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By Marlene Houk

Burke County  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;”

Gazing at the fleecy robe nestled in the giveaway bag, I remembered the coziness that enveloped me on a rainy wintry day. I retrieved the buffalo plaid and draped the garment around a hangar.

Restored. Recovered. Redeemed. What thrilling words that gather defeat and fling it to the farthest corners of the universe. Like my recovered robe, we, as Christians, are rescued, released, delivered, and retrieved from our failures. 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 redeems us from destruction as Psalm 103:4 shouts triumphantly. Even more stunning, He allows our redemption to brim with gold the negatives of our lives.

How does God encircle our troubles with gold? He infuses our pain with a purpose, diluting the hurt (Jeremiah 29:11). He reminds us of our identity with Him, thwarting the theft of our self-worth from vindictive attacks by declaring the truth that destroys their lies (Exodus 15:21). And He frees us from sin when we turn to Him. Naming us a precious jewel to any who would dare malign us, He claims us unreservedly as the apple of His eye (Zachariah 2:8).

To be redeemed embodies freedom’s thrill, the heart-racing surge of being snatched from the jaws of evil, and the breathtaking passion of discovering Him. Psalm 103:4 declares that God snatches our lives from destruction. By definition, “lives” includes our actions, character, innermost thoughts, passions, words, and influences that define us. When God restores these things, He crafts an heirloom tapestry of our lives that reveals the beauty of His grace and love. When God upcycles our mistakes, He creates a masterpiece of His grace and mercy, bringing immense value to our lives.

God even repurposes our words. 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. Her distortion 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, touched, stained with sin, and redeemed it in the New Testament. He included three stories in His divine Word, using the word, touch, and redeeming the word with marvelous miracles. Three 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 redeem the tiny word, touch, in divine stories of healed women! God redeems our poor choices even when we twist His truths to fit our own agendas. God turns our desire for control, inherited from Eve, as we, like her, choose, the wrong words, twist the truth, and trample God’s plan for us. 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.

My robe lost its unhappy memory as I redeemed its purpose from a giveaway to a place of greatness in my wardrobe. So our Savior restores us from the dust of defeat, anoints us with His love and mercy, and transforms our failures into spiritual fruit.


Marlene is an author and teacher of Bible studies. She may be reached at

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Blue Ridge Christian News covers Avery County, Burke County, McDowell County, Mitchell County, Yancey County, and Madison County in North Carolina, and Christian news from around the country.