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freedom, identity, security

Reclaiming Redemption

AndreaQuoteTrustJesus

Picture a woman in chains behind bars. Her orange jumpsuit is a beacon screaming, “Guilty!” She’s lost all hope of freedom from this ugly place until the warden swings open the cell door. “A stranger paid your debt. You can go.” As she hurries out in disbelief, crossing the threshold into the sunlight, she looks down. Where there was once prison garb, she now sees a white sundress and pearls. She’s been transformed by mercy.

And she’s an image of us when we grasp the power of redemption.  

It may have been real bars that kept you living in shame, or the memory of bad decisions. Perhaps it’s a harsh word you’d take back, an affair you can’t wish away, or a sinful pattern you can’t kick. According to Romans 6:23, “the wages of sin is death.” Gulp. We’re right to feel the weight of our sin. The penalty is severe. But praise God that’s not where the verse ends. Listen to this: death doesn’t hold us because “the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 6:23 ESV).    

Over and over Scripture paints this picture of our freedom. Colossians 1:13-14 ESV reaffirms this truth saying, “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of His beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Colossians-1_14-

Sometimes it’s hard to understand or accept this reality because redemption isn’t an everyday word in our vocabulary. What does it mean to be redeemed? Is our spiritual jail cell really unlocked?

Those were questions I struggled with until I did some digging into Scripture. “Apolutrosis”- it sounds like an odd sickness, but it’s the original Greek word for redemption in today’s verse. It means to be released because a ransom was paid.

What does that reveal about our identity?

It tells our story. We were prisoners to sin, held captive, and unable to gain our freedom. But in our darkest moment, God saw us and bought us back for a high price—Jesus’s perfect life sacrificed on the cross to atone for ours.

How does it make you feel to know you’ve been ransomed? That a payment was made on your behalf so that nothing hinders your relationship with God? That you now can approach Him with your head up in honor instead of down with shame? Maybe it’ll take a while to sink in.

It makes me super relieved. I’m beyond thankful Jesus paid my debt, that I don’t have to try to prove I’m worthy of God’s love because He makes me worthy. I lived in shame and struggle for so many unnecessary years when I could’ve traded my guilt for His freely offered peace. And I’m thankful I don’t have to live fearfully anymore.

Now I live in grace and I claim my redemption daily. Receiving this truth to my core, that I can’t undo the fact that I’ve been bought back, fuels me to live differently. I cling as closely as possible to my big brother, Jesus, because He’s proven His love and protection is something I can count on.

Perhaps you still feel more chained than freed. But once you trust in Jesus, He wants to bust you out of every jail cell you’ve crawled into. Trust that His sacrifice was enough for your past, present, and future mistakes. God not only paid your debt in full, but also credited you with Jesus’ brilliant righteousness. You can live joyfully knowing He traded your orange jumpsuit for His white robe.

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Relationships

When No One Else Can Help — Guest Post

By Meredith Kendall

Rejection stings in every form. Friendships that crumble. Parents who disapprove. Children who leave and don’t return. And loves that betray. Labeled “unwanted” is never our plan.

One evening, I arrived home from putting on a successful Fall Festival, filled with laughter and hot dogs and sugared up kids, to hear my husband say, “I just don’t love you anymore. I’m going to be with her.”

He was having an affair.

I was devastated. I was married at 18, moved over six hundred miles away from family and friends and now at 31 years old, a stay at home mom was going to be divorced. Have you ever had your dreams shattered? Hope seemed lost.

Every day I woke up, turned on the local Christian radio station to sing at the top of my lungs and weep. My life was turned upside down. All alone, I had no clue how I would make it.

I received all kinds of advice from well-meaning friends and family, but none of it comforted me. How could they understand what I was going through? Truth was, no one’s words could ease my pain.

Walking in faith was new to me, so I wasn’t sure where Jesus was in this mess. I wish I could say I ran to the Bible to read passages that would give me comfort. Unfortunately, I felt I lacked the confidence and skills to navigate Scripture. The one thing that did bring me comfort was a song on the radio that seemed to be played over and over again. The artist talked about how to survive whether we are on the mountaintop or in the valley. The song went on to say that when we are on our knees we are before the Love that can change everything and that on our knees is where we need to find our power.

God used a song of truth to bring peace in a horrible situation. I literally got on my knees for the duration of this song, arms stretched high, tears streaming, making this my prayer. God, who I’d given my life to just a year earlier, met me there. I was a new Christian and had no clue how to navigate this pain, this new normal. But Jesus gave me His comfort through the lyrics of this song.

Now twenty-two years later, I share my story in hopes that you will experience peace knowing that God doesn’t abandon us during our time of Woman's profile against an inky sky with text pulled from the post.affliction, but is waiting for us to cry out to Him. I’m grateful that I allowed Him to be my Comforter during my hardest time because His wisdom helped me find my way.

Worldly wisdom would’ve let me down. It said, “Walk away. Forget your marriage. Just start over.” Some even said, “Let’s go out and get a drink. Let’s go out and party.” But I stayed on my knees for my marriage, and today, by God’s grace, we share our story.

Truth in Scripture says, “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4)

What’s your story? Have you fallen on your knees in need before your loving Father? If so, show others the way according to God’s words, it’s not for us to hide our affliction as if it has never happened, but to comfort others in their time of need and to be a light of God’s goodness. What story of comfort are you hiding that God wants to use?

Let’s talk about this! Rejection hurts and, if not dealt with correctly, in light of God’s love and grace, can leave lasting wounds that negatively impact our future relationships. How does knowing God loves us and will never leave us help you move forward? Has He helped you through a deep hurt and perhaps given you insight that could help others? Share your thoughts, stories, questions, and insights here in the comments below, because we can all learn from one another! And make sure to join our social media group–a safe place for women to share their struggles, celebrations, prayer requests, and questions. Join by clicking the “Join Group” button below.

And if you haven’t done so, make sure to snag our free Bible study (in ebook form) on growing in grace and a Christ-centered identity. You can do so HERE. (Print copies are available for $5 plus shipping and handling.)

Get to know Meredith!

Meredith Kendall is a change agent, driven by her God-given passion to equip struggling families to achieve their unique God-given potential.

As a nationally recognized sales leader, Meredith Kendall learned how to build bridges and make connections with the heart of what people need. God called her to co-found Advancing the Gospel which serves those who are often forgotten. Today she uses her gifting’s to help people understand the root causes of their struggles and find freedom through Christ.

Her upcoming book My GiGi’s House: Finding Hope will be released October 2019. Pre-release copies are available now.

www.the180program.org

www.meredithsagekendall.com

Check out her upcoming release!

Ralynn promised God that if He allowed her to see the light of day she would seek help. Pregnant and afraid for her life, Ralynn’s chance encounter with Ms. Shelly started her on a path of healing and finding a relationship with Jesus and her purpose in life.

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Faith, security

An Emergency Responder Who Will Never Leave

Have you ever witnessed a near-death experience? Watched someone deliver CPR to a lifeless body? Or administered the Heimlich maneuver on a choking victim? In our scariest moments, we need to know our God is also a very real and present Father.

Once a large, chalky pill got lodged in my throat. My lungs burned for air. It was terrifying. I was in the bedroom by myself, and I couldn’t scream for help, much less breathe. I began to knock on my stomach while bent over and, with everything in me, force out a cough, even just a tiny one.

Praise God, my meager efforts to dislodge the medication worked. By the time the pill hit the floor and I took a reviving breath, tears already flowed down my face. I was relieved yet shaken by the knowledge that I’d almost, very truly, died. I started thanking God at once because my paltry efforts while the pill obstructed my oxygen couldn’t have worked on their own. He saved me.

This experience had me contemplating salvation. Through Christ, God rescued us from death and brought us spiritual life. Wow! It’s almost unfathomable that the God of the universe took us from hopelessly lost in sin to eternally safe in Christ.

Girl with lit heart

Unlike an emergency responder, God doesn’t save us and return to the fire station. Click To Tweet

But what’s more, unlike an emergency responder, God doesn’t save us and return to the fire station. Instead, He welcomes us into His family and adopts us as His children, making us heirs to His royal and eternal Kingdom. Do you see how deeply God loves us? 1 John 3:1 says, “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” I love that the translation adds the exclamation marks. It makes me want to shout to the hills! We are children of God!

On Father’s Day, we’ll honor dads for all they do for their children. Fatherhood can enable men, who were once immature and selfish, to lavish complete devotion, sacrifice, loyalty, and unconditional love on their children. But even their best efforts can fail.Fatherhood can enable men, who were once immature and selfish, to lavish complete devotion, sacrifice, loyalty, and unconditional love on their children. But even their best efforts can fail. Click To Tweet

If your earthly father has ever disappointed, hurt, or abandoned you, this can leave a deep and painful wound. But there’s One who will always cherish you. Our Father in Heaven goes above and beyond the call of duty. He isn’t simply an emergency responder who moves on after the saving is done. Nope. He never leaves us, nor will He ever fail, injure, or disappoint us. He is fully devoted to us in the good days or the bad.Our Father in Heaven goes above and beyond the call of duty. He isn’t simply an emergency responder who moves on after the saving is done. Click To Tweet

I hope this Father’s Day is a little sweeter as you reflect on your Heavenly Father’s perfect love for you. Take time to thank the One who rescued you and calls you His precious child.

Let’s talk about this! Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below, and join our discussion in our Facebook group!

Our online community is a safe place where women can share their struggles, insights, and celebrations. This is a “closed” group where only members can see posts shared and where confidentiality is practiced. We share prayer requests, hurts and insecurities, and ways God is meeting us in our struggles each day. And you’re invited to heal and grow and learn with us!

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obedience, Video Devotion

When Obeying God Proves Difficult but Right and Powerful — Video Devotion

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Faith, obedience, Uncategorized

Do I Trust Myself More Than God?

Do I Trust Myself More than God

Sometimes I put trust in dangerous places.

One day, my husband informed me he wanted to return to the Navy. I’d talked him out of this decision before and felt certain I could again. After all, he was pursuing his college degree, and going back into the military meant saying goodbye to nearly half our income and a comfortable civilian life. Nothing about it made sense, and I told him so.

But then God captured my attention. Has God ever grabbed yours?

When I relayed the situation to our pastor’s wife, she asked if I had prayed about it. Her words—more likely God speaking through her—shook me. I hadn’t. I trusted myself and my logic more than God.

However, seemingly obvious answers aren’t always fueled by God Almighty.

His ways are higher than ours, according to Isaiah 55:8-9. Wisdom finds us seeking our Father’s counsel.

Wisdom finds us seeking our Father's counsel. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet

After that divinely-led conversation, I went home and prayed. My strong-willed, rational self intentionally transferred trust to God in that moment. I asked the Lord to show me if He was behind Tony’s decision and to make His will undoubtedly clear.

God responded to that prayer within days.

The answer? Navy.

Day after day, those four letters grabbed my attention from their mount on buildings, signs, and vehicles. It was the wildest thing. Everywhere I turned, “navy” found me.

Soon after, Tony rejoined the Navy. In fact, he made a career of it, retiring in 2013. The Lord showed us much and crossed our paths with many wonderful people during those years. We wouldn’t exchange the journey for anything. God knew best after all!

Relying on ourselves, logical thinking, or statistics looks good on the outside, and trust set there often makes sense at first glance. But God’s ways are higher than ours. He woos and encourages us to rely on Him—the Maker of heaven and earth.

God's ways are higher than ours. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet

Proverbs 3:5-6 challenges us to trust in the Lord versus our own understanding. The Bible prompts us to acknowledge God, knowing He—not man—will make our paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6 challenges us to trust in the Lord versus our own understanding. ~ @Kristi_Woods Click To Tweet

When we find ourselves placing confidence in ourselves or others, why not turn to our Father instead? What situations are you facing today that’d be safer set in prayer, relying on God versus man?

Let’s talk about this! Share your thoughts and stories in the comments below, and join our discussion in our Facebook group!
Our online community is a safe place where women can share their struggles, insights, and celebrations. This is a “closed” group where only members can see posts shared, and it’s also a place where confidentiality is practiced. We share prayer requests, hurts and insecurities, and ways God is meeting us in our struggles each day. And you’re invited to heal and grow and learn with us!

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Closed group · 320 members
 

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A place for women to come together, share their struggles, celebrations, and insights, and inspire one another to be all God created them to be.

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