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May 2 -- Jesus Still Delivers Peace

This Sunday the Gospel lesson for the day is John 20:19-22 which reads as follows: “When 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.” After he said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples rejoiced when they saw the Lord. Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” When he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit.” I asked people to email me a time when they were going through a difficult time and Jesus came to them and brought them this holy peace. I’ll be sharing a few tomorrow in the worship service on YouTube, but I wanted to share one with you today in the devotion. This was written by Art Nennig as he recounted dealing with his first heart attack back in January 2001: “I had been doing my evening workout on the Treadmill when I began to have a pain in my back. It was pretty severe and I quit my workout and went an laid on my bed. I thought I was just having another bout with back spasms that I had in the past, and I took some aspirin and had Mary Ellen ice my back. I should have known it was different, but I did not, and so I did my normal remedy and got up the next morning and went to work. As the day went on I felt worse and a number of people remarked that my color was not good. When I got home I had made up my mind that we needed to go to the ER and get checked out We went to West Allis Memorial, and sure enough, after some testing they said I had a heart attack, and they had me transferred to St Luke’s and they put me in the ICU. They kept poking me and taking blood though the night, but things seemed to get better. Our family doctor got involved and selected a Cardiologist that we would use. He came the next day and checked me out, and then scheduled me for a Catheterization as he concluded I had a blockage. For most of the day as I waited to have the Cath done, I felt pretty good. By 4:00pm I was told I would have the Cath the next day as the Cardiologist was busy all day and was not going to do the procedure that afternoon/evening and he was heading home after he finished the procedure he was on. I felt pretty good and they told me I could have something to eat. I had a sandwich and was joking around with the family when the pain started. It got severe very quickly, and they realized I was in the midst of another heart attack. Fortunately, St Luke’s has a 24 hour Cath Team that is ready to go on a moment’s notice, and they began to move me to the Cath Lab. The pain was terrible and I was given medicine to ease the pain as we moved. I remember things getting very woozy, and my family was in a panic as I was wheeled off. It seemed like forever to get to the Cath Lab, but on the way I became calm and talked to God. I told him I was not ready to leave this world, but I told Him I understood He was in charge, and if now was the time, it was up to Him. It was like I made peace with the Lord and the world, and I was no longer afraid. I had no idea what the end result would be, but I put myself into His hands. As this was the first of many times going to the Cath Lab for a stent, I had no idea what was going to happen. As many of you may know, you are awake during the Cath procedure and you can actually observe what is going on, and if you are bold, you can ask questions. I did not ask questions on this visit, but listened to what the Docs were saying and I understood that they were doing a more complicated stent procedure than normal as had gone in with two Cath lines. In the end they placed a couple stents and decided they would wait to place another stent that was needed until another time as I was too weak. The whole thing was strange as it was like I was watching from a distance, but I never got excited and I knew I was in God’s hands, I just didn’t know what the final outcome would be. As we finished and they took me back to the ICU, I knew I was in the Lord’s hands and he was going to make things better. For the remainder of the night, I was in and out of focus, I assume from the medicine, and each time I was awake I was praying and thanking the Lord for being with me. The end result of this is that I made peace with the Lord and the world. I was no longer worried about death because I knew God would be there. This has carried forward for me to today. It is strange, but this event has changed the way I look at things and it has helped me through multiple experiences with medical problems and other life experiences. When I am having difficulties, I look back to that experience and know that the Lord will always be with us and help us get through the challenges we face.” I pray this reminds you that just as Jesus appeared to the disciples, Jesus continues to appear to us in our lives. ~ God bless you all, Pastor Dan

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