Wednesday, November 21, 2012

21 Years Young & Redeemed

Once again, it’s been a while since I’ve written. I had a crazy busy summer with an even busier transition back to school this year. But I have been so incredibly blessed! As most of you know, this summer I had the opportunity to intern with our high school ministries back at my home church, Hebron. I could not have imagined a better way to spend my summer! It was truly the best summer that I have ever had. I don’t have the time to type (nor would any of you want to read) all of the wonderful stories I have to share from our high school ministries and my trip to the Dominican Republic. But I would love to personally tell you all about it, so come ask me if you want to hear more! I cannot even begin to explain how blessed I feel to have been surrounded by some truly amazing people! Thank you so much to everyone who made my summer absolutely incredible! If I tried to list everyone who impacted my life this summer, I wouldn't even be able to list them all! Thank you to the unbelievable high school ministries dream team! Thank you to the staff of Hebron Baptist Church! Thank you to all of our volunteer leaders at camp! Thank you to all of my amazing students! Thank you to my Dominican Republic mission team! And most of all, thank you to my precious Savior who continues to bless my life so much more than I will ever deserve!

Then it was back to Athens for the school year! I’ll have to admit, as much as I love my school, I didn’t really want to go back after the summer I had. I wanted to stay at my church and continue the work that I felt I had only just begun! But the Lord quickly reminded me that my missionfield is wherever He places me. As my beautiful friend, Jenna always says, “Home is where your feet are.”  I am blessed to have my feet placed in Athens. God has been faithful in showing me what He wants me to be involved in and where He wants me to invest my time. And I have had a wonderful semester thus far! Of course, my Georgia Bulldogs are doing AMAZING! I’ve loved every minute that I’ve gotten to spend with BCM (Baptist Collegiate Ministries) and Team United (FCA). And I just turned 21 years young. An unbelievably blessed 21 years it has been! Thank you to everyone who made my birthday great!

One thing that the Lord was teaching me at the beginning of the summer is that He alone is enough. There is nothing more important and nothing more worthy of our devotion. I wrote about this more in my blog back in May. I encourage you to go back and read that one if you haven’t yet. But in continuation of learning this lesson, the Lord taught me a lot about redemption.

Redeem: (verb) to free from captivity by payment of ransom

That’s exactly what the Lord did for me and for you. Without Christ, we are slaves to our sin, stuck in a life of captivity. But when we realize that we need Jesus and ask God to forgive us, we are freed from that captivity. Instantly. No hesitation from the Lord. Jesus Christ paid our ransom when He died on the cross for our sins. So it really is that simple. Have faith, reach out to the Lord, and you will be redeemed.

In Mark 5:25-34 and Matthew 9:20-22 we hear the story of Jesus healing the woman who had been bleeding for ten years. She was shunned and dying, but she heard that Jesus was coming and had faith that just touching Him would redeem her and heal her body from suffering. When she does touch Him, it says, “Immediately her bleeding stopped and she felt in her body that she was freed from her suffering.” (Mark 5:29). And when Jesus finds her in the crowd He tells her:
“Daughter, your faith has healed you. Go in peace and be freed from your suffering.” –Mark 5:34
“Take heart, daughter… your faith has healed you.” –Matthew 9:22

It’s that simple for each of us: faith. Simply having faith in the power of our Lord, Jesus Christ. Faith heals, faith forgives, faith redeems, faith changes lives.

Our value doesn’t come from earthly accomplishments or possessions like sports, honors, or money. (“For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.” -1 Timothy 4:8) We are valuable simply because we exist by God’s creation. Not because of what we’ve accomplished in the past or because of what we will do in the future. We hold value because we were created by God’s hand, and He knows each one of us intimately. Rest assured in that.

"See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands..." -Isaiah 49:16

Your faith has made you well. You are redeemed.
Have a wonderful Thanksgiving!