Tag Archives: repentance

June 24; The Truth Hurts

2 Kings 14:7-14, 5:1-7a; 2 Chronicles 25:11-24

The truth really does hurt sometimes. Especially if the truth reveals a sin or proves us wrong. It’s like looking in the mirror first thing in the morning. You just don’t like what’s looking back at you.

So often in the Bible we read about God’s prophets proclaiming the truth, then being persecuted for it. But what spoke to me today as I read God’s Word is that the men of God didn’t back down or change their message to make life easier for themselves. The truth was more important than their comfort, or acceptance, or even their lives.

We might look in that mirror in the morning and throw it crashing to the ground. But breaking a mirror doesn’t change what that mirror revealed. You still have that sleepy morning look. You just don’t have to look at it.

Being angry at God, or throwing out His Word doesn’t change what is revealed there, either. That sin God laid a finger on is still a sin. And until you repent of it, you will pay, whether or not you want to admit it or not.

Dear Ones, we need to know what the Truth is. We need to know what the Bible says. And we need to keep proclaiming it, even if it makes us uncomfortable, or results in persecution.

Because the Truth also heals. It is life-altering, wonderfully beautiful, and worth any grief we might receive in sharing it. God hates sin. God loves sinners. Sin comes with a death penalty. Jesus died. Grace is ours for the taking.

Speak the Truth, even if it hurts. Let’s be as faithful as the prophets we read about today, no matter what.

June 12; There Is Still Some Good

I Kings 14:1-18,22-28; 2 Chronicles 11:5-12,18-23, 12:1-12; Psalm 89

When Solomon’s son Rehoboam and the leaders of Judah repented after having sinned as a nation, God did not destroy them like He said He would. When they humbled themselves, God delivered them. Their sin resulted in some consequences they had to live with, but God spared them.

Here is the verse that jumped out at me this morning. It’s found in 2 Chronicles 12:12, and it says:

“… Indeed, there was some good in Judah.”

I think this verse stood out to me because I think there is still some good in the USA, too. There are churches standing true to God’s Word, people being led to their Savior, Jesus Christ. There are state legislators who are taking a bold stand for life, and national leaders who are vocal about their faith in God. There are local fellowships reaching out to the lost, the needy, and the unloved in Jesus’ name.

Yes, I know that evil is rampant, that Satan’s lies are being proclaimed in the media, in our government and universities, and even from some pulpits. Yes, I know there are people killing people every day, and those who stand for the Truth of Scripture are being harassed. Our country is in serious trouble.

But Satan’s troops have nothing on the army of God. Evil can’t win when God is in it. When God’s people (that’s us Christians. What follows isn’t expected of non-believers) humble themselves, when we Christians repent of sin in our own lives, when those of us who say we follow Jesus REALLY follow Him, God will deliver us. He’s done it countless times before as recorded in the pages of His Word, and in the pages of history. He can do it again.

In fact, I believe He wants to do it again.

So come on, Church, my brothers and sisters in Christ. Let’s do it! Let’s get on our knees and humble ourselves, one soul at a time. Then let’s see what God can do with the good that is still here in the USA.

June 11; A Look In The Mirror

I Kings 12-13; 2 Chronicles 10:1-9, 11:1-4, 13-17

Sometimes I read accounts like the one in today’s Scripture and I find myself shaking my head. The audacity of some to openly defy God, the in-your-face rejection of Him, astounds me. Jeroboam heard God’s Word, saw evidence that God was true, then turned around and did exactly what God had condemned.

This was the sin of the house of Jeroboam that led to its downfall, and to its destruction from the face of the earth. (I Kings 13:34)

We can obviously make a connection to our own government. We can also see examples of this in the modern church. But, as always when I look into God’s Word, it’s like looking into a mirror. And sometimes I just don’t like what I see looking back at me. It hurts when God puts a finger on my heart.

I’d like to share what He is saying to me today. Number one, He has put His rules and expectations in writing. He has given clear instructions for living. He has proven Himself to be true over and over. I can make no mistake about it, God is holy and demands to be obeyed. Period.

Secondly, God hates sin. God punishes every sin. God cannot exist in harmony with sin. He makes it clear that our choice is either sin or Him. It can never be sin AND Him.

I know these things. Yet there have been times when I, and probably when you, have chosen sin over holiness, have neglected to do what He asks of me, and times when I knowingly, with an in-your-face attitude, have defied Him.

Like the foolish prophet, there have been times when someone who claims to have heard from God, says something that sounds right. Something inside of me questions whether or not it is truly Scriptural. But this someone says he’s a spokesman for God, and who am I to question that, right?

This morning as I look into the mirror of Scripture I am reminded that the only Truth is that which is written in the pages of the Bible. Anything, or anyone who adds to or contradicts what God inspired men to write down is straight from Satan.

And, if I believe that Scripture is true, I’d better be doing what it says. Because the Bible paints a holy, fearsome, powerful God who punishes every sin with death. It also clearly paints a picture of the cross. This harsh judge who has the power to condemn all of us, came to live with us in a human body, suffered and died on the cross, condemned Himself to the death we all deserve.

And He stands with open arms to receive any and all of us who go to Him.

Today, as I look in the mirror of Scripture I see a sinner saved by grace. I see a woman who was lost, now standing there wearing the holiness of the Savior. I see a woman who chooses Jesus.

May 24; If God’s Answers Prayer

2 Chronicles 6:1-7:3; I Kings 8:22-61

When I read Solomon’s prayer for the dedication of the Temple, I can’t help but think of our world, the Church in 2019, and the USA. Solomon prays believing God answers prayer, and knows he is speaking to a forgiving God.

Solomon says, “when,” not “if” we sin. Everyone sins. And God punishes sin. Solomon is asking God to forgive sinners when they repent, something we know God loves to do.

Solomon is praying on behalf of the nation. It’s something we should be doing, too. “God, forgive us. Send revival to  your Church. Return this nation to one truly ‘under God.'”

We pray for us, for them. But do we pray for “me?” It’s easy to pray for the big picture. Sometimes not so easy to make it personal. We can pray all day long that this nation will humble itself and seek God. But you and I are not responsible for this nation.

We are, however, responsible for our own hearts’ condition before a very Holy God. Do you pray, “Humble me, Lord?” That’s actually kind of a scary prayer when you think about it.

Do you pray that God will deal with sin in your own heart, or just the sin of abortion in the land? Do you pray God will convict those caught up in the sin of homosexuality, and ignore His convicting hand on some sin in your own life?

Oh, I believe with Solomon, that God can hear from heaven and forgive… and return us to the land. God can turn things around in this nation, in His Church, and in the world.  But it has to start with you. With me.

If God is going to answer prayers for this world, it will be because you and I have humbled ourselves first. I believe God can turn things around, one repentant soul at a time.

Might as well start with you and me, right?

 

March 13; No Admittance

Deuteronomy 1-2

God inspired Moses to give a history lesson to the Israelites poised and ready to take the Promised Land. None of these Jews remembered the Exodus from Egypt forty years earlier. Most of them hadn’t been born when their parents and grandparents crossed the Red Sea on dry ground. Many of them weren’t even born when their parents refused to take the Promised Land forty years earlier.  So Moses wanted to be sure this generation knew the truth, knew exactly why their parents had turned about a two week walk from Egypt to Canaan into forty years of bouncing around in the wilderness.

Their parents were whiners. But it wasn’t their persistent complaining that caused God to shut the door on the Promise.

Their parents were disobedient. But their disobedience wasn’t the reason they were kept out of Canaan.

Their parents worshiped idols. But it wasn’t even their idolatry that caused them to die in the wilderness.

Moses wanted this generation – and ours – to know that the reason none of their parents and grandparents stepped foot into the Promised Land was because of unbelief. They closed the door themselves when they refused to trust God.

And that’s still true today. The only thing standing between an unsaved person and God is unbelief.

Do you believe God when He says Jesus is His Son, and the ONLY way to God? You may be a liar. God can forgive that. You may be an adulterer or a homosexual. God can forgive that. You might be angry, hateful, jealous, dishonest… All forgivable. You might even consider yourself agnostic, atheistic, Muslim, Mormon, Buddhist… all of which God can forgive…

if you believe. If you repent while your heart is still beating.

I John 1:9 If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have eternal life.

But, friend, you will not see God or know what it’s like to walk with Him in this lifetime if you don’t believe in Jesus, if you don’t accept God’s forgiveness bought for you when Jesus died on the cross. The truth of Scripture as seen in the Old Testament and the New is that there is a “No Admittance” sign on the gate of heaven for anyone who has not believed in the Lord Jesus Christ.

Your past doesn’t matter. But what you do with Jesus really does.

March 4; Unforgiven

Numbers 14-15

Mark tells us in his gospel that there is a sin God will not forgive. It’s not the sin of homosexuality, or even the murder of babies still in the womb. It’s not adultery, or idolatry, or stealing…

Truly I tell you, people can be forgiven all their sins and every slander they utter. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; they are guilty of an eternal sin.

What does it mean to blaspheme the Holy Spirit? I hope you’re sitting down.

But anyone who sins defiantly, whether native-born or alien, blasphemes the Lord, and that person must be cut off from his people. Because he has despised the Lord’s word and broken his commands, that person must surely be cut off; his guilt remains on him. (Numbers 15:30-31)

The next paragraph in chapter 15 gives an example. A Jew who knew that God had demanded the Sabbath be kept holy, went out and gathered wood anyway. Right there in front of people, an in-your-face defiance of God’s Law. The consequences? They took him outside the camp and stoned him to death.

Have you ever knowingly sinned against God? I’m pretty sure I know the answer to that. Even Paul struggled with this issue. Romans 7:15-20 is his admission that sometimes he did what he knew he shouldn’t do, and sometimes he didn’t do what he knew he should. So are we to assume Paul could not be forgiven?

I am reminded of 1 John 1:9. Does God forgive sin or not? The Bible is clear that God forgives a repentant soul. He is faithful and just. But, an unrepentant soul He will not forgive.

And that’s what I feel God would have us consider today. If you are knowingly holding on to a sin, maybe hatred or jealousy, dishonesty, adultery, homosexuality, gluttony, laziness…, be warned:

God does not forgive an unconfessed sin. He calls it blasphemy. And He takes it very seriously.

February 19; It’s Not Just About Food

Leviticus 11-13

In these chapters we read the instructions God gave the Jews for following the Law. Much of it has to do with keeping God’s chosen people healthy. It’s not just an exhaustive list of rules. Following the rules resulted in a robust, long-lifed, group of people who were more robust and lived longer than their neighbors. Following the rules made God’s people stand apart from the crowd.

Let’s see what these chapters have to do with our walk with God in 2019.

Chapter 11 teaches that the disease of sin can be ingested if we aren’t careful. Just like the Jews were told to avoid certain disease-carrying animals, we are told to flee sin, guard our hearts and minds, think pure thoughts, come out from among them and be separate. The Jews were instructed to not even touch an unclean animal, much less eat it.

Some of us don’t necessarily participate in blatant acts of sin. But I wonder if we’re not guilty of getting close enough to bump into it, or have it rub off on us. Do we understand if sin touches us, it makes us unclean? I believe God would have us consider what it is we are taking in, in the music we listen to, to the books we read and shows we watch, to the places we go and the people we hang with. How close can we get to sin without it effecting us? I think God is telling us to be aware that sin is a fatal disease we can catch if we eat the whole hog, or if we just touch it to see how it feels. The solution? Don’t go there.

Chapter 12 tells us we are born unclean. The Bible makes it clear we are all born with a sin nature, a will to sin. But we also see time and again that God forgives sin. The women here in Leviticus were instructed to make atonement for their uncleanness in a very public way. I think one reason God instituted the baptism ceremony is because of that same idea – a public declaration that “I am clean by the work of Jesus on the cross.” Buried in sin. Alive in Christ. And we want the world to know.

And chapter 13 instructs us to examine ourselves, not to allow a “tiny sin” to exist in our lives, because “tiny sins” grow into infectious diseases resulting in separation from God in this life and eternity. It tells us that sin isn’t simply skin deep, not a zit that will go away on its own.

God is telling us sin is a cancer that destroys us from the inside. It’s leprous, ugly, and like leprosy caused finger and toes to fall of, rendering the diseased person crippled, sin causes us to lose our witness, rendering us crippled in our usefulness to God. I believe God is instructing us to take an inventory every day of our lives, search our hearts on a regular basis, identify the plank in our eye and remove it. If we don’t, we’ve got to know that it won’t get better on its own.

I hope you’ll read these chapters today. When God is talking about things to avoid,  a disease, or an uncleanness, consider the sin that would entangle you today. Hear God’s solution to your sin problem. Don’t just look at this as a list of do’s and don’t’s for a people long gone. Let God speak to your heart about your walk with Him today.

It’s not just about food, or child-bearing, or leprosy. God wrote this for you.