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.

Representing Jesus In a lost and dying world

And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father………Work willingly at whatever you do, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.

Colossians 3:17, 23

20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

2 Corinthians 5:20

Have you ever been somewhere and been told that they didn’t know you were a Christian? Or in my case, they “forgot I was religious.” I remember feeling horrible and that I had let God down.

I wasn’t being a good representative of the Lord. And it broke my heart as I know it broke His.

I’ve allowed the world to dictate how I live my life. I’ve put the world first and have pushed God further down the list of what’s important.

We are called to be better than that. We are supposed to be a light in this dark world.

I need to do better….I need to stop allowing the world to influence my life and my walk with Christ.

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Romans 12:2

This world we live in has become increasingly dark and evil. So many, many people are dying without knowing Christ. It’s time to put a stop to that.

Let’s Represent Jesus!

running out of time

I realized tonight that my brother is going to spend eternity in hell if he were to die tonight. Well, I have known it for awhile but tonight while listening to Thank You Jesus For the Blood Applied I broke down in tears.

And I’m running out of time. I have had plenty of time to talk to him about Jesus Christ. And what have I done? I avoid him at all costs. We don’t have the best relationship. He IS 17 years older than me after all. Not that age matters but it’s just so hard to speak to him. Why do I have such a hard time?

He has had 3 heart attacks and a stroke and miraculously he’s still alive. He suffers from emphysema and he will be going for a CT scan of his lungs. He has been smoking since he was 13, possibly even younger and he’s 55 now.

I’m not going to lie….I have a huge feeling he has lung cancer. I’m not a doctor of course and I hope and pray I’m wrong. Honestly? I think HE thinks it’s cancer. He watched his own father slowly die because of smoking and yet it’s not enough to make him quit. I know he knows he needs to quit and I don’t know what its going to take for him to quit. One would think the heart attacks and stroke would scare him into quitting but sadly it has not.

He needs Jesus and this whole time I could be talking to him, telling him God loves him and what am I doing? NOTHING! I just don’t know HOW to talk to him.

I know he knows he needs to get his life straight with Jesus. He grew up in church, after all. He knows but has chosen not to believe.

Please pray for my brother and please pray for me to figure out a way to talk to him. He’s going to die and his blood will be on my hands because I could have done something. I could have planted the seed.

Remember, it is sin to know what you ought to do and then not do it.

James 4:17

Start Right Here

So apparently this song came out in 2018 and I’m just now hearing it! I was listening to Amazon Music when this song popped up and literally stopped me in my tracks.

Take a look at some of the lyrics!

We want our coffee in the lobby
We watch our worship on a screen
We got a Rockstar preacher
Who won’t wake us from our dreams
We want our blessings in our pockets
We keep our missions overseas
But for the hurting in our cities
Would we even cross the street?

But we wanna see the heart set free and the tyrants kneel
The walls fall down and our land be healed
But church if we want to see a change in the world out there

It’s got to start right here
It’s got to start right now
Lord, I’m starting right here
Lord, I’m starting right now

What are we doing to bring others to Christ? What are we sacrificing? ARE we sacrificing? Or are we too caught up in our comfort zone to even think about lost souls?

As we say goodbye to 2020 and hello to 2021 may it be our mission to start right here! To reach those who are lost, to proclaim the Gospel!

Why do we find it difficult to break the silence about the best news and most important Person the world has ever known?

Herb Vander Lugt

Jeremiah 29:13, “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.

Salvation is Free But…..

…Being a Disciple Costs Everything…AND HE IS WORTH IT!

Then He said to the crowd, “if any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily and follow me.

If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.

Luke 9:23-24 (NLT)

What does “take up your cross daily” even mean?

To me, I think it means taking all the burdens you bear and giving it to Jesus. It means walking with Him through the good times AND the bad. When temptations come our way, we hold them up to Jesus and keep our focus on Him alone.

We are called to give up our selfish ways and look to Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith. God wants us to deny our own life and desires and pursue HIS life and desires.

To be a disciple of Jesus, we must learn that this world has nothing to offer us. No matter how pretty or shiny the thing the world tries to offer us we must refuse it and keep our focus on the Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore since we are surrounded by such a huge crowed of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting Him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne.

Hebrews 12:1-2 (NLT)

A Call To Listen to God

Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking. For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refuse to listen to Moses the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from Heaven!

Hebrews 12:25 (NLT)

Being a disciple of Christ means listening to Christ when He speaks to us. By rejecting Him, we’re rejecting his love, his grace. We’re rejecting eternity with Him.

But by listening to Him, by accepting His love and grace we have a kingdom waiting for us that cannot be taken away.

Since we are receiving a Kingdom that is unshakable, let us be thankful and please God by worshipping Him with holy fear and awe.

Hebrews 12:28 (NLT)

Our Eternal Home

You guys! This world is NOT our home. If you know Jesus as your personal Savior, you have so much to look forward to when Christ comes back. This worldly home is temporal. Our eternal home is with the One who created us, the one who loves us so much that He sent His Son to die for us so that we wouldn’t have to die in our sins! Because of His great love for us, because of the gift of salvation…we are free!

For this world is not our permanent home, we are looking forward to a home yet to come.

Hebrews 13:14 (NLT)

 

 

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?

A Fan or a Follower?

Kyle Idleman, pastor of Southeast Christian Church in Louisville, Kentucky has written several books that I absolutely love. The very first book I ever purchased of his is “Not a Fan: Becoming a Completely Committed Follower of Jesus.” In this book, Idleman discusses the difference between being a fan of Jesus and a follower of Jesus. Here’s the synopsis

Are you a fan or a follower? The dictionary defines a fan as “an enthusiastic admirer.” Fans want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits, but not so close that it requires sacrifice. Fans may be fine with repeating a prayer, attending church on the weekend, and slapping a Jesus fish on their bumpers. But is that really the extent of the relationship Jesus wants? Jesus was never interested in having admirers. It’s not fans he is looking for. Not a Fan challenges you to consider what it really means to call yourself a Christian. With a direct frankness that you’re not likely to hear in Sunday school class, Kyle invites you to take an honest look at your relationship with Jesus. His call to follow may seem radical to us, but Jesus desires it for every believer.

I’ve read this book several times and get something new from it each time. Some quotes from the book include:

The biggest threat to the church today is fans who call themselves Christians but aren’t actually interested in following Christ. They want to be close enough to Jesus to get all the benefits but not so close that it requires anything from them.

Ouch. Idleman doesn’t mind stepping on toes, does he? But hey it’s the truth! There are plenty of so called Christians who want to experience the good things Jesus has to offer and that’s it. Following Jesus? No way. It’s too hard. Too much to ask.

Jesus doesn’t expect followers to be perfect but he does call them to be authentic.

No one is perfect. We live in a fallen world. The second Eve took that bite, perfection was something humans would never achieve. However, Jesus does expect authenticity from us.  We are called to be real, to be legitimate.

It’s much easier to talk about following Jesus when you are making general statements rather than specific commitments.

Easier said than done, right? It’s so much easier to SAY you’ll follow Jesus. Actually committing to Him? A lot harder…but it’s what Jesus expects of us. To commit.

I highly recommend this book. You’ll get your toes stepped on, definitely. But the book really makes you think.

 

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.

 

The Cost of Discipleship

Discipleship

Discipleship. What does it even mean?

19 Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit. 20 Teach these new disciples to obey all the commands I have given you. And be sure of this: I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

Matthew 28:19-20 (NLT)

Discipleship is about following Christ and making new disciples. It’s about being invested in following the Great Commission that Jesus set before us. We as Christians are called to make more disciples, to build relationships with others and teach them the Word of God  and what it says.

Discipleship is about growing in the Lord and having a close relationship with Him all the while teaching others how to have the same type of relationship.

Discipleship is about carrying on the ministry of Jesus Christ.

The Cost of Discipleship

Jesus tells us plainly that by following Him we will meet opposition. We will be hated. Laughed at. Ridiculed. Mocked.

Following Jesus by making disciples isn’t difficult to understand, but it can be very costly. By sharing His teachings, we are often rejected along with His message.

Francis Chan, “Muliply: Disciples Making Disciples”

Jesus tells us we must pick up our own cross and follow him daily. Not just when we feel like it. Not just when the time is right. But daily. As in, all the time. every single day.

Will it be hard? Absolutely. Will it be worth it? Totally.


Update on Landen

Sadly, Landen went peacefully to be with Jesus earlier this evening. Please pray for his family during this time.

Blogging For Jesus

I came across a quote the other day that really got me to thinking.

As a Christian blogger, you are a digital missionary.

I never thought about that before. But it is so true! As Christian bloggers, we have a duty to reach out to the lost. We have a duty to inform them of Christ’s love for us and what He sacrificed in order for us to find freedom.

For everyone who calls on the name of the Lord shall be saved! But how can they call on him to save them unless they believe in him? And how can they believe in Him if they have never heard about Him? And how can they hear about them unless someone tells them? And how will anyone go and tell them without being sent? That is why the Scriptures say, “How beautiful are the feet of messengers who bring good news?

Romans 10:13-15

Christian bloggers….we are blogging for Jesus! We should be wanting to see others come to know the Lord.  As bloggers we are the digital feet!

Does this mean we might offend someone? Unfortunately, yes.  But we still need to get the truth out there for the whole world to hear. We must not live in fear of offending someone.

Sometimes we will have to step out of our comfort zone in order to reach the lost. It will feel uneasy at first, we might be tempted to give up but if we just persevere, God will see us through the uneasiness.

We can’t live for the approval of men. Living for the approval of men will let us down. Living for the approval of men will most definitely disappoint us.

Living for the approval of people will keep you from living for the purposes of God.

Craig Groeschel