Redemption

Redemption

Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good; his love endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD tell their story— those he redeemed from the hand of the foe, those he gathered from the lands, from east and west, from north and south.Some wandered in desert wastelands, finding no way to a city where they could settle.  They were hungry and thirsty, and their lives ebbed away. Then they cried out to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He led them by a straight way to a city where they could settle.Let them give thanks to the LORD for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind, for he satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things. Psalms 107:1-9 NIV

Who will do all things for us when we cannot do for ourselves?

The Lord–mighty and loving in all His ways,

Never ceases to counsel, guide and forgive us,

Never willing to let us be defeated by thought or deed,

Always whispering truth and filling our hearts with love,

We have been redeemed through His Son from above.

Giving thanks to The Lord for all He has done and is doing in the lives of all who love Him. For I know that without Him in our lives, we would not be able to accomplish anything worthwhile. And though the immediate future seems uncertain and dark, my complete faith and trust is in Him, not man or woman–for I know whoever is willing to hear Him speak will obey and do all things to His glory.

The glory of The Lord covers us like a veil when we are walking the path He establishes for us and when we stray–even for a moment–we can count on His loving arms to pull us back–so nothing the enemy plans for us will ever prosper.

No, there is not one perfect human being among us, but even though we are flawed, when we are willing to obey His Word and live it on a daily basis as a demonstration of who He is and not who we are, we remain in the shelter of His love.

There is none like Him–none who carries our burdens when we give them to Him; none who loves us even when we are unlovable and none who forgives us for our waywardness, giving us chance after chance to get things right with Him.

If we have never received His love, now would be a good time–to turn to Him and away from all those things that keep us from receiving His many benefits. When we are filled with His love, we don’t have room for hate in our hearts. When we are filled with His love, compassion for others drives us to do whatever we can to help our neighbors and others in need. When we are filled with His love, we do not seek fame and glory or recognition for the things we do for we know whatever we do–He sees and rewards.

There is no need for us to wallow in self-pity or fear or unbelief. We simply need to be reminded that we have a Savior and Redeemer and His name is Jesus. Let the Redeemed of the Lord, say so! I am redeemed!

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On The Journey–RESH!

Consider my affliction and deliver me,
For I do not forget Your law.

Plead my cause and redeem me;
Revive me according to Your word.

Salvation is far from the wicked,
For they do not seek Your statutes.

Great are Your tender mercies, O LORD;
Revive me according to Your judgments.

Many are my persecutors and my enemies,
Yet I do not turn from Your testimonies.

I see the treacherous, and am disgusted,
Because they do not keep Your word.

Consider how I love Your precepts;
Revive me, O LORD, according to Your lovingkindness.

The entirety of Your word is truth,
And every one of Your righteous judgments endures forever. Psalm 119:153-160 NKJV

The 20th letter and stanza–continued recognition of the need to keep God’s Word and awareness of how others fare when they don’t.

When we have the Word hidden in our hearts and have a desire to please God, things change on the inside of us--we are forever mindful of our need for God in our lives and we should be disgusted with the ways of those who live in opposition with God’s Word. Now, “disgusted” is a little strong, but the intent serves a purpose.

Every Believer should be disgusted with sin–when we see it in others and in ourselves. We should hate sin with enough diligence to want to see it eradicated–never to be seen again; but we should never hate the sinner.

How do we separate the sin from the sinner? Sin is an act or action that is contrary to God’s Word; the sinner is the person committing the act. God hates sin and so should we; but He loves the sinner and so should we.

If God hated sinners–where would we be? Lost in our sin–hated and tainted by others. It is God’s mercy, and enduring kindness that has brought us into a knowledge of who He is and how He wants us to live–not that we were so good, but that we all–at one time–were headed in the wrong direction. But His love–sees beyond our faults and brings us to a place where we are able to realize our potential–the purpose He has for our lives.

Throughout this Psalm, the writer refers to himself–always in need of God’s direction and grateful for His statues and precepts–understanding His purpose in our lives. And though it appears that the writer is scornful of the wicked, he also intercedes on their behalf when he points out their shortcomings and acknowledges God’s lovingkindness.

What we should not miss is that no matter how many times or ways others tried to destroy him, persecuted him, and taunted him for keeping God’s Word, he stood firm.

Can we say the same? Or do we allow the enemy to entangle us with the deeds of the wicked by responding in kind when we are mistreated? Are we able to rise above the fray in the midst of a torrent of hatefulness directed at us and say, “Lord, I love to keep Your Word?”

I am reminded of the current political climate in which we see more kindergarten attitudes than maturity in the mudslinging. I am so tired of politicians who have no platform–nothing to say about their own strengths, but are always in “attack mode.” If this is the best we can do, Heaven help us all!

And while we wait for His glorious return-we pray-and continue to praise God for His goodness and for loving us enough to bring us into the knowledge of who He is and how He wants us to live.

No Shame In Our Game!

“Therefore since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance, perseverance, character, and character hope. And hope does put us to shame, because Gods’ love has been poured out into our hearts through Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.” (Romans 5:1-5 NIV)

How are we justified and don’t have to be ashamed? Our faith in the work on cross brings us into a place of redemption and relationship with Christ when we believe and accept His death was for our benefit. Since He hung on the cross, after being beaten for the sins of the world, we are forgiven and have no need to be ashamed of our past lives–before knowing Him–and have every reason to have hope in our present lives and for our future–as long as we don’t turn back to those things that kept us out of relationship with God.

Whenever I get a chance to witness to people–wherever that might be–I make a distinction in my life’s timeline–my time earth on earth. I had my BC time–before knowing Christ and how He expects me to live and my AC time–after knowing and understanding the work on the cross and receiving His love. I know without a doubt in my heart that if I had been the only person on the planet, He would have died for me and understanding that kind of love, fills me with desire to please Him, not people. Receiving His love and repenting from all that I had done, puts me in a position to live as if I had never sinned. How do I know? Because He tosses our sins into the sea of forgetfulness. If He’s not going to remind us of where we were, we shouldn’t allow anyone else to bring up past mistakes, either.

Now, in my AC time–I am yet being perfected–I have not arrived at perfection, but I’m allowing Holy Spirit to correct me daily. And this is the difference between those who know God and are in relationship with Him and those who know about God and keep doing the same “irreverent things” day after day. I know in my heart that if people really know God and have developed a relationship with Him, there are things they would no longer desire to do, since God’s love–filled to overflowing ignites desires in us to love and please Him.

When we know who we are in Him and know what we have in Him–eternal life–we have no need to be ashamed and we can walk with our heads held high, not concerned with those who want to put our lives under a microscope to see what ugliness they can discover. They may discover our ugliness–that ugliness that existed in our BC time, but in our AC time–it means absolutely nothing. However, if they have never accepted Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, their ugliness–no matter how perfect they think they are–remains for all to see because it has never been tossed into the sea of forgetfulness.

We cannot allow people–especially those who have never known our Savior–to keep us bondage to our pasts. They have no right to do so and we have no reason to be ashamed of who we have become in Christ Jesus. So, whenever anyone tries to make us ashamed of our pasts–we can look them straight in the face, holding their eyes fastened with faith in Him and declare–“There’s no shame in my game since I am still under construction!”

A question arises for them to consider: “What’s your excuse?”

The Way We Were!

“All of us also lived among them at one time, gratifying the cravings of our flesh and following its desires and thoughts. Like the rest, we were by nature deserving of wrath. But because of His great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved.” (Ephesians 2:3-5 NIV)

Memories light the corners of my mind
Misty water-colored memories of the way we were
Scattered pictures of the smiles we left behind
Smiles we gave to one another for the way we were

Can it be that it was all so simple then
Or has time rewritten every line
And if we had the chance to do it all again
Just tell me, tell me, would we, would we?
Could we, could we?

Memories may be beautiful and yet
So many memories too painful to remember
The way we were

When Barbara Streisand sang this song, it ignited thoughts of returning to a past time, understanding the good and the painful; however, when aligned with this passage of scripture, we are reminded that all of us indeed have a past, and some of it was not too pretty, and yet–we tend to criticize others for traveling the same path, we once took.
Why are we so critical of those who not have yet been introduced to Jesus Christ and certainly have not had time to develop a relationship with Him? It is easier to understand those living in sin who do not know Him more than it is acceptable for those who proclaim to know Him.  The saddest situation that one can see is for born-again Christians to support and promote a lifestyle contrary to God’s Word. It would appear that they are more interested in returning to “the way they were” before knowledge of Christ and in keeping others in a position to know God’s wrath, rather than His grace.
When Paul talks about our being dead in our transgressions–He references a point in our lives when we were spiritually dead before becoming spiritually alive--ready to receive what Holy Spirit has for us. Unfortunately, for some–being spiritually dead also lead to physical death caused by addictions and rebelliousness and a refusal to do what is right.
We see people on a daily basis whose countenances are bereft of hope and joy. They are simply going through the motions–not really enjoying life, and barely making it to see another day, with the same attitude. If we are truthful with ourselves, we recognize us–in some of those people we see–but thanks to someone who was praying for us or even noticing our bleakness–someone who cared enough to talk to us about Jesus, we are now living with hope and joy and we can smile for no reason, laugh out loud with a heartiness that is infectious and love people–no matter who they are. Thank God we are no longer the way we were, but we have been saturated with the grace of God, without regard to our former ways and we know who has redeemed us and saved us from ourselves.
Today, let’s take the time and remember the way we were–before grace--and determine within ourselves to share God’s love with others so they, too can know salvation through His Grace and have their spirits quickened through Holy Spirit. If we remember our journey to grace; our desire should be for everyone to make it to receive God’s grace for themselves before He returns. That’s love!

His Return Policy!

“I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22 NIV)

Many cities have return policies on cans, plastic, and glass beverage containers. We pay a deposit on the container and when we’re finished with it, we can return to a store to “redeem” the same amount paid for the deposit. For those who forget about the deposit paid on a container and discard them, there are those who diligently seek them in garbage cans everywhere and when they find “their treasure” they return the container for a deposit they did not pay.

God so loved the world that He came down to earth in the person of Jesus Christ, lived among us, preached what His Father said, knew He came to die for us, hung on a cross for our sins, and provided a means for us to return to a right relationship with The Father with His Resurrection.

He paid the price through His death–the deposit we could not pay and now we can capitalize on the Return by simply turning away from and stop doing those things that keep us from being in a right relationship with God.

Isaiah prophesied God sweeping away our offenses like the ever-moving clouds, (with the work on the cross) and now He’s waiting for us to return to Him, since He has already redeemed us.

He’s waiting for us to realize the treasures He has stored up for us because of His love. How long will He have to wait? For some, the deposit will never be redeemed because the desires of the flesh reign and those who love to fulfill the desires of their flesh, never hear Him speak.

The price has been paid–the deposit on our lives to enter into the gates of heaven–even though we could not pay it, He has paid it for us and all we have to do is return to God–willing to live out His purposes for our lives.

Are we ready? Or will we wait too long and He Returns for those who love Him and some will get left behind, wondering what happened?

Time is running short and the enemy knows it! This is why greed and corruption rule the land, chaos and confusion keep people unbalanced and they think they are wiser than God, not realizing they have been duped by the devil who doesn’t want to burn alone in the lake of fire.

Today, we have another chance to return to Him and receive the benefit for which we never paid. Let’s do it and wipe the smirk off the devil’s face!

What Do The Dead Know?

“For the living know that they will die, but the dead know nothing; they have no further reward, and even their name is forgotten.” (Ecclesiastes 9:5 NIV)

There are two types of death inferred in this passage spoken by Solomon (paraphrased by me)–spiritual death and natural death.

Spiritually speaking–the spirit which God gives goes back to Him when we die a natural death and for some–we are comforted in the fact that our spirits live on until we are reunited with them when Christ returns.

But then there are those who are the “walking dead” whose spirits have never been energized with Holy Spirit infusion and though they live–in the natural–they are dead (not to sin as Believer become when we receive Holy Spirit), and they will not heed spiritual instructions about their lives or what they do. These have no hope of anything, but a fiery lake, created with Satan in mind, and all who follow him.

In the natural death of the Believer–their names are written in the book of life–and though their flesh decays and they return to the dust from which they came, their spirits live on in the minds of those who love them. Believers are dead to sin and choose to know nothing more about actively doing sin. While here on earth, they lived and hopefully made a positive difference in the lives of many–while directing them to the work on the cross. When they are gone–let them go–so they and you can know peace, for surely, if they did not belong to The Lord before they died, they will never know His mercy and grace after they die.

The walking dead–choose to do evil and promote evil. They are self-centered and selfish–their only concern in this life is what they want and they could care less about the impact their actions have on others. These are those who commit atrocious acts of violence against other human beings–for any reason–and then try to justify themselves. These are those who destroy hope in the lives of those who are hopeful. These are those who seek the praise and approval of man over the approval of God. These are those who stop at nothing to fulfill their desire to have what belongs to others. And dead they shall be for all eternity–spiritless, burning forever in the same torment by which they tormented others.

Life is for the living! And those who know The Lord shall be comforted by The Word in knowing that one day, we shall rise and reign with Him forevermore. While we’re here, let’s do all we can to make sure we do not become “the walking dead” with no hope for the dead–as we can see in the media all the time–know nothing.

Way of Faith Revealed!

“But the Scriptures declare that we are all prisoners of sin, so we receive God’s promise of freedom only by believing in Jesus Christ. Before the way of faith in Christ was available to us, we were placed under guard by the law. We were kept in protective custody, so to speak, until the way of faith was revealed.” (Galatians 3:22,23 NLT)

If we never read what the Scriptures say, we will never know what they declare. “For all have sinned and fallen short…” and this is why we need to receive the work on the cross, through Jesus Christ, by faith–the way of redemption!

There are some who believe it is our works that matter more than our faith. They did not read what the Scriptures declared: “Faith, without works, is dead.” It is because of our faith in Jesus Christ that we are able to do good works--seeking His direction so He gets the glory and not us.

I have often had people say, through the auspices of social media, that they did not believe in God and they thought helping people was simply a way of life. They thought my profession of faith was a waste of time. What they did not know was that I have worked tirelessly, helping others, even when I was in need for myself and my children. It didn’t matter. My love for Jesus and knowing that I had to share the love He gives me, was important enough for me to do for others, before considering myself. And because He loves and honors the works of my hands, my needs have always been met through one avenue or another. God always puts us on someone’s heart, who is willing to hear Him, to meet a need.

However, if we have not faith in the work on the cross, we negate God’s love for us, and we miss hearing what He has to say so we can be a benefit to others (not seeking our own glory or patting ourselves on the back). It is because of His love for me that He was raised on that cross and suffered the indignities of those who had no faith, that I can stay in faith–in Him–always knowing that nothing I ever need, will be withheld from Him. Glory Hallelujah! That’s faith, revealed!

Whatever the scriptures declare, I can declare with confidence because my faith in Him, is immoveable, nothing wavering, even when I cannot see what He is doing, I know He is working things out for my good!