Tag Archives: Redemption

Barren

God does his best work with barren things.Barren Blog

He built nations from barren wombs.
Sarah, Abraham’s wife, was barren and yet from her God built a nation of millions!
Elizabeth was barren and from her came John the Baptist.
In Exodus 17 God led his people into a barren desert and in a place where there was no water he made a river for them to drink.
God does his best work with barren things.
He works with barren lives, lives ravaged by failure, sin, loss, and wasted years.
He works with barren things so the world will see his glory and greatness.
Have you felt like a failure?  Have you wasted your years?  Do you think you’re not good enough, not smart enough, have nothing to offer?  Then you are just the person God can use.  He loves working with barren things, broken lives,  and failures, because through what the world considers “barren” God works miracles!
“For consider your calling, brethren, that there were not many wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble; 27 but God has chosen the foolish things of the world to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to shame the things which are strong, 28 and the base things of the world and the despised God has chosen, the things that are not, so that He may nullify the things that are, 29 so that no man may boast before God. 30 But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption, 31 so that, just as it is written, “Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord.””
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

Alone

AloneOne of the grim realities of life is that we are alone. In the middle of a busy city with others all around we are alone.
This “aloneness” is one of the results of the fall, but is mostly ignored by writers. We simply don’t talk about it. Man, designed to be in constant relationship with God who made him is now thrust into the world empty, alone, isolated. Even with thousands around us we all have sensed this truth…we are alone.
In God’s amazing plan of redemption his intentions were to deal with more than one problem in the cross. Clearly the Christian world knows about his resolution of the sin issue. Without a doubt we all know about God’s redemption accomplished by Christ, the forgiveness of sin, the restored relationship, the promise of eternity, but what we don’t talk about is the resolution of man’s isolation problem.
Part of God’s plan in redemption was to bring us back into a relationship with him. We use those words so easily, but don’t realize what they mean. One of our major problems caused by sin is our isolation. We are alone! God’s plans included the restoration of how he designed us to be. His plans included the repair of this breach. Here is what Jesus says about this plan,
John 14:16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. 18 I will not leave you as orphans; I will come to you. 19 Before long, the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me. Because I live, you also will live. 20 On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you. 21 Whoever has my commands and obeys them, he is the one who loves me. He who loves me will be loved by my Father, and I too will love him and show myself to him.’ 22 Then Judas (not Judas Iscariot) said, ‘But, Lord, why do you intend to show yourself to us and not to the world?’ 23 Jesus replied, ‘If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.”
“We will come to him and make our home with him.” Did you see that? In God’s amazing plan of salvation he also plans to resolve our aloneness. He resolves it by coming to us and living with us. Suddenly, we are no longer alone. In a moment of time the great ache of the heart is resolved. Human beings, designed to be in constant fellowship with God, through Christ, are restored to that relationship. God with us, living in us, our hope of glory. This truth is profound and immensely important. If we miss this we miss all that God has done. No longer alone….what an amazing and wonderful part of God’s redemptive work.

Extreme Grace

I am thrilled to know and experience the grace of God.  It’s absolutely life changing once you know what God has done for us.

One of the great tragedies of the church in our day is the fear so many have of grace.  They fear what might happen if people really knew they were completely forgiven, loved and part of heaven even now.  That security, for some, is just too good to be true. There must be a trick up God’s sleeve somewhere.  He can’t really mean that we already have everything and can never lose it.  There must be something we have to do, some work, some duty that will let us make our relationship and eternity sure, but there isn’t….it’s absolutely and totally free, available by faith alone and will last forever!
But grace is even more extreme than you think it is.  It’s outrageous and foolish from man’s viewpoint.  In his love God provided for all of mankind a free gift of forgiveness, redemption, salvation, security, eternity with him, and peace now…if they would simply accept his gift by faith.
You have to know I haven’t gotten to the extreme part yet.  Here it is, are you ready?  God has made it possible for us to be his sons, his daughters!  Imagine, a son of God.  That is so crazy I can’t even understand what that

looks like! But there’s more….he’s also given each of his children HIS Spirit to dwell in them, lead them, help them, and be with them….are you ready….forever.  When the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, takes up residence in us he promises to never leave.  We are men and women indwelt by the God who made us for all eternity!
More?  Ok, here we go…there is nothing you can do, good or bad…ever, to lose what he has given you.  You cannot lose his gifts to you if you have received them.  They are yours by faith alone and eternally yours….you can never be lost.  An eternal, indwelt by the Spirit of God, child of God.  More? We are destined to live with God and be part of his eternal kingdom.  Priests and Kings he calls us.  Children of God he describes us.  The names and provisions would fill pages, more than I have room to speak of here, but his grace extended to us is extreme at the far end of the scale.
The work of God in grace could fill volumes!  It’s not just a “saving grace”, although it is that, it’s an extreme grace that completely changes everything about our lives here and our eternity ahead.
But sadly many have made this wonderful grace a small thing.  They fear what believers might do if they knew.  The tragedy is that if they knew they would fall more deeply in love with God and lean in closer to know him better.  Let’s talk about this extreme grace to those we know and celebrate the amazing love of God in his provision for us. It is a wonderfully glorious magnificent extreme grace!
Visit Mike at Finishing Well.

The Father Effect

 

A wonderful part of being in this world as a ChristianRep, is we get to meet a lot of new people from across the globe and sometimes right in our own back yard. One recent new friend on Twitter is John Finch – @johnpfinch.

John is creating his very first full-length documentary telling his own life story of growing up without a father, the wound and the resulting incredible effect left in the wake of forgiveness. With John as narrator, his film is set to tell the story of how growing up without a father has shaped his life as a boy, a man, and a father.

His documentary, The Father Effect, is set to be a long reaching look into the lives of children who will grow to be adults one day soon, and will live out the effect of their father’s impact. Simply and directly, it is a story that needs to be told for the sake of families now and in the future.

As children of God, we have a heavenly Father always there for us and loving us. This film is for those who may still feel the wounds left from having an earthly father who may have fallen far short of God’s expectations.

Here is the short story – now on film.  TheFatherEfffect.

 

Permission to Speak Freely

 

The permission to speak freely by Anne Jackson is an awesome book that talks about how we let our fears stop us from speaking freely about anything.  Freely speaking on our thoughts and fears about church, relationships, addictions, depression, family etc.  Her single statement “Fear Won” caught my heart.  Fear wins out so often over so many things in so many of our lives.  This book reminds us that we may never be completely free of fear, but that we can live a courageous life, speaking freely about the issues we have faced or are facing.

 

Many people struggle with depression and seasons of depression, wondering why they still fight it or are fearful of what others will think about them taking antidepressants etc.  She sums it up nicely when talking about seasons of depression saying  “feelings of insecurity and worthlessness is a chain I may never be able to break.”

 

She generously gives the gift of courage by stepping out and speaking out about her addictions, abuse and fear of talking freely about them.   She says “something in us begins to come alive in us when we see people overcome fear.” We draw courage from others who, regardless of fear, stand up and speak up.

 

Sometimes our fears of living our dreams keep up from even taking the first step.  Anne puts it this way “Their hearts are fighting for their dreams, yet fear claws away at their spirits, telling them their dreams are impossible.”   Sometimes it doesn’t take much more than a single twinge of fear to hold us back.

 

This book is very uplifting and encouraging.  Whether you are fighting seasons of depression, feelings of worthlessness, or anything else that grips your heart in fear, Permission to Speak Freely is sure to encourage you and maybe you’ll find the gift of going 2nd is something you can give to others by sharing your story.

One of my favorite quotes by Anne:

I had now seen the redemption and freedom that occurs when the darkness is forced into the light, disguised as awkwardly spoken words

 

The audio book is read by Anne Jackson, the author.  I feel that we could actually feel more of what she was feeling as she recounts some of what was going through her mind and heart while she was retelling her story.  Very well done.

 

I’d like to thank Christian Audio for the complimentary copy of this book through their Reviewers’ program.  Follow Christian Audio on Twitter here. Check their site each month for a free audio book download.  Good stuff there!

{{HUGS}} yall

@spreadingJOY