Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Welcome to Tuesday's Together In the Word. Can you believe we are on week 21? We are a group of women who are reading through the NT, Psalms and Proverbs this year and are sharing a nugget or three about what we've read. I encourage you to join in. You don't have to start at the beginning. Just jump in. The plan is hosted on our hostess DeeDee's blog at I Have No Greater Joy... If you choose not to use that plan but want to join in and share what you are reading, please do so! The more the merrier!

This week our reading was from Psalm 46-49; Philippians 1-4; and Colossians 1. Great stuff!

Redeemed by Him

"No man can redeem the life of another or give to God a ransom for him-
the ransom for a life is costly, no payment is ever enough- that he should live on forever and not see decay." ~ Psalms 49:7-9 (NIV)

What truth is in this Scripture. What liberation, too.

The Hebrew word for redeem is padah. This verb means:

1) to ransom, redeem, rescue, deliver
a) (Qal) to ransom
b) (Niphal) to be ransomed
c) (Hiphil) to allow one to be ransomed
d) (Hophal) redeemed

Were it not for grace we wouldn't stand a chance. There is not one thing we can give, no matter how expensive or treasured, for the soul of another human being. We have to trust God for His grace for us and for those we love.

This old body of mine started decaying probably the minute I hit 20. I'm an early ager. At 38, I am missing quite a few pieces and parts of my body. Not vital organs, mind you, though I would like to have my gall bladder back minus the gall stones. Some things that are missing were harming me or had the potential to harm me soon, and needed to be removed. Other things just flat out quit working. Yes, I move a little slower than I did 20 years ago, and, like my grandmother, I find myself sometimes running down a list of names before I hit on the right one for Liam, my youngest grandson!

Because of the redemption through the grace of God through His Son Jesus, one day I will have a brand new body. You can read about that in 1 Corinthians 15:35-58 (NIV).

More than a brand new body free of aches and pains and sickness, we will live in Heaven forever with Christ! We will not spend a life of eternal separation from Him. He is the only one who can redeem us and did through His death on the Cross. He rose again! We will be raised in the newness of life as well. No one else could have done this for us, and we can't do it for others.

Is there someone you long to redeem today? Is your burden great for them? Realize that you cannot pay the debt they owe, just as you couldn't pay the debt you owed. No man can. That is exactly why Christ was sent into the world. It wasn't about Silent Nights and shiny gifts under a tree and sharing stories about the sweet baby Jesus over huge family get-togethers.

Jesus was born to die. Born to redeem us into an eternal life that will never see decay.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him." ~ John 3:16-17 (NIV)

It's up to them to make the decision, but it's up to you to plant that seed. No payment is ever enough to buy their way into the kingdom of God, but you can invest time, prayer, teaching, friendship and sharing the Word of God to plant that seed.

If you find witnessessing intimidating, find freedom in knowing that although your burden may be great for someone, it's ultimately up to them to accept Christ. Share with them what's on your heart and show them the gift of grace.

I was talking with Laurie and Jennifer about this Friday. The first time I witnessed to someone, she chose not accept Christ. I felt such a sting of rejection (I think it was more of a pride thing, looking back) that for a long time I had a hard time putting myself (there's that self thing again) out there and sharing God's love for others.

No more. This Scripture from Psalms confirms that it's not about me. It's about Christ. Isn't it amazing how God will send you Scripture in a Bible reading to confirm something you just talked about? His love for us is that great. I will never call it a coincidence. I think it's God's timing.

When Good Things Happen to Bad People

"Do not be overawed when a man grows rich, when the splendor of his house increases; for he will take nothing with him when he dies, his splendor will not descend with him." ~ Psalm 49:16-17 (NIV)

My husband and I were talking the other day about how much good a man we know who is not saved and has no interest in being saved has. This man literally has the midas touch. He prospers in everything he does and nothing bad ever seems to come his way. We know men of God who are ravaged by illness or have been affected by economic downturns and wonder why their lot in life is so hard.

This Scripture answered that question for me. The fruits of the unsaved will not follow them beyond death, so why begrudge them the life they have on earth before death? Certainly, after death there will be no reward and they will spend eternity separated from God. How sad is that? It's awful to think about. Those who are men of God and have awful things happen to them on earth will be given much in Heaven. Health will be restored and they will rule and reign with Christ forever. How awesome is that?

We should never give up hope for those who are seemingly bad. Who are we to judge? We must continue to plant those seeds and pray for their redemption. We must also never give up on those who are seemingly good and are going through hard times. We should continuously pray for them, even as some suffer for Christ, that they might have peace on earth and have health restored to them, that God would supply every one of their needs through Christ Jesus our Lord.

Reach Out

"Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father." ~ Philippians 2:9-11 (NIV)

Acknowledging Christ as Lord is something we will all do one day. I rejoice in that and used to wonder if it would be something we would do individually or collectively. I acknowledge Him as Lord each time I pray, but what a privelege it would be to bow with everyone on earth and confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, all to the glory of God!

Can you imagine? Not only Christians, but people who have mocked or denied God, finally acknowledging Him as Lord? Oh, the glory that will be brought to God to see His precious Son honored! My heart breaks each time I see Christ mocked or denied. I am not smug when I say that I'm looking forward to the day when I see Christ acknowledged as Lord, but humbled at the thought of what it will be like for those who have scorned Him.

Somehow, someway, we need to reach and reason with people and take every opportunity we can to witness to them before it is too late.

R - Remember to pray for others.
E - Encourage others by your daily walk with the Lord.
A - Accept the opportunities God places before you to share Him.
C - Care deeply and passionately for the lost.
H - Help others in any way you can - even the small ways count!

O - Open your eyes to see those who need the Lord.
U - Utter His Word to them through song, prayer, a card, or a note.
T - Talk with them - converse about *your* relationship with the Lord.


Michele Williams said...

Oh I love the acrostic! So important to reach out! Too many people are too busy to help others, witness or even encourage one another. Excellent timely post my friend! I just talked to a young woman yesterday who said that she has been battling depression for a couple of years. She said that her pastor's wife asked her how she was doing, when she replied, "Thank you for asking, I'm not doing well at all." The pastor's wife looked at her and walked away. We must be willing to listen and help. Amen...

Melanie said...

Great post as usual, Laurie Ann! I love the scripture you posted from Psalm 49:16-17 and your thoughts. I hadn't quite thought about it in that manner before, but see so much truth in what you shared.

Have a great week!

Denise said...

I love this post sweetie.

Kelly @ The Beauty of Sufficient Grace said...

Your posts always speak to me...thank you so much for this timely Word...the Lord is really using you through your blog, and I'm so grateful for your willing heart. Thank you for encouraging me each week through your wonderful posts! So much truth in this post...

Blessings to you,

Toknowhim said...

Laurie Ann...

You won the book giveaway at my bloggy :) Can you go to my blog and leave a comment with your address... Don't worry I won't publish your comment with your address... I will delete it once I get your address...

He And Me + 3 said...

So true...we do need to reach out. So many people are lost and hurting and we have the answers...if we would all just reach out & share.

Shabby Olde Potting Shed said...

What a wonderful study Laurie Ann.
Hey, how do you do your word studies like this? What are you using to find them? I'm really curious... it's awesome!