Archive for November, 2012

I Am Redeemed

Posted: November 21, 2012 in QT's
Tags: , , , ,

Have you ever been lost before? Once when I was a kid I was at the local mall with my mom and sisters. We were clothes shopping and for a nine year old boy that was like excruciating torture. There was a light in the darkness however. It just so happened that J.C. Penney’s had a brand new Intellivision game console on display. I know, I know but in 1980 that was a big deal, and it consumed every bit of my attention. My mom and sisters were shopping and I was in my own world. It was wonderful for all of us. Then the store lights began to turn off and someone announced that the store would soon be closing. Oh well, all good things must come to an end and so I went to where I thought my mom should be. She wasn’t there. I walked through the store looking for her but couldn’t find her. I panicked and went looking through the entire mall for her. I panicked some more and went to the parking lot to look for her (yes, I realize I did everything wrong). I finally went back in the mall and there my mom was with a police officer looking for me (turns out I wasn’t where I was supposed to be). It was a glorious reunion. I was lost, but I had been found and I was very much relieved.

Psalm 107:2 says, “Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble.” (ESV)

The word redeem means to gain or regain possession of (something) in exchange for payment. (New Oxford American Dictionary) It means that something (or someone) that was once lost has been found. The passage goes on to describe some of the trouble that people find themselves in; some wandered in desert wastes with no home, hungry and thirsty; some sat in darkness, prisoners of their own sin because they had turned away from God; some were in deep despair; some were simply determined to go their own way until they found out that way leads to destruction. In each case, when people reached their end they cried out to God and He came to the rescue:

He gave the wandering people a home.

“He led them by a straight way till they reached a city to dwell in.” (v.7)

He broke the prison of sin.

“He brought them out of darkness and the shadow of death and burst their bonds apart.” (v14) “For he shatters the doors of bronze and cuts in two the bars of iron.” (v.16)

(I love that, God is the hero coming to our rescue, bursting in and shattering sin!)

He healed the afflicted and saved them from sin and despair.

“He sent out his word and healed them, and delivered them from their destruction.” (v.20)

He calmed the storm of life.

“He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed.” (v.29)

The passage goes on to show how God can take a situation and turn it around. He brings judgment on the wicked by turning rivers into deserts and he provides for the humble and needy by turning deserts into pools of water. It closes with a word to the wise to pay attention and think about the steadfast love of God.

As we approach Thanksgiving let us think about the love of God. Over and over again in this passage we read the words “Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of man!” We go through trouble in life sometimes. We lose our way or we turn away but God is there, ready to burst through the door and save us, even from ourselves. He is ready to provide a place for us to live, in His presence, power, and protection. He’s ready to redeem us and buy us back with the blood of His own Son. He truly is our hero.

Remember the steadfast love of God this holiday season and give HIM thanks for who He is, what He has done, what He’s doing, and what He will do.

In Christ, Paul

Redeemed

Seems like all I can see was the struggle

Haunted by ghosts that lived in my past

Bound up in shackles of all my failures

Wondering how long is this gonna last

Then You look at this prisoner and say to me “son

Stop fighting a fight that’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free

So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains

Wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be

I am redeemed

All my life I have been called unworthy

Named by the voice of my shame and regret

But when I hear You whisper, “Child lift up your head”

I remember oh God, You’re not done with me yet

I don’t have to be the old man inside of me

Cause his day is long dead and gone

I’ve got a new name, a new life I’m not the same

And a hope that will carry me home

I am redeemed, You set me free

So I’ll shake off theses heavy chains

Wipe away every stain now I’m not who I used to be

I am redeemed

 -Benji Cowart & Michael Weaver

Advertisements

“The boss may not always be right, but he’s always the boss!” Like it or not, it’s a true statement. We all work (or have worked) for somebody else. Even if you’re the guy on top you answer to somebody. Generally, the guy on top answers to a group of somebodies, whether it be a board, or customers, or whatever. It’s also true that we won’t always agree with the boss, and we may even be right, but he (or she) is still the boss. The boss will have to make difficult decisions sometimes, decisions that won’t necessarily be popular, understood, or even well received. My point is, they are his to make. This is a principle that’s true for anyone in leadership.

It should also be understood that being a leader is not necessarily the same as being a boss. I’m speaking primarily of being a leader in the church because that’s the world I live in. The principle still applies. The difference is the bottom line. In a business the bottom line is profit and loss. In a church the bottom line is ministry. In Ephesians 4 we are told that it’s the pastor/teacher’s job to equip the saints (Christians/church members) to do the work of the ministry. Church is about the glory of God. It’s about God working in and through His people. Either way, difficult decisions will have to be made.

I have had the opportunity to think about these things as I’ve been taking a look at the life of one of the most successful leaders the world has ever seen, a guy by the name of Moses. Moses was God’s chosen man to lead His people, Israel, out of slavery in Egypt and into God’s promises. There is certainly more about this remarkable man than I could write about in a few paragraphs so let me just point to one episode in his life and ministry.

In Exodus 32 we read about Moses going up on Mt. Sinai (the mountain of God) and receiving the Ten Commandments. While he was there God revealed to him that the people had already turned away and were worshiping a false idol. God was angry and said that He would wipe them out and start over with Moses. Moses responds by pouring his heart out to God in prayer on behalf of the people. The Bible says that God changed his course of action because of Moses’ prayer. That in itself is pretty amazing but listen to what happened next. Moses went down the mountain, broke the tablets the Ten Commandments were written on in the presence of the people, made them grind the golden idol into dust and drink it, then commanded those who would stand with God to strap on their swords and go through the camp killing their own brothers, friends, and neighbors. The Bible says that 3000 people fell by the sword that day. Now there’s no doubt that these were unrepentant people, the ring leaders of the rebellion. After this was done Moses went back up the mountain and once again poured his heart out to God on behalf of the people, even offering to share in their punishment (even though he was innocent).

There are two things I would like to point out. The first is that Moses loved God’s people very deeply. It’s evident by the way he interceded for them in prayer, twice! The other is that Moses was passionate about God. Moses made a very difficult decision when he came down the mountain. Think about what took place at his command. There were no doubt long lasting consequences that Moses had to deal with as the leader of people who lost family and friends in this encounter. It would have been easier for Moses just to tell them not to do it again but he knew that if he didn’t act swiftly and decisively his problems would be worse. Those who were unrepentant and rebellious would have led all of God’s people astray. That was a risk that Moses couldn’t take. Moses understood what he had to do, and he did it. He didn’t poll the people. He didn’t call for a meeting. He didn’t ask everyone else what he should do. He just did what needed to be done. Remember, if it wasn’t for Moses, God Himself would have killed everybody in His holy wrath (read it for yourself). At the end of the day Moses had to answer to God for his leadership. He was God’s man. He had to be God’s man above all else and he needed the people to know he was God’s man and would do whatever was necessary to lead them to be God’s people.

Leaders, pastors, in God’s church may not always be right but they are the men that God has called to lead His church. This carries a burden of responsibility with it that can’t be fully understood by most people. It’s a burden of knowing that he is ultimately responsible to God for every decision he makes. You may not always agree with your pastors but please understand, they’re still your pastors. They’re God’s men and they have a great responsibility to Him first and foremost. I think most pastors take this responsibility very seriously and that they make decisions, even and especially difficult ones, based on two things; their love for the church and their passion for God. Let me encourage you to love, pray for, and support your pastors. I know from experience how encouraging that can be.

In Christ, Paul