February 21, 2005
Encouragement for Today

The Redemption Center
Sharon Jaynes - Vice President of Proverbs 31 Radio, author, speaker.

Key Verse:

"For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect" (I Peter 1:18,19 NIV).

Devotion:

If I think about it long enough, I can almost taste the sickly sweet glue on the tip of my tongue. Yes, the childhood ritual of licking and sticking S & H Green Stamps into books is forever glued in my memory's scrapbook.

When I was a little girl, my mother did her grocery shopping at White's Supermarket on the corner of Tarboro Street and Pearl. Oh sure, there were other grocery stores around, but White's gave out S & H Green Stamps with every purchase. On shopping days, I watched as the cashier rang up my mom's purchases, pulling a lever with each entry. My mom's eye's lit up every time she heard the cha-ching, knowing that meant more stamps. When the total tallied, the cash register spit out a stream of stamps, both large and small. We never put the stamps in books right away. Mom stuffed them in a bag and waited until we could make a whole day of it.

About every six months, mom pulled a brown paper grocery bag swollen with S & H Green Stamps down from a shelf. She spilled its contents on a table and announced, "OK Sharon, it's time to paste the stamps"

For hours, it was lick, stick, lick, stick, lick, stick. Large stamps represented dollars spent and only three filled a page. Small stamps represented cents spent and 30 filled a page. I liked doing the dollars.

After six months of collecting stamps and six hours of pasting them in the books, my mom and I excitedly drove down to the S & H Green Stamp Redemption Center. With arms heavy laden, we plopped our day's work on the clerk's desk.

"Whatcha goina get?" I'd ask as we strolled up and down the aisles of house wares.

"I don't know, honey," my mom would reply. "But it'll be something good."

After much consternation, mom would decide on a treasure such as an electric can opener, or a steam iron, or a shiny set of stainless steel mixing bowls. Oh, it was an exciting day to make a trip to the S & H Green Stamp Redemption Center and trade in our stamps for a special prize.

Have you ever noticed there are some "Christianese" words we repeat often, but have difficulty explaining? I think redemption is one of those words. But as a child, because of my visits to the S & H trading store, I understood "redemption." To me, it meant to trade something in for something else, to take my stamps and trade them in (redeem them) for a prize - for something valuable. And that's exactly what it means.

Jesus Christ traded in His life to redeem mine. Listen to what these two passages have to say. Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree. He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit. (Galatians 3:13, 14). For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect (I Peter 1:18,19).

Jesus traded in His life so that I could receive mine. To Him, I was a prize - a treasure. But that's not all. He's made it possible for me to do a little bit of trading as well. I've traded in confusion for the mind of Christ, filthy rags for a robe of righteousness, bondage for freedom, bitterness for forgiveness, darkness for light, condemnation for acceptance, spiritual poverty for abundance and the list goes on and on. There are gifts for this life and beyond. He even gave me (and you) the Holy Spirit as a down payment. What an abundance of treasures - much more valuable than an electric can opener or set of mixing bowls.

As far as I know, there are no longer S & H Green Stamp Redemption centers. But as long as there are sinners who need to be redeemed, there will always be a Savior Who's anxious to make the trade.

My Prayer for Today:

Dear Lord, Thank you that I have been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb. Help me to always remember the price Jesus paid - that He traded in His life on the throne, was born of a virgin, lived on earth as a man, and died a cruel death on the cross... so that I can spend eternity with You. Hallelujah!  Jesus was raised from the dead and lives forever to make intercession for your children. In Jesus' name, Amen

Application Steps:

Use the illustration of making a trade, one thing for another, to explain redemption to your children.

Fold a piece of paper in half. On the left side list negative attributes of your former life. On the right side, list what you received in Christ when you were redeemed.

For example:
Shame   No condemnation
Eternity in hell  Eternity in heaven
Hopelessness  Hope

Reflection Points:

Have you ever been punished for someone else's mistake? How did that make you feel?

Has someone ever willingly taken the blame for something that you did? How did that make you feel?

Read Philippians 3:6-11.  "Jesus...Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death - even death on a cross! Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

How does reading what Jesus did to redeem you make you feel? Consider writing a prayer of thanksgiving.

Power Verses:

"Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people" Luke 1:68 NIV.

"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us, for it is written: "Cursed is everyone who is hung on a tree" Galatians 3:13 NIV.

"He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit" Galatians 3:14 NIV.

"I have swept away your offenses like a cloud, your sins like the morning mist. Return to me, for I have redeemed you" Isaiah 44:22 NIV.

"But now, this is what the LORD says - he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel:  "Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine" Isaiah 43:1 NIV

Additional Resources:

Ultimate Makeover: Becoming Spiritually Beautiful in Christ by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/makeover.html

Becoming a Woman Who Listens to God by Sharon Jaynes
http://www.gospelcom.net/p31/resources/womanlistens.html