Friday, March 25, 2016

Beauty of “Chen” Redemption

Dad was late getting home that night.  The kids were washed up and waiting to eat dinner, which was always at 6:00 p.m.   

It was normal to wait for father before starting our evening meals, as it was the only time we had as a family each day.  Seated at the table in the dining room we saw my father backing into the driveway from the side window.  That was rather strange; why wasn’t he parking as usual in front of the big red barn? 

The creaky screen door at the back of the house closed and we could hear my father coming up the back steps into the kitchen.  Grabbing hold of my mom’s arm Dad whisked her out of the house. 
Looking over his shoulder as he exited the room he smiled and said, “Come see what’s in the van.”                                             
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Beauty in the Eyes of the Beholder

Wondering what my father brought home was exciting and each of us got up to follow behind him in anticipation.  As I pushed open the screen door I looked around the yard, but didn’t see anything special. 

Dad walked over to the Chevy step-up van and hurriedly placed the ramp at the back of the vehicle.  With the ramp in place he opened the double doors and hopped up in the van. 
It was dark inside and we couldn’t see what he was doing.  Suddenly there was a shadow that slowly stepped into the light … it was a pony, a black pony! 

We could hardly believe it as we circled the van to get a better look at our new member of the family.  Taking the lead in his hands, my father guided this shy but gentle, feeble creature slowly down the incline.  “Her name is Beauty … like in Black Beauty.”  He clarified as we gathered around this rather unbecoming looking animal. 

When the pony’s feet finally touched the ground our gladness turned quickly to sadness.  With her paper thin skin and bulging bones sticking out everywhere, the word “beauty” was the last thing that came to mind.  You could see torn flesh and scars on her back, sides and legs. The little black pony was weak and scrawny, hardly anything to brag about to friends. 

Apparently my mother wasn’t clued in on the details of the situation; we could tell by the way she questioned my father about how he acquired Beauty. 

“I found out that she was scheduled to be slaughtered today if someone didn’t save her by 3:00 p.m.  Seeing Beauty I knew I couldn’t let that happen, so I went to the authorities and redeemed her life for $25.00.  I didn’t want to leave her there any longer that’s why I had to bring her home in the van.” 

Dad continued to tell us the story of this sweet animal and that she was terribly mistreated, starved and beaten.  He believed that there was hope for her and with proper care Beauty would soon live up to her name.  Even though she wasn’t much to look at then, our pony’s personality was certainly beautiful. 

It wasn’t easy and took quite a long time for our latest edition to the family to be re-born.  To a kid it seemed like forever before we would be able to ride Beauty.  My Dad did everything for her and wouldn’t let us even brush our new pony until her delicate flesh was healed.  Finally the day came when she was restored, and ready to live a life filled with love among her new family. 

Although I no longer have photos of Black Beauty, the vivid picture of her first steps into our life are forever captured in my memory.  As a child this act of mercy and kindness was the most compassionate thing I remember my father doing. 

The Story Reveals Jesus 

In my prayer time I asked the Lord why He reminded me of this childhood story, and what did it have to do with favor.  Looking back on my notes from a few weeks ago I could see how it tied in with the Easter holiday Christians celebrate. 

The Bible talks about redemption or being redeemed in both the Old and New Testaments almost sixty times.  It also specifies that possessions, man and animal may be redeemed and counted as Holy. (See Leviticus chapter 27) 

When I look back at what happened the day Beauty was redeemed from being destroyed, the details of the event reminded me of the crucifixion of Jesus.  The cost may not be the same, but there was still a price to be paid. 

Worthy of Redemption 

Beauty had been redeemed from the slaughterhouse by my Dad because she found grace and favor in his eyes.  God showed me something by using my pony story as a metaphor in several ways. 

The Holy Spirit led me to various scriptures depicting how Jesus was rejected, despised and how his flesh was torn from beatings (much worse than what happened to Beauty).  Isaiah 53 reveals some of what Christ experienced when He was crucified on the cross at Calvary. 

“Who has believed our report? … He has no form or comeliness; and when we see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him.  He is despised and rejected by men. A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  Surely He has borne our griefs and carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, smitten by God, and afflicted.  

But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon Him, and by His stirpes we are healed. 

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, every one, to his own way; and the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all. 

He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before its shearers is silent…  (from Isaiah 53 NJKV) 

Our pony Black Beauty suffered great pain with being tortured the way she was and didn’t look like anything of value, yet my father saw something worth redeeming in her.  The metaphorical “Beauty” resembles us before we turned to Jesus and were re-born through salvation.  While still in the ugliness of sin that covered our bodies, God looked beyond our faults and saw us worth redeeming.   

If a human can love someone that much, how much more does God love us that He would show grace, kindness and mercy through the giving of His Only Begotten Son? 
Something was missing; I still needed a connection to God's favor.

Reasons for Redemption 

There was another reason Dad redeemed that little black colt; we had a really small brown pony that was lonely. By rescuing Beauty our family would be more complete.  Now the stories were beginning to gel.
Jesus died on the cross so the Heavenly Father’s family would be restored or “complete.”  In order for that to happen, God’s Son had to take or receive all the sins of the world on to His flesh and become that “ugly skin”. 
The redemptive process could take place when Jesus became the sacrifice for our sins.  God would take the life of Christ as the redeeming payment in exchange for our lives.  When Jesus died, our sins were transferred to Him and erased from the presence of God. 

“I have blotted out, like a thick cloud, your transgressions, and like a cloud, your sins. Return to Me, for I have redeemed you.” (Isaiah 44:22) 

Christ became our Redeemer for sin.  After Jesus died on the cross He took all the sins that were ever committed past, present and future, and left them in Hell never again to be seen.  On the third day He rose from the dead cleansed and ascended into Heaven to be with the His Father.  

That redeeming process hasn’t stopped.  God’s family is continually being restored with every life that is redeemed by the blood of Jesus.  When we accept Jesus as the redeeming Savior that wiped away all our sin, by grace God receives us into His Kingdom as His children.  

“Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written,) cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree (cross).” (Galatians 3:13)   

“[The Redeemer of Israel] But now, thus says the Lord, who created you, O Jacob, and He who formed you, O Israel: Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name; you are Mine.” (Isaiah 43:1) 

Grace & Favor – A Gift of the Cross 

I saw how the two “scenarios” could be linked together, after all Beauty found grace through my Dad, and we have done the same through Christ.  They still didn’t connect for me concerning favor, although I knew that grace is also used as “favor” or “mercy” in the Bible. 

We have to journey back to the beginning of the Bible (the Torah) where we learn about the characteristics of God in order to make the connection of favor to the cross.  When you read the word grace in the original context it is “chen” and that word is derived from the root “shoresh.”  Looking at grace as “shoresh” it means favor, mercy and kindness.   

Instead of perceiving grace as a “gift” from God, we need to understand it as an attribute or characteristic of God as well.  Not what He is, but who He is.  If God “is” favor, then when Jesus died for us He sent His favor in place of our sin.   

So when we read in the Bible how people cried out for God to be gracious to them, they were really crying out for His favor (mercy, grace, kindness) to redeem then from whatever was happening at the time. 

This information makes it easy to recognize that there is no greater act of God’s favor than the gift of Jesus for our redemption.  Salvation by faith in Jesus’ work on the cross is a “chen” (grace, favor) gift from God as noted in Ephesians 2:8. 

“For by grace (favor – chen) you have been saved through faith.
 And this is not from yourselves, it is a gift of God.” (Ephesians 2:8 TLV) 

After my father redeemed our little black pony, he immediately went to work caring for her and she changed totally. We could finally see what Dad saw in her, a rare Beauty. 

When we have been made clean through the redemptive power of Jesus, God sees beauty in us even when others don’t, and from the inside we begin to change.  

The Lord Jesus believed in the power of grace and favor through the Holy Spirit so much that He put His life on the cross to redeem us.  If that’s not favor, I don’t know what is.

This Week’s Challenge:
Believe You are “Chen” Redeemed 

It’s easy for us to grasp God is love, not just God loves.  Why then can’t we believe the same when it comes to God is favor? 

God cannot help but show favor to His children, because it is who He is.  Grace  - chen favor is given to us because of the love God has for His redeemed children.  

After Dad redeemed our pony she wasn’t that broken down, battered and worn out animal any more.  Something changed when he got hold of her. It’s the same with us when Jesus takes away our sins. 

When we have been “favor” (chen - grace) redeemed by Christ, praise the Lord we are no longer what we used to be. God has removed all the chains of sin, set us free to be His children and heirs of Jesus.  

Believe that you are so valuable to God that He is willing to redeem your life by faith through the sacrifice of His Son Jesus Christ.  He deemed you worthy to be loved, worthy to be His child and worthy to have by His side forever! 

Why does God see you as worthy?  You have been Chen Redeemed, chosen, FAVORED by God’s overwhelming grace, mercy and lovingkindness. 

Say it now – I am Chen, favored redeemed by God. 
If you haven’t accepted this grace and favor gift of the cross, read here on how to become Favor Redeemed!  It’s time you began your Daily Favor journey with Jesus.
As we celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus Christ this weekend, let these words continually flow out of your mouth with thanksgiving. 

“My lips shall greatly rejoice when I sing to You, and my soul,
which You have (chen) redeemed!” (Psalm 71:23) 

One more because we have been Favor Redeemed ...
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Until next time, rejoice you are “chen” (favor) redeemed! 

“Chen redemption was for you.”
Jesus Christ 

*Unless noted, the names in articles are changed to protect the individual(s) privacy. 

Note: The words satan or devil are not capitalized deliberately, because we give him no place in our lives.

Disclaimer: Article information is not meant to be used as treatment for mental or physical issues, but geared toward spiritual awareness. 

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