Lord, put into my life enough delays to teach me patience. .......................enough failure to teach me humility. .......................enough expenses to teach me to work. .......................enough needy people to teach me generosity. .......................enough leisure to teach me to enjoy myself. .......................enough health to allow me to help the sick. .......................enough barriers to teach me perseverance. .......................enough illness to teach me to accept help. .......................enough stress to teach me serenity. .......................enough loneliness to teach me to reach out. .......................enough joy to teach me to smile. .......................enough questions to teach me faith. .......................enough of YOU to teach me awe.
“As a Christian, all my sins of the past, present and future have been forgiven. Therefore, I don’t need to repent. Repentance is only for lost people, isn’t it?”
Unfortunately, many of God’s children have such an attitude concerning repentance. And their lack of repentance causes them to miss the blessings of a close relationship with Him.
Repentance is not one of the things from which we are “set free” when we are saved. This is pointed out in II Chronicles 7:14 when God said “…if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and forgive their sin.” (Emphasis mine.)
We, more than non-Christians, should be sickened by sin, especially the sin in our own lives. We know that our sins damage others and displease God. Thus, more than all other people we should be ready, even anxious, to repent.
The Chronicles verse makes another important point. Repentance is more than confession. Confession alone involves only “I acknowledge I did it and I’m sorry.” There is nothing beyond the past (“I did it”) and the present emotional impact (“I’m sorry.”)
Spirit-led repentance includes both of these plus a future resolve. God included this factor when He said “…and turn from their wicked ways.” Genuine repentance requires that we attempt, with the help of the Holy Spirit, to avoid sinning again.
For the Christian, confession is the beginning of what we are called to do after we have sinned. Repentance is the completion of God’s call to destroy the barriers sin places between us and our heavenly Father.
We sing “Precious Lord, take my hand, lead me on…” without realizing that if we want to walk hand-in-hand with Jesus we will have to go where He wants to go, when He wants to go, as fast as He wants to go and then stand still when He says to. Traveling with Jesus means we let Him make all the “going” decisions.
Our spiritual ears work best when our emotional knees are bent and our physical mouth is shut.
God loves me too much and too wisely to give me too much responsibility in his kingdom. But He loves me too much to give me no responsibility.
If we want advice from God we need to have the humility to ask, the patience to wait for the answer, the faith to trust his answer is best and the courage to act on it.
God can’t do his work through us until we let him do his work in us.
If our churches had more suggestion boxes there would probably be more money in the collection boxes.
It is better to ask God rather than tell Him. (We really can’t tell God anything He does not already know.)
We must learn to recognize God’s mercy, be grateful for it and share it.
- Jesus prayed early in the morning. (Mark 1:35)
- Jesus obeyed the promptings of the Holy Spirit. (Matthew 4:1)
- Jesus cared about lost people he had never met. (Matthew 23:37)
- Jesus met the physical needs of others. (Mark 6:36-42)
- Jesus cared about the emotional needs of others. (Luke 24:36; Matthew 10:31)
- Jesus let God control his speech. (John 14:10)
- Jesus turned regular conversations towards spiritual issues. (John 4:4-41)
- Jesus attended church regularly. (Luke 4:16)
- Jesus fulfilled family responsibilities. (Luke 2:52; John 19:26-27)
- Jesus gave proper priority to physical possessions. (Matthew 8:20)
- Jesus helped disciple new believers. (John 6:3)
- Jesus welcomed “outsiders”. (John 4:4-41)
- Jesus faced criticism in order to tell the truth. (Mark 2:13-17; Mark 3:1-6)
- Jesus had an enthusiasm for the church. (Mark 11:15-17)
Jehovah knew we could never understand a god who could create galaxies, control storms and harness the tides. But He thought maybe we could understand a god who washed feet, loved children and cried at funerals. So He sent Jesus.
Should we study God’s word so that we can be informed or transformed? Are we as willing to be confronted and challenged as we are to be comforted and calmed?
In my efforts to please my Father and be like Jesus, do I emphasize rules or relationships? Have I allowed myself to settle for a reasonable degree of success in the “Thou shall not” part of Christianity while allowing myself to fall short in the “Cup of cold water aspect”?
Lost people don’t need to see good people working for God; they need to see a good God working through people. And these good people need to be aware of and acknowledge that it is the power of the Holy Spirit that enables them to do that work.
What specific things did I do yesterday that said to the world “That man loves God”? What will I do tomorrow that says the same thing?
The Father decides. The Son delivers. The Holy Spirit defines.
I ridiculed others......God loves me anyway. I ignored a need........God loves me anyway. I was selfish...........God loves me anyway. I lied..................God loves me anyway. I spread gossip.........God loves me anyway. I lost my temper........God loves me anyway. I held a grudge.........God loves me anyway. I disobeyed.............God loves me anyway. I coveted...............God loves me anyway. I was greedy............God loves me anyway. I was hypocritical......God loves me anyway. I was impatient.........God loves me anyway. I was jealous...........God loves me anyway. I cheated...............God loves me anyway. I cursed................God loves me anyway. When things are going well God will fill us with gratitude and when things are not going well He will fill us with fortitude...if we let him. I want to be a trophy to be admired on God's mantle. God wants me to be a tool to be used in his workshop.
Love is giving your place in line (#1) to someone else and then going back to the end of the line (#50) to start over again.
Until we realize we are desperate without Christ we can never be complete in Christ.
On Palm Sunday, Jesus was the most popular person in Jerusalem. He soon made enemies of the town’s businessmen and religious leaders by honoring his Father. Popularity was never his goal, but intimacy with hurting people was. Are we willing to establish our priorities the same way?
The most horrible condition on the planet is “God forsaken.” Jesus must have felt the first touch of this in Gethsemane. Knowing he would feel it much stronger on the cross must have made the hours between his arrest and death almost unbearable.
The privilege of prayer is one of the best things God has ever given us. It allows us to access Him anytime, anywhere, for any reason.
My prayers of gratitude and praise should be as frequent , intense and lengthy as my prayers of need and request.
- Short prayers:
- Thank you
- I will
- I’m sorry
- I won’t
- I love you
- Forgive me
- Use me
- Protect me
Dear God, don’t let my lack of understanding about you lead to an absence of faith in you, a reduction of love for you, an unwillingness to obey you, hesitancy to share you, and fear to praise you.
* * * * * * * * *
When Samuel said “Speak, for your servant hears” he was not referring only to physical hearing, but also to a willingness to obey whatever he might hear. Too often my reaction is “Speak, and your servant will consider hearing.” But when that is my attitude I’m really not being a servant, am I?
God is more interested in developing me into a tool for his service rather than a trophy for his mantel.
I am a nobody trying to tell everybody about the Somebody who can save us all.
For a child of God his mercy will last longer and be stronger than his discipline.
I am glad God gave us commandments. How else would we know how to please Him?
Does God intend for me to be a soldier or a lamb, a crusader or a teacher, a fierce defender of the faith or a little child approaching Jesus?
May God’s joy in my heart soften my judgements of others and allow his grace to spill over onto them.
A life of service to God is much to be preferred over a life of comfort for self. Do we really believe that?
God applies his forgiveness to our sins with eagerness and joy, not with reluctance and regret. As much as that forgiveness cost Him…..the death of Jesus…..we can be sure He delights in applying it to us. I must give to others what God has given me.
Dear Father, slow me down before I break down and lift me up before I blow up.
The day before the first Christmas Jesus and Michael were visiting. Michael...Are you going to earth tomorrow? Jesus...Yes. Michael...Are you sure you want to do that? Jesus...Yes. Michael...Isn't the earth still full of anger and hatred and cruelty? Jesus...Yes. Michael...Do you think they might misunderstand you? Jesus...Yes. Michael...They might even ridicule you and beat you. Jesus...Yes. Michael...They may even try to kill you. Jesus...Yes. Michael...Then why are you going? Jesus...Because I love (insert your name here)