Today is: 11/18/19

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April 29-May 4, 2019

1. Center yourself (take a few deep breaths and quiet down)

2.Enter the Presence of God

Psalm 16:2,5,6,9,11

(All) I say to the LORD, “You are my Lord;
I have no good apart from you.”
(M)The LORD is my chosen portion and my cup;
you hold my lot.
(W)The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
I have a goodly heritage.
(M) My heart is glad, and my soul rejoices;
(W) My body also rests secure.
(All)11 You show me the path of life.
In your presence there is fullness of joy;
in your right hand are pleasures forevermore.

3. Confession:

Lord of mercy and power, you have demonstrated your love and life in the death of Jesus Christ on the cross and in His resurrection. We praise you. We receive this gift each day. Our life is busy. We ask you to strengthen us, to lead us, and to bless us to reach the finish line. We will honor you with our best efforts. In the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.

4. Scripture Reading:

John 20:19-31 (NIV)

19When it was evening on that day, the first day of the week, and the doors of the house where the disciples had met were locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 20After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. 21Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” 22When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained.” 24But Thomas (who was called the Twin), one of the twelve, was not with them when Jesus came. 25So 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.” 26A 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.” 27Then 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.” 28Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.” 30Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of his disciples, which are not written in this book. 31But these are written so that you may come to believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through believing you may have life in his name.

5. Thoughts to share and to ponder:

It was a disaster weekend. The group leader Jesus was crucified. The disciples were afraid, sacred, shocked, numbed. They withdrew and hid. What did the death of Jesus mean to them? Was it real? Or not real? What was the next reality? What were they going to do from now on? Where would they go? How did they explain past three years of life with Jesus? In this Sunday early morning, some of them had heard that Jesus was alive now! It was even more confusing now to them. What was this going to mean to them? They sticked together. They needed each other. None understood what they went through and how they really felt. They needed being together to support each other.

Jesus knew them. He hurried to find them. He appeared to them in dinner time around the dinner table. He did a few things there. First, He blessed them with peace greetings. He really meant peace- a calm feeling beyond understanding to clear away the fears, doubts, confusions, panics, despairs, sadness and all that had separated them from a clear picture. Their consciousness was ready to receive a new light speaking to their inner beings.

Second, he showed them his own hands where were nailed and his ribs where the blood flew. He was the one who indeed had died and came back to life. It made disciples rejoice from their inner beings. Jesus did not die. He lived. He was with them in the moment of sadness and hopelessness.

Third, Jesus affirmed them. He did not despise them. He gave them the gift of the Holy Spirit and commissioned them a mission of forgiving sins. The disciples were hurt, not because they were bad, not because they did things wrong, but because they had made the choice to follow Jesus in their lives. Who hurt them? Jesus? Sanhendriah? Pilate? Roman soldiers? Jude? entire social and political system? Could they forgive these people? Jesus empowered them with the Holy Spirit. Jesus gave them the authority and freedom to do so. Could they, would they? This would prove if they were the followers of Jesus and his Heaven Father.

It was surely a stunning and glorious moment. Thomas missed the moment. He was not in the group. Maybe he was busy. Maybe he was a loner. Maybe He just wanted to do his own grief and struggle on his own. But he realized that he should be there so that he would really believe what he heard. Jesus watched his thoughts. He decided to do as he wished. That happened a week later. Jesus told Thomas, believing in him was the most important thing, either by seeing him, or by simply believing what he heard. His being left out from the group was not really that bad. Actually, believing Jesus without seeing his physical body would be the way for all after Jesus ascended to heaven. Jesus considered it as a blessed way.

Luke intended this account to be an eyewitness to the fact that Jesus lived again. So all of us today would not have excuses to disbelieve Jesus simply because we cannot see his physical body. Peter told the first generation of Christians after Jesus: “Although you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy,9for you are receiving the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” How do we know Jesus come to us personally? In the power of the Holy Spirit, we have peace. We have joy. We receive the forgiveness of sin. We have the living hope. We are received to His love and His holiness. We hear his whispers to our inner beings. We feel a newness in our lives. We feel a new everlasting power of life in the present life. We gain a new freedom to do good and not to do bad.

Let us confess that Jesus is Christ. He is son of God. He is the Lord. May His life be leaping in us because we call upon his name and believe in him in our heart.

Prayer suggestions:

Do you truly believe that Jesus is alive again? If not, why? If, yes, have you experienced the gift he promised to give- peace, joy, the Holy Spirit, forgiveness of sin, power of forgiving, power of new life…etc.

Dear God, keep me in the newness and liveliness from your new life. Renew me daily in my everyday life contexts according to your holy word and good pleasure. Christ, live in me. Holy Spirit, breath over me. God Father, love me with your everlasting love. Thanks, Amen.

5 . Benedictions

The living Lord bless you and keep you; the loving Lord make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn His face toward you and give you peace. The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time on and forevermore.

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