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Redeemed

A few days ago, I was running errands and heard the song, Redeemed, by Big Daddy Weave, start playing on my radio.

As the lyrics were sung by this gifted artist, I found my soul singing along, connecting the words of the songwriter with the story of Easter, when we celebrate the risen Christ.

This isn’t just a story for Easter, though.

This is my daily story…it is every human’s story…because Jesus died on the cross for EVERY person’s sins.

It is by God’s Spirit, once we accept the work of Jesus on the cross, that we are changed from our old selves into new creatures.

The most amazing part of it all is that we can do NOTHING to earn this gift.

It is freely given.

We can’t buy our way to redemption.

We can’t do enough good deeds to cover the sacrifice of the innocent offering that Jesus became when He was nailed to the cross.

We are not good in and of ourselves.

It is only through God’s grace, his unmerited favor, that He offers salvation.

If this doesn’t bring tears of thankfulness to your eyes, I don’t know what will.

Celebrate with your family today.

Then, carry your praise with you each day after that.


“Redeemed”

Seems like all I could 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 it’s already been won”

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be
I am redeemed, I’m 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 am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, now I’m not who I used to be

Because I don’t have to be the old man inside of me
‘Cause his day is long dead and gone
Because 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 these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, ’cause I’m not who I used to be

I am redeemed, You set me free
So I’ll shake off these heavy chains
Wipe away every stain, yeah, I’m not who I used to be
Oh, God, I’m not who I used to be
Jesus, I’m not who I used to be
‘Cause I am redeemed
Thank God, redeemed

Blessed!

There is no better way to spend the day than by praising God for the ultimate gift of love…the sacrifice of His own flesh and blood…to save me from the sins I have committed against Him.

The icing on the cake was spending this time surrounded by the ones I love.

Happy Easter!

May you always remember this day for what it is and not for what “society” deems it to be.

Reunion!

Easter Sunday is the high point of a Christian’s year.

On Easter, a Christian celebrates the resurrection of the Savior.

A Christian who has been observing Lent also celebrates the end of the fast that the person has committed himself or herself to.

As you might recall, I gave up TV.

Yes, Your’s Truly gave up the thing I lived my life around.

Heck…I’m surprised I didn’t schedule the birth of my children around my television shows.

Of course, there weren’t such fabulous shows such as Dancing With the Stars, Survivor, or Criminal Minds way back when.

Good thing.

The forty-three days (I started three days early) I spent sans-TV were interesting indeed.

The first week was very difficult.  As I watched the days go by, I mentally ticked off the shows.

I was grumpy.  I’ll admit that.

The sound of silence in my house was more deafening than the sounds that had come out of the dumb-me-down machine.

I grew used to the silence, however.

Lent became a blessing to me as I was able to focus on my challenging education certification classes.

I spent time in God’s Word and in prayer.

I grew to understand that I was wasting my energy on people I did not know nor would ever, in many cases, care to know.

There was a freedom on that…a letting up of emotional responsibility.

I grew to discover that I really don’t care that Sammie was justified in shooting EJ.  To this day, I have no idea if Rafe is still locked up in Stefano’s basement.

By the way, I’m talking about Days of Our Lives, which will be one of the few soap operas left on TV after the end of the year.

But, I think you get my point.

I grew to love other activities…

Coming home and spending time sitting outside while my dogs played in the yard.

Oh, you should see my Molly when I venture out to “her” world.  She’s like a toddler who cares for nothing better than a Mama who will sit down to play, or in Molly’s case take time out to throw a stick or a ball.

I discovered, through the 43 days, that I can be disciplined, if I put my mind to it.

With God’s help, I can do anything.

I feel incredibly thankful that God put the TV fast on my heart.  He always knows what’s best for me (and you too, for that matter).

Now, with all of that said, I have to admit that I grew antsy on Friday and Saturday.

It’s kind of like when kids wait for Christmas to come.  They’re eager.

I was eager, let me tell you.

I considered staying up until midnight on Saturday just so I could turn on my TV.

But, I waited.

After all, I had already waited for six weeks.

I attended church with my family.

And then I couldn’t wait any longer.

Chicky captured the moment…

The reunion, if you will…

After Chicky left for her long drive back to college, Rooster and I sat down, and we watched TV.

And we watched (for you see, he had kind of fasted from TV as well, since I had unplugged the cable box).

And we watched…

I sat on that couch, knit, and watched TV from about 1pm until 8pm.

I was not ashamed, oh no I wasn’t.

I was content.

When Amazing Race was over, I decided not to watch Celebrity Apprentice.

Thanks to the lessons learned during Lent, I decided that I never liked LaToya Jackson before the show, so I had no reason to watch it now.  In fact, I didn’t see any “star” *cough* who I could connect with, so I turned off the TV…

Only to turn on my computer and catch up on episodes of Criminal Minds…

Which I watched until 11:45pm.

I am not ashamed to admit this.

I went to school on Monday a happy lady.

Though I am back to watching TV, I do feel like I’ll be more selective.  I’m also quite sure that I won’t have a problem when reruns hit the airwaves during the summer.

I’ve learned that there’s more to life than TV.

Then There Was Sunday

Today is Easter Sunday.

It is the most important day in history…the day when Jesus Christ defied the powers of sin and death and rose from the grave.

My family attended a service preached by the church’s youth pastor.

Word, but that guy can pound out a sermon!

One of the most important things I took away from it was that through all of the darkness and despair of the days and years leading up to the crucifixion, Sunday followed…the day of great joy.

I think this is an important lesson to remember.

We’ve all had days when we couldn’t wait to crawl back into bed and pull the covers over our heads.

Some of us have had years like this.

Still, there’s always a Sunday…a day when our burdens are relieved.

God had a plan when He created the world.

He knew mankind would fall.

Centuries passed, and the separation from God was horrendous.

Still, He provided a way back to Him.

His Son was scorned…rejected by all but a few.

He, an innocent man…the only innocent person ever to walk on earth…was killed in the most inhumane way possible, and sadness filled the hearts of his devout followers.

Then there was Sunday.

If you don’t have the joy that comes with Easter, I pray that you would find a Bible and start reading.  Start searching out God’s Word and pray.

God is faithful.  He hears our prayers, and He will be found if you truly seek Him with all of your heart, soul, and mind.

Then you too will know, personally, the joy of Sunday.

What are You Really Celebrating?

First of all, Happy Easter to you!

My family spent a portion of the morning at church, listening to our Youth Pastor give a very stirring sermon.

Then, in true Family With Teenagers style, we parted ways…Chicky leaving to eat lunch with Guy Friend’s family (he came home for the weekend), the Mr. and Rooster headed out to grab lunch, while I took Molly on a 40-minute walk.

As I booked it (cause that’s what I do when I walk…not a stroll, mind you), I pondered something I’ve been pondering for a while.

What do people celebrate at the major holidays like Christmas and Easter?

I mean, these are probably two of the most important holidays of the year.  Although these are Christian holidays, they are accompanied by many secular traditions that invite all to participate.

This gets me to thinking…

What are people really celebrating when these holidays roll around?  Are these days just days of fun for those who do not have a relationship with God?

Let’s take this train of thought a step further.

Why don’t the masses participate in other “religious” holidays, such as Hanukkah or Kwanzaa?  Both involve the giving of presents.  I found this site, which is geared toward Kwanzaa-themed gifts and this one for Hanukka gifts.

Now, I’m not saying that other holidays are bad, mind you.  That’s not what this post is about.

I’m just curious how and why people choose the holidays they want to celebrate, and what kind of meaning they get from them if they don’t actually believe in what those holidays are about.

My family does not celebrate Hanukkah because we are not Jewish.  When we lived in South Florida, which has a very large Jewish population, my children tried their best to talk me into the Hanukkah tradition of eight days of gift giving.

However, this holiday is steeped in deep, spiritual undertones that we are not a part of.  So, we don’t celebrate it.

What about people who do not attend church?  Why do they participate in the Santa or Easter Bunny traditions?

This was something I wrestled with when my children were babies…should I also participate, or shouldn’t I?  I had grown up in a family that was active in church, so I understood the tie-in.  As far as the AuburnChick children were concerned, I knew that I would be bringing them up in a Christian environment, and that I would find a way to turn their eyes toward the real reason for the holidays.

I have found it fascinating…the way that churches swell during these two pivotal holidays.  Chicky calls people who attend at Christmas and Easter “Chreasters,” a blend of the two words.

The good thing about having a large amount of attention on these holidays is that many people do walk into churches on these days.  Only the Lord knows when their hearts will be ripe to receive His Word.  It could very well be one of these special days.

However, for the rest of the people, I’m simply as a loss.

It’s times like these…when my brain goes into overdrive on the philosophical thinking, that I am glad that God is in control…that He had a plan from the beginning of time.

I am so thankful that God knew His creation, as perfect as it was, would falter (thanks to free will) and need a Savior.  I am so thankful that He willingly gave up His own, and that Jesus willingly became the sacrifice that would serve as payment for my sin.

I just pray that those who mark these days in secular ways will pause a moment to consider why.  Perhaps their eyes will be opened to God’s truths…His mercy…and His love.

Every day that the Kingdom gains a new believer is TRULY a day of celebration!!

No Easter Bunny required.

Hosanna

Easter Sunday…the holiest of holidays for a Believer.

On Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of the Savior, who died for our sins.

This is a gift, given NOT to make our lives on earth easier but to save us from spending an eternity in Hell…due punishment for our sin, which God abhors.

We sang “Hosanna” today at church.  Before posting this, I looked up the Greek definition for “hosanna.”  Here’s what I found at this site:

The Greek form of the Hebrew phrase hoshana, “hosanna” was the term used by the people to acclaim Jesus on his entry into Jerusalem on Palm Sunday. In Psalm 118:25, it is translated “save now” and, as in the gospels, is followed by the phrase “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Psalm 118 was used liturgically at the Feast of Tabernacles, and verse 25 was the cue for the waving of the palm branches. In the NT and later rabbinic Judaism, the phrase no longer denoted a prayer for safety and success but rather a proclamation of religious enthusiasm coupled with the waving of palm branches. By the end of the 1st century A.D. the term had become merely an utterance of praise and exaltation in the Christian liturgy.

God is SO good!  He knew we would choose to disobey His commandments, and He knew the torment of hell, so He provided a substitute to stand in our place.  What a merciful God we have!  We should be shouting Hosanna at the top of our lungs!!

Every time I sing this song, I have a vision of Jesus returning on a magnificent horse to reclaim His kingdom.  It’s a powerful image.

I hope you’ll enjoy the video below.  Feel free to sing along as I’ve posted the words below.

Being around the youth, the third verse strikes an emotional cord.  I am watching the youth grow up…many with a desire to serve Him.  Guy Friend wants to be a youth pastor.  Chicky was involved in the Bible Study in the library at school last week (remember my post from that day?).

God is SO good.

Hosanna

I see the king of glory
Coming on the clouds with fire
The whole earth shakes
The whole earth shakes

Yeeeah

I see his love and mercy
Washing over all our sin
The people sing
The people sing

[Chorus]
Hosanna
Hosanna
Hosanna in the highest [x2]

I see a generation
Rising up to take their place
With selfless faith
With selfless faith

I see a near revival
Stirring as we pray and seek
We’re on our knees
We’re on our knees

[Chorus]

Heal my heart and make it clean
Open up my eyes to the things unseen
Show me how to love like you have loved me

Break my heart from what breaks yours
Everything I am for your kingdoms cause
As I go from nothing to
Eternity

[Chorus x2]

Hosanna in the highest

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