In Whom We Have Redemption

Redeem: to buy back, to save by payment of a ransom, to free from the consequences of sin.

Redeemer: one who frees or delivers another from difficulty, danger or bondage, usually by the payment of a ransom price.

Redemption.

In biblical terms, redemption refers to the deliverance of Christians from sin.

In Colossians 1:13-14 it says, “For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Jesus Christ is our Redeemer. He rescued us from spending eternity in hell.

Let’s face it….we are sinners. We don’t deserve God’s love or grace. We don’t deserve to live eternity in Heaven alongside Christ. Sin has messed this world up so much and yes, we are born sinners.

We need a Redeemer and Christ came down to earth to save us from a life of damnation. He suffered and bled on that cross FOR US! Because He LOVES US that much!

Colossians 1:21-22: “This includes you who were once far away from God. You were his enemies, separated from Him by your evil thoughts and actions. YET now he has reconciled you to Himself through the death of Christ in his physical body. As a result He has brought you into his own presence and you are holy and blameless as you stand before him without a single fault.”

When we come to Christ our debt is cancelled. We are citizens of Heaven!

Colossians 2:14 says “He canceled the record of the charges against us and took it away by nailing it to the cross.

My sin, oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!

My sin, not in part but the whole,

Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,

“It Is Well (With My Soul), Horatio Spafford

The Lord loves you with an unconditional love.

Our chains have been set free.

Redemption

Karen Kingsbury is hands down my absolute, all time, favorite author. Her books are so enjoyable. She has a HUGE series on the fictional family, the Baxters! A friend in college lent me one of her books and I was HOOKED!!

Redemption is the 1st book in the series and I highly recommend it. It will suck you in from the beginning. I have read the series over and over for as long as I have had them and Karen gets better and better with each book!

She’s super nice as well, 🙂 I was in college in Nashville when she had a book signing at LifeWay Christian Bookstore and I got her autograph and a picture.

“The message of Christ’s love is found in Isaiah, chapter sixty-one,” the man was saying. “God himself will restore the crumbling foundations of your life. He will give you beauty for ashes. He’ll provide redemption, no matter who you are, where you are. . . .”

― Karen Kingsbury, Redemption

I dare you to check her books out! You will not be disappointed. And if you are? Well….that’s why we’re all different, right? LOL

Now excuse me as I go start the series over again. 🙂

Leave the Scar

I have not lived a life that boasts of anything. I don’t take pride in what I bring. But I’ll build an altar with the rubble You’ve found me in. And every stone will sing of what You can redeem…

Point of Grace

That quote above are lyrics from a song called, “Heal the Wound” by Point of Grace. I absolutely LOVE this song and I encourage you to take a listen to it.

I am not the person I once was. I found Christ when I was 19. It was 17 years ago back in March. But before I found Christ I was a miserable wreck of a person. I was depressed, angry all the time, a jerk to my family. Oh I grew up in church….sang all the songs, memorized the verses. My head was full of the knowledge of God but my heart was bitter. I was only in church because my mom made me go, if I’m being honest.

I hated my life. I wanted nothing more than to just stop living. If I stopped living the mental pain would, of course, stop. I was a cutter back then. But thank GOD I didn’t die back then because I’d definitely be in hell, where the pain would go on for eternity.

God saved me from myself. He grabbed a hold of my bitter, angry heart and turned it around.

I’m still bipolar. That will never go away. I’m on medication for life.

Yes, God could heal me from being bipolar. I do believe that. But I also believe He allows it to remain to remind me of where I was and how much I don’t want to become that person again.

It is my “thorn in the flesh.”

Three different times I begged the Lord to take it away. Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me. That’s why I take pleasure in my weaknesses, and in the insults, hardships, persecutions, and troubles that I suffer for Christ. For when I am weak, then I am strong.

2 Corinthians 12: 8-10

Always Be Ready

If you are familiar with the YouVersion app, you’ll know that they have different mini devotional plans you can follow. Currently I am reading the plan by Skip Heitzig called “What’s Next? Revelation Series” that takes me through the book of Revelation.

(Going through this plan has also made me want to reread the Left Behind series. So I’ve started book 1 once again. )

While we don’t know the day or the hour that the rapture will occur, (Matthew 24:36)  it’s something I like to imagine will happen in my lifetime. (Though I’m probably wrong….) I would love to be alive when that trumpet sounds!

It’s like the lyrics from the song “Fly Away” by FFH says,

Okay you win, you caught me day dreaming again
About our sudden evacuation
Okay I give in, I can’t help but wondering
But it seems I can’t get enough information
Curiosity has got a hold of me
Tell me how it’s gonna be-when
One day I’ll see you coming back for me
And all together we’ll fly away yeah
One day I’ll hear that trumpet loud and clear
And all together we’ll fly away
Oh how I long for the day
When we’ll fly away
I can’t WAIT for the day when we get to meet our Savior face to face!

Matthew 24:44 tells us to be ready!

You also must be ready all the time, for the Son of Man will come when least expected.

In 1 Thessalonians 4 (NLT) we read that the Lord will come down from Heaven with a commanding shout!

For the Lord himself will come down from heaven with a commanding shout, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God. First the believers who have died will rise from their graves. Then together with them, we who are still alive and remain on the earth will be caught up in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. Then we will be with the Lord forever.

Our lives here on earth are temporary! Our citizenship, our permanent dwelling place will be in Heaven, with the Lord God Almighty!

Paul tells us this in Philippians 3:20-21 (NLT)

But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.

Always be ready for Christ’s return! It will happen in a “twinkling of an eye!”

But let me reveal to you a wonderful secret. We will not all die but we will all be transformed! It will happen in a moment, in the blink of an eye when the last trumpet is blown. For when the trumpet sounds, those who have died will be raised to live forever. And we who are living will also be transformed.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52(NLT)

Are you ready?

Heartbreaking

So in my last post I talked about how Prevail Church was being taken to court by former members, saying they are due the money that comes from the sale of the building we once met in. These people LEFT when they decided they didn’t like the direction Jonathan was taking the church. (although they were a part of the unanimous decision to sell the church building and relaunch as a new church. )

Well, the hearing was this past Tuesday and it was….awful to say the least. How these people can do this and still claim to be a Christian is beyond me. I sat and watched in disbelief as Jonathan was basically attacked on the stand by their lawyer.

My anger rose and my heart rate was 116 as I sat there, tears streaming down my face. A couple of times I glanced over at their side and just shook my head. It’s so heartbreaking that these people are doing this.

It says in the Bible, in 1 Corinthians 6 that we are to avoid lawsuits with other believers.

When one of you has a dispute with another believer, how dare you file a lawsuit and ask a secular court to decide the matter instead of taking it to other believers!

I Cor 6:1

Further down in verse 6-7 it says,

I am saying this to shame you. Isn’t there anyone in all the church who is wise enough to decide these issues?

But instead, one believer sues another—right in front of unbelievers!

What was the result of the hearing? Well, unfortunately it has been decided for this whole nonsense to be taken to trial.

You know what’s really sad about all this? The fact that there are unbelievers watching this unfold. People we could be leading to the Lord who are no doubt not wanting anything to do with Jesus because His people are fighting over something as trivial as money.

My heart is breaking as I type this. It’s not fair what they are doing and it’s not biblical. I think the best thing at this point is to just split the money in half. Give them half and we take the other half and just go our separate ways. It’s clear they aren’t going to back down any time soon.

OH how my heart hurts. The way they are treating Pastor Jonathan is just downright cruel.

I’ve been struggling with my feelings since this whole mess began. I struggle with my attitude towards them. I struggle with wanting to tell them off. But that wouldn’t be very Christ-like. I don’t want to repay evil for evil. (Romans 12 tells us not to) I don’t want to hate them. Honestly, I don’t. It’s just so hard right now.

I’ve been digging into the Scriptures to find verses on bitterness, anger and forgiveness these past several days.

*side note* Because I suffer from bipolar disorder, sometimes it’s harder for me to let go of things. I am in no way trying to make excuses, however. Please don’t get me wrong. I am praying to God about my attitude and reading His Word daily.

It says in Romans 12:9-10

Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection and take delight in honoring each other.

Then a little bit further, in verse 18,

Do all that you can to live in peace with everyone

That’s what needs to happen. We need to peaceably come to a resolution. And while right now it’s seems really really hard to love these people, the Bible says we should and that’s all that matters.

So y’all….please please continue to pray for this situation that it can be resolved quickly and peaceably.

The Root of Bitterness

woman sitting under tree
Photo by Rio Guruh Imawan on Pexels.com

“Make every effort to live in peace with everyone and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defile many.” (Hebrews 12:14-15)

Bitterness is dangerous. It can and will consume a person if they’re not careful. I have struggled a lot these past several weeks with bitterness towards a certain situation. I have dealt with what I consider righteous anger towards the situation but then I learn more and bitterness will slowly start to take root.

I can’t turn away from this situation. Meaning until it resolves it’s always going to be around. But I can control how I deal with it.

I thought I had dealt with the anger but suddenly new things come into light and boy do I get upset. Because of my bipolar disorder,  I have a harder time dealing with anger. I can get worked up so quickly. But in the last two years, I have done a lot of growing in Christ and have allowed Him to step in and take control (most of the time. I am still human after all. I’m still going to mess up.)

Being a bipolar is my thorn in the flesh, I honestly believe that. God definitely could take away my illness but I truly believe He’s using it to help me grow closer to Him and to remind me to lean on Him when I’m struggling with something.

Bitterness, at first, is not something that can be seen. It can, however, be felt, little by little if we let it grow. We must learn to rip out the bitterness by the root. It does no good to just chop it down. No, it must be grabbed by the root and tossed. If we let it continue to grow in our hearts, it suddenly will sprout and out comes anger, slander, heartache. Bitterness will turn to anger. Anger will produce sin if we’re not careful. When we seek revenge, when we act on our anger, we are in danger of sinning.

Check out my post on anger: Be Angry and Sin Not

Ephesians 4:31 says ” Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. (ESV)

Bitterness doesn’t have to take root. I know, you’re probably thinking, “Well, Leigh, you have no idea what’s happened to me. I have a right to be bitter.”

Let God take control. Give Him your bitterness before it takes root.

 

Glorifying God

A life that glorifies God is a life that reveals God

Beth Moore

Does my life glorify God? In all that I say and do, does my life reflect Him? It’s a question I ask myself constantly.

Life can get overwhelming at times, we all know this. And in those difficult times, are we focusing on the Creator rather than the created? Is our focus half-hearted? Or does our light shine before men, oozing out Christ’s love for others?

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

We are called to lead others to Christ. We are called to love these people and show them Christ’s love. After all, Christ died for our sins. He literally took our sin upon Him. Why? Because He loves us so much. He loves us unconditionally and undeservedly.

Does our life glorify God? Or are we just going through the motions, just pretending? Pretending to be on fire for God? Do we act one way around our Christian friends and a completely different way around non believers? How will that bring others to Christ?

Christians are called to walk through the world with the heart of Christ.

Louie Giglio, “Goliath Must Fall”

I struggle with selfishness. I will admit that. But if I’m being honest with myself, being selfish is definitely not Christlike. Unfortunately, while I have selfish tendencies, I also tend to be a people pleaser. Kind of weird, huh?  I struggle with how and what people think about me and strive to please them and because of that I lose my focus on God.  I take my eyes off of Jesus and I start to sink like Peter did when he got out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus. I should live in a way that pleases God and not man.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:10

 

And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men

Colossians 3:23

Now, as long as we live on this earth we will never be perfect. We will slip up from time to time. But thankfully we have a God who welcomes us back into His arms. His love is that strong. He IS love!

 

 

Turning the Other Cheek

When people hurt us….well, it hurts! (I know, super profound there, huh?)

But no, seriously, when people hurt us, it can cause us to lose ourselves for a little bit. We become down and depressed a little, maybe even angry. We sometimes lash out at the person, giving them an earful. (I know I’ve been guilty of this in times past.)

My church has been hurt lately. And there are people who are making sure we know it.  It has caused a great deal of discouragement and a little righteous anger, if I’m being honest. These people don’t seem to realize just how badly it hurts! The negativity they are spreading on social media…..it’s just downright mean!

The human nature in me wants to lash out, to yell, to scream, to retaliate. That’s what Satan wants me to do.

But I’m going to turn the other cheek. In Matthew 5:38-40, it says:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a]39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

I don’t understand why this is happening but I do know that God wants me to react in a manner pleasing to Him. He doesn’t want me to give in to my human nature desires.

It’s hard for me, believe me. I am struggling with this very much. I want to comment back so badly. I have so many retorts for them.  But this will not please the Lord. He wants me to rise above. And I’m working on it. It seems that just when I’ve reached a point where I think I’m fine then I see other comments made. I actually had a former church member unfriend me and others from our church. It hurt so badly.

It shouldn’t be this way!! But it is.

And I’m turning the other cheek.

Always Be Prepared

In Our Daily Bread’s devotional reading for today the subject was on how we must demonstrate our faith. We must be ready to give an answer for why we behave differently than the world.

When suffering and hardships come our way, how do we respond? Do we respond with a Christlike attitude? Or do we fall apart?

When people ask us why we are “different” we must be ready to give them an answer and we must do it respectfully and gently.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. Keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

1 Peter 3:15-18

People must be able to see a difference in how we act when hardships arise in our life. If not, if we fall apart, how will they see Jesus? If they see us act one way in church and then a completely different way when bad things happen, our testimony is ruined.

I love Jesus with all my heart. I strive daily to please Him in all I say and do. I mess up, yes I’m human, but thankfully I have a God who is a God of second and third chances….and fourth and fifth chances, etc.  He is always willing to forgive and loves me and you so much.

Like I’ve said before, He longs to have a relationship with you. Won’t you come to Him?

Philippians 3-Following Paul’s Example

Paul says in Philippians 3:10:

I want to know Christ–yes to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

Many Christians want the first half of this verse. They long to know Christ and his mighty power. But seldom do they think about the second part of the verse–suffering as He did. They don’t want that part.

But to know Christ…..to truly know Christ is to know his suffering. He suffered a bloody death on the cross for US! He was persecuted and shamed and rejected by men. He was mocked, abused and hated by many.

And still……he went through all the torture and abuse for who? Yes, that’s right. FOR US! Because His love is so great for us. His unconditional love for us will never end.

Are we going to suffer the way Christ did? Maybe not. But there are people in the world who ARE tortured and killed for their belief in God.

Paul tells us further in chapter 3 of Philippians to follow his (Paul’s) example:

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Did you read verse 20? Our citizenship is in HEAVEN! We need to focus not on earthly things but on things above. Things of God. We are temporary citizens in this world. One day we will be in heaven, living with Christ forever. And ever.

When we get to heaven, our “lowly bodies” will be like his “glorious body!” Our worn down and falling apart bodies will be brand new! There will be NO pain, NO sickness, NO tears! Praise the Lord!

The Lord is coming back soon, people! We need to be ready? A quote I found sums it up:

Live as though Christ will return TODAY!

How is your relationship with Christ?

Are you walking with Him daily? 

If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, please feel free to contact me so I can share with you the Good News! God loves you!