the imagery of forgiveness

compassPsalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”

Micah 7:19, “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

Jeremiah 31:34, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

snowGod reveals relationship in vivid metaphor.  Sin removed as far as the east is removed from the west.  The stark contrast of scarlet and snow.  Sins plummeting to the depths of the sea.  An all-powerful, all-knowing God choosing to forget, and remember our sins no more.

The imagery of forgiveness.

Our Father forgives.  He heals.  He restores.  He delivers.  He rescues.

Through divine prerogative and divine covenant and divine eyes He sees us not for our sin, not for our shame, not for our rebellion, but for who we are through Jesus.

seaHe sees us clearly and in such a way we often find it difficult to see ourselves.  As whole.  As holy.  As righteous.  As forgiven.

Galatians 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

He sees us through Jesus.

Glory to God!

Jason

playing hide and seek with God

hide and seek

Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse of Scripture that speaks to the hearts of many (it is Tiersa’s absolute favorite verse of Scripture).  “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.”

However I wonder how familiar we are with verse 13?  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Perhaps we recognize the words.  But are we aware of the context in which they are found?

They are words spoken by God through the prophet, communicated to His people as they find themselves living in a world contrary to their calling.

Seeking God.  Pursuing God.  Searching for God.  In a world that is unfair, consumed with self, and spinning out of control.  Does that sound anything like our calling today?

“You will find me,” God declares, “when you seek me.  When you actively look for me.  When you search for me.  With all of your heart and with all of your soul.  With everything that you are.  Then, and only then, will you find me.”

Are we seeking God?  In our lives.  In our worship.  In our hearts.  In our motives.  In our families.  Are we seeking Him?  Do we long for Him?  With all our hearts?  With all our souls?

Did you ever play hide and seek as a child?  Sure you did.  Sometimes you were the one hiding.  Sometimes you were the one seeking.  But what about now?  Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing?  Do you find yourself seeking God one moment and hiding from Him the next?

Our calling is greater than that.

Glory to God!

Jason

the imagery of forgiveness

compassPsalm 103:12, “As far as the east is from the west, has He removed our transgressions from us.”

Isaiah 1:18, “Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be white as snow.”

Micah 7:19, “You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl our iniquities into the depths of the sea.”

Jeremiah 31:34, “I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.”

snowGod reveals relationship in vivid metaphor.  Sin removed as far as the east is removed from the west.  The stark contrast of scarlet and snow.  Sins plummeting to the depths of the sea.  An all-powerful, all-knowing God choosing to forget, and remember our sins no more.

The imagery of forgiveness.

Our Father forgives.  He heals.  He restores.  He delivers.  He rescues.

Through divine prerogative and divine covenant and divine eyes He sees us not for our sin, not for our shame, not for our rebellion, but for who we are through Jesus.

seaHe sees us clearly and in such a way we often find it difficult to see ourselves.  As whole.  As holy.  As righteous.  As forgiven.

Galatians 3:27, “For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.”

He sees us through Jesus.

Glory to God!

Jason

hide and seek with God

hide and seek

Jeremiah 29:11 is a verse of Scripture that speaks to the hearts of many (it is Tiersa’s absolute favorite verse of Scripture).  “For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord.  Plans to prosper you and not to harm you.  Plans to give you hope and a future.”

However I wonder how familiar we are with verse 13?  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13).

Perhaps we recognize the words.  But are we aware of the context in which they are found?

They are words spoken by God through the prophet, communicated to His people as they find themselves living in a world contrary to their calling.

Seeking God.  Pursuing God.  Searching for God.  In a world that is unfair, consumed with self, and spinning out of control.  Does that sound anything like our calling today?

“You will find me,” God declares, “when you seek me.  When you actively look for me.  When you search for me.  With all of your heart and with all of your soul.  With everything that you are.  Then, and only then, will you find me.”

Are we seeking God?  In our lives.  In our worship.  In our hearts.  In our motives.  In our families.  Are we seeking Him?  Do we long for Him?  With all our hearts?  With all our souls?

Did you ever play hide and seek as a child?  Sure you did.  Sometimes you were the one hiding.  Sometimes you were the one seeking.  But what about now?  Do you ever find yourself doing the same thing?  Do you find yourself seeking God one moment and hiding from Him the next?

Our calling is greater than that.

Glory to God!

Jason

a message of hope

Jeremiah 29:11 is Tiersa’s absolute favorite verse….

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Found smuggled within a letter that Jeremiah sends to the elders that have survived among the exiles in Babylon, the prophet pens a word of hope to a people who are weary.

Jeremiah writes while in Jerusalem.  The city of the living God.  And he writes to the remnant of those Israelites who had once lived within her walls, but now find themselves aliens in a land not their own.  In a place that is far from the city of the Lord.

If you read the entire message, it is one of hope and of certainty.  It is a message calling God’s people to trust.  Calling His people then and now to rely upon the Lord.  To seek Him with all of our hearts.  “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (v13).  To live faithful unto Him who is faithful.

The letter is one not only of confidence in the future but also one of hope for today.  Hope in the present.  Hope amidst pain.  Hope in the middle of alienation.  Hope proclaimed in seeming hopelessness.  As the Apostle Paul exclaims, “Hope that is seen is no hope at all.  Who hopes for what they already have?” (Romans 8:24)

And maybe that’s why Jeremiah’s message speaks to us so clearly.  Perhaps that’s the reason why many are drawn to this passage and specifically, this verse.

“For I know the plans I have for you declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Hope in the present.  Hope amidst pain.  Hope in the middle of alienation.  Hope proclaimed in seeming hopelessness.

Glory to God!

Jason

they seek Jesus

Look closely within the Gospel of Mark and see something that too often we fail to recognize at just a cursory glance….

        The men who bring their paralytic friend to Jesus to be healed in Mark 2….

        The man who comes to Jesus and pleads for the life of his daughter in Mark 5….

        The woman who touches His cloak, also in Mark 5….

        The Syrophoenician woman whose daughter was demon possessed in Mark 7….

        The man who is deaf and mute, also in Mark 7….

        The blind man in Bethsaida in Mark 8….

        The man who brings his son to Jesus in Mark 9….

        Even the children who are brought in Mark 10….

        Blind Bartimaeus who pleads for mercy, also in Mark 10….

Over, and over, and over again – we see it.  We see it in their stories.  We see it in the lives of those of faith.  It’s so clear.  So evident, that too often we miss it.

What is it?  They seek Jesus.  These people seek Jesus and they are blessed beyond comprehension.  They seek Him and He brings joy to their life.  They seek Him and He brings healing.  They seek Him and He brings about restoration.  They seek Him and He makes everything right.  They seek and He blesses.

And this is precisely the place we fit in to the picture….  What are we to do as believers today?  We seek Christ.  We seek Him.  We pursue Jesus.  And when we do – He blesses.  He brings joy.  He heals.  He restores.  He makes our lives right.  He calls us beyond ourselves.

The Prophet Jeremiah reminds us of God’s promise – “You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart” (Jeremiah 29:13). 

Jesus puts it in perspective – “Seek and you will find” (Matthew 7:7b).  

Glory to God!

Jason

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What an awesome, amazing day today at West Erwin!  God is so good….