April 22, 2017
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of His hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge.” (Psalm 19:1-2)
When summer ends we encounter the explosion of beautiful fall colors. While we enjoy the colors, consider a word God speaks to us through nature every fall: death. Since those beautiful colors are produced by the death of leaves, God is speaking to many of us that death can be beautiful. In many ways, the most beautiful reality you and I encounter in our three or four score years on earth is the death of our Lord Jesus Christ that makes it possible for us to experience salvation and enter heaven.
Paul tells us the Gospel is that Christ died so we might live – and now it is our turn. We must die to ourselves so Christ might live through us. (Galatians 2:20) That means death to our selfish ways can be beautiful.
Every spring God speaks another word through nature to us: resurrection. That is seen all around us as black trunks and bare branches of trees we thought were dead sprout to life and bloom.
The Latin root meaning of rehabilitation is “to invest again with dignity.” Do we have faith to believe God can bring to life that which we thought was dead? Can we apply that thought to our lives, to the lives of our children, and to all the people we know?
Dick Woodward, 04 September 2012
June 27, 2012
“Oh, give thanks to the LORD, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. Let the redeemed of the LORD say so, whom He has redeemed from the hand of the enemy…” (Psalm 107: 1, 2)
Redemption means to get something back that has been lost. It is similar in meaning to the word “rehabilitation” which essentially means “to invest again with dignity.” I have quoted the first words of a marvelous hymn of redemption. A thought that is repeated at the end of each of the five stanzas in this psalm is that those who have been redeemed by the Lord should step up and say so – gratefully giving thanks for the various ways in which they have been redeemed.
Levels or dimensions of redemption are profiled and each description ends with the charge that we thank the Lord for His goodness in redeeming us in this way. God redeems us from our chaos when He finds us. He then redeems us from our chains when He sets us free from our sins.
This is followed by the way He redeems us from our foolish and sinful choices. He emphasizes our responsibility for bringing on the consequences of our sins.
He then describes the way God redeems us from our complacency by meeting us in our crises from which He redeems us when we are at our wits end and don’t know what to do. He agrees with Isaiah that God creates these crises (Isaiah 45:7).
Meditate on all these levels of redemption. Ask God to continuously redeem you in all these ways. As you reflect on each individual dimension of redemption step up and join the redeemed of the Lord in grateful worship.
And say so…