Happy New Year, friends! I’m grateful for the year that’s gone by, but I’m looking forward to an amazing year ahead. See, I never intended to be one who chooses a word for a year. I don’t really do resolutions, either. Mostly, I try to walk quietly through the year and to listen to God’s voice. Last year, though, God gave me a word – one that I would need to cling to the whole year through. Friends, Hope 2014 was a year of drawing close to God and trusting, no matter what. After a full year of focusing on just one word, I asked God for a new word this year, because attention to just one word helped to keep me focused on what God had for me.. I heard Him the first time He said the word for 2015, and honestly, (shamefully) I tried to resist because I didn’t want to feel let down if the word didn’t apply in certain situations. But after a year of Hope, it was easier to trust for the new year. And so today, January 1 –
Redemption. Honestly, it’s not the word I would have picked for this year. After all that has gone wrong in my life the past 15 months, I was not prepared to hear “redemption” as the word for this year. But God, in His wisdom, kept bringing Scripture verses, conversations and bigger perspective into my way of thinking so that I couldn’t get away from the word redemption.
He also reminded me that it’s not all about me.
When I started writing in this space, it was always about writing what I felt God was sharing with me, and letting Him do what He would with the words. God’s taken these simple posts around the world – to people I don’t know, in places where my geography knowledge has failed and I’ve had to look them up to remember their location.
Redemption is my word for the new year, yes, and I’m trusting God to redeem so many areas of my life that have become battle-weary and filled with scars of past wounds.
A few days ago I took some much-needed quiet time. The kids were off from school and happily doing their chosen activities so I climbed the stairs to my room and decided to turn on Pandora. I put on a station I haven’t listened to all that often and just sat and listened.
Through these songs, God kept saying “Redemption – write about it, because it will mean something different for everyone who reads it.”
And then, this was on my heart:
You can’t know Redemption without knowing the Redeemer.
I can sit here and tell you how I hope God will work His redemption this year in our marriages, our finances, our employment situations, our children – any area that might need some redeeming. Many of you could agree with me in those prayers and hopes.
Maybe, though, you’re here and don’t know that God can provide redemption in those areas.
We live in an imperfect world – a world with people who can’t save themselves from an eternity apart from God. We needed a sacrifice to atone for the wrong that we do, in order to be able to spend eternity with God.
Examples of sacrifices are used all throughout the Bible. Animals were used to atone for sin, the shed blood being what was needed for the atonement. It was in that manner that someone could receive redemption for their wrongdoing.
That same shedding of blood is what was needed for our redemption – for us to be able to spend eternity with God.
God the Father sent His son, Jesus, to be that atonement for us – to shed His blood for our sins. Jesus, being fully God, was perfect and so His blood could be shed for our sins. Accepting His free gift of salvation, His atonement for us, is the only way to ensure that we can spend eternity with Him.
But you won’t find Him on the cross anymore…He died, He rose again on the third day and He is in Heaven with the Father, where He’s preparing a place for us. (John 14)
I wonder – do you know Him?
How amazing to think that someone would love us, despite all our problems and messes, enough to want us to spend eternity with Him. It’s true – that’s how much He loves us. And He offers all of us that free gift of salvation, regardless.
You don’t have to be good enough.
You don’t have to have everything together.
Your life doesn’t have to be perfect.
You just need to accept that Jesus died for you, that He forgives your sin, that He loves you, and that He wants to help lead you in righteousness. That doesn’t mean you’ll never sin again – it does mean that He will help you when the temptations come. He will forgive you when you sin. You will still have to deal with the consequences of your choices, but His forgiveness does not run out.
If you don’t know Him, there’s a simple prayer that you can pray, and there is nothing special about these words – it can be any words you choose.
Dear Lord, I know that I need you to redeem my messes.
I acknowledge and accept your free gift of salvation.
Please forgive my sins and make me whole.
I give you control of my life – help me to walk in your ways.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
If you prayed this prayer to accept salvation, would you let me know? You can comment here, you can find us on Facebook and hang out with us there. You can email me (see the Contact tab above).
This year can be your Redemption 2015 as well as mine.
I’m not sure what redemption is going to mean for each of us this year, and I don’t know what God is going to do this year, but I’m so eager to be following Him and to be available for what He has.
Do you have a word for the year? If so, would you share it? I’d love to know what’s ahead for you!