It Is Finished.

Cross

Ironically called Good Friday, it is the most somber day of the year for Christians.

It was before 9am that morning when Pontius Pilate handed the badly beaten and scourged Jesus over to be crucified.  As He  carried His heavy cross, He began the agonizing climb to Golgotha, the Place of the Skull.

“Here they crucified him, and with him two others–one on each side and Jesus in the middle. Pilate had a notice prepared and fastened to the cross. It read: ‘JESUS OF NAZARETH, THE KING OF THE JEWS…’ (John 19:18-19 NIV).

The criminal on one side of Jesus threw insults at Him asking if He were Christ, why didn’t He save Himself and them? The other criminal feared God and rebuked the other criminal, saying Jesus had not done anything wrong. The criminal humbly said,

“Jesus, remember me when you come into Your Kingdom.’ Jesus answered  him, ‘I tell you the truth, today you will be with Me in paradise. ‘ “ (Luke 23:42-43 NIV).

Like the two criminals, one on each side of Jesus, we are given a choice. Perhaps that’s why there were two criminals being crucified beside Him– not one, not five, but two–because of THE choice.

To accept Jesus as our King of King and Lord of Lords or not.

To ask Jesus to remember you in His Kingdom or not.

To hurl insults at Jesus or honor Jesus with humble praises.

Have you humbly asked for Jesus to remember you as His and to join Him in the paradise of eternal life?

“…Jesus said, ‘It is finished.’ With that, He bowed his head and gave up His spirit.” –John 30b NIV

The Greek word “Telelestai” means “It is finished.” During New Testament times the word “Tetelestai” would have been stamped or written on business documents or receipts to indicate that a bill had been “Paid in Full.” The connection between this common business transaction stamp and the Ultimate Transaction Jesus accomplished on the cross was conveyed crystal clear in the Gospel of John with Jesus’ words.

Sweet friend, you are so loved. Jesus paid a sin debt He did not owe because we owed a sin debt we could not pay.

One of my favorite hymns, “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” includes the following tender, honest revelation. May these words echo in our souls this Easter and each day of our lives.

Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom.

Reflect:

–Please try to fathom how deep Jesus’ Love is for you. How will you show your gratitude and tell others? Please comment.

–Which crucified criminal beside Jesus do you relate to?

Renew:

–Please read Psalm 22 and compare it to the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John story of Jesus death and resurrection.

–“All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord, and all the families of the nations will bow down before Him, for dominion belongs to the Lord and He rules over the nations…They will proclaim His righteousness to a people yet unborn–for He has done it.” –Psalm 22: 27, 28, 31 NIV (written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection).

–“But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon Him, and by His wounds we are healed. We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” –Isaiah 53:5-6 NIV (written hundreds of years before Jesus’ birth, death, and resurrection).

–“For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a Lamb without blemish or defect.” –1 Peter 1:18-19 NIV

Recharge:

–Friday’s here; Sunday’s coming!!!

Resource:

To view a wonderful rendition of “How Deep the Father’s Love For Us,” by Selah, please watch this link: How Deep the Father’s Love For Us

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Loving Deeply: Healing an Unhealable Marriage

By Guest Blogger Teresa Tarrant

Editor’s Note: Please welcome one of my precious role models, Teresa Tarrant, to “Pure Inspiration” as an encore Guest Blogger.  She is an inspiration to me and infinite others. May her story, their story, touch your heart as it did mine.

tarrants

“Love one another deeply, from the heart.” –1 Peter 1:22 NIV

Forty-four years. I have been married to the same man for 44 years. Amazing. For one thing, old people have been married 44 years…we are NOT old. For another thing, it has been a roller coaster ride, requiring both seat belt and shoulder harness!

Fortunately it has been one that GOD has patiently, lovingly and firmly kept on track. There were times I was sure we had derailed, but lo and behold, GOD’s hand guided us back to each other and to HIM.

For our 30th anniversary I decided to present my husband Guy with a video of our life together. I ruined years of carefully organized photo albums pulling visual memories of our dating, wedding (awww, such babies), first home (I still love that little house). Children (two amazing sons), pets (one dog chewed up the sprinkler system two weeks after installing….), travels, family gatherings. We cried watching it, overcome with the blessings and love…the bad times forgotten.

Just a few years earlier we were at a real crossroads in our marriage. Our older son had graduated from college and younger son was going off to college. Our glue was gone. We discussed separation. He was going to move out. My emotions vacillated between marriage and separation.

One day I woke up and found I could not stand another indecisive moment. I dropped to my knees by our bed and totally surrendered my will to God. I cried out to Him to help me know what to do. I told Him I could not live with my husband like this, and I could not imagine myself without him. I prayed for guidance and told Him I would not do one more thing unless I felt He was guiding me.

I lay on the floor weeping for quite some time until I felt a total peace come over me. It was strange. It was as if a weight had been lifted and I was not going to have to carry it any more.

Later that day I had to go to Wal-mart for cleaning supplies or something—I don’t even remember. What I do remember is how God talked to me. Yes, He very distinctly led me to the book section and showed me two books that changed my life—The Power of a Praying Wife  and Traits of a Lasting Marriage.  When I opened up this first book, the prayer I read was:

 “Lord, I lay all my expectation at your cross. I release my husband from the burden of fulfilling me in areas where I should be looking to You. Help me to accept him the way he is and not try to change him. I realize that in some ways he may never change, but at the same time, I release him to change in ways I never thought he could. I leave any changing that needs to be done in Your hands, fully accepting that neither of us is perfect and never will be. Only you, Lord, are perfect, and I look to You to perfect us.”

The prayer followed with several Bible verses, Biblically-sound doctrine for restoring me, restoring my marriage. I felt my eyes well up with tears. Could God really be telling me I needed to change and be the person my husband needs? I always thought I was…that he just wasn’t the husband I needed.

Do you know that God can turn a heart from stone back to love in a matter of minutes? He can and He did. I left Wal-mart with a smile on my face and copies of the two books. When I got home I asked my husband if he would consider reading the book with me and trying to let God lead us back together. He agreed—another one of God’s miracles.  I am blessed to have a husband who has always been willing to take every effort to make our marriage work.  I knew we were going to finally have the marriage God intended for us—one of love, commitment, laughter, friendship, joy.

We still have our differences but they are handled with a very different approach. I first go to God and ask for His guidance in solving a problem; then I approach Guy. My “old” self rears its prideful head occasionally…ok, often. I recognize that God led us back into this marriage, and He will guide us through any rough patches.

We still cry when we watch that anniversary video from 14 years ago. I thank GOD and praise HIM for HIS unending patience, grace and love. HE was present in every single event, good and bad, in our lives…Growing us to be the people HE intended. I know HE was shaking HIS sweet head most of the time at our stubbornness but HIS mercies never fail.

We now have two beautiful grandchildren…hmmm, looks like it’s time for another video!

So, if you feel your marriage is off track, turn to GOD for guidance. Focus on the good times, positive memories and blessings Trust HIM. HE will not let you derail. GOD is faithful.

Reflect:

–How are you fighting for your marriage?  Please comment.

–What wisdom can you glean from Teresa and Guy’s testimony?  Please comment.

Renew:

–“Be completely humble and gentle. Be patient, bearing with one another in love.” –Ephesians 4:2 NIV

 –“Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you.”           –Ephesians 4:32 NIV

Recharge:

–What three things do you admit need changing in yourself to strengthen your marriage and/or other relationships?  Please let your spouse know today. Comment here.

Resource:

Conway, Jim and Sally. 1991. Traits of a Lasting Marriage: What Strong Marriages Have in Common. Downers Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press.

Omartian, Stormie. 1997, 2014. Power of a Praying Wife. Eugene, Oregon: Harvest House Publishing.

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Are You For Real?

It is so refreshing to be around authentic people. How real, how authentic would you say you are? Do you find that you act differently around different people? You may have answered yes to that question.  I’m embarrassed to say that my answer was yes.

A well-respected Christian leader said that she wanted to strive to be the same person 24 hours a day, seven days a week, no matter where she is or who she is around. Wow. That statement sets the bar pretty high. That is the standard I pray to reach one day… one day. The journey is long.

I feel blessed to surround myself intentionally with authentic friends and mentors. You know–those people who are unpretentious, humble, can laugh at themselves, have servant hearts. People who talk the same about you to your face as behind your back. When these people/friends give you feedback, it’s mostly positive and uplifting, and even when it’s needed constructive criticism, it is uttered to your face and not only behind your back.

Have you ever overheard someone speaking positively about you? What a sweet treat. Now, have you overheard someone speaking negatively about you?  How did it make you feel?

Today is a new day. Let’s get real. What does “getting real” mean, you might ask? I heard a mentor say that success is treating our friends like family and our family like friends.  To me, that is what being real, being authentic means.

Reflect:

–Who are some people in your life who are real/authentic? Please comment.

–Who are you when no one is around?

–Who is the REAL, authentic you?

Renew:

–“Therefore, encourage each other and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing.” –1 Thessalonians 5:11 NIV

“Similarly, encourage the young men to be self-controlled. In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.” –Titus 2:6-9 NIV

–“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear gifts? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water. –James 3:9-12 NIV

 Recharge:

–What will you do be more real? Please comment on some ways to be more real.

–Call an authentic friend/mentor with whom to spend some intentional time this week.

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