Getting Out of Debt

Getting Out of Debt

August 4, 2017

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14 (NIV)

Devotion Graphic

I was convinced I would be able to make a living selling gumballs.

The instructor in the sales seminar demonstrated how easy it would be. Simply place the gumball machines in heavily trafficked areas such as restaurants, doctor’s offices and church lobbies. Fill up the candy, and each week collect the fortune within.

Continue expanding your candy empire by purchasing more gumball machines, and before long, you’re making a living on sweets.g

Being an optimist, I saw how this was indeed possible. I did the math in my brain. By the end of that sales presentation, I signed on the dotted line, the proud new business owner of six shiny green gumball machines.

A few days later, the bubble began to burst.

I had called dozens of local businesses, asking if they could use a free gumball machine in their workplace. Each and every person I called said no. “We’re a franchise,” they would say. “That sort of thing has to be approved.”

After weeks of trying to find homes for my money-making gumball machines, I placed only one machine at a beauty shop. It was my hairdresser’s shop. I think he felt sorry for me.

I filled that lone gumball machine with candy every two weeks or so. I don’t think the coins inside ever amounted to more than five dollars.

I haven’t told you the worst part. I borrowed several hundred dollars from my parents to fund my start-up company. I was in debt with no way to repay.

Enter Prince Charming, my husband James who was dating me at the time of this candy caper. Before we got married, he wrote my parents a check for the amount I owed for the gumball machines.

He said he wanted to marry me, free and clear of any debts.

It’s a picture that reminds me of what Jesus did for me. He wanted to make me His bride, and in order to do so, He had to clear my debts.

We were dead in sin, away from God, when Christ forgave our sin and took away our shame by dying on the cross. Our key verse says He “canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness.” Another version says He “wiped out the handwriting of requirements that was against us” (NKJV). The curse of the law (which Moses first shared with the nation of Israel) was the handwriting that was against us. We have all sinned and fallen short of God’s glory. (Romans 3:23)

That word “handwriting” has the same root word as the word autograph. It was a term used for the signature on an IOU, a signed document acknowledging a debt. Jesus signed our IOU at the cross.

There was an ancient method of canceling a debt. You could cross out the writing or strike it through with a nail. What a picture — that Christ crossed out the judgment against us with His nail-pierced hands.

He paid all our debts.

I closed my candy shop, as you probably already guessed. I donated all the gumball machines to a local youth group. I didn’t come close to building a career on candy, but I did learn a few valuable lessons.

I learned about gratitude and wonder, as James paid the debt of his future bride.

I learned never to attend a direct sales meeting by myself.

I learned about the amazing grace of Jesus Christ who signed the check for humanity that declared to our debts, “Paid in full.”

Jesus loves us so much He declares us His bride. He devised a plan to wipe away our unrighteousness. We are no longer condemned or indebted. The check has been signed in blood. We can now walk in sweet freedom.

Lord Jesus, how can I ever repay You for what You’ve done? Thank You for paying the debt for my life. Thank You for erasing my sin and calling me Your own. I am no longer a slave to sin or in debt to a holy God. I am a child of God. In Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Acts 10:43, “All the prophets testify about him that everyone who believes in him receives forgiveness of sins through his name.” (NIV)

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If you’re feeling defeated in your motherhood journey, we understand. That’s why we put together When Strong Moms Feel Quite Weak: 21 Days of Encouragement You Need as a Mom by Lysa TerKeurst. You’ll receive this devotional free with your gift of any amount. Get yours here.

If you have a spouse, are you grateful for him? Find new ways to show appreciation for your man. Visit Arlene Pellicane’s blog today for an opportunity to win a copy of her book 31 Days to a Happy Husband.

Arlene shared the mistake she made when she purchased the gumball machines. Are there mistakes you’ve made that you still think about? What does it mean for you that Jesus has marked “paid in full” over your debts?

© 2017 by Arlene Pellicane. All rights reserved.

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  1. Many mistakes that I no longer have to carry the shame for because Of His unmerited, undeserved grace that He so unselfishly gave me!

  2. Overwhelmed with thankfulness for sins forgiven and His sacrifice for me! Thank you Jesus!

  3. Earning my way into heaven by my good works is very much like supporting myself selling gumballs.

  4. I do not have to live in my past, and let it determine who I am today. I am forgiven from all sins, I am free and hidden in Christ. Now with the tools that He’s given me I must act in a responsible way. Thank you God for ALL you’ve done for me!!

  5. Stephanie says:

    Very thankful for Jesus loving me so much that he died on the cross giving his life so freely for the world. That is the definition of love and thankful he forgives me daily for my mistakes. Needing some extra prayers have a heavy burden on my heart.

  6. Latricia Ward says:

    Thank You, Jesus for your forgiveness and faithfulness! No more shame! I’m free in YOU! Hallelujah!

  7. Mary in NH says:

    I’ve been doing a study called Breaking Free by Beth Moore. I’m near the end and boy, do these questions resonate with me. I spent my young adult years living a very sinful life. I look back, amazed that I made it through and surely that was the answer to my sweet mom’s prayers. After coming to Christ at 40, I spent a good many years regretting those mistakes and beating myself up, which really made it harder for me to live in Christs freedom. I continued to backslide into old habits. I finally let Christs truth sink in this year, my debt has been paid and forgotten by a loving forgiving God! The shame and guilt can go, I am not a “fake” just posing as a Christian. I’m accepted, praise God, and thanks to Jesus work on the cross, I am free.

    • Amen!

    • Mary,
      Praise be to Jesus for saving me @36. I to struggle w regrets and why’s of time. Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, Ephesians 3:20 his time his plan … he will restore lost time! Thankful and blessed

  8. Elisse Davis Young says:

    If it had not been for the grace of God, where would I be? I am grateful to no longer be condemned by my sin. I’ve been forgiven and I’m walking in my freedom! Thank you Jesus. Please keep me in your prayers as my husband of 12 years recently abandoned my son and I.

    • Most gracious Heavenly Father, thank you for Elisse . Please make her aware of your presence. Give her peace that only You can give, helping her to care for and love her son through this difficult time. If it be your will dear Father, soften her husbands heart , take the scales from his eyes and remind him of your love, mercy, forgiveness, and that he took a vow to love, honor, and cherish Elisse. I pray that you would send a Godly friend to love and encourage her. Thank you for sending your Son to die that terrible death at ours hands to save us. Amen

  9. Shirley Stallworth says:


    What an inspiring peace! The history you bought forth concerning canceling of debt by taking a nail and sticking it into the note has added an interesting dimension to the picture of Jesus’s hands nailed to the cross! I am thankful for his sacrifice and yes, freedom is sweet and never ends.


  10. Elizabeth says:

    Thank you for awesome devotion! Great story and reminding me iam a child of God.

  11. Amen!

  12. Thank you for this devotion today.. Sometimes its nice to be reminded that jesus has cleared the way for us and has forgiven us of our sins without holding it against us to take out later. I need to remind myself of this constantly.. Jesus forgives me and loves me just the way I am. I am a child of God and I am made perfect in his image. All sins and past actions have been forgiven through him and the price his son Jesus paid by being nailed to the cross. Thank you Jesus for making me your bride and loving me even with my flaws. Thank you for allowing second chances and forgiveness. Thank you for having faith in me. Thank you for your words, faith, and the strength that you have provided me in my darkest days. I lift my hands to you and say thanks.. God is good.. all the time..

  13. I woke up thibeing about the debt looming over my everyday. God has placed an opportunity to help relieved that debt. This morning reading through this devotion was a great reminded of the debt he paid for mw on the cross. A reminder that I can live free. That each day is a gift. I may carry financial debt currently but I no longer carry the sin debt.

  14. Shaneice Johnson says:

    Thank you Jesus! This is so inspiring and encouraging! Your story related to the Bible perfectly. Sometimes the Lord allows us to go through certain situations to teach us lessons. Hopefully, we learn from them and grow in the maturity of God.

  15. janny holder says:

    I receive this word from the lord in the name of Jesus my husband and I are debt free. thank you so very much for this devotional is amazing how God speak to us when we seek his presence. I am forever grateful for his love and mercy towards me.

  16. I have made too many mistakes to mention, but I have learned that along with life obstacles I need to not look at the mistakes of my past and instead just keep my eyes on Jesus.
    Thanks for the great post today.

  17. Amen, he paid it all

  18. What a burden lifted. My faith has been weakening. Not in the Almighty but in myself.
    My hope of forgiveness is renewed. My focus opis on Jesus and the Cross. Thank you God.

  19. Beautiful story! Thank you!

  20. This is a great analogy. It will help me remember that Jesus paid my debt because he wanted me to be his bride!

  21. I made the mistake of defrauding my mom’s accounts. I still think about that when I go to the bank to cash my checks.

  22. Susan G. says:

    I loved this.

  23. Glee LaVroff says:

    Thank You Arlene For this Devotional! My Husband and I got into debt, but had to file Bankruptcy in 2012, do to I broke my ankle and had Medicals Bills galore. My Husband as soon as he could, started getting credit cards again. for several years I told him we couldn’t afford things. Last year I thought if you can’t beat them join them I started spending money getting credit cards, now I am hooked. I am trying not to spend anymore money, but my Husband wanting to go out to dinner etc. I feel this is a losing battle and there is no way out. I am racked with so much guilt and I feel my husband could care less of getting out of debt. I have not been able to Pray about our situation!

  24. Judy Johnston says:

    This may sound crazy. But i know with all my heart that God has forgiven me for my sins. Out of the blue they continue to pop into my mind. Or i will have a dream. I truly believe it is the devil trying to rob me of spirit. It drives me CRAZY!!! prayers for peace of mind😊

  25. Thanking God for saving me and delivering me from the hands of Satan….It’s only because of His undying love for me, and His grace and mercy that I am not consumed by the tactics of the enemy….If it had not been for the Lord on my side, I don’t know where I would be…His mercies are new every morning, GREAT IS THY FAITHFULNESS!

  26. I value analogies! And the Lord gives deeper revelation when he desires.

    It would’ve been ridiculous for Arlene’s parents (no disrespect… it could be any other previous debtor) to say at anytime down the line: “Hey…remember you never paid us back for those gum balls.” Her immediate response would probably be a confused, “My husband did.”

    May I/we respond to condemnation in the same manner!

  27. Barb Clark, FL says:

    The comparison of the nail through the monetary debt with the nails in our Lord’s hands cancelling our sin debt brought me to tears.
    Thank you, Arlene, for this powerful illustration. Thank you, Jesus, for your unfathomable love for us.

  28. I know Jesus has paid for my debts and that he has forgiven me of my sins and i’m eternally grateful for the way He loves me! But it’s the people around me, (my husband included), that won’t let me let go of these sins. Everytime we get into an argument or he does anything wrong, he immediately brings up my past. We have both made our share of mistakes during our marriage but I have asked the Lord for forgiveness and I have forgiven my husband for his. I keep telling him that I don’t live there anymore, that I’m forgiven and not the same person I was but he can’t seem to quit looking backwards. I don’t know what to do… I fear that if this continues our marriage won’t survive.

  29. Janice Alston says:

    When I finely realize how Jesus hung on that cross and died for our sins, I know He has forgiven me of my sins, today I live a more peaceful life after so many years of suffering bith physical and mental abuse from my husband, having endured so many health issues, I had to turn my life around and asked God to please show me the way. Everyday isn’t a bed of roses but I am so thankful for where I am today. I have been divorced for 23 years, and I thank God for bringing me out of that situation. Please pray for me.

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