Earlier this year I shared some posts based on a 40 day prayer series by Angela Thomas-Pharr.
Her short prayers that accompanied each day’s reading were so sweet and soul-healing that I went through the whole series again for Lent.
So when Lifeway offered to post the videos for the REDEEMED study that this is based on, I ordered the study guide and have been thrice blessed and more.
I feel like I am giving a book report here…which trust me I do not mind doing in the least because…imagine this…another favorite part of my elementary school years was BOOK REPORTS!!
And all the more if you got to make a theme project to go with it…I still get giddy thinking about my Henry and the Donut Machine mobile made from two hangers with hand drawn pictures dangling from yarn….but I digress….
Back to the Bible Study Report…and I will throw some pictures in randomly to keep you entertained but they are not theme related…sorry…
I am finding the study guide to be just the right amount of solidifying basic information, adding new information and encouraging me in my faith.
It is truly a 40 day study…as in…you do a study and prayer time for each of the 40 days, watching the video after each 7 day section.
At the end of each day is a portion of Psalms to read and then those beautiful prayers from Angela and a place for me to write out my own Psalm-inspired prayer.
The videos fill in more information. Spoiler alert…Angela has a thick North Carolina accent that may be a distraction for you if you haven’t had the blessing of actually knowing some super fun people from that area of the U.S. of A.
I have been and I can assure you…they are the best and they really do talk that way so just go with it.
I did Session 3 this past week and for the first time in my sanctification process, I heard a testimony I could actually relate to.
Angela shares that she grew up in a Christian home, she went to church all the time, she loved God and loved Jesus…and she gave her life to Christ so many times she lost count.
Because with all of her time in the church and at the church, she says she must have missed something because she just wasn’t sure she had done enough or done it in the right way so just to be sure, every time someone offered the opportunity to receive salvation…she would raise her hand.
I love that she doesn’t blame anyone. Not her church. Not her family. Not God.
She simply says for some reason, she just had never understood how Redemption worked and so she kept taking every opportunity to be redeemed until she heard Jesus whisper to her one day…
Angela, I had you the first time.
I love love love that she follows this with the admission that she had given her life to Him so many times, she can’t even remember when the first time was.
I can so relate.
I did the same thing until our pastor and friend Wayne asked us at church one night to bow our heads and raise our hands if we were not certain we would go to heaven if we were to die right now.
Like I had every other time in similar situations, I raised my hand…hoping this time would be the one that sealed the deal.
After service, he found me and asked…basically…
What in the world???????? Why do you think you are not saved???
To which I responded…
I just don’t think I have done enough good to make up for the bad.
While I don’t remember the details of the first time I gave my life to Jesus, I vividly remember standing in the musty smelling hall of that old church building on … of all things…Church Street.
Surrounded by the most outdated carpeting, original wood trim and yucky plaster walls…
this man put his hands on my shoulder and said the words that opened my eyes to a deception that had held me captive for so much of my life…
with great conviction and confidence and compassion he said…
Oh Laura…You don’t understand GRACE. You are right. You haven’t done enough good. You never could. Even if you did your very best every single day, it’s never going to be enough. That’s what grace is about. Jesus did what you can’t.
It wasn’t condemnation.
It was freedom.
It was life-changing, life-giving TRUTH.
I would love to say I walked away that night completely understanding but it took some sinking in.
And praise God…it’s supposed to be that way…I will never fully understand it all until I stand before Him…made perfect…finally by the same GRACE that has brought thus far <3
It was a milestone on the journey that marked a desire to know and understand and live…
drenched and soaked and spilling over from the fullness of …
this Amazing Grace.
I don’t think Angela would mind at all if I close with yesterday’s prayer from Day 13 of the study:
*I am adding the male pronouns because I know some of you are actually men who read what I write…God bless you for that <3
Oh Father, teach us about redeemed so we can tell others. Teach us about redeemed so we can live as the redeemed. Help this dear one lean in toward Your voice, unclench her fists/his fists, and cooperate with the Holy Spirit. Will you bless her/bless him , Lord? Bless her studies/his studies, her prayers/his prayers, her honesty/his honesty, and her heart/his heart? Tell her/tell him that you are with her/with him always – always and always, even to the end of the age. Oh thank you, Jesus, amen.