McDowell Technical Community College

Marlene’s Meditations


By Marlene Houk,

Burke County

Genesis 3:3

But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, Ye shall not eat of it, neither shall ye touch it, lest ye die.

Psalm 103:4

Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies;

You are busily poking into an old box full of musty papers when you spy an aged piece of parchment that resembles the Declaration of Independence. Imagine the thrill of discovering that the $2.48 you paid transforms into $477,650 because that dusty tattered paper turned out to be the 36th copy of 200 copies that Congress ordered from William J. Stone back in 1820. A hopelessly forgotten document is redeemed out of obscurity and uselessness and into the light and enjoyment of a whole nation, bringing fame and fortune.


Redeemed! What a glorious word that gathers despair and flings it to the farthest corners of the universe! We, as Christians, are rescued, released, delivered, and retrieved from our prisons. No longer a slave to our own minds or the whims of others, we dance to the pulse of His love, throwing back our heads and laughing with the sheer joy of freedom. Christ is our Redeemer, for “in him we live, and move, and have our being” according to Acts 17:28. He not only redeems us from destruction as Psalm 103:4 (above) shouts triumphantly, but He allows the power of it to gild with golden hues the negatives of our lives.

  1. He redeems our pain, infusing it with purpose. Jeremiah 29:11
  2. He rescues us from vindictive attacks by friend and foe, declaring eternal triumph over them. Exodus 15:21
  3. And He delivers us out of our sin when we turn to Him, declaring us a precious jewel to any who would dare malign us and claiming us unreservedly as the apple of His eye. Zachariah 2:8

To be redeemed embodies all of freedom’s thrill, the heart-racing surge of being snatched from the jaws of evil, and the breath-taking passion of discovering Him. Psalm 103:4 declares that God redeems our lives from destruction. By definition, “lives” includes our actions, character, innermost thoughts, passions, words, and influences that define us. When God redeems these things, He crafts an heirloom tapestry of our lives that reveals the beauty of His grace and love. Like the Bargello quilt I saw hanging in a local sewing store, the intricacies and beauties of its design delight the ones who treasure this gift for generations. When God redeems our mistakes, He creates a masterpiece of His grace and mercy, bringing immense value to our lives.

Even in the microscopic details of our poor choices, God redeems that single tiny sinful word that complicates our lives and thwarts His redeeming power. During Eve’s conversation with the devil in Genesis chapter 3:3, she added a word to God’s instructions about not eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. She said that God had told them not to TOUCH the fruit when, in fact, He did not instruct them so. This darkened God’s words and may have allowed the devil to accuse God of being unreasonable according to Dr. C. Wieland, Managing Director of Creation Ministries International on his website:  Whatever the reason, Jesus, in His love and mercy, took her word, stained with sin, and redeemed it in the New Testament. Three of the five women whose stories of miraculous healing are told for all eternity involve the use of touch.

  1. Peter’s Mother-In-Law was sick, and Jesus touched her hand according to Matthew 8:14-15.
  2. The woman with the issue of blood touched the hem of His garment according to Luke 8:43-48.
  3. And, Jesus laid his hands on the crippled woman in Luke 13:10-17.

How amazing that God decided to include this tiny word in the stories of healed women that He chose for His eternal Word! It is as if He is saying that even though we try to alter our lives in our own way, God redeems our choices, miraculously healing and blessing us when, in fact, we actually deserve His condemnation for twisting His truths to fit our own agenda. God is redeeming Eve’s sin in our lives today as we, like her, choose, wrong words, twist the truth, and create our own agendas. He takes our words and changes them into words of beauty and love, awash with His majesty and power. And we walk in the light of the power of redemption!

Just as Michael Sparks, the Tennessee native who redeemed the 36th copy of the Declaration of Independence revealed the magnificence and importance of this rare and valuable find, so our Maker and Savior redeems us from the dust of defeat and the pit of despair, anointing us with His love and mercy and conferring upon us the title of “adopted son”! Galatians 4:5

(Marlene Houk is a regular contributor to Blue Ridge Christian News.  Her passion is to delve deeply into the truths of Bible women and to discuss those in Bible Studies called Backstage Pass to Bible Women.  She and her husband discover joy, nurture, and challenge in their church.  Her contact is