Let the Redeemed Say So - Psalm 107:2

I’m Redeemed

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever! Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom he has redeemed from trouble. – Psalm 107:1-2 ESV

Today’s post will be a little different than my usual style. Instead of going over a theological truth, I felt like I wanted to take a moment to live out Pslam 107:2 “Let the redeemed of the Lord say so…”.

I am fully convinced that I have an eternal soul that was created before the world and will continue to live past this finite existence. I believe that I was created this way by God because He willed it. God put His beautiful creation, people, on to this earth to live and to give them an opportunity to choose Him. Unfortunately, they chose sin. Because of that choice, all people are now under the curse of separation from God. Loving His children and not wanting to remain eternally separated from them, He created a way to bring them back to Him. His Only Son, fully God, came to earth in the form of man, Jesus Christ, to break the curse from the inside out.

These are my beliefs, but now I’d like to share some of my story in experiencing those truths instead of simply understanding them.

I grew up as a conservative Christian in a loving home. I wasn’t a bad kid overall, but I wasn’t very connected with church or God either. When I was getting ready to go to college, my thoughts on church was maybe I’d find something, maybe I’d just enjoy sleeping in on Sunday mornings. Guess which one I chose.

College was a rough time of learning to adapt from my conservative background to the world of academia. Because I wasn’t connected personally to God, I stepped away from pretty much all beliefs. I never questioned that God existed, but I didn’t know what to do with Jesus. I threw out the Bible as I thought it was a tool of manipulation, not truth.  To be even more honest, I only thought about religion when pressed. I enjoyed a good religious discussion if it came up (from the perspective of not agreeing with it, of course), but I wouldn’t generally start those conversations on my own.

My choices at the time were not the greatest ones and I ended up blaming all of college for the bad few experiences of a bad relationship and not fitting in to my chosen major. I couldn’t wait till graduation and all my focus was on surviving till then.

After graduation, I ended up doing the one thing I really hadn’t wanted to do: move home. My dreams going into college were to become a great opera singer and move to New York. Ha! I realized that music wasn’t the move for me, so I took a year and worked and tried to figure out life. I didn’t want to go back to my conservative friends and upbringing, but I didn’t have a lot of friends in area that weren’t in that group.

I looked around for ways to make new friends and get involved, but I felt lost and adrift. I was also ready for a relationship and was ready to meet a guy who wasn’t a jerk (unlike my last couple choices). I thought about the guys in college that I’d respected and who treated their girlfriends the way I wanted to be treated and they had one thing in common: they were Christians. Not being a dummy, I decided to get myself a Christian boyfriend. However, I couldn’t say that I was a Christian, but I thought that I could get a good guy and then convince him to stop going to church when I got bored with it. Not even kidding.

My plan was to attend a bunch of churches until I found one with a fun group of young people and go from there. I opened the newspaper and found the first non-denomination church on the list, called the number and got the service times and address (this was before I had GPS or even a smart phone!), and showed up Sunday morning.

There was one thing I hadn’t anticipated, however. That was that the church I attended had a real and passionate love for Christ and their worship was wonderful and moving. In those first couple weeks, I felt the power of God like I never had before. God was in their sermons and their songs and their prayers. By the end of that summer, I had accepted Jesus as my Savior and committed my life to serving Him. I didn’t even mind that this church had absolutely zero in the young people activity department! Instead, I soaked up God every Sunday, joined a small group, and started learning to live in Him every day.

That’s the story of how I recognized that I needed to be redeemed and stepped out in faith. This is just the beginning of my story. I used to think that my salvation experience would be the number one important one for me, but I’ve learned it’s simply the romance that started an amazing relationship. Every day since then I’ve learned more about the Lord and experienced Him deeper and more powerfully. That’s the story that I want to say, and I’d say it to the whole world if I could: This relationship is real and worth it! I am redeemed!

The Lord Is My Portion - Lamentations 3:24

What is Enough?

“The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” – Lamentations 3:24 ESV

I’m currently reading a book by Brene Brown called Dare Greatly. There’s a part in there where she says that abundance it not the opposite of scarcity. They’re simply two sides of the same coin. Instead, she says the opposite of the scarcity mindset is one that believes there is enough. I thought this was interesting, especially in the context of the scripture that says God’s grace is sufficient. What does sufficient mean, and what does it look like in every day life?

The word sufficient means enough or adequate. It means that God’s grace alone, the extension of God’s love and mercy, is enough for me. When we’re reading scriptures like this, we need to include the context of the passage to fully understand what the writer is referring to. In this case, Paul is telling us about God’s answer to one of his question. Paul was given a “thorn in the side”, something to keep him from getting conceited. That’s all we know about it; there are many theories about what that could be, but no one who’s being really honest knows exactly what it is. God’s response to Paul’s weakness is a comforting promise that His grace is sufficient. He also says, “My power is made perfect in your weakness.”

In this context, what can we learn about what it means to have God’s grace be sufficient? Paul wanted to be able to overcome something or avoid something. He wanted to not have to deal with the trouble any longer. God is saying to him, my grace will allow you to continue dealing with your troubles. That’s a whole different way at looking at it. Instead of being sufficient meaning to take away or remove something, we can view it as everything we need to stay focus on him no matter what comes our way. Troubles come, we can deal. Temptation come, we can withstand them. It doesn’t guarantee that we’ll feel good. Paul describes what he’s dealing with as “a messenger of Satan to harass me.” That doesn’t sound like a fun thing. But God knows that it won’t damage Paul and God won’t leave him without. God is enough and His grace is made perfect.

In fact, God’s not only enough, but in this place of trouble and no fun, God is in fact made perfect. This word perfect can also mean completed or accomplished. God in our life is accomplished by allowing His grace into our troubles. This is what it means to have God’s grace be sufficient for us. Not that we use it to better ourselves or our lives, but because we are able to endure and live and know that God is being made alive in us.

In Lamentations 3:24, it says, “The LORD is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him.” When talk about portions in regard to dinner, we are referring to the amount of food that is on our plate. It’s how much we get, or our portion. When the Lord is what we get, we are able to hope. When the Lord is what is taking up our thoughts and our time, we have joy and can look forward to tomorrow. Anything else will be insufficient and let us down, sooner or later.