It is finished: Personal Application

Jesus cross

The Easter Bible study at my local assembly last evening was extremely enlightening. Each presenter shared messages on these five topics: The Upper Room, The Garden, The Trials, The Crucifixion and The Grave. Each one of them was outstanding and biblically sound. However, the one that shifted me and my perspective on Kingdom assignment was The Crucifixion. Elder Anthony Eagleton focused on Jesus’ three words on the Cross.
You probably guessed them…

“It is finished!”

Elder Anthony shared with the audience, in essence, that Jesus made a public declaration that everything His Father had assigned to Him was completed. Every task on Jesus’ “To-do” list was checked, “Completed.” IT IS FINISHED!

This morning, those words were still in my spirit. During my meditation and devotion, I pondered Jesus’ words more deeply— “It is finished.” My perception was challenged as I thought and prayed about my Kingdom assignment. As I sat in the presence of the Lord, I asked: Will I be able to say, “It is finished?” I had to refocus and continue assessing my life in regard to God’s purpose, basically why I was born.

Am I doing what has been assigned to me?

What am I doing that has nothing to do with what God has purposed for my life in this season?

If I lose focus on my specific assignment, I risk incomplete tasks assigned to me because I am doing something that is not on my “to-do-list” from God. When we are graced with natural skills, talents (gifts) and abilities, it is easy to get distracted by just doing good works, even church activities. But is it what God has assigned? Does it have eternal purpose? Yes, every good and perfect gift, our talents and abilities are from the Father of lights. However, they are given to use in collaboration with our perpetual call and Kingdom purpose. For example, Simon Peter, Andrew, James and John were skilled fishermen by trade. However, their assignment was to become fishers of men for the eternal purposes of God—leaders and builders of Christ’s church.

Elder Eagleton’s message about Jesus’ three words on the Cross before He gave up the ghost reminded me of the importance of being focused and committed to my Kingdom assignment and the perpetual call of God on my life. When we are chosen by God, sometimes we are so focused on our inadequacy, weaknesses and imperfections that we become so fearful that we settle for the busyness of church activities. Truth is Kingdom assignment is not about our weaknesses and imperfections. Kingdom assignment is what we are supernaturally anointed (empowered, enabled, equipped and qualified) by God to do. Kingdom assignment is about God’s power, faithfulness, grace, and our obedience.We just have to say, “Yes, Lord” and trust Him to work through us.

If those of us who know our specific calling and assigned area of ministry are not careful to discern Kingdom assignment from church activities, we can become comfortable with  doing good works and activities instead of being focused, consistent and driven by God’s purpose and specific assignment. For example, the 1st Century church was doing a good work—serving food to the poor in Acts 6:1-4. A complaint of discrimination arose by one group against another. Although it was a good work, the apostles discerned it should be administered by others, so they could focus on their specific assignment. They assigned serving tables to others qualified to handle that responsibility. They understood that it was not appropriate for them to neglect their specific assignment—teaching the word of God. In verse 4, they said, “…we will devote ourselves [steadfastly] to prayer and to the ministry of the word.” (Amplified). Please do not misunderstand what I am saying. I am not demeaning church activities.  They are necessary in the life of the church and must be done. However, busyness in church activities should not become a comfort zone or a substitute for our Kingdom assignment.

While I sat meditating and listening, the Holy Spirit reminded me of how I was directed to Acts 6:1-4 years ago when I was working a 9-5. After six years, here I am a retiree refocusing and redirecting my attention to my specific assignment—prayer and the ministry of God’s Word. Everything else is now secondary.

To complete my assignment, I must also say what Jesus said:

I must work the works of Him who sent me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work” (John 9:4).

I must work diligently to declare as Jesus did, “It is finished,” I completed the tasks that the Father assigned to me.

 

 

Copyright 2018, Queen E. Phillips, Majestic Worldwide Ministries, Inc.

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My Hope is Secure

033013_2144_Bittersweet1.jpgHow do you define hopeless?  Hopeless is having no expectation of good or change for the better. I admit, there has been some “seemingly” hopeless situations since accepting Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord.  However, that was before I really grasped the magnitude of His finished works on the Cross and His resurrection after three (3) days.

Watching the last episode of the video, “The Easter Experience” made me realize that as a Christian I should never conclude that I am in a hopeless situation or condition.

Hopelessness made the disciples abandon Jesus in fear and to hide after His death. The external circumstances (Jesus’ arrest) gave the appearance that there was no hope of being free from Roman rule.  They did not expect any good or change for the better; therefore they did not trust Him based on His promise to rise from the dead, although He warned them of His impending death and assured them of His resurrection.  Their focus was on the natural; therefore they just didn’t get it until after a personal encounter with the risen Savior and the spiritual transformation that changed the course of their life on the day of Pentecost. Then hope sprang forth like the branches and leaves on a “seemingly” dead tree11090882_798945466850515_4922663398283889637_o in spring.

So it is with us. Our personal experience or encounter with the risen Lord through the power of the Holy Spirit changes our bleak outlook and we have hope.  Like the disciples, we often feel hopeless because we focus more on the external circumstances, but if Christ is our personal Savior and Lord, we have hope in spite of the externals.  We find hope in His Word regardless of what is naturally visible, or the external circumstances that are unpleasant for a season.  God always causes us to triumph in Christ (2 Corinthians 2:14).

What situation have you been in that you did not expect any good to come out of it, or things to get better for you? Are things so bad that you have concluded that there is no hope? If so, I want to encourage you!  Keep believing and trusting God to keep His promises. There is always hope as long as you are breathing.

Jesus Christ is the source of our hope. He will fill us with joy and peace in the midst of difficulty if we trust in Him.

Romans 15:4 declares, “…the Scriptures give us hope and encouragement as we wait patiently for God’s promises to be fulfilled.”

We know that the promise of the Savior has been fulfilled (Luke 2:1-7). We know that the promise of the Comforter (Holy Spirit) has been fulfilled (John 15:26; Acts 2:1-4). What has God promised you that has already been fulfilled?  What promises are you patiently waiting for fulfillment?  Keep expecting! Don’t give up hope; God is faithful.

I pray that Easter Sunday (Resurrection Day) will remind you that our hope is eternally secure in Christ. His resurrection gives us the assurance that what God promise is revealed either in this life or thereafter.

Always hopeful,

Bittersweet

This weekend is different from any I’ve experienced in my adulthood. I really don’t have the words to express all that I’m feeling. I have been on an emotional roller coaster of sadness and gladness since earlier in the week when I began reading St. Mark’s recording of Jesus’ final hours before being crucified. Here’s what Mark wrote:

32 Then they came to a place which was named Gethsemane; and He said to His disciples, “Sit here while I pray.” 33 And He took Peter, James, and John with Him, and He began to be troubled and deeply distressed. 34 Then He said to them, “My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch.”

35 He went a little farther, and fell on the ground, and prayed that if it were possible, the hour might pass from Him. 36 And He said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for You. Take this cup away from Me; nevertheless, not what I will, but what You will.”

37 Then He came and found them sleeping, and said to Peter, “Simon, are you sleeping? Could you not watch one hour? 38 Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

39 Again He went away and prayed, and spoke the same words. 40 And when He returned, He found them asleep again, for their eyes were heavy; and they did not know what to answer Him.

41 Then He came the third time and said to them, “Are you still sleeping and resting? It is enough! The hour has come; behold, the Son of Man is being betrayed into the hands of sinners. 42 Rise, let us be going. See, My betrayer is at hand.”

As never before, I am convinced that He knows the depth of emotional pain and mental anguish. Because of what He experienced in that place where the reality of His separation from His Father took front and center, I am compelled to see, do and be better by His amazing grace. I can only imagine because all that I have suffered still is no comparison to having the weight of the world’s sin, past, present and future bear down upon you. I can only image at that moment, sorrow overpowered Him as gross darkness blanketed His soul caused by the reality of His sacrifice—separation from the Father, from all that He was, and had ever been from before the foundations of the world—pure holiness.

And when the reality of this hit me, I was overwhelmed by the liberating truth—He did it for me. Yes! I made it personal. Somehow making it so personal changed my whole perspective about the meaning of it all and the benefit of it all. I was both sad and glad. I am sadden by how the whole script played out—the plot to kill, the plan to betray, the human frailty to deny, reject and abandon out of fear. And as He said, “Nevertheless….”

God’s plan doesn’t always make sense to us; however, His purposes shall always prevail and for that, I am glad. When I think about the purpose for it all….that I might be a part of God’s family, I am thankful! And the best part of the script, I read is the reason for tomorrow’s celebration! He is risen!

What about you?