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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Journey to the Cross - I Commend My Spirit

Luke tells us one more thing about Jesus’ last moments on the cross. Jesus said the words, “Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit.” Jesus had spoken to the world as He said, “It is finished.” He then spoke with His Father as He commended His spirit.

The definition of commend that applies here is to “commit to the care of another.” ( Some Bible translations say “commit” instead of “commend.” In the Biblical paraphrase, The Message, the words are “I place my life in your hands.” Placing our life into God’s hands is our final discussion topic in the series, The Seven Last Words of Christ.

Morning Meditation

Read Luke 23:46.
Luke 23:46
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. KJV

Close your eyes and place your life into God’s hands.
• How do His hands feel as they surround and protect you?
• Give Him everything that concerns, confuses, or upsets you.
• Trust in Him alone.

Morning Prayer

Ask God to reveal to you anything you haven’t placed entirely in God’s hands.
• Ask God for the willingness to trust Him with everything.
• Tell God your joys, fears, and needs. Praise Him in everything.
• Pray for knowledge of God’s will for you today and the power to carry that out.
• Ask the Holy Spirit to interpret the scriptures you are about to read.

Morning Bible Study

In Jesus’ final moments, He prayed scripture. Read David’s prayer for protection in Psalms 31:5.

Ps 31:4-5

Pull me out of the net that they have laid privily for me: for thou art my strength. Into thine hand I commit my spirit: thou hast redeemed me, O LORD God of truth. KJV

What does David ask for?

• What does he offer God?

• How is Jesus’ prayer similar to this Psalm of David?

Read David’s instruction in Psalms 37:5.

Ps 37:5

Commit thy way unto the LORD; trust also in him; and he shall bring it to pass. KJV

What two things does David tell us to do?

• What promise is made?

Throughout this Easter devotional series, we have prayed for knowledge of God’s will and the power to carry it out. God will always make a way for His will if we are willing to carry it out.

Read Proverbs 16:3.

Prov 16:3

Commit thy works unto the LORD, and thy thoughts shall be established.


The same verse in The Message, says Put GOD in charge of your work, then what you've planned will take place.

What is the instruction?

• What is the promise?

King Solomon obviously knew the secret of turning his life over to God. Read Proverbs 3:5-6.

Prov 3:5-6

Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths. KJV

How much are we to trust the Lord?

• What are we not to do?

• To whom do we give all credit?

• What is the promise?

Close the Bible Study portion of this devotion by praying the prayer in Isaiah 12:2.

Isa 12:2

Behold, God is my salvation; I will trust, and not be afraid: for the LORD JEHOVAH is my strength and my song; he also is become my salvation. KJV


What is the hardest thing you have had to turn over to God? For me, it was my children. I’ve always had an interesting collection of children. In 1975, we took in a foster child, David, who we later adopted. In 1976, I had Christopher, who was the only biological child my body would produce. In 1979, we sponsored a child, Kevin, from the Baptist Children’s home until his mother regained custody. In 1980, God sent us a precious infant girl, Kelley, who we adopted from the Children’s Home Society. Other children have lived in our home when they were in need of brief respites. In response to how many grandchildren she had, my mother-in-law said dryly, “I never know. They collect children.”

Only being able to have one biological child was a disappointment. I had pictured birthing at least four, but on Chris’s first birthday, I had an emergency hysterectomy. To add insult to injury, on the day I returned home from the surgery, Chris was demonstrating his new walking skills, collapsed in front of my eyes, and stopped breathing.

As our gracious God would have it, the railroad had trained Daddy in CPR only a week before. Daddy was downstairs working on my car and heard my screams. He rushed upstairs and used his newly acquired CPR skills to bring his grandson back to life. We later learned that Chris had severe allergies that could cause him to stop breathing at any time.

For the next 2 years, I hovered over Chris. I was frightened to leave him with anyone and wanted to stand over his crib while he slept. This was before baby monitors, so the sleep I did get was fitful. When I awakened, I rushed into his room to check his breathing. I lived in constant terror that I would find my only biological child lifeless.

The problem with living in terror is that it takes over your life. Chris was allergic to dust, so we moved into a house with no carpet. He was allergic to cigarette smoke, so I was afraid to take him into public places. I watched his diet carefully, protecting him from the evils of all his allergens. We removed corn, shellfish, apples, and many other things from our diets. I was doing everything humanly possible to protect my precious child but could get no peace.

Finally, in desperation, I prayed, God, I can’t live like this. I’m doing the best I can but it might not be enough. I haven’t had a good night’s sleep in 2 years. This fear is ruling my life. What shall I do?

I don’t know what I expected from God. It had something to do with Him revealing other ways to protect Chris or promising Chris would live to a ripe old age. Instead, I felt God whisper, Let go and trust me with your son. I don’t have any grandchildren. He’s my son too.

But God, I argued. I want guarantees. Before I trust you, I want to know he isn’t going to stop breathing.

God gave no guarantees. He just asked for my trust. That was when I learned about what I call the “Best Case/Worst Case” test. When I truly have something turned over, I can accept the worst imaginable outcome along with the best imaginable outcome. That afternoon, beside the banks of the St. Johns River in Jacksonville, Florida, I gave my son to God. I accepted that God might choose to take him home. I hoped God would let me keep him for a while longer.

I went home that afternoon, at peace. I still protected my son from his allergens but I slept at night. I took reasonable precautions about taking him in public, but we began going out. Once I had done my best, I trusted God with the rest.

Chris turned 30 years old this week. God has given me 30 precious years with him and I thanked God every day for that gift. I also know that if the outcome had been different, I would have trusted God with it. My prayer is that my faith will one day be so great that I will be equally satisfied with what I consider the worst case or the best case. For now, I still tell God how I think it should turn out, but I accept His answer.

Examine your life. Is it completely surrendered to God or are do you worry? I heard a speaker say that when we worry, we have low-grade atheism.

For today:

Think about what you worry about and ask God to help you surrender it.

• Take the “Best Case/Worst Case” test. Imagine the best and the worst scenario and give each to God.

• Pray Jesus’ prayer of, “I place my life in your hands.”

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