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.

AndreaQuoteLiveJoyfullyFB

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.

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security

Building a Secure Life in the Midst of Uncertainty

Graphic for Ps. 71:5

I understand the fear of financial insecurity. I went through a period where, out of fear, I guarded and obsessed over every penny. But I soon learned, not only did my efforts fail to bring me any lasting security; they actually placed me in emotional bondage. I thought of this as I read our guest Julie Holmquist’s post. As you read about her insecurity to security experience, consider how God might want to bring you to a similar place.

Building a Secure Life in the Midst of Uncertainty

By Julie Holmquist

Building my life upon anything other than God is building on a flimsy and shakey foundation that won’t stand up to pressure and adversity.Building my life upon anything other than God is building on a flimsy and shakey foundation that won’t stand up to pressure and adversity. Click To Tweet

Have you ever created a house of cards? As a young girl, my siblings and I would compete to see how tall of a structure we could build. One wrong move, though, and the entire structure would fall to the floor.

As a wife, I found myself trying to build my life with something just as flimsy and precarious as a deck of playing cards—the status of our bank account.

Of course, I could hide behind the facade of wanting to be a good financial steward. In reality, I was anxiously trying to insulate us from economic disaster whether from an unexpected layoff, a downturned economy, or unforeseen expenses. You see, I wanted to know my needs would always be provided for even if I had to take care of them myself. To me, security meant being prepared for anything and everything.

I was consumed with planning and preparing for the “what ifs”, but there’s no way to plan for all the unknowns. We cannot fully know the future, but we can fully trust the One Who is already there. That’s why our finances are an unreliable source of security in time of real need.

52-Card Pick Up

A year ago, my house of cards came tumbling down. My husband unexpectedly lost his job right after Christmas. I battled panic, anxiety, and fear heading into the New Year. I was falling apart inside while trying to help keep it together and encourage my husband in his loss.

Christmas cheer was fading fast, but then God took me to Matthew 6:

“Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” (Matthew 6:26-33, ESV)

Nothing changed with my husband’s employment status after reading this Scripture, but I changed. I knew God wanted me to find my security in Him instead of the ups and downs of our finances. I was at peace — the kind of peace that doesn’t make sense. That peace carried me the entire Image of sunset above the cloudsnine months he remained unemployed.

I’m not saying we sat back and just waited for God to do something while we went skiing or binge watched Netflix. But because I now knew where my security came from, I found peace in the midst of the unknown. My security rests in the fact that I am God’s daughter, and He promises to provide for me.

Being secure in Whose I am, I felt like a little girl whose daddy took her to the park. I was free to explore and play without fearing my daddy would forget about me. I didn’t need to constantly remind him that I was his daughter and it was his job to feed me.

Let’s Talk About This!

What are you looking to for your security? Finances? Your looks? The ebb and flow of relationships?

I want to encourage you to look to the Only One Who can fill that need in you to feel secure. He is your Rock! Never changing. Never moving!

Get to Know Julie

Julie Holmquist is an author who currently writes on her blog at Stuff of Heaven and is also a contributing author for Devotableapp.com. Julie has written and produced video devotionals as well. She graduated from Christ for the Nations Bible school in Dallas, TX and holds an associates degree in practical theology. She enjoys all things personality and has probably taken every personality test there is (ENTP and an Enneagram 7w8). Julie loves the body of Christ (the Church) and smiles BIG when people are passionate about walking in their God-given callings and giftings–whatever they may be.

She and her husband have four sons and recently relocated to Charlotte, NC from Colorado Springs, CO.

You can find Julie online at her blog, Stuff of Heaven, follow her on Instagram at Stuff of Heaven and at Twitter at Stuff of Heaven,and connect with her on Facebook at Stuff of Heaven (Julie Holmquist)

Cover image for studyWant to explore this topic deeper and take steps toward increased security and emotional freedom? Then make sure to grab our free Bible study, Becoming His Princess! You can grab the  e-version HERE or purchase the print copy for only $7 HERE. You can watch opening session videos HERE (They’ll be loaded to our YouTube channel as we film them.) or listen to the audio versions HERE.

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