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Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Hotel Hershey tulips (click to enlarge)
Yesterday afternoon we drove up to the elaborate Hotel Hershey to view the spring bulbs.
(Click to enlarge)

"The Disciple From Missouri"

Message summary: 
In our daily text Jesus gives a wonderful word of blessed assurance to all who would believe without the benefit of being an eyewitness in subsequent generations. "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  Do you believe today?

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"Now Thomas (called 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 it.' 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'" (John 20:24-29).

When I cross over
I will shout and sing
I will know my savior
By the mark where the nails have been

I grew up in Missouri, which has the nickname "The Show Me State".
I sometimes jokingly ask, "What state did Thomas come from?" Of course, people are perplexed, but I respond by saying, "He must have been from Missouri since he essentially said 'Show me'."

Show me state tag
There are various views as to why Missouri has the "Show Me" nickname. How that nickname came about has various backgrounds but I always took it that we Missourians want to see the evidence. With all the "fake news" I find myself more and more skeptical and want proof before I accept something as true.

Thomas is often nicknamed "Doubting Thomas" based on today's Scripture portion, but in reality Thomas was an earnest seeker as evidenced by the fact that he was with the disciples a week after Resurrection Sunday and God is a rewarder of those who earnestly seek Him (Hebrews 11:6).

"Though the doors were locked Jesus came and stood among them." Apparently Jesus suddenly appeared in bodily form and gave the disciples a word of needed assurance, "Peace be with you!" before turning His attention to Thomas.

Jesus was aware of Thomas' request for evidence, either having been informed by one of the other disciples or more likely by supernatural knowledge.  He met Thomas at his point of need.

Believing Thomas
"Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe." I don't see any evidence in the text that Thomas actually exercised this offer to physically examine the signature bodily evidence on the resurrected Christ. However, some interpretive art does indicate this.

However he saw the scars and this powerful visual evidence was sufficient. He emphatically responded, "My Lord and my God!"

What happened to your hand?When our daughter Ester was little, like many children she was intrigued by boo-boo's and even more so due to her many "boo-boo's" from her frequent heart procedures and surgeries. If anyone was wearing a band-aid she would go right up to them and ask them, "What happened?" This could sometimes be quite embarrassing when she'd approach a total stranger!

She had a shirt she loved to wear with a very special picture on it.  It showed a concerned little girl looking up to Jesus, whose nail-pierced hand was stretched out to her.  With inquisitive eyes she asked, "What happened to your hand?"

Ester wore this shirt when we had a special ministry opportunity in a nursing home, She was able to illustrate my sermon as she greeted each resident and showed them her shirt!

Indeed, the nail-pierced hands of our Lord are a lasting reminder of the price paid for our redemption.  Following the inquiry of Thomas in our daily verse Jesus was quite ready to provide him with this stunning evidence of His death and resurrection.

On another occasion Jesus was recognized following the resurrection when He opened His hands to break bread with two of His disciples on the Road To Emmaus (Luke 24:35).

In our daily text Jesus gives a wonderful word of blessed assurance to all who would believe without the benefit of being an eyewitness in subsequent generations. "Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."  I believe today!

By the mark where the nails have been
By the sign upon his precious skin
I will know my savior when I come to him
By the mark where the nails have been

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Father, we consider the greatest proof of genuine love is when one lays down his life for another. We are grateful recipients of Christ's substitutionary death for us - the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Thank You for proving Your love as You endured the greatest test of love where You presented the greatest gift to humankind - forgiveness for our sins. We're eternally grateful and, though we have not seen, by faith we do believe. Amen.

Your Heart's Delight truck unloading 4/18/17
Yesterday we visited the employees of "Your Heart's Delight" a wholesale distributor of home decor items and took this photo of these three hard working men preparing to unload a container. Thankfully the boxes appeared to be light!

Lebanon County pasture scene 4/18/17
Viewing the black and white, both animals and buildings, amidst the green pastureland!

Rick and Rachel Caldwell 4/18/17
Yesterday we joined Rick and Rachel Caldwell for lunch at Red Robin in Hershey. Our friendship now spans over a decade. We first met when our children were in high school. But their son Jonah is
now married and the Caldwells have a grandson and granddaughter, for which they are especially grateful!

New house siding 4/18/17
Yesterday afternoon Lamar and Greg, the able siding crew from Smucker Home Improvement completed our siding upgrade. (Click on photo for larger view - the shakes are more visible.) Our siding had been damaged in the hail storm last month and we matched the color but used a siding that has the appearance of vinyl shakes, a material we had on our first home we purchased in the eighties. My only duty now is to replace the shutters on the brick wall below which Brooksyne painted last night.

Today's Suggested Music and
Supplemental Resources

"By The Mark"  Video  Dailey and Vincent

"I Shall Know Him"  Video  The Ball Brothers

I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
And redeemed by His side I shall stand,
I shall know Him, I shall know Him,
By the print of the nails in His hand.

"The Scars In The Hands Of Jesus"  Video
   The Florida Boys

Yes I'm headed for a home built by God alone
Hallelujah, praise the Lord, I am
Where the only thing there that's been made by man
Are the scars in the hands of Jesus

For further study on the wounds see this thoughtful sermon, "Why the Eternal Scars in Jesus’ Body?" (pdf)

Finally today: Early this morning Brooksyne and I were each working in different areas but heard a song on WDAC, our local Christian radio station that caught our attention. It places a vital Scripture text to music. "Breathed Out"  Video  Seeds Family Worship

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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