Redeemed

This morning, I have been pondering about the word “redeemed” and how it relates to me as a follower of Christ. I discovered that the word has a few different meanings. One of the most common meanings is to “buy back something that was lost or sold”. Another meaning I found is to take something that is bad and change it completely until it is new or acceptable. I like that definition. We have not only been bought back but we have been changed, renewed, and made acceptable. We have not been purchased back and left as we were. No we have been changed, renewed and made acceptable to God. We are no longer a sinner in need of salvation. No! We are “Sons and Daughters”.

I can’t help but remember the old hymn by Fanny Crosby. It said, “Redeemed how I love to proclaim it…His child and forever I am. Did you catch that? “His child and forever I am!” His child, not a step child, not a half sister or brother, but His child.

It has always grated on my spirit when I would hear people introduced as a “step” brother or a “step” sister. You are either a sister or you are not. You are either a brother or you are not. The word “step” added to a person’s identity devalues them and makes them less than they are. I have an adopted daughter and she is not nor will she ever be, my “step” daughter, neither am I a “step mother”. I am her MOTHER and she is my DAUGHTER. She is my son’s SISTER. She has been adopted, redeemed into my family. She has been changed from orphan to daughter, from lost to found, from alone to a part of a family who loves her.

This is who we are. We will never be a “step” brother to Jesus…NO! We are, and forever will be, changed into acceptable sons and daughters of the MOST HIGH GOD! This is REDEEMED!

REDEEMED By Fanny Crosby

Redeemed, how I love to proclaim it!
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed through His infinite mercy,
His child and forever I am.

Refrain

Redeemed, redeemed,
Redeemed by the blood of the Lamb;
Redeemed, redeemed,
His child and forever I am.

Redeemed, and so happy in Jesus,
No language my rapture can tell;
I know that the light of His presence
With me doth continually dwell.

Refrain

I think of my blessèd Redeemer,
I think of Him all the day long:
I sing, for I cannot be silent;
His love is the theme of my song.

Refrain

I know there’s a crown that is waiting,
In yonder bright mansion for me,
And soon, with the spirits made perfect,
At home with the Lord I shall be.

Happiness

For the last few days we have been staying at an inexpensive guesthouse.  This morning as we were eating breakfast, one of the young women who work here, came to sit with Marie-Louise.  I have enjoyed seeing  this young lady because she has a smile that lights up the room.  Her excitement about the smallest of things is infectious.  As a matter of fact, I have started to look for her whenever I enter or leave the guesthouse.  Probably the most significant fact about her is that she is profoundly deaf and mute.   I thought she was young perhaps 19 or 20 years old but no, she is 37 and has 4 children.  
Can you imagine that?  She, a deaf mute, is a mama, has her own family, holds down a job and is happy.  It would be easy to understand if she were depressed or grumpy, after all what can a deaf mute do in life?  And yet, this woman is happy.  She worships Jesus, serves others and is happy.  There is no other way to describe her….she is happy.
As I thought about her, I realized that in the USA, we have become an entitled society meaning,  we feel the world or God or somebody owes us.  Not only does the world owe us but our happiness depends upon getting what we think is our “right”.   And then what is owed, of course, is subjective – our parents owe us, the government owes us, other people owe us, the list goes on and on.  Sadly, when we get what we feel is rightfully ours, we still have no happiness.  We assume that if we could just have what other people have, if we could just get what we want, than we would be happy.  Unfortunately, it only takes us to a place of discontent.  After the brief joy of getting what we want is gone, we become dissatisfied and pursue happiness from something else.  On and on it goes until it becomes an unending circle of disappointments in life.  
I’m glad I got to know that little deaf/mute woman.  She was a source of encouragement to me.  I saw that someone with nothing, no voice and no ability to hear was happy. She  didn’t want someone else’s life, she had a life, full and exciting.   She used sign language to tell me that she loves Jesus.  Obviously, Jesus is all she needs.  Jesus makes her happy.  Jesus makes me happy too.

I love this thought. Thankfulness is a great key…use it often.

Give me 5 minutes a day and I'll give you a happier, more successful life

English: A skeleton key. Español: Llave antigu...

Keys to success:

Decide what you want in life
(What would you do with your life if you knew you couldn’t fail )
Think about what you do well
Clarify your values
Set goals (don’t be afraid to set high goals)
Believe you can reach your goals
Find other people to work with
Be disciplined and persistent
Enjoy your work, work hard
Never, never give up
pray

A key or set of keys can be the key to success. Many people put their keys in their pocket or purse in the morning and take them out to start their car, unlock their house, possibly other things. Many people take them out of their pocket before bed.

When you touch your key, remember to be thankful for whatever that key unlocks. Take your apartment or house for example. Even if it is not exactly what you want, you can still be thankful…

View original post 230 more words

Drifting

Yesterday I laid down in a boat on the South China Sea. Everyone in our group was out in the sea enjoying a swim however, the water seemed too cold for me for it had been raining and so, I stayed in the boat, closed my eyes and imagined. I imagined I was adrift in the sea. The truth was, we were securely anchored. The anchor was a long ways from the boat and so it felt like we were aimlessly drifting. I have to admit, I was wondering if the day would ever end. I didn’t bring a book or anything to do. I counted fish, looked at the rain clouds, sang some songs and tried to sleep. Hours later, suddenly it was time for us to go and a young man pulled and pulled on the cable until the boat and the anchor were close Then he dove into the sea and unhooked the anchor.

As I pondered, I thought about how we all have times when it seems like we are drifting along in life. So often we wonder and question God. “Why do I exist? What is my purpose in life? God why do I feel so aimless? Why do I feel so alone?” Hurt and confused we forget we are tethered to Jesus, the anchor of our soul. We are connected and no matter how far we feel we are adrift, the anchor holds.

Then, suddenly, just when we think nothing will ever change, there comes a day when Jesus will pull on the cable and draw you close again. Like the young man on our boat, you will see Jesus unhook the anchor and with a renewed purpose he will propel you to another destination. You will then see that you have never been drifting at all, only resting in the safety of God’s boat waiting for the right time to move.

Better To Laugh

 

Sad things happen. They happen to everyone. Sad thoughts stir up memories, that should stay buried in the past. While stress, bad diets and inadequate rest accumulate to become bad attitudes and fearful hearts. These all keep us from being as effective as we should be. God has given us a key to fighting these thoughts and feelings. It is called the Joy of the Lord. A dear friend said to me the other day, that her situation seems hopeless however, she is trying to laugh about it because she will either laugh or cry and laughing is better than crying. Proverbs 17:22 tells us that a joyful heart is good medicine, and that a broken spirit dries up the bones. This means that if our heart is joyful that it will bring healing to our spirit. I don’t know about you but sometimes I need my spirit healed. And you know what? I would rather laugh than cry. Yes there is a place to cry but I don’t think anyone should be in that place for very long. Crying is often the expression of being overwhelmed and it comes with hopeless feelings and despair. When it is finished it leaves a broken heart. Laughter, on the other hand, brings a lightness to the heart and stirs faith in our spirit. It is an expression of faith that says, “I can laugh at this situation because it isn’t as bleak as it seems. My situation can’t get me down. I am in charge of my emotions.” We are all in a difficult time right now. There are wars and rumors of wars. There is a worldwide financial crisis that has touched everyone both great and small. People are frightened, jobs are scarce and prices are going up. In the midst of all of this the devil, the enemy of our souls, is trying to steal our faith, break out hearts, and make us give up. I think we should all laugh in his face. After all what do we have to lose? It is better to laugh than to cry.

The Backup Plan

 

It has been one of “those” weeks. You know, one of those weeks that doesn’t seem to go as planned. It started out with a spillover of last week, which was also one of “those” weeks. My father-in-law has been very sick and we have done several of the 74mile trips back and forth to be with him and with family, at the hospital. My poor husband had to fix a bunch of electrical lines on the second floor of our house. The girls all have had school projects to do. I’ve done at least 12 loads of laundry. I’ve cooked dinners and little wedding cake things for a friend. I smashed my finger and now have a bruise on a knuckle. And last night my oven started smoking. Don’t anyone make any comments about my cooking. Ha ha. I wasn’t cooking anything. However, it is not un-usual for my oven to smoke as I hate cleaning it but when the oven isn’t on and nothing is inside, and it starts smoking well..there is something wrong. It took us all a few minutes to find out why it was smoking. It seems that the switch that turns on the oven light had started to melt down, but we didn’t find the culprit until Fred spent hours getting the stove apart, finding the burnt out switch and putting it together again. I didn’t know the oven could come apart in so many pieces. First the top came off and then the back. All of the burners had to come off. This seemed like a good time to clean them. So I scrubbed and cleaned. Oh yes, and we had to pull the oven from the wall. Now I won’t go into a little sermonette of “Be sure your sins will find you out”. Because I think we have all heard that one, but there are a lot of “food sins” that lurk under and behind a kitchen stove. I’ll leave you to guess what I found. Hours later, the stove was cleaned and Fred was putting it all back together. He plugged it in and I said to him, “Oh look, the light still works.”. He then told me the light couldn’t work because it was the light switch that he took out. It was then that I realized I had misspoke. It was the clock that came on. I started pushing buttons to make sure it all worked right. The top light worked and the burners worked and then I pushed the only remaining button on the stove and when I did, something amazing happened. The oven light came on. I wish you all could have been with us in the kitchen when that happened. It seems there are two switches that control my oven light. I only lost one of them, behold my oven light still works. We were all laughing. I laughed so hard I was crying. I couldn’t stand up straight. I wish you could have seen the look on Fred’s face when that oven light flashed on. There were two switches for that light, almost like a backup plan. Years ago when I had cancer, I had to have a pretty invasive surgery. When I came out of the surgery, I found out that I was now missing quite a few “parts”. I didn’t know a body could function without all of those parts, but mine does quite well. I lost over 29 parts if you count each and every lymph node that was removed. Amazing! God created us with a back-up plan. Our bodies work even without all of our parts. God has a backup plan for you too. Perhaps the devil has stolen from you and you feel broken, beaten up bruised, and missing parts. Maybe your light has gone out, you have lost your family, your health, your finances, your good name and reputation. Don’t be afraid and discouraged. God has a backup plan for you. He created everything you need to start over. Your light will still come on. Your family can be restored. Your body can be healed. Your finances can increase and you can have more than enough. Your reputation can be built back up again. All is not lost. Don’t say it can’t happen because it can and it will. I just love it when God starts fixing things that are broken and missing parts. When my oven light came back on I was beside myself with laughter. God has a backup plan for you and when you see what he can do for you, you will laugh too.

Practice Makes Perfect

 

Last night, I was talking to my dad about the killing of a nurse in Buffalo. The alleged shooter is a surgeon who had served 18 years as a decorated special forces soldier. As we talked about how sad this situation is, my dad reminded me of another decorated soldier who is in a maximum security prison for a similar crime. My dad then said, “It’s sad because these men have been trained to kill and fight but they have not been trained to live. That phrase struck me as I thought about us as Christians. We have been taught how to fight the enemy. We know how to resist the devil and make him flee. We know how to put on the whole armor of Christ. We know how to fight but many of us don’t know how to live. Yes it is true, we have many good teachings on family and relationships however, a teaching and a sermon is not enough when it comes to training. A good soldier does not just listen to instructions and watch how-to videos. No, a good soldier trains and develops discipline. He practices how to put his gun together in seconds. He also knows how to shoot that same gun and can hit the target every time. He lives the life of practice, practice, practice. According to the Barna research group, “conservative Protestant Christians, on average, have the highest divorce rates among conservative Christians and are significantly higher than for other faith groups, and much higher than Atheists and Agnostics.” Wow! The “research also raises questions regarding the effectiveness of how churches minister to families. The ultimate responsibility for a marriage belongs to the husband and wife, but the high incidence of divorce within the Christian community challenges the idea that churches provide truly practical and life-changing support for marriages.” (quote from http://www.religioustolerance.org/chr_dira.htm) This is not a condemnation to those who are divorced, I only use this example to show that in our churches we are not doing a very good job teaching people how to live. We need to take the same principles as special forces soldiers have done in training to fight, and apply them to living. For example, if you don’t know how to communicate to your spouse than practice communicating until you can do it right. Don’t give up just because you have a fight or get wounded. Remember we need to be able to live better than we know how to fight. If you don’t apologize well, or don’t know how to, or just plain don’t like to, than you need to practice until you get it right. If you don’t know how to serve one another in love than practice until you can do it in your sleep, and with a good attitude. By the way, attitude is learned behavior. A good attitude takes a lot of practice and skill. As I gave this some thought, I paused when I thought of some of the greatest warriors, prophets and kings in the Bible. These great men knew how to fight but they didn’t know how to live. King David, raised a bunch of fighting kids who fought and killed each other. Solomon obviously had relationship issues as he had 700 wife’s and 300 concubines. Mannasseh was one of the most wicked men mentioned in the Bible and, yet, his father was the godly King Hezekiah. Samuel had two of the most wicked sons, Joel and Abijah. We should not forget Isaac’s two fighting sons, Esau and Jacob or the priest Eli and his wicked sons. For me, this is a wake-up-call. We all need to learn how to live, not just fight. As for me, I will practice until I get it right. I hope you will too.