Redemption is the Word

Welcome  You may know by now that I chose “faith” to be my word of the year for 2018. It has been great to study and grow in this area of my life. It would seem, though, that everyone else may have picked “redemption” as their word of the year.  This word “redemption” is going to be our topic for today and I have an easy and delicious turkey noodle casserole to share.  Thanks for joining me today.

Food For Thought  Redeem.  Redeemer.  Redeemed.  Redeeming.  Redemption.  Those are all great words in our faith world, aren’t they?  In fact, you might even say that redemption is the whole basis for our faith and belief system in Christianity.  So, yes, the word redemption is very important, important enough to use frequently in our vocabulary.  Well, I never thought I was going to hear the word redemption used so much, as I have so far this year.  And it all started with the 2018 Olympic Winter Games back in February.

As our family watched the games on television, there seemed to be a common theme repeated by broadcasters and interviewers again and again.  You guessed it, redemption!  It seemed as though every athlete, team, or country was out for “redemption” in this year’s games.  Shaun White was out for redemption.  Lindsey Vonn was out for redemption.  The US women’s hockey team was looking for redemption.  Cross-country skiers, curlers, figure skaters and speed skaters all were described as seeking REDEMPTION.  It became a joke at our house that if we had a dollar for every time the word “redemption” was used in the Olympic broadcasts, we would have enough to pay for a trip to the Olympics.  No, seriously, they used the word A LOT, to the point that it began to get on my nerves. Then, I started noticing this word showing up in all sorts of media.  My husband and I watch History Channel’s show Forged in Fire.  They started using the word redemption for their contestants.  We also watch Food Network’s Guy’s Grocery Games.  Even Guy started a series of “redemption” battles for contestants to come back and try again.  Since then, I’ve noticed this word showing up with increased frequency in my social media news feed and MSN headlines.  It seems that everywhere I look or listen these days, someone is looking for “redemption.”  I was beginning to feel some concern toward, what I felt, was the overuse of this word.

At first, my irritation was caused by my opinion that not every single Olympic athlete or event needed a redemption story behind it.  For once, can every one just be good athletes looking to do the best they can, without the added drama?  I know, I know, that makes for boring television.  Or so the media moguls seem to think.  Personally, I can do without all the dramatics and theatrics.  Then I started thinking about what this word means to me and how it seems to mean something completely different to the rest of the world.  Sure, sometimes I say things like “redeem” a coupon or gift card, but redemption, that’s something really special.  I was concerned this word would lose its greatest meaning in its recent surge of overuse.  It makes me think of a few years ago when “the most overused word of the year” was EPIC.  Everything, it seemed, for a couple of years was “epic.”  Well, describing something as epic loses a little of its grandeur when everything else is being described in the same way.  My chocolate cupcake may be epic, your skating routine is epic, the TV show’s finale was epic, and oh, by the way read this literal epic for your college literature class.  Do you see the point, here?

As I was thinking about this word “redemption,” I decided to do a little digging in the ol’ dictionary.  Interestingly, the first definition given is in reference to religious belief, as in Christianity, for the act of delivering from sin or saving from evil.  Yes, thank you very much, that goes along with my definition for redemption and what makes this word so special.  The definition also talks about being saved from error.  Well, I guess if you’ve made some mistakes in competition, or elsewhere in life, you may in fact be looking for a little redemption.  I can think of some errors in my life that I could use saving from!  The third definition given was “the act of regaining possession of something.”  This seems to apply to the games and contests I mentioned earlier, as they likely want to regain possession of a medal, trophy, or title they missed.  Okay, okay, now I can see where redemption could actually make sense in most of those stories.  But I’m absolutely delighted that the word redemption is first and foremost defined as being delivered from sin or evil.  And aren’t we all just looking for a little redemption in our own error-filled stories?

Today’s Scriptures  The word “redeem” or any variant form of the word appears in the King James Bible 142 times.  As I said before, redemption is an important part of our story as Christians.  Here are just a few of the verses talking about the key idea of redemption.  Today’s scripture quotations are from the ESV Bible (The Holy Bible, English Standard Version), copyright 2001 by Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.  Used by permission.  All rights reserved.

Luke 21:28  “Now then these things begin to take place, straighten up and raise your heads, because your redemption is drawing near.”

Romans 3:23-25  “for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith.  This was to show God’s righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”

Ephesians 1:7  “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”

1 Corinthians 1:29-31  “so that no human being might boast in the presence of God.  And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, so that, as it is written, ‘Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord.”

Colossians 1:13-14  “He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.”

Psalm 111:9  “He sent redemption to his people; he has commanded his covenant forever.  Holy and awesome is his name!”

There are so many more great verses, but this can get you started in thinking about the greatest definition for the word REDEMPTION.

Today’s Prayer  My Dear Heavenly Father, I thank You so much for Your amazing gift of redemption.  Thank You for saving me from my sinful ways.  Thank You for sending Your Son, Jesus Christ, to be our Redeemer.  Your grace and mercy are so welcome to my weary soul.  Thank You God!  In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Wellness Wednesday Tip  When making casseroles or skillet meals that call for pasta, noodles, or rice, you can save on carbs and calories by doing one or both of these tricks.  First, cut the required pasta amount in half, while doubling the protein amount and tripling the vegetable amount.  Now, that does not mean double the cheese or creamy sauce!  Also, you can substitute half the amount of starch with cauliflower.  Have you noticed the big trend in cauliflower, lately?  I don’t mind subbing in cauliflower for these ingredients, or for potatoes.  I will say I tried the cauliflower “pizza crust” awhile back…no thank you!  But I figure every little bit I can save here and there helps, especially for my husband who needs to count carbohydrates for his diabetes.

Today’s Recipe  I used the first trick mentioned for Wellness Wednesday in today’s casserole.  I baked fresh turkey tenderloins for this recipe, but this is also a great way to use up leftover turkey, or chicken.

Turkey Noodle Casserole with Broccoli and Cheese

  • 2 1-lb turkey tenderloins (I like the pre-marinated turkey tenderloins from the Fit & Active line at Aldi), or 4-5 cups of chopped, cooked turkey
  • 1 1/2 cups dry rotini pasta
  • 16 oz pkg frozen broccoli cuts
  • 1 cup diced red onion
  • 1/4 cup cream
  • 1/4 cup ranch vegetable dip
  • 8 oz shredded or cubed mozzarella
  • grated parmesan for serving, if desired

Bake turkey tenderloins according to package directions.  Mine take 50-60 minutes to bake, plus resting time, so I have to plan accordingly.  You can always bake your tenderloins ahead of time, cool, and refrigerate until ready to use.

While turkey is cooling, turn oven to 375 degrees and spray a 9×13 casserole dish with nonstick cooking spray.  Place broccoli and pasta in large pot and add enough water to cover.  Add a couple pinches of salt and bring to a boil.  Once boiling, reduce heat to medium low and finish cooking, about 10 minutes.  Meanwhile, chop turkey into cubes or bite-size pieces.  Drain water from broccoli and pasta and return to pot.  Add diced onion, chopped turkey, cream, ranch dip, and mozzarella.  Stir until all ingredients are completely combined.  Dump into prepared casserole dish.  Bake at 375 for 25-30 minutes.  Serve with a sprinkling of fresh grated parmesan, if desired.