Monday, October 31, 2011

I Find Redemption in the Oddest Places

There is no doubt that I watch WAAAY too much TV, or that movies have played too large a roll in my life and in the lives of my children. In fact at family gatherings, if someone errantly says “You lookin’ at me?” We better be ready for Hunter to follow up with “You rub my lamp?” and proceed to go into the entire genie monologue from Aladdin. Finally ending with “Weeeeeeeee’re outa here!” Unfortunately, I could give MANY more examples.

All my inadequacies aside, over the past month or so I cannot help but see that if we will let God use it, He can use ANYTHING, even a reality show, to give us a picture of His Salvation! 

Whether you have ever watched the show SURVIVOR or not, I’m sure you know the premise. Eighteen people living in the wilderness with each other for up to 39 days. During which time, they strategize, talk, manipulate, finagle, lie, cheat, schmoose, charm or whatever else it takes to win a million dollars for the one man or woman left standing (hopefully themselves). It doesn’t matter to me what you think of the show or what you think of me for indulging in it. I simply want to use it as an example. So I ask that no matter your opinion of either one please stick with me on this one. I DO have a spiritual application to make.

Normally a tribe (team) that looses a challenge goes to tribal council and votes off the weakest or most disliked person. This sends them to “Redemption Island” where they dual the person who is already there. The looser leaves the game permanently the winner stays on “Redemption Island”. Eventually, the last man on “Redemption Island” will get to return to the game of survivor.  Watch the following clip:

Ozzy has decided to sacrifice himself for his tribe. Now please take this in the most general and generic sense as it is given. Remember, these guys are playing for 1 million dollars and THAT is what is on THEIR MINDS!

REDEMPTION: by definition-purchase back something that is lost, by the payment of a ransom (Bible Gateway Dictionaries, 2010).

For the purpose of the game SURVIVOR, the idea of redemption is that the person who has been voted off can now “redeem” himself/herself by winning dual(s) against others who have been voted off. He/She will then show that he/she is worthy of returning to the game to fight for a place at the end to possibly win the money. However, when Ozzy “sacrificed” himself he put a new spin on things. Ozzy has now said to the rest of his tribe (team), “I am willing to risk my ‘life’ for you as a team in order to ‘save’ us all from certain doom.” This is where I went OH MY GOODNESS! This guy has NO idea he has just given me a perfect example of what Jesus did for ME!!!

If you don’t see it let me tell you! I’M LOVING THIS!!!!

I went up to Jesus and said, “Jesus, look at me I have all this sin in my life, it is horrible and black and keeps me separated from God! I want to have a relationship with God, but God says he can’t even LOOK at sin. What can I do?”

Jesus says, “Angie, you can’t do anything! Nothing you will EVER do will be good enough. The only way you can pay for your sins is by eternal death and separation from God.”

“Then who will pay for my sins, so I can have a relationship with God?”

“I already have. Because I was 100% God and 100% man I did! I was a man, who never sinned, I lived a perfect life, when I died on the cross I paid for your sins. All the sins that you have committed, or will ever commit were put on me on while I was on the cross. Then when I rose the 3rd day I defeated sin and death! Now I sit at God’s right hand. All you have to do is accept the gift of redemption that I am offering you.”

Ozzy (though NOTHING like Jesus) offered to take the place of the other tribe members so they did not have to be voted off. The others took the offer. Jesus has already taken your place will you accept Him into your heart, believe that He is your redemption and make Him Lord of your life?

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

Living in Grace,

Monday, October 17, 2011

Constant Companion

Hello friends! I need to share a couple things before I get into this week’s lesson/sharing or whatever we call it. Again I want to apologize for not doing this in a timely manner. Writing this every week is good for me, whether you get anything out of it or not. Here’s the big thing, I think this will help us all. Instead of posting on Thursday’s, I will begin this week by posting on Monday’s from now on. I hope we can all adjust to the new schedule. Maybe it will help us all get our week off to a good start.

Over the past several weeks, even months, there have been so many things happening in my life and in the lives of people around me, good and bad alike. Our daughter and her friends graduated high school, two children have moved out to go to college, friends have struggled with major health issues, new friends have been made through extraordinary circumstances like an accident at a cement plant, where men should have died yet God spared them, babies have been born, and I could go on and on. In each and every event there was one constant that was God. Hebrews 13:8 Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever. Isn’t it wonderful to know that no matter what happens in our lives Jesus ALWAYS remains the same.

I want to share something that reminds me of Jesus’ constantness (don’t know if that’s a word, but I like it so I’ll use it haha). That is my precious husband. He is a definite constant in my life! Sure we have our ups and downs, like all couples, but I know every night he will be by my side when I go to sleep and when I wake up he will be next to me. What a comfort! What a wonderful example of God’s love for me! Always there when I hurt, when I’m happy, when I’m moody, when I’m grouchy, when I’m fun-loving, no matter what they are both by my side! I love my God and Savior! He gave his life for me! Do I fully grasp how unworthy I am for this? I love my husband and thank God for him!

I’m not quite sure what has compelled (maybe possessed is a better word) me to do this, but I feel I should share a paper with you all. This was an assignment for an English class I took about 2 years ago. I had to write a narrative or a story. This tells of the love I have for my precious husband. I hope you enjoy it.  May God Bless You this week!

He was the Only One in the Room
       At eleven-years-old I knew who I was going to marry.  I know it sounds crazy, but my heart knew that the twelve-year-old boy I attended church with was the love of my life. It would take us four years before we would begin to date, and almost another four before I would actually get to marry him. When my wedding day arrived, it was the day I had dreamed about ever since I was a little girl. Nothing was going to ruin it for me.
       As I stood just out of sight of my awaiting groom, my heart was about to jump out of my chest. I was a very conscientious bride, very involved in my own wedding. At first I was preoccupied with making sure everyone else did their jobs properly. Watching the candle lighters light the candles.  I made sure the music ran smoothly, the ushers got the grandmothers and the mothers seated. I watched the little flower girl walk down the isle on cue. I even kept an eye on the bridesmaids as they made their way to their spot. Finally it was my turn, but the time between the maid of honor and the bridal march seem to take a lifetime. As my daddy and I walked into place, and stood waiting for our cue, I must have been shaking furiously. My daddy turned to me and said, “Are you going to be ok?”  I looked back at him with a smile on my face and replied, “Yes!”  When my eyes met the eyes of my awaiting groom he became the only one in the room.
       Walking down the isle toward the front of the sanctuary, it was then my destiny changed. Holding my daddy’s arms I sensed I was no longer daddy’s little girl, I was becoming Cecil’s wife. We reached the alter, and the pastor asked the standard question on giving the bride away. Being a little non-traditional, we chose to have both families answer that question. Once that formality was out of the way, we had decided to have the flower girl and ring bearer be seated with their families. This decision was due to the fact that the ring bearer was only 2 1/2 years old. As my daddy reached out to take the ring bearer, who happened to be my little brother, back to his seat, my brother screamed, “I want my Cecil!”  With a little encouragement, he followed my daddy and sat down with the family so the ceremony could continue.
       As the wedding party moved into place, the groom and I took our position in front of the pastor, hand in hand. The wedding vows were exchanged through shaky voices and tearful eyes. Then came my turn to quote a scripture from the book of Ruth. I think this was the hardest part of the ceremony for me. By this point I was totally enthralled in the euphoria of being a bride and the anticipation of being the wife of my long time boyfriend. Because of this mindset I was overcome with emotion and filled with tears. So as I began my recitation my voice was barely audible, and I sounded like a scared little girl. It was so important to speak those words from Ruth 1:16 “And Ruth said, Intreat me not to leave thee, or to return from following after thee: for whither thou goest, I will go; and where thou lodgest, I will lodge: thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God:” (King James Bible).  I wanted Cecil and the audience to know I had no intention of ever leaving, and my commitment was real.  Once that was done, we moved on to exchanging rings. As we placed the rings on each other’s fingers I seemed to be determined to place my groom’s ring on his right hand. He pulled his right hand out of my grasp, and offered his left hand to me to place the ring on his ring finger.  Fortunately, that did not prevent the pastor from pronouncing us man and wife.
       Finally, my little girl dream of marrying my childhood friend had come true.  All the waiting, all the anxiety was over, I was now the wife of Cecil Pettijohn. The wonderful wedding I had spent months planning was over with very few hitches. Looking back over the past 26 years there are still times when life gets chaotic and things seem out of control but just one word from my loving husband and he becomes the only one in the room.

Now that you’ve read my love story, I need to think about something. When I think about Jesus and the sacrifice He made for me, do I feel like I felt the day I got married? When I go to worship is Jesus the only one in the room? Can I resist taking my eyes off of Him? Do I have an overwhelming desire to please Him? I am excited at the prospect of seeing Him one day? Do I want to know more about Him?
Living in Grace,