Antioch Devotionals-April 6-10

MONDAY, APRIL 6TH Mark 14:22 (AMP)
Take As Directed by Kerry Stitch
 “While they were eating, Jesus took bread, and when he had given thanks, he broke it and gave it to his disciples, saying, “Take it; this is my body.” Mark 14:22

Our minds are bombarded with dosages, preventions, and cures these days as we navigate the COVID 19 pandemic. Medication effectiveness in trial studies is paramount and newsworthy in extending the quality of our physical lives.
But, what about our spiritual lives? Do we seek any divine, Great Physician recommended regimen or protocol to follow? The First God-ordained Lord’s Supper with the apostles would be one obvious prescription providing modeling, instruction, and a marked improvement rate. Don’t let the familiarity with the passage dilute the directive. Partaking in the Lord’s Supper affords us the opportunity to seriously check our desires horizontally and vertically. Does participating in this Holy Ordinance (even remotely from your social distancing setting) cause you to examine what you are dependent on? Not only for acknowledging the source of our salvation do we partake, but also for the commitment to grow in discipleship. Sadly, until recently many folks did not give the “what is to come” reality much thought. Is your view of this ordinance a scheduled “event” or an on-going “reminder” to check your heart? Self-checks are highly recommended for our physical health. What if they became a part of our spiritual assessments? Don’t neglect the guidelines in the coming days to lower your risk to this deadly pandemic, but also be just as diligent in your response to following your heavenly prescriptions. This might just be the heart assessment to measure any critical concerns in devotion and dependence that need immediate attention. After all, if it’s prescribed by Jesus, we would be wise to take as directed.

TUESDAY, APRIL 7TH John 1:12-13
By Nita Kay Freeman
The next day the great crowd that had come for the festival heard that Jesus was on his way to Jerusalem.  They took palm branches and went out to meet him, shouting ‘Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord!  Blessed is the king of Israel!’” John 1:12-13

What an amazing time this must have been.  None of the crowd knew what was going to happen the next week.  According to scripture, this entry into Jerusalem was much different than the other times.  This time, he rode in on a donkey, which symbolized arrival in peace.  The palm leaves that the crowd placed in Jesus’ path, symbolized the victory of the faithful!  This celebration that this great crowd was a part of began the saddest week in history, but this particular day was glorious!  
I can’t help but draw a comparison to what is going on in the world today.  For the first time in over 50 years, I won’t be in church next Sunday on Easter.  I’m not going to lie, it makes me sad.  It gives me a little anxiety.  No Easter dress, no family lunch, no Easter Bunny cake at my mother-in-laws.  It’s just an amazing celebration each year as we celebrate the resurrection of Christ.  But, we are going to make the best of it.  
Easter is not cancelled!  We will sit in our living room and watch Easter service.  I will make the bunny cake and we will have a lunch (not nearly as tasty as what my mother-in-law would have made).  We will worship together as a family, be thankful for technology that allows us to do so and we will proclaim “Hosanna! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord!”  When we can all be together again as a church family, the celebration will be glorious and we will worship the ONE who has brought us through this sad, scary time!  BLESSED IS THE KING OF ISRAEL!
WEDNESDAY, APRIL 8TH John 12:16-18
By Terri Smith
The next day the large crowd heard that Jesus was coming to Jerusalem. So they took branches of palm trees and went out to meet him, crying out, “Hosanna!  Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord, even the King of Israel!”. And Jesus found a young donkey and sat on it, just as it is written.  Fear not daughter of Zion; behold, your king is coming, sitting on a donkey’s’ colt!” His disciples did not understand these things at first, but when Jesus was glorified, then they remembered that these things had been  written about him and had been done to him.  The crowd that had been with him when he called Lazarus out of the tomb and raised him from the dead continued to bear witness.  The reason the crowd went to meet him was that they heard that he had done this sign. “ John 12:16-18

During this self-quarantined time, one thing  my friend and I have done is work puzzles.  In doing this we’ve found out that some pieces will fit but are not the correct ones. And cause the image to be distorted. But once the correct piece is found, and correctly put into place, the picture becomes clear and complete.
The people in John we were like the misplaced puzzle piece, because they didn’t understand what was taking place.  They were looking for an earthly king. Zech. 9:9. In John 12:16 it explains his disciples did not understand these things at first but when Jesus was glorified, THEN and only then did they remember that t these things were written about Him, and that they had done these things to HIM.
When the Holy Spirit showed them the truth about why Jesus died for them and rose on the third day – it was an “AH-HA” moment for them when they realized what had happened. (That piece of the puzzle in the right place completed the picture)
Father, Thank you for your word and how you help us when we cannot help ourselves… and do not understand what it going on.  Help us to take advantage of all the peace you offer us in these trying days ahead . In Your Precious and Loving Name I pray AMEN!
THURSDAY, APRIL 9TH Matthew 27:59-60
By Toya Aultman
“Joseph took the body, wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and placed it in his own new tomb that he had cut out of the rock. He rolled a big stone in front of the entrance to the tomb and went away.” Matthew 27:59-60

Our world has been turned upside down. Our new normal is not normal. I was thinking of the disciples and how their world was turned upside down so many years ago. Friday they put their leader in a tomb and sealed it. They hid in fear. Jesus was gone. Satan had won. So they thought. That Friday they were scared, much like we are today. Fears of the unknown lain before them, like they are before us. The difference in their Friday and ours? We know Sunday is coming! We know our hope didn't stay buried. He took our sins, bled, died and then; praise God! Rose again!
We may definitely have concerns and fears, but we can trust an Almighty God knowing nothing happens in this world they He doesn't allow. We can also know if He allows it, He will get glory from it. His name is being made famous around the globe in our day, in this hour because the world's only Hope did not stay in the dark tomb!
"What we’re seeing on the news, you saw on that Friday so long ago. Innocence interrupted. Goodness suffering. Mothers weeping. Just as the darkness fell on your Son, we fear the darkness falling on our friends, our family, our world. Just as our world has been shaken by a disease, our world was shaken the day the very child of Eternity was pierced. And we see the world turning to you, Father.  People encouraging people with scriptures and reminders of your sovereignty. We read posts urging us to respect each other, care for each other, and look up. We confess we have been anxious, but because of you, we have hope." -Max Lucado (portion of Covid19 prayer)
FRIDAY, APRIL 10TH Mark 15:33-34, 37
The Most Important Event in Human History
By Shawn Hammontree
“And when the sixth hour had come, there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour.  And at the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, ‘Eloi, Eloi, lema sabacthani?’ which means, ‘My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?’   And Jesus uttered a loud cry and breathed his last.”  Mark 15:33-34, 37

One of my all-time favorite hymns, Oh How He Loves You and Me, came out in 1975.  This special hymn says it all on this Good Friday.
Oh, how He loves you and me, 
Oh how He loves you and me. 
He gave his life, what more could he give?
Oh, how He loves you; 
Oh, how he loves me; 
Oh, how he loves you and me.
Jesus to Calvary did go, 
His love for sinners to show. 
What He did there brought hope from despair.
Oh, how He loves you; 
Oh, how he loves me; 
Oh, how he loves you and me.