April 14, 2009 
The Redemption Center 
Sharon Jaynes

Today’s Truth 
“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 NIV). 

Friend to Friend 
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 eyes lit up every time she heard the cha-ching, knowing that meant more stamps.  When the total was 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 brown paper bag and waited until we could make a whole day of it.

About every six months, mom pulled a brown 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 like 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 days 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 redemption center, 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 NIV).  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).

Jesus traded in His life so that I could receive mine.  To Him, I was the 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. He even gave me (and you) the Holy Spirit as a down payment for more that is yet to come. What an abundance of treasures – much more valuable than an electric can opener or set of mixing bowls.

Let’s Pray 
Dear Lord, thank You for redeeming me! I have traded in my mourning for laughter, my weeping for rejoicing, my sickness for healing, my guilt for freedom, my sin for righteousness, my fear for faith, my weakness for Your strength, my insecurity for Your boldness, my inadequacies for Your supply.  What a deal!

In Jesus’ Name, the One Who made it all possible, 
Amen.

Now It’s Your Turn 
Do you need to do a little trading of your own?  Do you need to make a trip to God’s redemption center?

What would you like to trade in today?  Make a list.

More From The Girlfriends 
Today’s devotion was adapted from Becoming a Woman who Listens to God.  If you love stories such as these, then you would love Sharon’s daily devotion book, Extraordinary Moments with God.  It is a beautiful storehouse of inspiration to give you a spiritual quick start for each day.  And, if you would like to learn more about how to hear God’s voice in your everyday life, check out Becoming a Woman who Listens to God. 

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