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Church Message
Seven Words Changed Everything!
By Pastor Stuppy

Church sponsors2 24apr14Church message imageSeven words changed his life. Private Michael Delaney lived during the time of the civil war. The battles in this war, in which brother fought against brother, were bloody; with tens of thousands losing their life or limb. Delaney was a soldier in Colorado. When his regiment, was asked to go down to New Mexico to fight the confederates, he and his wife went to the commanding officer begging him to let him stay behind to take care of his wife. The request was denied.

When the unit set out for battle, Private Delaney was with them but not for long. As they marched off, Delaney slipped out of formation and walked away. He was found about a month later and charged with desertion. The trial was a quick one. Delaney had no defense. The jury reached its verdict quickly and easily. Delaney heard seven words that would change everything - "The Court finds Private Michael Delaney guilty." He was to be executed by a firing squad at a date set at a later time.

Five months later, the record states, Delaney woke up in the dark and came to the realization that it wasn't just a bad dream. He had messed up. He was sentenced to death. He just didn't know when it would take place.

I would image that the disciples felt much the same way the day after Jesus had been arrested, tried and crucified. Was it a bad dream? No. When they came to arrest Jesus in the Garden, they deserted him, ran away in fear and hid behind locked doors. They had professed their allegiance to Jesus; how they would fight and die for him but in the end they ran away.

The women who came to the grave on Easter morning must have felt much the same way. They had pinned their hopes on Jesus. They were depending on him. Now he was gone. All that was left to be done was to give Jesus a proper burial.

On July 18, 1863, Private Michael Delaney heard seven words that changed his life. No, not the seven words of the jury which declared him guilty but rather seven words written by the President of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. On that day, the President spent several hours reading through the reports of those soldiers who were to be put to death for various reasons, including desertion. While there is no reason given why he did it, but the President signed a pardon for Private Michael Delaney. On the paper he scribbled seven words, "Let him fight instead of being shot."

In that moment Delaney was pardoned, freed from his disgraceful past by the stroke of the President's pen. He was free, forgiven. He had the chance to start over again thanks to the mercy of the President. History says he went back home and reenlisted and served for three years until the war ended.

The women who went to the tomb on Easter morning also heard seven words; seven words much more important than a military pardon. The angel they found in the tomb said, "He has risen! He is not here!"Those seven words mean that every promise he made is true. The payment for sin has been paid. The punishment we deserved was poured out on him. He defeated Satan for us. He died so we might live. The sins of our past are forgiven. Our debt's been paid. The grave is our friend. Heaven is our home.

"He has risen! He is not here!" Seven words changed everything.


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