My Word of the Year for 2013 is Redeemed. I am focusing on how God redeems us and not only us, but the situations in our lives. Philippians 1:19 is going to be my focus verse...
For I know that through your prayers and the help given by the Spirit of Jesus Christ, what has happened to be will turn out for my deliverance.
He not only delivers us from our pitiful state in sin, but He delivers us from those situations that we can't possibly escape from...the grief, the sorrow, the anxiety. He redeems it all!
I recently came across this story...what a beautiful illustration of what God can do for us! He can remove our heads from our collars! He can totally take the circumstances we are in...powerless as we are to eradicate ourselves from them...and free us from them.
A missionary in West Africa was trying to convey the meaning of the word redeem in the Bambara language. So he asked his African assistant to express it in his native tongue. "We say," the assistant replied, "that God took our heads out." "But how does that explain redemption?" the perplexed missionary asked. The man told him that many years ago some of his ancestors had been captured by slave-traders, chained together, and driven to the seacoast. Each of the prisoners had a heavy iron collar around his neck. As the slaves passed through a village, a chief might notice a friend of his among the captives and offer to pay the slave-traders in gold, ivory, silver, or brass. The prisoner would be redeemed by the payment. His head then would be taken out of his iron collar. What an unusual and graphic illustration of the word redeem! Ephesians 1:7 states, "In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." Jesus died on the cross to purchase our freedom from the bondage of sin. Have you put your trust in Jesus as your Redeemer? Let Him take your head out of the enslaving collar of sin and set you free. —Vernon C Grounds