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Posts Tagged ‘redeemed’

  
Finally the tasks of collecting unwanted furniture, followed by inspection, cleaning, painting, sanding and waxing are completed. I now have a beautiful, freshly painted table and four reupholstered chairs. I am smiling.

I collected the chairs last fall, and the table a few months ago. Though they did not come together as a set, the design of the legs of table and chairs is the same … they belong together.

The finish on the chairs was marred by years of use. The table and the upholstery fabric on the chairs not at all complementary to today’s styles. I paid a small price for the four chairs and table, because they were undesirable, unattractive and unwanted.

I love the process of refinishing old, unwanted furniture. New paint, a top waxing and new fabric can make what was previously unwanted, desirable and renewed.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love it, but it is not an easy process. I spent hours painting this furniture (I really need to get my paint sprayer working), then sanding, then the waxing process of wax on, wax off, plus the time measuring, cutting and attaching the upholstery fabric. It took two weeks for my carpel tunnel syndrome in my hands to stop waking me at night from the pain.

But, when I stand back and take a look at the great improvement this redemption of old, unwanted furniture has been, all the work has been worth it.

This process always makes me wonder,

does God look at us this way?
does He look at us and think,
the sacrifice has been worth the result?

Of course, those of us who know of the great love of our God, know that His answer would be “yes” (“for no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God” 2 Corinthians 1:20). Sometimes, though, we need to be reminded of this truth, of His love.

May you, today, know of the redemption available through the great sacrifice of Christ, for you.

“… Do not fear, for I have redeemed you;
    I have summoned you by name; you are mine.

Isaiah 43:1b

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When you look at the photos on this page, what do you see?

a. an old piece of junk?

b. a desk that has seen better days?

c. a piece of furniture with no good use?

d. a hidden treasure?

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As my son and I were driving down the road the other day, I noticed this purple monster at the end of someone’s lane-way, placed there as the weekly garbage. I was already braking as I passed, in preparation for my abrupt u-turn just meters down the road.

I pulled into the lane, and smiled broadly at my son, who rolled his eyes, smiled back, and stated, “I figured” as he was opening his door, knowing that his growing biceps would be soon put to use.

A sign declaring ‘FREE’ was on the ground beside it, blown off by the gentle summer breeze.

The desk appeared upon first observation to be structurally sound, terribly dusty, and … purple. I quickly discarded those immediate observations for the ones my imagination was dreaming up … cleaned, freshly painted, and sitting in my loft … a place for me to sit and write, without the warming on my legs from my archaic laptop.

And so, my faithful son assisted me as I lifted it into the back of our van. Then assisted me to remove it from the van once home again.

As of bedtime it has been washed inside and out, sanded, and primed with a delightful ‘gripping’ primer (it grabs to any surface, even without sanding). Tomorrow begins the painting (not purple), and the fulfilling of my dream of the beauty I see under the dust, dirt and purple paint, in my minds eye. Tomorrow I plan to bring the beauty that I know exists, just under the surface, out with the eyes and hands of one who desires to redeem what first appeared as trash, into the treasure that it’s original builder had in mind.

This is how God as the original builder and creator, sees us. He knows fully the beauty, possibility and value that is beneath our selfishness, bruises, scars and sin. And it is He who redeems … cleans, makes new, purifies. It is the blood of His Son, not paint, that covers over the sins of our lives, and makes us as new … as we were always intended to be.

“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new.”
2 Corinthians 5:17

“For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”
Psalm 139:13-14

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, and into an inheritance that can never perish, spoil or fade. This inheritance is kept in heaven for you,”
1 Peter 1:3-4

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To be redeemed is to be saved, to be freed, to have the chains of your life cut free from your wrists, your ankles, often at a price you could not pay, so another steps in and pays your debt.

There are many ways, many circumstances, from which we can be redeemed.

Old bananas that are getting not just brown spots, but soft spots as well, can be taken and made into delicious banana bread. The paper products that we use can be recycled and made into new paper products rather than become landfill. But I am not thinking of the redemption of ‘things’ I am thinking of the redemption of people, of lives, of souls.

The person singing too loudly for their musical abilities, can be surrounded by others with much more talent, who join in the chorus, and make the bad of one sound good when surrounded by many (thank you to those who, with musical ability, surround my poor singing each Sunday). The person who has been in prison, convicted of a terrible crime, can be found innocent, and set free from his or her prison chains. The person whose sins have been erased by a holy and loving God …

Humanly speaking redemption, God’s redemption of mankind, is impossible to understand.

It makes no sense that I am saved, freed, through the innocent, perfect blood of the son of the God of this world. It makes no sense that He would choose me over holy, and that through the sacrifice of the holy One, I am made holy (“for God’s will was for us to be made holy by the sacrifice of the body of Jesus Christ, once for all time” Hebrews 10:10).

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

They are swept away … like the dust on the floor, like the sand as the tide goes back out … never, ever to be exactly the same. Cleansed, re-created, and re-birthed into a new creation. All that was, is no more.

What good reason to celebrate! To be thankful.

“I know that my redeemer lives,
and that in the end he will stand on the earth.
And after my skin has been destroyed,
yet in my flesh I will see God;
I myself will see him
with my own eyes—I, and not another.
How my heart yearns within me!
Job 19:25-27

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English poet, Alexander Pope said, “to err is human; to forgive, divine,” expressing well that forgiveness takes a Christ-likeness to offer, but I wish he had said something about forgetting as well.

I was reminded of this when I encountered a reminder of my past mistakes, failures, sins. I felt certain that I had acknowledged what I had been doing wrong, had asked for forgiveness and had been striving in my daily life to not return to the wrongdoings of my past. Then it was back, staring me in the face like nothing had ever changed. I was blown away, frustrated and disappointed.

When God heals us of our sin, it is a complete and miraculous event. He can take our failures and foibles and redeems them, and us, so fully that we are encapsulated by His forgiveness, and the altering that only He can do in our human hearts and lives. Even to the extent that we completely forget our actions.images-4

But we humans are not divine, and we cannot forget completely.

I was so sure, so confident that God had healed me from those sins. That they were forgiven, erased and forgotten for all time … and that was and is true. What I had missed was that, although I felt transformed, cleansed and redeemed, there still are Earthly consequences to sin, and one of the most pervasive consequences is that others do not forget.

What frustration to have worked so hard at allowing God to change ourselves for the better, only to have someone throw our past mistakes back into our faces. It would feel like our efforts are hopeless.

But our efforts at allowing God to change our lives, our hearts, are never hopeless or meaningless. Every good and broken part of our lives are part of His plan for our life.

Just like the injuries of childhood heal completely, and the pain of them be completely forgotten they still leave scars that stay with us all of our life, and sin leaves lifelong scars too. But like a physical scar from our childhood, that can remind us of the pain of touching a hot stove, the reminders of of our past sins can remind us to continue pursuing right living, and of how very humanly frail we really are.

“For I will forgivetheir wickedness
    and will remember their sins no more.”
Jeremiah 31:34

 

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My advice:
If you just clicked on this and have no time to read, just scroll down to the bottom, and watch the video … it is just that good!

It had been so long, so very long, since it had happened, since I had even thought those thoughts, and yet, out of the blue there it was again, as if no time had passed.

I had thought that I had turned my back on the past and that it would stay there … but here it was, and I was feeling all that I had felt before.

As I sat in the driver seat of my vehicle, I felt like anything but the driver. I put my head back closed my eyes and moaned, “why does this keep haunting me? when will it go away?”

The ‘it’ was sin. A sin of the past, one that I had acknowledged, repented of, and was forgiven. Yet, here it was again stalking me like some deranged killer, eager to snuff the life from me.

I wondered if this struggle was like the “thorn in the flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7) that Paul had experienced. He referred to it as “a messenger of Satan to torment me” that helped to keep him humble. Well, I am not sure if my sin of the past is keeping me humble, but it certainly drives me to my knees!

For a week or more the guilt of this sin was haunting me. It was there when I went to bed, and when I work up. It was everywhere, and all the time. I was easily able to relate to Romans 7:21-24 “although I want to do good, evil is right there with me. For in my inner being I delight in God’s law;  but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. What a wretched man/woman I am!” I just wanted it to go away!

And then, while driving in my van a couple of weeks later, as so often is the case, the voice of Truth spoke to me, loud and clear. It was through a song I had not heard (or had not needed to hear) before, but the message I received from it, I believe, answered my cry, “who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!” (Romans 7:25).

It answers the cry of all of our hearts!

Redeemed
“to restore the honor, worth, or reputation of”
American Heritage Dictionary

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I have one passion, that, I hope with all my being, I communicate with those around me.

That passion is that there is nothing
… NOTHING …
that anyone can DO that is
so bad,
so evil,
so sinful,
that is unforgivable,
by the God that I love.
And more importantly,
the God who created and loves all people.

I know, in my human frailty, that I fail to communicate this on a regular and daily basis. I hold onto resentments, I struggle to forgive, I bring up things from the past, I walk with one foot (regularly) in my mouth, I think thoughts that are vile. I am a walking, talking example of failure, of weakness … of sinfulness.

But, because I am fully human, I am the perfect material for a God who understands what it is to be fully human. I am the perfect material for a God who can heal and forgive. I am the perfect material for a God who rebirths, who recreates, who reconstructs, who redeems … saves … from myself.

It is so easy to look at our life and our choices through the shadows that our sin creates. It is so easy to look at our life and only see our mistakes, our failures and our sins. It is so easy to look at our life and think that
there is no way that the God of creation,
that the God who sent his own son to die,
would ever take us into his arms
after what we have done,
what we have thought,
what we have said,
who we are.
That is the work of Prince of Darkness … to discourage, to cause despair, to kick us to the curb of life.

Romans eight (Romans 8) is the most enlightening, the most encouraging, the most truth you can find about what God really thinks of us. At the end of the chapter, is the grandest of hope, offered to us”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else (NOTHING) in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (vs. 37-39)

Let me give it to you, in the Carole version:

“It doesn’t matter what sin you committed. I love you, even if you have done wrong with your hands, with your ears, with your mouth, with your eyes, with your mind … to yourself, and even to others. I love you. And all you have to do is accept the fact that Jesus paid for it all. And he did so knowing that, even after you accept my love, you will still continue to do wrong. I love you that much. And NOTHING can separate you from me, once you accept my love for you.”

My version may not be a perfect translation, but, believe this:

NOTHING can separate us from the love of God, made possible through Jesus, our Savior, our Redeemer, our Lord.

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