Tag Archives: repentance

Repentance: A Real Heart-Shifter

I’ll admit it. Even though I know God will make all things right, I still struggle with resentment and anger toward people that sin against God even though they know better. I realize that this is a character flaw, a sin, to point out the speck in another’s eye while I have a full grown sequoia log in mine, but I really take it personally when I see someone sinning with such determination. As you might imagine, bearing such a heavy load of disappointment and frustration can seem unbearable at times and can turn me into a person I really don’t like. To cope with all this pent up anger, I have discovered a solution.

Back in September of last year a member of my church created a 40 Days of Prayer and Fasting prayer plan for repentance and breakthrough for America. Included in this 40-day plan was repentance for various sins we ourselves have committed as well as those of our families, churches, state, and country. Through this repentance on behalf of others I found my perspective was changed. I struggled less with resentment and disgust for the sinner and felt more compassion and motivation to help.

I’m convinced that the enemy will use sin however he can to harm us. If you start feeling hate or disgust toward an individual that offended you and God, guess what. Satan will use that to produce more and more hate. Even if someone has offended God, He still calls us to love them. He even tells us He blesses the poor in spirit. He gives them the kingdom of heaven. How much more should we bless them? We are called to hate the sin, not the sinner. Oh, how hard that is to do, especially while watching the nightly news.

Perfect Father, we need your help. We are not perfect, and we live in a world that is not perfect. Lord, we know that this is not our home, but regardless of that You have put us here with a purpose. We are called to judge, but that judgment is directed at the sin, not the sinner. Lord, help us to love the least of these, the poor in spirit. Help us to bow our heads and thank You that You love us all. Change our perspectives as we say, ‘Heavenly Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do, and even if they do know what they do, Lord, forgive them and change their hearts.’ Cause a heart-shifting in us, that we may no longer resent, no longer hold grudges, but love the way that You love. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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No Portion Control Needed

Ever wish for a healthy indulgence that is fat free, calorie free, allergen free, full of nutrients, and makes your heart yearn for more? Well, that does not just exist in your wildest foodie dreams, its existence is as real as you and I, and its benefits are far better than you can ever fathom. There is one thing you must do, however, before partaking in this delicious treat. You must give up all other cravings for which you get the munchies because it requires your whole plate. This dream food cannot coexist with any other items on your plate, but if you give up all your other snacks this treat promises to completely satisfy.

Are you ready to accept this challenge? The treat I speak of is God. God is made up of the Father, the Son (Jesus), and the Holy Spirit who are all one God. He loves you unconditionally from the beginning of time, before your birth parents ever met. Although you were created by Him he allows you to live with freewill, but unlike any of His other creations He gives you the opportunity to return to Him so He can adopt you into His family.

Here are some scriptures that will make your mouth water for more:

  • [The judgements of the Lord are] Sweeter also than honey and the drippings of the honeycomb. Psalm 19:10B
  • As the deer pants for the water brooks, So my soul pants for You, O God. Psalm 42:1
  • Jesus answered and said to her, “Everyone who drinks of this water will thirst again; but whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life.” John 4:13-14
  • Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst. John 6:35
  •  But Jesus said to them, “They do not need to go away; you give them something to eat!” 17 They *said to Him, “We have here only five loaves and two fish.” 18 And He said, “Bring them here to Me.” 19 Ordering the people to sit down on the grass, He took the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up toward heaven, He blessed the food, and breaking the loaves He gave them to the disciples, and the disciples gave them to the crowds, 20 and they all ate and were satisfied. They picked up what was left over of the broken pieces, twelve full baskets. 21 There were about five thousand men who ate, besides women and children. Matthew 14:16-21

I encourage you to turn from all the habits, strongholds, temptations. Repent (ask for forgiveness and tell God you will turn from them) of those areas where you have fallen short (sinned). If you need help ask God, wise counsel (a more mature believer), a prayer group. They will all help you overcome. It also helps to memorize scripture that relate to what you are struggling with. When your spiritual plate is cleared off, you’ve let go of all of that, I promise you will experience something far greater than any of those things. God will even give you a taste before you can get your plate clean.  Welcome to indulgence where everything nourishes and tastes so sweet.

For more on the character of God watch this Youtube video. “That’s My King” by Dr. S.M. Lockridge.

Uploaded to Youtube on Jul 22, 2008. Visuals set to the audio of the famous sermon “Seven Way King” (aka That’s My King) as spoken by Dr. S.M. Lockridge. The audio is slightly edited for a better flow in the video. The music in the background was performed live by the GCC band while the video played on the screens. It then led directly into the worship song “Here is Our King” (To see the performance in it’s entirety go here: gccwired.com/mediaplayer/playeropener.as­p?id=478 )Created entirely using After Effects with footage from the movie “The Passion of the Christ”. The video took 30 hours to create plus around 6 hours of rendering. The final After Effects project file totaled well over 600 layers.

Identity Theft

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What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body of death? Thanks be to God – through Jesus Christ our Lord!

Romans 7:24-25a

We live in a world of sin, and as Christians, somehow expect ourselves not to sin. I don’t know about you, but when I mess up I will fret for days about my mistake. Growing up my parents rarely had to discipline me because I would punish myself. Despite our constant self-applied guilt trips and sin’s attempts to rob us of our true identity, God expects us to live in freedom through His grace.

In Romans 7 Paul seems to ramble on and on about sin, the law, and the new way of the Spirit. I never quite understood this chapter until I read a Girlfriends in God devotion by Sharon Jaynes. Jaynes describes an untrained volunteer applying drywall. After hours of doing the job correctly he accidentally switches his power tool to reverse, and doesn’t understand why the screws won’t go into the drywall. The lesson here is that sometimes the problem is us and our sinful nature. We feel we can’t get ahead no matter how hard we try, and sometimes it comes down to resetting our direction through repentance.

There are a few things we should be aware of before over-analyzing our mistakes:

  1. We have direct access to grace and mercy. (Hebrews 4:14-16)
  2. From the time Adam and Eve sinned sin has lived within mankind, including you and me. (Romans 7:17-18)
  3. Despite the sin living within us we are a new creation. (2 Corinthians 5:7)

If you have given your life to Christ by repenting, declaring that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, and being baptized then these three things are true. What is your response to this? Often my response is to hide in fear of judgment, but that is not what God called us to do. No, He has already given us enough grace to cover our sins if we choose to repent daily. I believe the first step to repentance is believing their is an end result of forgiveness. The second is knowing that, because sin lives within us, we will sin despite our best efforts. Paul says in Romans 7, “Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

Friends, God shows you unlimited grace. Show yourselves some. Instead of fretting about mistakes you’ve made, admit to making them, repent to God, and move on in freedom.

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God.

Ephesians 2:8

I would like to thank Sharon Jaynes of Girlfriends in God who continues to inspire me with daily devotions, and to Robert and Marcia Scott, faithful and redeemed, for their sermon on Grace this last Sunday at Great Commission Christian Church in Richmond, California. You can listen to their sermon at http://www.gccubed.org. You are God’s mouthpiece in a broken world.

Heavenly Father, Your grace is more than sufficient. Remind us to turn from our sin daily, not by the law of Moses which we are sure to fail, but by loving you wholeheartedly and repenting genuinely. Help us to let go of our past and embrace our present, never missing a moment of joy for the fear of judgment. For Your unending, unconditional love, we thank you. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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Listening to Your Moral Meter

Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.                                                                               – Philippians 4:8

The world can be full of juicy gossip. Sometimes our everyday lives can become so routine that our mouth almost waters at the sound of a scandalous story.

For lent I have given up all but one hour of television a weeknight, a task I thought I would find difficult, but have found rest and relaxation as well as purpose in other things. Most nights I don’t even turn on the TV. The one show I do watch is Nashville. I know it is not the most wholesome show to watch, but I just love the juiciness of it after a day in my seemingly mundane life. As the clock approaches 10 p.m. I start thinking, ‘Who will break up with who this week? Will Scarlet finally go too far with her prescription drug addiction?’ I become almost in a trance while watching. In considering whether I should give up this show I tried to justify keeping it as my one guilty pleasure. ‘I deserve it. After all, I’ve given up so much already.’ In fact, just last night I turned on the TV to realize it was a rerun. I tell you, I almost went into the shaky withdrawals. I started texting my boyfriend, “How can this be? Nashville is a rerun! What will I do with my time?!?”

What seemed like a harmless TV show has turned me into a monster on the hunt for juicy gossip. My ears perk up each time I see that there might be some coming my way. Recently I was tempted to encourage some gossip, and I did. Later I was caught in the act of encouraging gossip. It did not feel good! My mind was consumed with guilt and fear of what that person might have thought about me now. Was it that person’s judgment that was causing me to fret? No, it was my own guilty conscious. I not only had to go to God in repentance with my tail figuratively between my legs, but I had to go back to the person who caught me and apologize to them and let them know I knew what I did was wrong and would correct my actions. Fortunately the person was very gracious and forgiving, but perhaps that won’t be the case next time. I must also go back to the person who I gossiped with and let them know it was wrong and apologize for playing a part in it.

When we have to justify our actions we should recognize the prompting of the Holy Spirit that we are trying to talk our way out of repentance. If you are feeling uncomfortable with something you have done you might want to examine whether it is in alignment with God’s Word. If not, turn from that sin, admit it was wrong to God and those effected by your sin. Once you have done this you shouldn’t feel guilt or continue to fret because Jesus’ blood has already washed you clean.

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done,
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
And forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one.

                                   -Matthew 6:9-13

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