He Paid It All

he paid it all

A few weeks ago, I was at the grocery store with both of my kids doing my weekly grocery shopping. I went to the self-checkout line, scanned my items, and pulled out my debit card to pay. “Declined!” It said. “Try a different card.” What? How was that possible? There was supposed to be money in that account, and yet, for some reason, it wouldn’t work. And what could I do about it? It was 9:00 at night and I was frazzled with trying to get the things I needed within my budget while keeping my children from having a meltdown.  I didn’t HAVE a different card to use!  Standing there with a screaming baby and a pre-schooler running circles around me, trying repeatedly to use the card with the same result, I started to panic. I wondered if I would have to put all the items back, and that was such a humiliating thought. In that instant of chaos and indecision, panic and the realization that I had no possible way to pay what I owed, suddenly I heard a stranger’s voice ask, “Anything I can help you with?”

I turned to see a young man standing beside me, holding out his debit card. I began to tell him what the problem was but couldn’t even finish before I burst into tears. He simply said, “Hey, I’ve been there before.” Then he swiped his card and said, “Done!”  I thanked him profusely through my tears. He gave me a hug and said he was glad to help, then left me standing there sobbing silently in shock and utter disbelief. I replayed what had just happened over and over in my mind as I struggled to grab my bags and leave so the next person could check out. I just could not believe it! God was SO good! My heart was so full I felt ready to burst. I was on cloud nine. God CARED about me! He saw me, He knew what I needed! What a blessing. As I meditated on God using that man to help me, I vowed to be that person to someone else if I was able. Blessed to be a blessing! I kept thinking. And that was my train of thought until I replayed the part where the man said, “Done!” as he swiped his card, and that’s when I overwhelmed and reminded anew of the amazing truth of what Jesus had done for me. Fresh tears filled my eyes and I felt the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart as I left the store.

Just like my grocery bill, I had a debt I couldn’t pay. My sin had condemned me to an eternity apart from my Creator. I had no way of making that up to Him, no way of making myself worthy in His sight. I was lost and dirty and hopelessly doomed to a loveless, godless life. I was nothing, the worst sinner of sinners, with no chance of making myself righteous. But many Christmases ago, God, in His goodness and love for me, sent Jesus! And just like that kind man who volunteered to buy my groceries, He came willingly and paid my debt for me. While I was still a sinner, He shed His precious blood and died for me. We were strangers and still He covered my debt. Before I was even reconciled to God or understood my need for Him, He made the ultimate sacrifice and paid the price—the price I owed and should have had to pay— to forgive my sin. Jesus wiped out the handwriting of requirements against me, the demands of the law, and paid the highest price for my soul. He who knew no sin became sin for me, that I might become the righteousness of God in Him. (2 Cor. 5:21) It is done. Finished. Paid in FULL! And I am free!  Free from doing works to try to please God, free from the condemnation of the law. Free to just trust and rely on Jesus for all things, free to serve Him in love. Wow!  I am made fully righteous in God’s sight, adopted into His family, and, because of Jesus, I am worthy to receive all those good things a child of a King would receive. Yet amazingly, nothing I did enable me to have it. It was ALL Him. His love, His kindness, His goodness, His grace that was greater than all my sin. Jesus paid it ALL. Now all I can do is stand in awe of Him, in thankfulness, in wonder, in amazement, that He would do THAT for ME. All I want now is to live my life to glorify His great name, to exult in His goodness, to bow down in worship to this amazing Savior who loved me enough to give His own life in exchange for mine!

I was humbled and awed as I left the store that night. Changed. Reminded of what’s important, and of what a price Jesus paid for me to be in relationship with Him. And I’m so, so thankful that His love was enough to rescue me and set me on high with Him. For my rags I have riches, and for my shame I have worth! I am a daughter of the King, seated in heavenly places with Christ. He has purchased for me an eternity with Him and I now am and have all that He is and has. What a glorious exchange!

It may sound cliché, but as we prepare for this holiday season, let’s remember what Christmas is really all about. Let’s rejoice that God sent Jesus as a lowly babe to this earth wrapped in our humanness and yet infused with the perfection of His Father. Let’s be ever amazed at His sacrifice, when as a man He willingly took on all of our sin that we might be brought into right standing with God. “Behold! The Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” (John 1:29) Rejoice, for He has paid our debt, once and for all and we are free! We owe nothing to the King except our faith and our love! Amazing. No wonder we celebrate His birth! For Jesus truly is the most precious gift of all.

Sharilyn Edgerle

Sharilyn Edgerle

Sharilyn is the mother to two adorable little boys and met her husband, Enoch, through eHarmony in. She grew up and graduated high school in Montana. Together they make their home in Michigan. Sharilyn’s passion rests in sharing the love of Jesus with others through evangelism, music and writing. She has recently been asked to lead worship for a local church and started writing for the Titus II Woman blog team. Sharilyn is a graduate of Trinity Bible College with an Associates of Arts degree in Music Performance. Jeremiah 29:11-14, “For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. Then you will call upon Me and go and pray to Me, and I will listen to you. And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart. I will be found by you, says the Lord.”

Traditions

I’ve been writing for this ministry for over a year now, and I realize that I don’t really get any feedback telling me about your lives. I would love to know more about you. Who are you? What do you do with your days? Since we are in the advent season, I would love to know what traditions you keep in preparation of celebrating the Christ Child’s birth? I wonder what traditions you have that are unique to you.

My children always look forward to the night we put up the tree. They love going through all of the ornaments and asking me how, when, and where we acquired each one. Afterward we turn down the house lights and turn up the Christmas music and sit before the tree in quiet contemplation of the season along with large mugs of root beer float. This tradition was not started by me. It was actually started for my sister and me – our mother was pregnant with our brother at the time – when I was six years old.

My home was in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba when I was six. I received a two-piece bathing suit for Christmas that year, and it was so warm that my parents made us root beer floats to cool us off after we’d decorated the little artificial evergreen tree we’d brought with us from the States. My parents grew up in northern suburbs of Minneapolis, Minnesota; so, this was quite remarkable for them.

It became a tradition for us, no matter where we lived or how cold it was outside. We decorated our tree then we’d make large mugs of root beer float, turn out all the lights except for those on the tree, turn up the Christmas music, and sit down before the tree to enjoy the light display and our cold, creamy, root beer concoctions. My parents still have special over-sized mugs just for root beer floats that usually don’t get used except during our once-a-year tradition.

My first Christmas with my husband was very romantic, and I couldn’t wait to share this tradition with him. We went to the local discount store and chose lights and bulbs with a lot of oohs and aahs like many a newly married couple. Then we brought them home and added them to the twisted branches of the very same artificial tree I decorated with my family back in Cuba along with the special “First Christmas Together” ornaments people had given us. We hung the last bulb together with a sweet little kiss, then sat back for a moment to bask in the light of our first tree. My parents had gifted us that tree along with two root beer float mugs of our own. I slipped away and quickly prepared two floats with the wonderful anticipation of snuggling up to the man I had given my heart to and enjoying them with him. I certainly had not envisioned what actually happened when I brought them back. Apparently, I had married a man who doesn’t like root beer floats. How could I have not known this before we were married?! Well, the romance quickly fizzled as I consumed two root beer floats and glared at my man. How was I going to carry on my tradition with a man who couldn’t appreciate it?

Traditions are often a treat and, when handled properly, can be very important for training ourselves and/or our offspring to honor what is important to us. Deuteronomy 6:7 says to “Impress [these commandments] on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.” That is, of course, referring to teachings and religious observances handed down, not eating root beer floats in front of a tree. I believe my emphasis on holding onto my family’s tradition that year would be considered a tradition that obscured God’s word. In the gospels of Matthew(15:1-9) and Mark (7:1-13), Jesus accused the teachers and law observers of doing this. He quoted the prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 29:13) “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” Traditions created by people in remembrance or celebration of an event, a change, a belief, custom, or opinion are not bad. The question I needed to ask myself that night was this: Is it a distraction from what we are really celebrating?

A few years after our first Christmas together, my husband and I had a couple of boys and another one on the way. My babies were more receptive to my tradition than my man had been his first time. Shortly after my fourth baby was brought into this world, I was born again in Christ, and the truth of Christmas became imbedded in the tradition I wanted to hand down. Now, we are not just quietly contemplating what might be placed beneath our tree for Christmas morning. Now, we ponder the lessons we’re given through the reading of the Word, through hearing of the child born for us, and worshiping Him as the shepherds did; through seeking the King of kings and Lord of lords as the wise men did.

The romance of Christmas has returned. Much to my husband’s relief, it does not depend on him. Our traditions are dependent and centered on Christ. Let me tell you, that kind of romance is a whole lot more exciting. As my husband sips his root beer and eats his bowl of ice cream and the rest enjoy their root beer floats, we discuss with our children why we are celebrating. I appreciate the man I share my heart with because the love of Jesus, the one born on Christmas day, binds our hearts together as one.

LORD, bless You! You are the strength that binds this family from our marriage out. You are the reason we celebrate this time of year, and You are the reason we are observing with our traditions. Bless my friends and family in their observances of You. Be blessed, LORD. You are so worthy of praise and worship, be blessed. I pray many will be transformed by the renewing of their minds this year; that they will fall to their knees in submission to You; they will give their hearts to You because You are worthy. You are worthy of all our love. You are truly our everything. You are so worthy of celebrating. I pray in the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. Amen.

Lorinda Freeman

Lorinda Freeman

Lorinda has a passion and desire to teach children about the love of God. She is a homeschooling mom of four and together as a family they work within their church with the children’s programs making sure the hearts of all the children are being taught God’s love for them. Lorinda and her husband, Chris, make their home in Hibbing, Minnesota after Lorinda had endured extensive travel growing up as a Navy “brat”. 1 Thessalonians 2:6-13, “We are not looking for praise from men, not from you or anyone else. As apostles of Christ we could have been a burden to you, but we were gentle among you, like a mother caring for her little children. We loved you so much that we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well, because you had become so dear to us. Surely you remember, brothers, our toil and hardship; we worked night and day in order not to be a burden to anyone while we preached the gospel of God to you. You are witnesses, and so is God, of how holy, righteous and blameless we were among you who believed. For you know that we dealt with each of you as a father deals with his own children, encouraging, comforting and urging you to live lives worthy of God, who calls you into his kingdom and glory.

Fixer Upper

My husband and I planted a church a little over two years ago in a rural town in Montana. Since we have taken that step of faith, God has blessed us over and above what we could ever have asked for or imagined. I suppose that is scriptural. “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us” (Ephesians 3:20).

One of the coolest things that He has done was in leading us to purchase a bar on the main corner of town. The business was to be purchased as a turn-key operation, so when our little church bought the building, we also closed down the bar. Since that time, about eight months ago, we have been in the process of remodeling this over 100 year old building. Talk about a big job!

As we have been in this process, we have also been watching some episodes of the HGTV show “Fixer Upper” partially for fun and partially for some inspiration. In both cases, whether watching the show or working on our own little remodel project, I have been reminded that this is the story of sanctification. Personally, I believe that the Holy Spirit loves a good remodel project because that is His business in each one of us as we learn how to walk according to the Spirit rather than after the flesh.

As I walk through the streets of our town I ask God to give me the vision; to be able to see through sin and sometimes so apparent darkness and see with Holy Spirit eyes what Heaven sees; the potential when Christ’s finished work on the cross is applied to people’s lives.  He has called each of us to this same ministry of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18) so that we have the privilege of leading people into their own personal transformation. The great part of it is that the Holy Spirit sees the finished product from the beginning AND He does all the work. All we have to do is accept His work in our lives and He transforms us from glory to glory as we simply look at Jesus.

So I challenge you, give the Holy Spirit complete access to all the corners of your life and see what He will do! You won’t be disappointed. The transformation will be glorious.

Lord, today we ask that you five us the view from your sight. Show us how you want us to walk down our streets and see what you want to begin and finish within our short time here. Bless our hands as we serve you where we are. Amen.

 

Jessica Nelsen

Jessica Nelsen

Jessica’s passion for revival and worship exude from her every waking moment. God’s presence is around her as she loves on her two beautiful girls, whom she homeschools. Together, Mark and Jessica, make their home in Montana where they recently planted a church in a rural community and also where Jessica teaches piano. Jessica finds great joy in helping others to find freedom through a relationship with Christ. While Jessica grew up in Minnesota, she graduated with a Biblical Studies major from Trinity Bible College and she is currently pursuing a degree in Natural Health. Jeremiah 20:9 says, “But if I say, ‘I will not remember Him or speak anymore in His name,’ “then in my heart it becomes like a burning fire shut up in my bones; and I am weary of holding it in, and I cannot endure it.” Jessica’s passion for the love of God starts fires of His glory wherever she goes.