared they had seen and talked with Jesus. What could it all mean?

Suddenly Jesus stood among them! "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?" Why are we so reluctant to believe? After all they had witnessed, one would think this would not be so difficult to accept. His first sign to help them believe was to look at His hands and feet. They were the signs of what extent He would go for them, for us. He presented them first, displaying the fact that we are engraved upon His hands.

Then Jesus challenged them to touch Him to get rid of their doubts. He told them to see that He was flesh and bone. His blood had been poured out for them. He was not a spirit floating about; He was a transformed and resurrected man whose life source was no longer blood. Wouldn't it have been wonderful to watch the faces of the disciples as they turned from doubt and fear to utter wonder and worship?

To look at His hands and feet has the same affect on us. Every time we take communion we should look at His hands and feet and remember those wounds are still there because of His love for us. That gives us hope that our life source will no longer be blood. The life of flesh is in the blood, but one day our bodies will live by the Spirit.

Meditation: Whatever you are going through this day, or at this point in your life, hear Jesus' ask you, "Why are you troubled, and why do doubts rise in your minds?" Look at His hands and feet, and be at peace.