פדות [redemption]
New blog!

I have moved my blog over here!

I’d love to have you continue joining me in this journey the Lord has me on! :)



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The Gospel in Hosea

A couple of months ago I had the opportunity to share with a small group of people what the Gospel meant to me. How would I share the Gospel in my own words? While praying and preparing, I was immediately taken back to the book of Hosea, a book which truly taught me the power of the Gospel. As I reflect again on this story, I am reminded of Christ’s love.


"When Israel was a child, I loved him, and out of Egypt I called my son. [Hosea 11:1]

In this single verse is the first, essential piece of the Gospel: God’s loving plan for us. He loves us and created us to know Him personally as His sons and daughters. This is eternal life, that we know God our Father, and Jesus Christ, whom he sent on our behalf (John 17:3).

Yet.

                             

"The more they were called, the more they went away; they kept sacrificing to the Baals and burning offerings to idols." [Hosea 11:2]

We are a broken people—all of us sin and fall short of the glory of God (not one is perfect!), separating us from Him. Our sin prevents us from experiencing His love and plan. In fact, the Bible teaches us that the wages of sin is death (Romans 6:23)—what we deserve is eternal separation from God.

Don’t worry…it gets better.


Yet it was I who taught Ephraim to walk; I took them up by their arms, but they did not know that I healed them. I let them with cords of kindness, with the bands of love, and I became to them as one who eases the yoke on their jaws, and I bent down to them and fed them.” [Hosea 11:3-4]

There is One who has come down to meet us. He has bent down and fed us in compassion. Our God took on human flesh, and humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death on the cross (Philippians 2:8). Yet He was despised, and we esteemed Him not (Isaiah 53:3). 

Why did He do this? Why did God respond to our sin in such a way? He loves us deeply. Christ died in our place…in fact while we were still sinners, He died for us on the cross (Romans 5:8). There had to be a payment for our sin—that payment was death. And Jesus paid our ransom on the cross. Yet after His separation from the Father, He rose from the dead—conquering death on our behalf (1 Corinthians 15:3-6)!

Jesus is the only way to God—“He is the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Him” (John 14:6).


"Come, let us return to the Lord; for he has torn us, that he may heal us; he has struck us down, and he will bind us up. After two days he will revive us; and on the third day he will raise us up that we may live before him. Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord; his going out is sure as the dawn; he will come to us as the showers, as the spring rains that water the earth" [Hosea 6:1-3]

We are called to return to Him and respond to what He has done. We must individually receive Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord; then we can know God personally and experience His love and plan. Our morality or our good works are not enough to save us—rather we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8-9). Receiving Christ involves turning to God from self—acknowledging our own brokenness and our need for Him.

                                          ________________________________________________________________________

I remember reading this story and seeing the parallels to the Gospel at work in my own life. For a period of a year I turned my back on the Lord. The more He pursued me, the more I turned away. Then one day, He softened me and He reached me. And I returned to Him. Once I made that decision, I became a new creation.

So, what does the Gospel mean to me? How does the story of Hosea change my view of the Gospel? I’ve learned that it is not Suzanne’s story. It is Christ’s story of redemption. He relentlessly pursued me. He taught me to walk. He bent down to feed me. He humbled himself to the point of death on a cross. It’s about Him, and not me. And in this realization I can live life more fully. Through His power, I want my life to be a reflection of God’s steadfastness, patience, and humility. I can trust in God’s will, and in Romans 8:29, it says His will is for me to be conformed to the image of Christ.

The Gospel shifts my focus away from myself and to Christ. In Him is true satisfaction.

“Let us know; let us press on to know the Lord.” [Hosea 6:3]


<3 Paris

<3 Paris


Thoughts from Saint Eustache church…

I am sitting inside this incredible church in Paris, in awe of its magnificence and the effort it must have taken to build this place. I admire the stained glass and am humbled by the images and carvings of my Savior crucified on a cross. It almost makes me want to cry. The juxtaposition of such a magnificent church in such a spiritually empty city is saddening. I watch people walk around in awe of the architecture, the beauty, and the vastness. They don’t realize the One they should be in awe of—the One beaten and bloodied, hanging on the cross. A man, an art professor I think, signals with his hands as he points out a large, assuming pillar that composes an arch holding up the church. The art students, with sketch pads in hand, scan the room for inspiration—some silent, others quietly laugh. I wonder what they would do if the glory of the Lord suddenly filled this place in its entirety, as the glory of the Lord filled the temple upon Solomon’s dedication.

"As soon as Solomon finished his prayer, fire came down from heaven and consumed the burnt offering and the sacrifices, and the glory of the Lord filled the temple. And the priests could not enter the house of the Lord, because the glory of the Lord filled the Lord’s house. When all the people of Israel saw the fire come down and the glory of the Lord in the temple, the bowed down with their faces to the ground on the pavement and worshipped and gave thanks to the Lord, saying, "For he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.’" [2 Chronicles 7:1-3]

God’s glory is immeasurable, something that simply cannot be put into words. Yet I am told that, “When Christ who is [my] life appears, then [I] will also appear with him in glory” [Colossians 3:4]. As David might say, “Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high; I cannot contain it” [Psalm 139:6]

"My heart is steadfast, O God! I will sing and make melody with all my being! Awake, O harp and lyre! I will awake the dawn! I will give thanks to you, O Lord, among the peoples; I will sing praises to you among the nations. For your steadfast love is great above the heavens; your faithfulness reaches to the clouds. Be exalted, O God, above the heavens! Let your glory be over all the earth” [Psalm 108:1-5].


(via emmajanemcdonalds)

» Laying Down Our iDols

lovelitemusic:

Andrew and I (Jen) are an Apple family. We should be getting some kind of endorsement or discount from that company for the amount that we use all of their products, both personally and for our music. Needless to say, I have an iPhone. I like my iPhone, but over the last few days, I’ve realized…

This post is so great, and so convicting.

the Deliverer of justice

"Learn to do good;

seek justice,

correct oppression;

bring justice to the fatherless,

plead the widow’s cause.” [Isaiah 1:17]

"If you pour yourself out for the hungry and satisfy the desire of the afflicted, then shall your light rise in the darkness and your gloom be as the noonday. And the Lord will guide you continually and satisfy your desire in scorched places and make your bones strong; and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water, whose waters do not fail.” [Isaiah 58:10-11]

"The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the poor, he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to those who are bound; to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn; to grant to those who mourn in Zion—to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit; that they may be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified." [Isaiah 61:1-3]

It amazes me that THE Deliverer of justice allows us to be deliverers of justice alongside Him. And that in pursuing justice, we will be deeply satisfied. I love my God!


caffeine molecule (by Beverly Ealdama)

caffeine molecule (by Beverly Ealdama)

(via katemase)

truth for the new year

I love the beginning of a new year. I am able to look back at the Lord’s faithfulness from the year prior. I am able to look at past disappointments, and how He was able to use everything together for good. I am thankful for a God that loves me intimately and cares for me. I am thankful for a God who is steadfast even when I am not. 

As I look ahead at 2012, I have fears. This year will probably be overwhelming at times. I am applying to join part time staff with Cru (meaning lots of time spent support raising), I will be busy academically, I am still interning with Human Rights Watch, I am going to Paris for a month to study abroad, my little sister is getting married in August…the list goes on. Looking ahead, I am slightly afraid. But I am grateful for the Word, which is full of so much truth to combat my apprehensions.

Just today I was reading through my 1-year Bible reading companion, “For the Love of God,” by D.A. Carson. (I highly recommend it!) I was studying Joshua 1, Psalm 125, and Matthew 10, and literally everything I read challenged me. How cool is it that the Word is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword?! Here is the scripture that really pierced my soul:

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” [Joshua 1:9]

“All that you have commanded us we will do, and wherever you send us we will go.” [Joshua 1:16]

“As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people from this time forth and forevermore.” [Psalm 125:2]

“Do not be anxious how you are to speak or what you are to say, for what you are to say will be given to you in that hour. For it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” [Matthew 10:19-20]

“What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops…So everyone who acknowledges me before men, I also will acknowledge before my Father who is in heaven.” [Matthew 10:27-32]

“Whoever loves father or mother more than me is not worthy of me…And whoever does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me. Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” [Matthew 10:37-39]

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