Bryan’s Gems – ‘It Is Finished”

This one truly is a gem to be shared. I believe you will be blessed.

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It Is Finished

http://readthegreek.blogspot.com/2014/05/it-is-finished.html

Any who have heard the gospel of Jesus Christ know at least in some sense what He accomplished.
He died at the hands of our fathers in order to free us.  It was a gruesome death.  Prior to dying on the cross, He suffered torture, humiliation, and shame.  Worst of all, He became sin for us. 

Here’s what the gospel of John tells us about what He did when He realized His mission had been accomplished:

John 19:28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the Scripture might be fulfilled, said, ” I thirst!” 29 Now a vessel full of sour wine was sitting there; and they filled a sponge with sour wine, put it on hyssop, and put it to His mouth. 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, ” It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

He took a drink and passed into death.  I don’t know about the rest of you guys, but this passage of John always had a sense of a feeling of relief in it.  Not just relief from the physical and emotional pain of the crucifixion, but relief in having accomplished a monumental task.  But He was God, in the flesh, so why would He be relieved that it was over for any reason other than being released from the pain?

Sometimes I think we get so caught up in the God-likeness of Jesus that we forget that He was, and is, a man.  His favorite title for Himself was Son of Man, after all.  That’s no coincident.  In order for Him to be fully God and fully man, He’d have to have a soul.  Perfect in every way, yes, but a soul none-the-less.  Jesus was fully lead by the Holy Spirit and obedient in every way, but because of His soul, He suffered like we do. 

Don’t believe me?  Consider the following scriptures:

Matt 26:36 Then Jesus came with them to a place called Gethsemane, and said to the disciples, ” Sit here while I go and pray over there.” 37 And He took with Him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and He began to be sorrowful and deeply distressed. 38 Then He said to them, ” My soul is exceedingly sorrowful, even to death. Stay here and watch with Me.”

He was in so much intense turmoil, in fact, that He asked The Father if there were any way “this cup” could be taken away from Him:

Luke 22:41 And He was withdrawn from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and prayed, 42 saying, ” Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done.”

Scripture goes on to mention that Jesus was so completely distressed that He started to sweat blood:

Luke 22:43 Then an angel appeared to Him from heaven, strengthening Him. 44 And being in agony, He prayed more earnestly. Then His sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground.

This is actually a real physical condition.  It is brought on by extreme levels of stress.  Jesus was so stressed by what was about to happen that even an angel that was sent to strengthen Him couldn’t relieve the stress.

Have you ever had to face something so stressful that you sweat blood?  How about something so stressful that you couldn’t sleep or eat?  Maybe something that made you sick to your stomach?  We all know stress to varying degrees.  There are even some who have sweat blood like Jesus did.  The closest I’ve come to that kind of stress is running a 3.1 mile race. 

I ran cross country races as a freshman and sophomore in high school.  I found that, while I had the physical frame for it (lanky), I wasn’t very well conditioned to running.  Maybe I was too skinny.  I ended up at the end of my sophomore year with stress fractures in both shins yet still able to run a mile on a track in 5 minutes flat.  What I lacked in physical ability, I made up for with heart.  You see, I never really had any sense of worth until I discovered running.  It was the one place, the one sport, where tenacity alone could see you through.  I resolved to prove myself worthy, no matter the cost.

I trained hard.  I gained in strength and endurance.  But it didn’t matter how much I had grown physically, cross country running is a mental sport.  You can only go as fast as you are willing to endure.  The last races of the cross country season are in November.  In the north eastern U.S., that’s not a good season to be running in short shorts and a tank top.  By the first quarter-mile mark, your skin is screaming in pain.  Your eyes, nose, throat, legs, lungs, and heart will quite literally burn for upwards of 17 minutes.  That’s a long time to remain focused on a goal in the face of overwhelming pain.

Passion will push you through pain.  When your entire being is saying, “STOP NOW, WE’RE DYING!!!”, your heart will respond, “I.  WILL.  WIN.”  During a county title race when I was 15, I learned a great lesson about passion and desire.  I had about 200 meters left to run, was neck and neck with a runner from our high school’s rivals and I was one hundred percent spent.  I was beyond spent.  I was so wrecked by what I had physically pushed myself to that I literally started to descend into self-pity.  I could see the finish line and I could feel the guy beside me start to pull ahead.  “Who cares, let him go.”, I thought.  Then I saw a team mate of mine on the side line of the course, running along side us.  As I looked at him, he screamed “DIG DEEP, SIMMONS”.  I was suddenly reminded that the race wasn’t about me or my pain.  If I stopped now, it was all for nothing.  This got me angry enough to summon strength I didn’t know I had. I found myself suddenly in a full-on sprint.  I passed the guy who was pulling ahead of me and 2 more before crossing the finish line.  Thank God someone was there to catch me.  I remember thinking, “It’s over.  Oh God, it’s over.”  I was relieved, and proud.

For some reason, God related my running experiences with what Jesus did on that last day of His ministry.  Being God, Jesus knew what was coming.  The anticipation of the race was quite literally more than He could physically bear.  Stress hormones were so high in his blood stream that it broke the capillaries in His skin and caused Him to bleed from His pores.  The closest I can come to that feeling is standing at the starting line before a big race, knowing the pain that lie ahead.   I imagined myself on the side-line cheering Him on:  “DIG DEEP, JESUS!!” God showed me that this was Jesus’ big race.  He pushed beyond His physical tolerance and He finished well.  For the first time in my life, I was proud of Jesus, not as the Son of God, but as the Son of Man.

Walking it Out – Part 2: HOPE

Twelve years ago, in February and March, two life changing events occurred. The first, was an encounter during our ending worship song, in which for a moment of earthly time, I was no longer in the room. I was elsewhere, but still in a worship setting, and I was beginning to see what I was Called to do. It was but the first piece, the second of which came later in the day with my introduction to Isaiah 61 through Luke 4:18.

Five weekends later came the second event. This one plunged me into the most devastating nightmare of my life. Had this been a one weekend thing, it would not have had as great an effect. No, this was the seemingly never ending nightmare, that just continued to unfold and get worse.

This began what unfolded as a strategic assault, not just on one front, but many. There were too many layers, and too many people and circumstances, and too many dimensions for me to sort out by myself. I learned things about people and situations I never wanted to know. All my core understandings and beliefs were shaken at best, shattered at worst. But, I still had Him. That never changed. That never will.

I did my best. It’s all I could do. Did I make all the right decisions along the way, I’m sure not.. I made many mistakes, but I was trying to be obedient as best I knew how in the midst of hell, and even my mistakes were counted as good in the trying.

There were things said by those whose words carried great weight, and I took a lot of them to heart when I really should have believed in me, and Him, more. But I was just a 40 year old kid in the Kingdom, actually pretty doggone naive. Turns out, I was in the middle of other peoples messes which only made more complications. And the enemy was directly and covertly in the mix. At some point.. the war became as well a battlefield in the mind.

Sooo… after about 18 months of this nightmare, things began to turn. A door opened for me to attend a new church closer to my hometown. And God began the healing process.

I remember just a couple of months into the whole ordeal, looking up at the night sky and saying to God.. “You’re not going to rescue me this time, are You?” I’d gotten quite used to Him as my rescue. As it now turns out, I was not quite accurate. Although walking through was the course, NOW the rescue is in full operation.

This is where my new son comes in. I said in the last post that he was helping me to sort some of this stuff. But in all actuality, it’s more than that. I’m being rescued from lies and pain and mindsets and even the grip of the enemy. More on that in a bit. The healing continues. I want to share what I wrote in my journal the other morning, as I was processing this current portion of the journey.

This statement had been made, oh about a week prior and then another. And they just kept resounding…  Here’s the journal entry…

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“True love takes risks”

“I will risk your anger to guard your heart”

OK – when did that happen – sitting here after writing that statement – I guess thinking about it and how profound and beautiful it is, and how incredible it is to be loved that much – Suddenly my heart swells with so much love, in a way I’ve not felt in a long long time.

And I find myself asking –

Am I really ready to have my heart wide open again? To Love without fear? To love without reservation, walls, guard or caution?

I don’t think I ever saw that as a possibility again. In fact, I forgot what it felt like. I really did.

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Much has happened since that morning, so I did not get to share it. Today I finally sat down with it again. I knew that morning I needed to share it. Maybe I just needed more pieces first. So here’s today’s journaling.. with and without maybe some editing. 🙂

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Perfect love casts out fear.

In this process, there are some things that have been presented, sometimes in type; sometimes – a voice over a phone line; sometimes with an expression, a look that can be recalled with the tone of voice and emphasis. These replay. Sometimes when I least expect it. Mostly, just when needed. They’ve become not only building blocks, but a sword in my hand to do battle with – truths to cut down lies.

It’s working – quickly and effectively.

It’s most often in the uncomfortable silences – seemingly left alone, that the thoughts come, the ‘voices’ that lie, that challenge, that try to unglue.

But these nuggets of truth – you are loved, you are safe, I won’t leave, I won’t harm you, I will protect you, your heart is important to me… You are important to me; you are important to God, etc – these are beginning to combat the lies. And these are beginning to combat words previously on repeat. [Some of those truths have been spoken outright, some ‘gleaned’ from other statements, but still given by God to me as truths to grab hold of.]

When fear says, ‘I can’t trust this’, I remember: ‘I’ve been given a son”… ‘Will you visit?” “Certainly”.

When fear says – “you’ve been abandoned” – Love says, here I am, I am, “I’m not slow, I’m patient”.

When fear says – I won’t be rescued, Love said I’m rescuing you now.

When fear says – I’m scared of …. the dark, what I don’t understand, the pain, etc. “I am your Protector”; ‘I am very protective of your eye”; “I will fight to the death to see your dreams and your calling come to pass”; “Have you been fighting for me?””Always”, “since the day I met you”.

 “You are part of My household, I am obligated to protect you”

“Michael has been sent to guard you in this process”

God wants me free, even more than I want to be free.

He said He was going to heal me.. every molecule of my being. Though I’ve ‘reminded’ Him, and me of this promise, I think I may have given up on being that healed and restored. But He’s doing it, NOW, in ways that are so much greater then I could have hoped for.

I’ve learned truth about Him in the last couple of weeks, much in part due to these truths that have been coming my way through Love. When the lies come, the truth comes also, and I can grab what’s true and choose it over what had appeared true. Some of that is choosing to believe in the someone whom was sent to help, with an overwhelming amount of evidence to back it up. Every time I’ve done this, more truth has been revealed. And in the process, that which was stolen or misplaced, is starting to get set back in it’s rightful place. I’m being rebuilt from the inside out.

For months I thought, this nightmare will be over soon. For years then I thought, anytime now, we’ll turn the corner. For years I had my eyes on the wrong reality. Cause for years, what seemed like a nightmare for which there was no remedy, was actually a time of preparation, to walk in the promise first given that year, before all hell broke loose. To be honest.. the greatest blessings and encounters of my life have come throughout the last 12 years (God encounters). New history being made with Him. New understanding released. You can’t walk anyone else through something you’ve not walked through, nor can you truly understand it. There have been giftings unwrapped and released. There has been teaching and exposure to Kingdom realities that might never have come, had I not had the catalysts for change.

Though I can’t say I yet understand what really happened, or why He allowed it, I can finally say, with full belief, that’s it going to be ok. I can breath. I’m going to be ok. Redeemed and restored to the fullness of His original creative purposes. I will walk in all that He destined for me. And I have this nugget to hold on to in the midst of the journey:

My son has seen my best, and will not stop believing in it and fighting for it, until the fullness of its manifestation is in the now. And when doubt rises, I will continue to knock it down, cause God is faithful. What He said He will do. His words will not return to Him void.

No one really understands your journey. Maybe not even those closest to you. But God does and He is determined to collect His entire inheritance. He is not bound by time, or anything other than our will. But, I think He even knows His way around that. He is not afraid to move Heaven and Earth and even “Hell” if need be, on your behalf. In the season of shaking, let Him shake it all. He will be faithful to rebuild if you let Him, and what remains will be unshakable…

“whose voice then shook the earth; but now He has promised, saying, Yet once more I shake not only the earth, but also heaven.”  Now this, “Yet once more,” indicates the removal of those things that are being shaken, as of things that are made, that the things which cannot be shaken may remain.
Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us have grace, by which we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear”   Hebrews 12:26-8 (NKJV)

Goodness and Love

My ability to accept, believe and trust in your love

and goodness towards me

is directly related to how much I am able

to accept, believe and trust

in His Love and Goodness

So an amazing product of this relationship

as we walk it out,

is the more I trust you, the more I trust Him

and the more I trust Him

the more I can trust you.

Thank you for walking this out with me

and revealing His overwhelming Love and Goodness