Redeem : Repair : Restore : Renew

re·deem

verb \ri-‘dēm\

  1. ato buy back. b: to get or win back
  2. to free from what distresses or harms: as ato free from captivity by payment of ransom, b:to extricate from or help to overcome something detrimental, cto release from blame or debt clear, dto free from the consequences of sin
  3. to change for the better: reform
  4. repair, restore
  5. ato free from a lien by payment of an amount secured thereby, b(1)to remove the obligation of by payment, (2)to exchange for something of value, cto make good fulfill
  6. ato atone for expiate, b(1)to offset the bad effect of, (2)to make worthwhile retrieve

Source: Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary

What comes to mind when you hear the word, redeem?

One childhood memory immediately comes to my mind. Back in the day, I would redeem my soda bottle for a nickel at the store. I returned the bottle to be reusedrecycled, and refilled again.

 

 

Another image is my mother used to redeem S and H Green Stamps. She redeemed her booklets filled with stamps for free merchandise from their catalog.

Many thoughts come to mind from my faith tradition ~ from the verses in scripture and words of hymns that tell of being redeemed ~ a price paid to free me from the wages of sin and death.

When I started this blog almost three years ago, I knew I would call it, Redeeming the Future. As I looked at the events of my life, I did not want the lean years to devour the rich years. I realized that, like me, there were others who may one day find themselves on a similar journey ~ on a difficult path filled with obstacles that obscured their hope of ever experiencing peace.

What truly comes to mind when I hear the word redeem are two powerful words that are signposts along my journey:

  • HOPE: a strong belief that there is a pathway through difficult times that can bring us to a healing place; a place where we can once again know the joy of experiencing peace
  • TRANSFORMATION: the decision to not be destroyed, but to be transformed by those things that seem to be quite literally more than I can bear

I am not just another Pollyanna ~ an excessively or blindly optimistic person. The message of Redeeming the Future is not a pie-in-the-sky kind of gospel. Redeeming the future does not take away the reality of the pain, loss, and disappointments of the past or the present. But that simple six-letter word ~ redeem ~ provides a new lens through which I can look back at the difficult times with hope, knowing that I can be transformed; I can become stronger in the broken places.

I love the following quote by author Maria Robinson:

Nobody can go back and start a new beginning, but anyone can start today and make a new ending.

And that, my friend, is all about Redeeming the Future.

So, what comes to mind when YOU hear the word, redeem?

Irresistible Invitation

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I am often amazed at how much news coverage there is when a state dinner takes place at the White House. The limos. The tuxedos and gowns. The pomp and circumstance.

Everyone seems to want the details ~ from the design of the place settings to the details of the menu; who's in and who's out.

Now we even have White House party crashers who somehow get in under the radar to see for themselves what is going on, even though they never received an invitation!

Truthfully, I really do not find the thought of attending a state dinner very exciting ~not that I would ever expect to be invited. Seriously ... How many pieces of silverware does one person need to enjoy a meal? How much does a dress need to cost to be acceptable ? Everything about the event seems to revolve around outward appearances.

I am reminded of an invitation of a different sort.  One where there are no expectations. No need to put on airs ~ just come as you are. In fact, the invitation states for those who accept, to put away all pretense, forget about outward appearance, and become real

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Incredible!  

Irresistible!

Nourishment for your body and soul, absolutely free!

This invitation truly embodies the spirit of this blog.  For I am firmly convinced that it is possible to redeem the future, transform those things that seek to destroy me, and find a healing place for my heart and soul. This invitation offers me a place to come just as I am ~ with all my baggage, sorrows, disappointments and fears.

This invitation beckons me to that healing place of transformation described in Psalm 85, where ~

“Mercy and Truth have met each other: 
Justice and Peace have kissed.”

The invitations have been sent.  The question remains ~ am I willing to accept this Irresistible Invitation?  To look at my life through the lens of TRUTH and receive His MERCY?  To accept is JUSTICE which ushers in PEACE? He invites me to come to this healing place, to attend His banquet, to allow Him to bring restoration and transformation.

It really is an irresistible invitation!

Footnote: The original copy of this invitation is in Old Testament writings, believed to be written sometime around the Babylonian captivity, near 580 BC. The invitation is no less irresistible today.

Come, all you who are thirsty,come to the waters;
and you who have no money,come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.
Why spend money on what is not bread,
and your labor on what does not satisfy?
Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,
and your soul will delight in the richest of fare.
Give ear and come to me;hear me, that your soul may live.
I will make an everlasting covenant with you,
my faithful love promised to David.
See, I have made him a witness to the peoples,
a leader and commander of the peoples.
Surely you will summon nations you know not,
and nations that do not know you will hasten to you,
because of the LORD your God,the Holy One of Israel,
for he has endowed you with splendor."
Seek the LORD while he may be found;
call on him while he is near.
Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts.
Let him turn to the LORD, and he will have mercy on him,
and to our God, for he will freely pardon.
For as the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven
and do not return there but water the earth,
making it bring forth and sprout,
giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater,
shall my word be that goes out from my mouth;
it shall not return to me empty,
it shall accomplish that which I purpose,
and shall succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:1-11