Tag: repentance

The joy of the Lord is my strength!

Scripture reading for May 10th: Nehemiah 8:2-10:39

Nehemiah said, “Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared.  This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.” Nehemiah 8:10

After rebuilding the walls, Ezra and Nehemiah had a great church service.  They brought out the book of the Law of Moses and began reading it to all who had gathered inside the walls near a high wooden platform built for this sacred occasion.  Ezra the priest mounted the platform and those who would help with translation stood with him.   When he opened the Book, all the people stood in reverence.  (Nehemiah 8:4-5)  Ezra praised the Lord and the people responded with “Amen! Amen!” and bowed in worship.  As the word was read, the teachers instructed the people and made the meaning clear to them.  The people began to understand what God had said and how they had failed to follow God’s word.  This triggered emotions and conviction in the people and many began to weep and mourn in sorrow.

Why did Nehemiah tell the people not to grieve and weep before the Lord? Godly sorrow that leads to true change is commended in Scripture.  (2nd Corinthians 7:8-11)  Nehemiah actually sent the people away to enjoy choice food and sweet drinks and share with those who didn’t have any.  He told them that the joy of the Lord would be their strength!  (Nehemiah 8:9-10)

Joy always follows true understanding of the grace and mercy of God.  Joy is the result of God’s mercy being revealed to us as a gift to be received by faith.  As the people understood God’s love, mercy, and forgiveness for them, they could celebrate as people who were forgiven.  The Book of the Law revealed this mercy and love of God to them and their children.

How have you responded to God’s Word when it brings conviction of sin or neglect of God’s mercy? Is the ‘joy of the Lord’ a source of strength in your life?

 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.Romans 15:13

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The Lost Book

Scripture reading for April 15: 2 Kings 22-25

Josiah became king of Judah when he was just eight years old!  By the time he was 26, he was ready to begin what was to be the last revival in the land of Judah before God’s Word brought judgment!  Josiah was a king who did right in God’s eyes and tried to follow the Lord.  He was concerned for the temple, which had fallen into disrepair.  As the work was going on, Hilkiah, the high priest found the Book of the Law and gave it to Shapan, the secretary to the king.  Shapan read the Book, and then took it in to the king and read it to him.  As the king heard the Word of the Book, he was humbled and tore his robes.  He realized that God’s anger was against them because of their disobedience!

Josiah sent the leaders to seek the Lord through Huldah the prophetess.  She told them of God’s coming judgment and how the Lord was merciful towards King Josiah because he humbled himself and wept before Him.  King Josiah called the elders together and they went up to the temple where he had the lost Book read in their presence. They renewed their covenant with the Lord that day by pledging themselves to the Lord again.  (2nd Kings 23:1-3)

Where do we end up when we ignore God’s Book?  First, the temple of God will be in disrepair!  Without God’s life-giving Word, things decay fast!  Death and sin do their destructive work among God’s people without continual contact with the Book!  Second, idolatry will fill the void.  Idols had crept into the temple of the Lord!  Josiah’s revival of reading the lost Book brought repentance and destruction of the idols in the land.  (2nd Kings 23:4-7) Humbling and response from the heart is what God is looking for.

Have you lost track of God’s Book?  Is your temple in disrepair? Now is the right time to make the change!  Humility and repentance is the right posture to receive grace from the Lord!  He is watching and waiting to restore and heal you! 

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Repentance with godly grief

Scripture reading for August 31st: 2nd Corinthians 7, Psalm 24, Proverbs 19

2nd Corinthians 7: 8-11 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it–though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a little while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”

Paul had urged them earlier in his letter to forgive the brother who had been in gross immorality. (2nd Corinthians 2:1-9) He explained to them the working of ‘godly grief’ that leads to true repentance and a change of direction. Some people only experience ‘worldly grief’, which is being sorry that your wrong choice of action was found out. This kind of grief produces death, whereas, godly grief produces repentance and true salvation. Its fruit is eagerness to do what is right, willingness to discipline those who are in sin, and upholding the integrity of God’s Word. Since we are all sinners, we all need godly sorrow to produce the necessary repentance. God will give the repentant clean hands and a pure heart. A man of understanding will gain knowledge through reproof.

Psalm 24:3-5 “Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in His holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the Lord and righteousness from the God of his salvation.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for sending those who will reprove me in love when I have done wrong. Thank You for giving me ‘godly sorrow’ over my sins, bringing true repentance and life. As an elder in Your Church, help me to correct others with grace and tears, following the example of Jesus Christ and His apostles. Give our nation’s people this gift of godly sorrow over sins and true repentance leading to life.

Psalm 19:25 “Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge. ”

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Witness instructions!

Scripture reading for July 31st: Luke 24, Psalm 1, Proverbs 27

Luke 24: 44-49 “Then He said to them, “These are My Words that I spoke to you while I was still with you, that everything written about Me in the Law of Moses and the prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled.” Then He opened their mind to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, “Thus it is written, that Christ should suffer and on the third day rise from the dead, and that repentance and forgiveness of sins should be proclaimed in His Name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem. Your are witnesses of these things. And behold, I am sending the promise of My Father upon you. But stay in the city until you are clothed with power from on high.””

The risen Jesus Christ met His disciples in their grief following His resurrection and encouraged them in many ways. He clarified His instructions to them by pointing them to the Scriptures of Israel and His fulfilment of all that was written of Him. He opened their minds to understand His suffering, death, and resurrection. His purpose was that they might preach repentance and forgiveness of sins in His Name to all nations and peoples. This would begin in Jerusalem. But they were not to go in haste, but to wait for the ‘Promise of the Father.’ The Holy Spirit would be poured out giving them power to be His witnesses! They would be empowered with His Spirit, understand His Word, and like Jesus, lay down their lives!

Psalm 1:1-2 “Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on His law he meditates day and night.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your wise counsel and Your Gift of the Holy Spirit to live in me and empower me to be the witness You desire. Thank You for understanding of Your Word and the privilege of sharing the Gospel of repentance and forgiveness of sins through faith In Jesus Christ and His selfless sacrifice for our sins. Through the Spirit, fill me with Your wisdom to reach each person You send me to.

Proverbs 27:11 “Be wise, my son, and make my heart glad that I may answer him who reproaches me.”

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God’s kindness leads us to repent

Scripture reading for May 17th: Romans 2, Psalm 98, Proverbs 5

Romans 2: 2-5 “We know that the judgment of God rightly falls on those who practice such things. Do you suppose, O man–you who judge those who practice such things and yet do them yourself–that you will escape the judgment of God? Or do you presume on the riches of His kindness and forbearance and patience, not knowing that God’s kindness is meant to lead you to repentance? But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.”

It’s human nature to see the faults and sins of others and judge them harshly, often when we are involved in some of the same faults. This was the reasoning of Paul with the Roman believers who were judging others. God is the righteous Judge who sees each person and will judge each one impartially. He is also patient, giving time to each person to confess and turn from sinful practices. Paul emphasizes that many people judge God’s kindness and patience as approval and don’t change themselves. God’s kindness and patience is meant to lead them to repentance and deliverance from the final judgment in the day of God’s wrath. We are not to play games and blame others, but rather look in the mirror and act.

Psalm 98:3-4 “He has remembered His steadfast love and faithfulness to the house of Israel. All the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth; break forth into joyous song and sing praises!”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your kindness and patience with me, giving me time to repent instead of judging me. Forgive me when I have judged others or been impatient with them, yet tolerated sinful thoughts and behavior in my own life. Fill me with Your kindness and remember Your covenant of mercy and love through Jesus Christ to remove my sins and fill me with the joy of salvation.

Proverbs 5:21-22 “For a man’s ways are before the eyes of the Lord, and He ponders all his paths. The iniquities of the wicked ensnare him, and he is held fast in the cords of his sin.”

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Godly grief and repentance

Scripture reading for September 26th: Habakkuk, 2nd Corinthians 7

2nd Corinthians 7:1 “Since we have these promises, beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from every defilement of body and spirit, bringing holiness to completion in the fear of God.”

Paul instructs us in how to walk as people of faith. In Christ, we are new creations and God has transformed us inside and taken up residence through the Holy Spirit. Now that we are cleansed, we must do our part to keep our ‘house’ clean. We must break off any entanglements with unbelievers and not be yoked with them. (This did not include those already married to unbelievers, if the unbeliever wanted to stay in relationship. 1st Corinthians 7:12-14). Each believer must forgive those who wronged them and have repented. We must get rid of habits that have enslaved us and say ‘no’ to sin and worldly thinking. God’s Word written and applied brings godly grief that leads us to repentance and cleansing with no regrets! We are not just sorry we got caught but sorry enough to change.

2nd Corinthians 7: 8-12 “For even if I made you grieve with my letter, I do not regret it–though I did regret it, for I see that that letter grieved you, though only for a while. As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death. For see what earnestness this godly grief has produced in you, but also what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what fear, what longing, what zeal, what punishment! At every point you have proved yourselves innocent in the matter.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for all Your many promises of Your presence with us and eternal life with You for eternity. From Your Word, I understand that without holiness, I won’t see the Lord. Help me to apply Your Word through the power of the Holy Spirit and to cleanse myself of defilements from my past life and entanglements of this world and culture. Thank You for godly grief, leading me to repent.

Habakkuk 3:17-18 “Though the fig tree should not blossom, nor fruit be on the vines, the produce of the olive fail and the fields yield no food, the flock be cut off from the fold and there be no herd in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord; I will take joy in the God of my salvation.”

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The sign of the prophet Jonah!

Scripture reading for August 2nd: 2nd Kings 13-14; 2nd Chronicles 25; Psalm 53; Matthew 12

Matthew 12: 38-42 “Then some of the scribes and Pharisees answered Him, saying, “Teacher, we wish to see a sign from You.” But He answered them, “An evil and adulterous generation seeks for a sign, but no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah. For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the great fish, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth. The men of Nineveh will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for they repented at the preaching of Jonah, and behold, something greater than Jonah is here. The queen of the South will rise up at the judgment with this generation and condemn it, for she came from the ends of the earth to hear the wisdom of Solomon, and behold, something greater than Solomon is here.”

Jesus Christ had preached repentance to all He was sent to. He had demonstrated that He was the Son of God by signs and wonders and miracles. Still, the religious leaders of the Jews demanded more signs before they would respond. Jesus answered them by telling them the greatest “sign” that He was the Son of God–His resurrection from the grave after three days and nights. He explained that this coming event was patterned after an earlier event in the life of the prophet Jonah. Jonah was in rebellion to God’s instructions to preach to the people of Nineveh. God appointed a great fish to swallow Jonah after he was thrown overboard. Jonah spent three days and nights in that fish before he was vomited out on Nineveh’s doorstep. He preached and they repented in a great revival.

Psalm 53:1-2 “The fool says in his heart, “There is no God.” they are corrupt, doing abominable iniquity; there is none who does good. God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for the preaching ministry of your prophets, apostles and of Jesus Christ, Himself. Forgive us for being like Jonah and running away from Your call to be witnesses of Your grace to those who are lost and mocking You. Help us to believe the greatest sign You have given us, the resurrection of Jesus Christ after three days. Empower me to preach this Good News to the lost today.

2nd Chronicles 25:14-16 “After Amaziah came from striking down the Edomites, he brought the gods of the men of Seir and set them up as his gods and worshiped them, making offerings to them. Therefore the Lord was angry with Amaziah and sent to him a prophet, who said to him, “Why have you sought the gods of a people who did not deliver their own people from your hand?” But as he was speaking, the king said to him, “Have we made you a royal counselor? Stop! . .”

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Repentance and rest!

Scripture reading for August 1st: Jonah, Matthew 11

Matthew 11:20-22 “Then He began to denounce the cities where most of His mighty works had been done, because they did not repent. “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes. But I tell you, it will be more bearable on the day of judgment for Tyre and Sidon than for you.”

Jesus called out those who were hard-hearted and resisted His Gospel message of faith and repentance preached with signs and wonders and significant miracles. The people saw the miracles and heard God’s call to repentance, but they resisted. Jesus said that the wicked cities of Chorazin, Tyre, and Sidon would have repented if those works were done in them. He stated that it would be more bearable for them on Judgment Day than for those who saw Jesus’ miracles and heard His message. Jesus called them to come to Him and find rest for their souls from the heavy yoke of sin and coming judgment.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Prayer: Father God, Thank You for sending Jesus, Your Son to draw us to repentance and faith and to show us Your heart of love for lost and hurting man. I have found the rest of coming to Jesus Christ and following Him. His yoke is easy and His burden is light! Use me today to share the Good News and call all to find rest in following Jesus Christ! Judgment Day is coming and our Father wants all saved!

Jonah 3:3-5 “So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the Word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, three day’s journey in breadth. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s journey. And he called out, “Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God. They called for a fast and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them to the least of them.”

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Repentance and calling!

Scripture reading for July 21st: 2nd Kings 2-3, Psalm 48, Matthew 4

Matthew 4:17-22 “From that time Jesus began to preach, saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” While walking by the Sea of Galilee, He saw two brothers, Simon (who is called Peter) and Andrew his brother, casting a net into the sea, for they were fishermen. And he said to them, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.”

Jesus Christ began His ministry after spending forty days in the wilderness being tempted by the devil. His opening statement was “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand.” Jesus, the King, had arrived on earth and was calling out to all who would listen and believe His Word. His next step was to begin to call individuals to Himself and train and equip them to reach lost people and spoil the devil’s kingdom. These first two He called, Simon Peter and Andrew, were brothers who were fishermen by trade. Jesus challenged them to fish for men! They dropped their nets and accepted His call to them. They changed their mind (repentance) concerned their occupation and calling and Jesus used their obedience to build His Church through calling and equipping disciples!

Psalm 48:9-10 “We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple. As Your Name, O God, so Your praise reaches to the ends of the earth. Your right hand is filled with righteousness.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for calling us to repentance and faith to follow Your Son Jesus Christ, our only Savior! Your steadfast love and faithfulness to us causes us to praise You! Your righteousness is made known through Your Son and those who in faith follow Him take His Name and praise to the ends of the earth! Teach me daily how to fish for men, casting the Gospel net to bring in a great catch!

2nd Kings 2:9-10 “When they had crossed, Elijah said to Elisha, “Ask what I shall do for you, before I am taken from you.” And Elisha said, Please let there be a double portion of your spirit on me. And he said, “You have asked a hard thing; yet, if you see me as I am being taken from you, it shall be so for you, but if you do not see me, it shall not be so.”

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Extravagant mercy for the asking!

Scripture reading for April 12th: Judges 9-11, Psalm 17, Luke 23

Luke 23:39-43 “One of the criminals who were hanged railed at Him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation?” And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this Man has done nothing wrong.” And he said, “Jesus, remember me when You come into Your kingdom.” And He said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with Me in Paradise.””

Jesus was crucified, an innocent man, to pay for the sins of all mankind. On His right and left, were two guilty criminals receiving what was due them under Roman law. As they hung there knowing death was immanent, one of the criminals mocked Jesus, ridiculing His claim to be Christ. The other criminal simply called out to Jesus to remember him when He came into His kingdom, indicating that he believed Jesus was a king and would be receiving a kingdom. Jesus gave an amazing response: “Today you will be with Me in Paradise.” This response gives hope to all lost sinners. If we will come in faith believing in Jesus, He will give mercy in abundance, just for the asking!

Psalm 17:1-2 “Hear a just cause, O Lord; attend to my cry! Give ear to my prayer from lips free of deceit! From Your presence let my vindication come! Let Your eyes behold the right.”

Prayer: Father God, thank You for Your abundant mercy. We can trust You to forgive, heal, and deliver if we simply ask. You have done everything necessary for our salvation. Help me to simply ask and rest in Your provision and trust You to do whatever seems good to You. Open doors to share this simple truth and good news with those under the sentence of death.

Judges 10:13-16 “Yet you have forsaken Me and served other gods; therefore I will save you no more. Go and cry out to the gods whom you have chosen; let them save you in the time of your distress.” And the people of Israel said to the Lord, “We have sinned; do to us whatever seems good to You. Only please deliver us this day.” So they put away the foreign gods from among them and served the Lord, and He became impatient over the misery of Israel.”

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