Welcome to Daily Steps!
A weekly devotional message with daily scripture readings, prayer prompts, and action steps to help you spend time with Jesus and strengthen your relationship with Him.
Luke 24:6-7 “He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Remember what he told you back in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be betrayed into the hands of sinful men and be crucified, and that he would rise again on the third day.” (NLT)
You Can Believe in Happy Endings
In our post-modern culture believing in miracles, the unseen, and happy endings are considered passé. As children, we start with a rosy perspective and a willingness to believe in the impossible. Then we are bombarded by cynicism in the education system, media, and pop culture. If we’re not careful, we can end up becoming pessimistic, bitter adults unwilling to consider believing in anything we can’t see, touch, or hear. Perhaps that’s why book sales and movie attendance for science fiction and fantasy are at an all-time high. We pay money to give ourselves the permission to temporarily suspend our common-day logic and believe in the supernatural again. The more we drown ourselves in commercialized versions of the supernatural, the more extreme they seem to become. It’s one of the most ironic facts of this era — the more our appetites expand for consuming fantastical entertainment about supernatural things, the less we believe that anything supernatural can happen. Therefore, the very thing most people crave is the thing that they will never experience in real life. Instead, many choose to gaze at expensive counterfeits and lurid diversions until they feel numb and able to forget about their problems, shortcomings, and disappointments.
By sharp contrast, the early followers of Jesus expected to see supernatural occurrences frequently. During Jesus’ earthly ministry, they witnessed hundreds, if not thousands, of miracles. After His death, resurrection, and ascension into heaven, supernatural moments continued to happen, ushered in by the power of Jesus’ Spirit at work in the lives of His followers. When Jesus said, “It is finished,” while hanging on the cross, His words were prophetic, not a pronouncement of closure. The Greek word for finished — tetelestai — is used in John 19:30 in the perfect tense, so it can be translated as finished or accomplished now and on an ongoing basis in full forevermore. In other words, the work that Jesus did on the cross exploded into action through the resurrection and will continue to have just as powerful an effect on humankind tomorrow as it did on the day it was first completed. The resurrection ushered in a complete defeat of the worst ending ever — death — and then continues to lead us into abundant life here on earth and forevermore. Paul explains that the Resurrection of Jesus swallowed up death in victory for all time and that we will all be transformed. I Corinthians 15:22, says “Just as everyone dies because we all belong to Adam, everyone who belongs to Christ will be given new life.”
If believers in Jesus are promised the best happy ending of all time, then why do most Christians today have a tough time answering questions from skeptical friends who think that we believe in fairy tales and legendary heroes? First, it’s because we often try to convince them with words — and sometimes arguments — that the resurrection story is actually true, rather than just relaxing and letting the Holy Spirit whisper, guide, and illuminate their clouded thoughts in His way and in His timing. Second, we forget that the way we live provides more credible evidence about the existence of Jesus and His Resurrection than anything we could possibly say with our mouths. If it’s clear that we live with an expectation of His miraculous work to occur on a daily basis, then people around us will notice the supernatural fruit in the joy, strength, peace, and hope we exhibit in the face of life’s challenges. Only when we allow people to see us as the new creations we are becoming in Christ (2 Corinthians 5:17) will the resurrection story become so real that we are visibly and undeniably transformed in such a way that the skeptical world will be drawn in and amazed.
Daily Bible Readings
This week, as you go through the daily readings below, ask the Holy Spirit to make each of the passages deeply personal and applicable to you. (NOTE: We suggest you read each of these passages in several different versions of the Bible, including at least one paraphrase version.) As you contemplate these passages, make time to pray before and after you read them. Write down anything the Holy Spirit whispers to your soul.
Monday — Read Luke 24:1-12 and John 20:1-18. Take some time to picture yourself approaching the tomb of Jesus on Easter morning and being shocked when you see that the stone has been rolled away. Close your eyes and let your mind linger on the scene before you... the sound of birds singing in the early morning light... the cavernous echo of your footsteps as you enter the empty space where Jesus had lain following the crucifixion. As you turn and exit, imagine what it would be like to hear Jesus Himself tenderly say your name as He did with Mary. Ask the Holy Spirit to capture your imagination as you praise God for the gift of His Son and the miraculous wonder of the resurrection.
Tuesday — Read Luke 24:13-35. Once again, use your imagination to place yourself on the road to Emmaus and what it must’ve been like to hear the stranger who joins your walk tell of God’s miraculous prophecies being fulfilled through the life and sacrifice of the Messiah. Now picture what your reaction would be when He reveals Himself as Jesus. As you ponder all the ways that God assures us of His plan and His love for us, take the time to write down what you’re most thankful for during this time of renewal and hope.
Wednesday — Read Luke 24:36-53 and John 20:24-29. When most people think about Thomas, they immediately recall what he is most famous for — doubting that Jesus rose from the dead. He declares that he won’t believe it until he sees Jesus himself, even though his spiritual brothers and sisters have provided compelling and passionate eyewitness accounts of Jesus appearing in the Upper Room with them. Although it’s easy to judge Thomas harshly for his lack of belief, especially when his closest friends tell him what they saw, many of us would’ve had the same reaction. As you spend time alone with Jesus today, ask Him to search your heart and expose any areas of unbelief that you’re still struggling with. Pray that He will show you how to discern truth and trust your brothers and sisters in Christ who have experienced the supernatural movement of God. Then ask Him to help you see the miracles which He works in your life daily.
Thursday — Isaiah 53:4-5 and Romans 6:8-11. The sacrifice of Jesus makes our escape from eternal death possible. Not only that, His love for us drove Him to give His life so that we might find joy, peace, and spiritual healing this side of eternity. Re-read today’s passages out loud and very slowly, pausing after each line. When you finish, ask the Holy Spirit to make one word or phrase stand out from all the rest. As you quietly let that word surface in your mind, ask Jesus to show you why He selected that word for you today.
Friday — Revelation 21:1-7. As a believer in Jesus, your destiny has been determined, and there’s nothing you or anyone else can do to change that. You are on a journey right now that concludes with the most magnificent and astounding happy ending — eternity with the risen Savior. Your spiritual enemy here on earth will do anything between now and then to overshadow and obscure that happy ending from your imagination. In fact, the evil one is hellbent on destroying your belief that dreams do come true. As you conclude this week of Easter reflections, ask God to give you a fresh excitement and conviction in your final destination. Spend time letting the joy of being known and saved by Jesus wash over you, and then ask the Holy Spirit to help you exude that joy in the days ahead.
TAKE YOUR NEXT STEP
Grow closer to God each day and explore what it means to be a part of bringing the Kingdom of Heaven down to earth.
Want to Go Even Further?
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