::r e d e m p t i o n:: (Brooke)

Hello friends.  I truly hope you are having a good week.

For the past couple weeks I have been using a devotional called “Seek God for the City” to guide my morning times with the Lord.  It is very good.  Each days entry starts off with a simple prayer– but this past Sundays prayer stopped me in my tracks:

{Fill our minds with knowledge.  Fill our hearts with wisdom. Fill our agendas with redemption.  And fill our city with peace like a river.}

The thought of filling my agenda with redemption makes me want to cheer! It’s what it is all about. I have been praying that thought over and over again to the Lord this week.

I love the word redemption.  It’s so full, beautiful, painful & packed with a grand story.

Redemption means deliverance from some evil by payment of a price.  The cross of Christ is the price paid to release the slaves, to let the condemned go f r e e.   It’s the process of freeing but by payment of a price.

The price is the blood of Christ.

Christ redeemed us by taking our place, by bearing our curse.  Redemption not only looks back to Calvary, but forward to the freedom in which the redeemed stand. (thoughts from New Bible Dictionary by Inter-Varsity Press)

—> You were bought with a price, so glorify God in your body. 1 Corinthians 6:20  

What does it look like to let redemption fill your agenda?  I’m not exactly sure but here’s what I’m thinking:

1. Ponder{consider deeply} the cross & the sacrifice of the perfect Christ.

          There is nothing in time or eternity more absolutely certain and irrefutable than what Jesus Christ accomplished on the Cross— He made it possible for the entire human race to be brought back into a right-standing relationship with God. He made redemption the foundation of human life; that is, He made a way for every person to have fellowship with God.   

-from My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers

2. Speak words of liberation over the people in your life that are believing lies that counter was is true in the Bible//God’s heart.  We need each other in this battle.

3. Pray, really pray, for your friends that are hurting and ache because of the pain that this world is filled with.  Pray with them on your own.  Pray with them over the phone.  Meet them and pray for them.

4. Make the most of the daily opportunities that the Lord gives us to point people to Christ, the Redeemer.
Have you heard the song “When my heart is torn asunder” by Phil Wickham?  It’s the best.  It’s a song of redemption for sure…I love every single lyric in the song but my personal favorite right now is, “I have found redemption in the blood of Christ—my body might be dying but I will always be alive!”  If you don’t have this song on Itunes– comment below by midnight tonight with your email address.  It’s too good to not have. I will randomly select a winner tomorrow morning & email you! hugs and loveee.

{Living on Mission} (Heather)

“If you haven’t chosen what you’re living for, you’re living life by default, acting out the scripts handed to you by family, other people’s agendas, and the pressures of circumstances.”
-Linda Dillow (Calm My Anxious Heart)

I read Calm My Anxious Heart a year ago, and I loved it. It challenged me to think about how I was living my life day to day. I didn’t want to live in reaction to my circumstances, and I wanted to be wise in the things I chose to do as well as the things I chose not to do. I wanted focus in my life, so I created a mission statement.

I started out by writing down verses that really captured my heart over the last few years [2 Corinthians 12:10; Exodus 33:14; 1 Timothy 6:15; Philippians 3:7-9; Psalm 51:10-13; 2 Corinthians 4:16-18; Ephesians 1:9; Ephesians 2:12; 1 Thessalonians 2:8; 1 Thessalonians 5:24; Hebrews 10:23; James 5:16; Revelation 21:4] Then I looked for common themes among these verses. I also thought about the different responsibilities God had entrusted to me (such as being on staff with Cru, discipling women, and being married) as well as what passions He had given me. After praying through these things, I felt like God had given me a picture of how He wanted me to live my life for Him through the mission statement below.

For the sake of Christ I want to:
o   Grow through learning continually, thinking deeply, and the studying of God’s Word
o   Demonstrate my eternal perspective by being content and restful, living out of my weaknesses, and embracing suffering
o   Develop others by teaching, encouraging them in their strengths, sharing my life, and challenging them to grow
o   A wife and mother that puts her family first by encouraging them towards Christ, loving and serving sacrificially, and creating beauty and warmth in our home
o   All of this on the foundation of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, who is always faithful to me, and the hope that one day He will wipe away every tear from my eyes

I would love to hear what passions God has laid on your heart. How has He uniquely gifted you to express the Gospel to others? I’m praying that the following verse will be true of you and me as we reflect our beautiful Savior to the world!
Live life then with a due sense of responsibility not as women who do not know the meaning [and purpose] of life, but as those who do. Make the best use of your time, despite all the evils of these days. Don’t be vague but grasp firmly what you know to be the will of the Lord.

                                                                                                            Ephesians 5:15-17

“Speak, for your servant hears.” (Laura)

“Now the boy Samuel was ministering to the Lord in the presence of Eli. And the word of the Lord was rare in those days; there was no frequent vision. 2 At that time Eli, whose eyesight had begun to grow dim so that he could not see, was lying down in his own place. 3 The lamp of God had not yet gone out, and Samuel was lying down in the temple of the Lord, where the ark of God was.

4 Then the Lord called Samuel, and he said, “Here I am!” 5 and ran to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call; lie down again.” So he went and lay down. 6 And the Lord called again, “Samuel!” and Samuel arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” But he said, “I did not call, my son; lie down again.” 7 Now Samuel did not yet know the Lord, and the word of the Lord had not yet been revealed to him.

8 And the Lord called Samuel again the third time. And he arose and went to Eli and said, “Here I am, for you called me.” Then Eli perceived that the Lord was calling the boy.9 Therefore Eli said to Samuel, “Go, lie down, and if he calls you, you shall say, ‘Speak, Lord, for your servant hears.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 And the Lord came and stood, calling as at other times, “Samuel! Samuel!” And Samuel said, “Speak, for your servant hears.” 

 [The next 8 verses are the Lord sharing a vision with Samuel that was difficult for Samuel to tell others. But Samuel is faithful to share it with Eli and not hide God’s words—making him a true prophet.]

19 And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. 20 And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel was established as a prophet of the Lord. 21 And the Lord appeared again at Shiloh, for the Lord revealed himself to Samuel at Shiloh by the word of the Lord.”

— 1 Samuel 3:1-10, 19-21

I LOVE this story of God working and I can see how God would work in parallel ways today. I’ll keep my own thoughts short though and encourage you to ask the Lord yourself to speak to you. Three short observations for you:  
1)   Eli knew the Lord well and was able to recognize His voice calling Samuel.
2)   Samuel came with a humble heart, ready to learn.
3)   Samuel treasured the Lord’s words and never let one go unheard.
I pray for each of us know the Lord so deeply that we readily recognize His working in our friends’ lives and I pray that we would be bold to point them to Christ. And I pray as we meet with the Lord, that we treasure His words so dearly that not a single one passes us by.
One last gem to share with you that was shared with me by my dear friend and mentor Robin…it is an acronym that can be used when reading scripture and making observations about a passage:
Sin to avoid
Promises to keep
Examples to follow
Actions to take
Knowledge to remember
Happy Monday!