The Moment that Changed Everything

The Moment that Changed Everything

John 19:30 (NIV)

When he had received the drink, Jesus said, “It is finished.” With that, he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.

 

Can you hear it? Do you feel the earth moving beneath you? It makes my heart beat wildly and the hair rise on the back of my neck. It’s Good Friday. That means that it’s almost here. Just a little while longer. I haven’t always felt this way about Easter. When I was a little girl, my grandmother insisted on sewing my sister and me matching dresses with cute little bonnets. The trouble was that my sister and I are seven years a part in age, so while she looked adorable at four or five, I looked ridiculous at that age. I remember brightly colored baskets filled with plastic eggs, a big chocolate bunny and other little trinkets. I can smell the ham roasting and taste the rainbow deviled egg that was made from the eggs once colored. I had no idea as a child what I know now as an adult. Easter is the greatest day in history. It was the day everything changed for me. My past, present and future all wrapped up in a single moment of time. It began on Good Friday on an old rugged cross. My Savior, my Lord, and my God hanging there on the brink of death. Bearing every sin, shame, burden and sickness, Jesus fulfilled every single line of the law for me since I had fallen short. He made sure that every weakness was sufficiently covered by His Grace. He took stripes to ensure that sickness and disease would not live in my body. The Lord allowed a crown of thorns to be pressed deep into His Precious Brow not bloody and swollen from all the beatings that He endured for me so that I could one day have the Mind of Christ to overcome the lie of the enemy. All of this for me. One might think it was over but oh no friend it was just the beginning.

 

This would be the beginning of the end. These final moments on the Cross. The disciples watching and waiting anticipating the death of their dreams and end of all hope. How could this be? This is not what they expected? The hero doesn’t die but lives to overcome the enemy. Where is He going? He promised never to leave us or forsake us but He is definitely on His Way Out. I wonder if Mary pondered this in her heart along with the promised that God had given her. Did she realize that her Son was born to die? All things thoughts on this day as the Savior of the world died.

 

This morning as I contemplate Easter, I do not for a moment discount the magnitude of this moment when Jesus died. Jesus declared it was finished. “Telelestai” is a comprehensive, comfortable and confident word. In the Greek, this is considered to be a “perfect passive indicative” which is very important. This is definitive. What exactly had been done? Jesus had fulfilled the requirement of God’s Law. He fulfilled every New Testament prophecy concerning the Messiah. Jesus ended the power of sin in that moment because it was not ineffective. The Blood of Jesus poured out in sacrifice covered every possible transgression that might keep us from peace with God. Jesus finished the Work of His Father to perfection. In that moment, the suffering of mankind found an end. No longer were we victims of the fall of humanity, but now overcomes through the Blood of Jesus Christ.

 

Jesus bowed His Head and gave up His Spirit. Two things of importance here. Most people who were crucified kept their head up to continue to breathe from such a position. At the time of death, their heads would fall after their soul left their body. But Jesus bowed His Head in submission to God first, and then He released His Spirit. His Life was not taken from Him but freely surrendered to God in absolute obedience and submission to His Father’s Supreme Power and Authority. A sacrifice is to surrender something. It cannot be taken but must be freely given. All of this in one moment and one verse that would change history forever.

 

Matthew 27:50-54 (NIV)

 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit. At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook, the rocks split and the tombs broke open. The bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. They came out of the tombs after Jesus’ resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people. When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

 

The moment that Jesus surrendered His Life, He released or gave up His Spirit. This was not the sound of His Final breath escaping along with His Soul. No He cried out in a loud definitive voice, “It is finished.” Work complete. Game over. In that second, He released His Spirit the earth quickly responded. The veil in the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. Mankind could now access God the Father all by himself. The earth responded to the Spirit as it began to quake with purpose and fulfillment. Tombs opened and many holy people who had died were raised to life. Why? They could now access Heaven through Christ – their long wait had ended. Before leaving, they went about the city. Salvation was released in that moment as the first soul saved is captured in these verses, “When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, ‘Surely he was the Son of God!’” This was the moment everything changed. Resurrection Power released by His Spirit encircling the earth. Wow…what a moment! In Acts 2:1-4, the Spirit finds His Home as He begins filling people empowering their faith to do the impossible.

 

John 11:25-26 (NIV)

Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”

 

I remember my favorite Sunday school teacher, Mrs. Strock, sharing the story of Passover around the time of Easter. I was fascinated by the story of blood on a doorpost that would cause the death angel to “pass over” that home. I had no idea of the significance. As I shared before, although we went to church on Easter, my memories are more about the holiday than the Hope found that day. That was then and this is now. As a child, I naturally anticipated Christmas more than Easter. Now, I am more excited about Easter than any other day of the year. Jesus Christ is the Resurrection and Life. Anyone who believes in Him will live and death becomes a crossover point to everlasting life. The same power that God exerted to bring Jesus back from the grave now is available to us. We can live with a holy inhabitation of the Holy Spirit that brings every dead thing back to life. He is the One who cultivates every seed sown in faith to become fruit worthy of God. Do you believe? When we believe, God’s Power fills us and the Potential in our life becomes limitless. If only we could believe…

 

I Peter 1:3-9 (NIV)

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you, who through faith are shielded by God’s power until the coming of the salvation that is ready to be revealed in the last time. In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed. Though you have not seen him, you love him; and even though you do not see him now, you believe in him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the end result of your faith, the salvation of your souls.

 

I have living hope today through the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Hope that breathes new life into everything I put my hands to as a Spirit-filled and surrendered servant of the Most High God – His Favor is in me so that when I set out to do something it is supernaturally accomplished by faith because I have the Resurrection of Christ in me. Genuine faith is of greater worth than any commodity traded on the earth. His Love produces in us something far greater that is intangible and cannot be taken by the enemy. With this idea in mind, I challenge you to see today that His Power in us is not going to change the condition of the world. It is not designed to end circumstances, change consequences or eliminate situations. His Power is here to save us. It is here to change us. It is bringing dead things to live but the world will continue to die and fade away. Things will steal be corrupted and eaten by moth. Resurrection Power is for the human soul. It is the procurement of every promise hidden in God’s Plan for us. It is produced to complete us from the inside out. The end result of faith does nothing for our natural condition but does everything for our soul condition. As our soul prospers… so will we.

 

Ephesians 1:18-23 (NIV)

I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

 

Jesus is now King Jesus. He reigns supreme with all power and authority. God gave this to Him. Jesus chose to give His Power to us. He decided to invest His Spirit in us when it was released in the atmosphere and breathed into humanity once again. We have a glorious inheritance of completion and total fulfillment possible when we surrender our life to Jesus Christ. God never intended to stop at the time of salvation though many will give their hearts to Jesus on Sunday few will every move past the moment to experience full growth and development in Jesus Christ. He offers us His Fullness but too many times, we settle for something less. Something familiar. Something comfortable. Something in an ugly shade of gray rather basking in the Light of His Love. The same power that raised Christ from the dead and exalted Him to the Right Hand of God is living and breathing in those who choose to believe. Why don’t we do what Jesus did? Why not surrender our life in submission to God? Why not release His Word, His Spirit and His Power on the earth? Why not here? Why not now? Do you believe? Lord, help my unbelief so that I can experience more of Your Power in my life today.

 

Philippians 3:10-14 (NIV)

I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead. Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

 

Yesterday, I received the wonderful, miraculous news that our son is still in remission. It has been almost two years since his bone marrow transplant. The transplant was part of a clinical trial to save his life after it was clear that cancer had the upper hand. I had the Word of God that said, “He would live and not die.” At first I carried that Word over my head like a banner that was the first time. But there would be a second, third and fourth time followed by an fifth. By the time we had been denied the final time exhausting all earthly avenues to allow him to undergo the experimental clinical trial, all I had left was God’s Promise. I bowed my head at my desk in the empty building. I did not cry and I am not sure why. I simply told God what His Promise to me was and laid it all at His Son’s Feet. I felt a burden lift. I cannot explain in when all earthy options were exhausted and we were completely denied. I still had this Word that I was clinging too although my banner now resembled the strip of paper in a fortune cookie. I clung to it. My God is not dead. My Jesus is alive. He will do as He promised. Well, as most of you probably know by now, the approval for his procedure was waiting in the fax machine the very next day. No one knows who did it or where it came from. No one cared they literally ran with it. This is not the miracle though.

 

The clinical trials all come with information that is required reading by the participant. As I read each one, I was not at all encouraged. There was a 2% survival rate among patients participating in the trial. Most died before they completed treatment and even more in the first ninety days. Of the 2% who did survive, no one made it more than two years. We have entered the twentieth month. The doctors have given him a clean bill of health. Other than some inconveniences post treatment that are considered minor, they marvel at his resilience. He has recently been able to visit another young man who is battling the same cancer. He is giving away encouragement and hope. He is a full-time engineering student at a major university who filled with the Resurrection Power of Christ never gave up faith that God would restore his life. God did it for Him. He wants to do it for you! Our son’s story is far from over. Cancer is not the climax. The wonderworking power of God inside of Him is still working its way out.

 

Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, are your pressing for the goal to win the prize for which God has called you today? Why not? Do you have dead dreams? Do you have a broken heart? Is their sickness in your body? Are you a captive fear? Whatever insufficiency is in your life today – His Grace is enough! Jesus is declaring “IT IS FINISHED” for you today. Will you believe? Will you take Him at His Word? Pass by the Cross, leave your sin and shame but move from the death to life. Claim His Resurrection Power. Let Jesus breathe His Spirit and new life in you this weekend as we celebrate an empty tomb and Risen Lord. Don’t leave this moment unchanged. Everything in your life can change in a single moment. The moment you believe. It is finished. It is over. The battle is won. You are saved, healed, delivered, and complete in the Name of Jesus Christ and His Resurrection Power. To know Jesus to know His Power to share it with others – this is my goal. This is my race the one called faith. This will be my moment that changes everything because I choose to believe.

 

I Corinthians 15:54-58 (NIV)

When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain.

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Get Finished – A Devotion

Revelation 21:5-7 (NLT) And the one sitting on the throne said, “Look, I am making everything new!” And then he said to me, “Write this down, for what I tell you is trustworthy and true.” And he also said, “It is finished! I am the Alpha and the Omega—the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the springs of the water of life.All who are victorious will inherit all these blessings, and I will be their God, and they will be my children.

 

Here in the south people are “fixing” to do a lot of things on a regular basis. It is the ultimate guise for procrastination and an excuse for those things that we begin but do not complete. I come from a long line of such people. My dad is the ultimate. He has great goals and aspirations to do many things but seldom considers the time, energy and effort that come with such a commitment. He has good intentions, but is easily distracted by the ADHD tendency that runs in our family. Our oldest daughter will be getting married in a matter of months. I encouraged her to begin going through her bedroom to pack up the things she would like to carry into her new life and discard the things of her past that she does not want or need any longer. One might think that living in the smallest bedroom in our house that this would be an easy task, but that kid has packed a lot of living (including clothes and shoes) in her ten years in there. Finally, she needed some help. Totally overwhelmed and overwrought with such a daunting task boxes and piles would surely bury her so mom came to the rescue. Honestly with all the chaos of our life with our son’s health, it is a welcome relief to organize the house. It gives me some feeling of control over my life allowing my thoughts to focus on something other than the next doctor’s appointment or cancer treatment. As we began to systematically go through her room, I realized that this was more than just a mess to clean up. Our daughter was facing the reality of change and growth in her life represented by putting away her childhood and fully entering adulthood. She would transition from her father’s house without a care or worry and move into her husband’s house to now depend on him. She is excited about her future but not necessarily about change. Let’s face it. No one likes change and fears to make such a commitment. It took a couple hours to thoroughly go through her closet from left to right, but when we finished it felt good. So good that I continued to go through the house to discover that she is not the only one who likes to hang on the past.

 

I am making everything new. It is finished. I am the Alpha and Omega. I am the Beginning and the End. To all who are thirsty I will give freely from the water of life (or I satisfy you). All who are victorious will inherit these blessings. I will be their Go. They will be my children. These are powerful promises that demonstrate the Will of God for YOUR life and mine. However, we ready the first proclamation “I will make everything new” and miss the rest of the Lord’s commentary. It is finished. When Jesus Christ came to the earth, He did so to do His Father’s Business. He came on a mission. It was not a pleasant one but He did it anyway until it was finished. We are to follow the example of Jesus Christ, though not called to die on the Cross or anywhere else for our sins, we must finish. If you are frustrated today or disappointed with how your life is turning out despite coming to Jesus Christ, I ask you. Are you committed to finishing? We call on the Name of the Lord but until we become committed to finishing the race of faith, we cannot have the new life that He has promised.

 

John 19:28-30 (NLT)

Jesus knew that his mission was now finished, and to fulfill Scripture he said, “I am thirsty.”A jar of sour wine was sitting there, so they soaked a sponge in it, put it on a hyssop branch, and held it up to his lips. When Jesus had tasted it, he said, “It is finished!” Then he bowed his head and released his spirit.

 

When Jesus Christ completed His Work on the Cross, He did two things. First He said, “It is finished.” What was finished? No longer would there be a separation from man and their Creator. Jesus Christ provided enough grace, mercy and love through His Sacrifice to allow us full access to all that God has promised for us and provided to us. We were made in right-standing or righteous once again. “Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me. He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases. He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies. He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagles! The Lord gives righteousness and justice to all who are treated unfairly.” (Psalm 103:2-6) “Yet it was our weaknesses he carried; it was our sorrowsthat weighed him down. And we thought his troubles were a punishment from God, a punishment for his own sins! But he was pierced for our rebellion, crushed for our sins. He was beaten so we could be whole. He as whipped so we could be healed. All of us, like sheep, have strayed away. We have left God’s paths to follow our own. Yet the Lord laid on him the sins of us all.” (Isaiah 53:4-6) The second thing that Jesus Christ did on the Cross was to release His Spirit. The Power of God was now free to live in the heart of mankind. This is pivotal in completing the work that has been begun in us. We came with a plan written by the Hand of God. (Psalm 139:16) It is a good plan with a future and hope. (Jeremiah 29:11) Those who seek it wholeheartedly can have it. (Jeremiah 29:13) The Spirit of God living inside of us is His Seal that marks us as His Children. It is the very identification that we need to have all that He has promised us. (2 Corinthians 1:21-22; Ephesians 1:14) When Jesus finished His Work on the Cross, He opened the pathway for us to answer the call to commit our entire life to Jesus Christ and finish it by faith. We must search our heart and mind to decide if we are willing to make such a commitment to Christ before we answer His Call.

 

Luke 14:26-29 (NLT)

“If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple. And if you do not carry your own cross and follow me, you cannot be my disciple. But don’t begin until you count the cost. For who would begin construction of a building without first calculating the cost to see if there is enough money to finish it? Otherwise, you might complete only the foundation before running out of money, and then everyone would laugh at you.”

 

Discipleship is not a forced position but a chosen one. You decide whether or not you will give your heart and life to Jesus Christ. It’s called our free will. But to say that you want to be a disciple of Jesus Christ means that you want to follow the Lord, you cannot be a disciple and do it your way. Grace is not an excuse to sin and continue to rebel without consequence. Any preacher or teacher that implies such a thing is a liar and false prophet. When we asked Jesus Christ to be our Savior, we also made Him Lord of our life. We walk His Way. Do things His Way. Talk His Way. Act His Way. We crucify our flesh and sinful desires as His Blood washes way our past indiscretions when it comes to sin, guilt and shame. We are free to finish the race of faith now. Have you considered the cost? Discipleship is a commitment to finish. It is an oath before the Lord that should not be taken lightly. It is better to finish than to start. (Ecclesiastes 7:8) Finishing is the difference between hype and commitment. (2 Corinthians 8:10-11) To begin something is a commitment to finish it. God sees it as an oath. He does not take covenant lightly. God always finishes what He begins. His Word never returns to Him void. (Isaiah 55:11) If you are not seeing the Promises of God coming to pass in your life, I wonder are you finishing what you start. Change is uncomfortable. The unknown can be a bit scary or down right petrifying. However, the Lord is finishing the work that He began inside of you and will not give up until you are complete lacking no good thing. (Philippians 1:6) Remember, He gave you His Spirit who is there to help you accomplish this thing called faith and be successful in prosperity. Prosperity begins in our soul. (3 John 1:2) Prosperity to is to bring to complete maturity.

 

Hebrews 6:17-19 (NLT)

God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind. So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us. This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.

 

God’s Covenant with His People is never-ending. He made an oath that will cannot ever change because it is impossible for God to lie. So why hasn’t your promise come to pass? Why is life so hard right now? What if I am wrong about God? Well, if you can find it in His Word than you are not wrong at all. You are in the middle of your miracle right now. The only way to have it is finish by faith and confident hope in the Word of the Lord. We come wired with Eternity in our heart. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) We discover Eternity by faith. Problem is our faith must be put in the unseen reality of the Living God. The only way that we will discover this Eternity and maximize its benefits in our life is by allowing the Holy Spirit to work in us to produce confident hope as we learn to love and trust the Lord more. This is accomplished by a commitment to Christ as Lord of our life, and ongoing endurance as we settle for nothing less than God’s Best in our life. We don’t believe God due to a lack of faith. The only way to have more faith is use what we have sowing it in our life. We must go all the way back to the Old Testament and make a commitment to know and love our God. (Deuteronomy 6:4-9) To remain faithfully committed to Him, no matter how things look today. We must decide to commit everything to Him. (Psalm 37:5-6) It may sound crazy to you, but the more of your everyday life that you commit to the Lord praying about it and seeking His Direction, the more evident His Presence is in your life. We must commit our actions to the Lord. Not just how we act in church, but how we act everywhere we go in everything that we do. (Proverbs 16:3) Our lives should demonstrate our love and affection for the Lord even when He seems so far away. He’s not. He is right there inside your heart. The Lord is cheering you on because He sees what is ahead of you and all the many blessings in store for you as you commit your life to faith. We must decide that our life is worth nothing unless we use it to complete the good work begun in us by Jesus Christ. (Acts 20:24) “For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes—the Jew first and also the Gentile.This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” (Romans 1:16-17)

 

Titus 2:11-14 (NLT)

For the grace of God has been revealed, bringing salvation to all people. And we are instructed to turn from godless living and sinful pleasures. We should live in this evil world with wisdom, righteousness, and devotion to God, while we look forward with hope to that wonderful day when the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, will be revealed. He gave his life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us his very own people, totally committed to doing good deeds.

 

There are many changes in our home right now as one child prepares to leave the nest and another fights for his future. I have peace that our daughter has followed the Lord and chosen well, it does not make letting go any easier especially in a season when I am inclined to pull my children closer. I have peace that God’s Promise is “perfectly sure” when He told me that “my son would live and not die”, but that does not make watching him walk this out any easier or less heartbreaking. Faith is not easy. Confident hope takes a great deal of energy and effort. These two things allow us to have all that God has promised. They are worth fighting for. Finishing the race of faith is a complete and total commitment to Jesus Christ – He does everything else. We struggle enough just to give Him our life and wait on Him to work it all out. If you are frustrated with the lack of fruitfulness in your life, then examine the tree. Where are you planted? Is it good soil? What are you planting including your action, words and attitude? What are you committed to? Faith is not for now. Faith is for forever. It is confident hope that everything that God has promised you will come to pass. We must finish the race. It is from beginning to end. It is not written from your birth to your death but from creation to forever. Commitment to the Lord is essential in finishing the race of faith. You cannot do it if you do not mean what you said, count the cost and actually follow in the footsteps of Jesus Christ. To begin something is a commitment to finish. He is faithful. Are you?

 

Hebrews 10:21-24 (NLT)

And since we have a great High Priest who rules over God’s house, let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Let us hold tightly without wavering to the hope we affirm, for God can be trusted to keep his promise. Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.