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All of us are in need of redemption in our lives.  As we look at America today, we can see that many of our past sins are still alive.  How will we move beyond a broken past?  In our individual lives we all struggle to get beyond the shame of our worst moments.  Where is the hope?  Our sermon series, Finding the Heart of Redemption gives us hope that transformation is an option for our lives!  In the sermon, The Wanderer, we recognize that we all are like sheep, we have gone astray (Isaiah 53:6) but God wants us to find our way home.  This week, we turn to Jeremiah 31:11-20 because it is filled with grief and sorrow being transformed into joy and celebration. How do we find this transformation?  The prophet Jeremiah confirms that God renews and restores those who are in the strong grip of a sorry past!  It was not just for Jeremiah’s time but for all us!  As you read Jeremiah 31:11-20, let this joy fill your heart.  Let this hope be your strength. Let these words be God’s Word to you!  Jeremiah 31:10-20:11 For the LORD will deliver Jacob and redeem them from the hand of those stronger than they. 12 They will come and shout for joy on the heights of Zion; they will rejoice in the bounty of the LORD– the grain, the new wine and the olive oil, the young of the flocks and herds. They will be like a well-watered garden, and they will sorrow no more. 13 Then young women will dance and be glad, young men and old as well. I will turn their mourning into gladness; I will give them comfort and joy instead of sorrow. 14 I will satisfy the priests with abundance, and my people will be filled with my bounty,” declares the LORD. 15 This is what the LORD says: “A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more.” 16 This is what the LORD says: “Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,” declares the LORD. “They will return from the land of the enemy. 17 So there is hope for your descendants,” declares the LORD. “Your children will return to their own land. 18 “I have surely heard Ephraim’s moaning: ‘You disciplined me like an unruly calf, and I have been disciplined. Restore me, and I will return, because you are the LORD my God. 19 After I strayed, I repented; after I came to understand, I beat my breast. I was ashamed and humiliated because I bore the disgrace of my youth.’ 20 Is not Ephraim my dear son, the child in whom I delight? Though I often speak against him, I still remember him. Therefore my heart yearns for him; I have great compassion for him,” declares the ORD. (NIV)