Tag Archives: Repent

Judges 19-21; Acts 2

Recently a friend and I sat in somber reflection at the power of influence. Influence can be an unintentional bump, a gentle nudge, or a fierce force sending one in a direction or on a path, for better or worse. And when influence gathers a following, it is its own entity.

There’s a sense of foreboding when a couple rests at the town square.

18 “We have been in Bethlehem in Judah,” the man replied. “We are on our way to a remote area in the hill country of Ephraim, which is my home. I traveled to Bethlehem, and now I’m returning home. But no one has taken us in for the night, 19 even though we have everything we need. We have straw and feed for our donkeys and plenty of bread and wine for ourselves.”

20 “You are welcome to stay with me,” the old man said. “I will give you anything you might need. But whatever you do, don’t spend the night in the square.” (Judges 19:18-20, NLT)

While they were dining as guests in the old man’s house …

22 While they were enjoying themselves, a crowd of troublemakers from the town surrounded the house. They began beating at the door and shouting to the old man, “Bring out the man who is staying with you so we can have sex with him.” (Judges 19:22, NLT)

I pause at this crowd. Would one man have acted this way on his own? To be so bold as to make demands and intimidate? Would two men have done this? But one’s idea catches fire to a crowd, and they arrive at this place and collectively terrorize a victim–the concubine.

27 When her husband opened the door to leave, there lay his concubine with her hands on the threshold. 28 He said, “Get up! Let’s go!” But there was no answer. So he put her body on his donkey and took her home.

29 When he got home, he took a knife and cut his concubine’s body into twelve pieces. Then he sent one piece to each tribe throughout all the territory of Israel.

30 Everyone who saw it said, “Such a horrible crime has not been committed in all the time since Israel left Egypt. Think about it! What are we going to do? Who’s going to speak up?” (Judges 19:27-30, NLT)

Not succumbing to poor influences is a starting point, and it may keep one out of the mix. But this seizes me: everyone who saw it (admitted it was a horrible crime, recognized it for the abuse it was, was aware of the oppressive force) … who’s going to speak up?

I can take those words and apply them today to any number of things: from bullying, domestic issues, and social ostracizing to violence, injustice, or oppression.

I contrast this with the fire of the Holy Spirit that comes upon the group in Acts 2. A group is witness to the miraculous power of the Holy Spirit, and still, they write it off to something they can understand instead of seeing it for divine truth in action.

13 But others in the crowd ridiculed them, saying, “They’re just drunk, that’s all!” (Acts 2:13, NLT)

Another crowd. Ridicule. But there are some who see the truth, and their hearts are pierced.

37 Peter’s words pierced their hearts, and they said to him and to the other apostles, “Brothers, what should we do?”

38 Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. 39 This promise is to you, to your children, and to those far away—all who have been called by the Lord our God.” 40 Then Peter continued preaching for a long time, strongly urging all his listeners, “Save yourselves from this crooked generation!” (Acts 2:37-40, NLT)

Father God, the Holy Spirit is a gift, a promise. Help me to heed your counsel. Whether one-to-one or in a group, please give me wisdom and courage to do what is right and honor you.

Courtney (66books365)

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Judges 13; Acts 17; Jeremiah 26; Mark 12

When my kids were little, I used to tell them, “If someone has something to say, it’s important for them to say or it’s important for you to hear.” Daily, my media feeds are flooded with messages of people. I find myself wanting, more than ever, to hear what the Lord says.

The woman ran and told her husband, “A man of God appeared to me! He looked like one of God’s angels, terrifying to see. I didn’t ask where he was from, and he didn’t tell me his name. But he told me, ‘You will become pregnant and give birth to a son. You must not drink wine or any other alcoholic drink nor eat any forbidden food. For your son will be dedicated to God as a Nazirite from the moment of his birth until the day of his death.’” (Judges 13:6-7, NLT, emphasis added)

Paul and Silas were used to speaking to groups and were used to hostile responses. Today, Paul is in Athens and addresses a crowd. I listen too.

22 So Paul, standing before the council, addressed them as follows: “Men of Athens, I notice that you are very religious in every way, 23 for as I was walking along I saw your many shrines. And one of your altars had this inscription on it: ‘To an Unknown God.’ This God, whom you worship without knowing, is the one I’m telling you about.

24 “He is the God who made the world and everything in it. Since he is Lord of heaven and earth, he doesn’t live in man-made temples, 25 and human hands can’t serve his needs—for he has no needs. He himself gives life and breath to everything, and he satisfies every need. 26 From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand when they should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries.

27 His purpose was for the nations to seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him—though he is not far from any one of us. 28 For in him we live and move and exist. As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’ 29 And since this is true, we shouldn’t think of God as an idol designed by craftsmen from gold or silver or stone.

30 “God overlooked people’s ignorance about these things in earlier times, but now he commands everyone everywhere to repent of their sins and turn to him. 31 For he has set a day for judging the world with justice by the man he has appointed, and he proved to everyone who this is by raising him from the dead.” (Acts 17:22-31, NLT, emphasis added)

Jeremiah had a message from the Lord that was important, only his audience didn’t want to hear it.

This message came to Jeremiah from the Lord early in the reign of Jehoiakim son of Josiah, king of Judah. This is what the Lord says: Stand in the courtyard in front of the Temple of the Lord, and make an announcement to the people who have come there to worship from all over Judah. Give them my entire message; include every word. 3 Perhaps they will listen and turn from their evil ways. Then I will change my mind about the disaster I am ready to pour out on them because of their sins.

Say to them, ‘This is what the Lord says: If you will not listen to me and obey my word I have given you, and if you will not listen to my servants, the prophets—for I sent them again and again to warn you, but you would not listen to them— then I will destroy this Temple as I destroyed Shiloh, the place where the Tabernacle was located. And I will make Jerusalem an object of cursing in every nation on earth.’”

The priests, the prophets, and all the people listened to Jeremiah as he spoke in front of the Lord’s Temple. But when Jeremiah had finished his message, saying everything the Lord had told him to say, the priests and prophets and all the people at the Temple mobbed him. “Kill him!” they shouted. “What right do you have to prophesy in the Lord’s name that this Temple will be destroyed like Shiloh? What do you mean, saying that Jerusalem will be destroyed and left with no inhabitants?” And all the people threatened him as he stood in front of the Temple. (Jeremiah 26:1-9, NLT, emphasis added)

He reminds me today and again.

28 One of the teachers of religious law was standing there listening to the debate. He realized that Jesus had answered well, so he asked, “Of all the commandments, which is the most important?”

29 Jesus replied, “The most important commandment is this: ‘Listen, O Israel! The Lord our God is the one and only Lord. 30 And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.’ 31 The second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ No other commandment is greater than these.”

32 The teacher of religious law replied, “Well said, Teacher. You have spoken the truth by saying that there is only one God and no other. 33 And I know it is important to love him with all my heart and all my understanding and all my strength, and to love my neighbor as myself. This is more important than to offer all of the burnt offerings and sacrifices required in the law.”

34 Realizing how much the man understood, Jesus said to him, “You are not far from the Kingdom of God.” (Mark 12:28-34a, NLT, emphasis added)

Lord, help me to watch my words (help me to speak them). Let them be seasoned, honest, wise, encouraging. Let them reflect the time I’ve spent with you, and not the ever changing (turbulent) influence of a culture around me. Help me also to sift through words to get to the heart, to reach another whose heart cries out to be loved, to be valued, to be understood, to be seen.

Courtney (66books365)

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Esther 7-10; Revelation 3

It may be a stretch to individualize the prophetic letters to the churches mentioned in Revelation, but all Scripture speaks to me as if I’m sitting across from Jesus Christ listening. So even in the different declarations to each of the seven churches of Revelation, I hear His voice speaking correction, affirmation, and motivation to the current state of my soul.

I am comforted by Revelation 3:1-6 “I know your works, that you have a name that you are alive, but you are dead. Yet, you have a few names…” (those who have not soiled their garments) “who through righteous acts will walk with Christ in white, for they are worthy.” This admonition reminds me that creeping pride of going to a great church, reminiscing about the good works I was happy to do, or taking even the smallest joy at being noticed for those works can escalate into self-righteousness and self-absorption.  How do I discern righteous acts from dead works?

Remember how you have received and heard; hold fast and repent.

Revelation 3:7-13 reminds me of my soul’s timid nature. “I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” I cannot deny the great name of Christ; yet I confess that I am helped by His Spirit to declare His words when my voice is but a whisper. I keep walking through these doors – changes in locations, jobs, relationships, purpose. Sometimes the change was not what I expected and definitely not what I would choose for myself. So how can I step over the next threshold?

Hold fast what you have.

Sometimes it seems easier to play it safe. Fly under the radar. I regulate my emotions so that my thoughts and behaviors do not ruffle feathers; I agree and nod in approval to keep the peace, believing I am modeling a gentle spirit. But that is not what God has called me to do. He says in Revelation 3:14-22, “I know your works that you are neither cold nor hot…you do not know that you are wretched, miserable, poor, blind, and naked…” It isn’t hard to determine the cause of inertia, but what is one to do?

Be zealous and repent; when you hear My voice, open the door.

Funny, but Christ’s admonitions do not create fear or discouragement. Even when we think that we have lost what He has given, we are reminded that God will bring us victory The messages to these churches are for those who have known Him. This is cause for celebration, and turning destruction into shouts of joy is also found in God’s word.

Esther 9:20 The Feast of Purim – remembrance of God’s deliverance from a day of destruction. “the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday; that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.”

Dear Father God, and our Lord Jesus Christ,                                                                                                         In whatever state you find my soul, forgive me for failing you in any way. Restore the truth, comfort, and revelation of Your unstoppable will and purpose for my life, and I will turn the joy of my salvation back into worship and praise. Your presence alone can bring grace and mercy. I pray that this season of celebration is filled with preparations on holding fast to what we have heard and throwing wide open any door that separates us from hearing Your voice. Welcome, come in!

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Numbers 34; Psalm 78:38-72; Isaiah 26; 1 John 4

Read at – www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Num.%2034;%20Ps.78:38-72;%20Isa.%2026;%201%20John%204&version=NKJV

Numbers 34             Then the Lord spoke to Moses, saying, Command the children of Israel, and say to them: ‘When you come into the land of Canaan, this is the land that shall fall to you as an inheritance—the land of Canaan to its boundaries.’ These are the ones the Lord commanded to divide the inheritance among the children of Israel in the land of Canaan. V.1-2,29

            The Lord God, the only Owner of all, has the authority and exercises His authority in giving inheritance to whomever He chooses. God’s commands are specific in detail. Who am I to not obey Him in using His gifts? How do ignore His spiritual, physical and intellectual gifts and not use them for His designed purpose and glory? When do I ignore the responsibility He has given me?  Where is the territory God has entrusted me to “rule” under His authority by the Word of God and His Holy Spirit? Do I hold myself and those assigned to me, such as my children, family, friends, neighbors, everyone I encounter, so to see, sense and be drawn to the Love of God by His Son Jesus Christ in order for their eventual surrender to follow the Lord Jesus? Do I live and speak the Word of God in love? How often do I pray for them? Lord, thank You for trusting me. Help me to honor You more.

Psalm 78:38-72                   But He (Lord God), being full of compassion, forgave their iniquity, And did not destroy them.  …  How often they provoked Him in the wilderness, And grieved Him in the desert!  They did not remember His power: The day when He redeemed them from the enemy, … For they provoked Him to anger with their high places, And moved Him to jealousy with their carved images. When God heard this, He was furious, And greatly abhorred Israel, …  He also gave His people over to the sword, And was furious with His inheritance. … He put them to a perpetual reproach.

               Lord God, I am grateful that Your mercies are new every morning. That You forgive my iniquities as quickly as I repent to You. Thank You for Your mercy on those who have not yet repented to You, by Your patience for them to come to You before their time here on earth is over. Hebrews 9:27, 2 Peter 3:9

            But chose the tribe of Judah, …He also chose David His servant, … To shepherd Jacob His people, And Israel His inheritance. So he shepherded them according to the integrity of his heart, And guided them by the skillfulness of his hands.

            Lord God, You sent Your one and only Son Jesus to be born of the line of King David, of Judah to shepherd Your people! Thank You merciful King of kings! John 10

Isaiah 26        You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You. Trust in the Lord forever, For in YAH, the Lord, is everlasting strength.

              As I see destruction around me, God’s judgment for rebellion, my heart and mind are safe because I trust in You, Lord God. Proverbs  3:4-6   Your love for me compels me to love them all.

            The desire of our soul is for Your name And for the remembrance of You. … With my soul I have desired You in the night, Yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early;

My soul grieves for the unrepentant –

Let grace be shown to the wicked, Yet he will not learn righteousness; In the land of uprightness he will deal unjustly, And will not behold the majesty of the Lord.

1 John 4                    Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God … Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.

              The culture these days is wrought with deceiving spirits. May I cling to Your Word (Romans 12:1-2) in my mind and heart to abide in You Lord God. John 15

            In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him.  In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.  

I rejoice in this!!

God is love, and he who abides in love abides in God, and God in him. … There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment.  We love Him because He first loved us.

              I continue to proclaim, to serve, to pray. It is endless: the work and love that is involved in being humble under You King of kings! Yet You refresh me by the fellowship with Your children! The mind of Christ Jesus is powerful within them! Thank You Lord God for Your Son and all His people!

You are of God, and have overcome them, because He who is in you is greater than He Who is in the world.   By this we know the spirit of truth and the spirit of error.

Bible Insights –

1- Exodus 19:5; Psalm 50:10; Joshua 1:2-9; Deuteronomy 28; Hebrews 9:27; 2 Peter 3:9; Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 51; Psalm 46:10; Romans 12:1-2; John 15

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Numbers 20, Psalm 58, Psalm 59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4, James 3

Read - http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Num.%2020;%20Ps.%2058,59;%20Isa.9:8-10:4;%20James%203&version=NKJV

Numbers 20             Moses said, “Hear now, you rebels!” Then Moses lifted his hand and struck the rock twice with his rod; and water came out abundantly – The Lord spoke to Moses, “Because you did not believe Me, to hallow Me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore you shall not bring this assembly into the land which I have given them.”

            Not by Faith, but out of anger did Moses serve the Lord God. Therefore God was not seen as Holy by the witnesses. The consequence? No Promised Land for Moses. How many times do my emotions over rule my trust in God and His Word? How many witnesses of my words and actions have I turned away from God? How many ways do I circumvent Jesus’ Glory by my own self interests? How many “promised land” situations have I been cut off from because of this!? Jesus, I willfully, actively choose to think and act by faith and trusting Your Word/ Relationship so that I do not focus on what so easily ensnares me. (1)

Psalm 58 , Psalm 59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4, James 3 –

               The wicked … go astray, speaking lies. Their poison is like the poison of a serpent; The mighty gather against me, Not for my transgression nor for my sin, O Lord.For the sin of their mouth and the words of their lips, And for the cursing and lying which they speak. Psalm 58-59

               The tongue is a little member and boasts great things. The tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity. … it defiles the whole body, and sets on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire by hell. No man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. With it we bless our God and Father, and with it we curse men…  James 3

            Lord, am I double minded and forked tongued? Do I say and do what I think and feel? Please have mercy on me and reveal to me my innermost motives, desires and Your Truth perspectives. If I do not yield to You, You will overtake me by wrathful force. (2)

              Because of this, He shall take them away as with a whirlwind, As in His living and burning wrath. .. Consume them in wrath, consume them, And let them know that God rules in Jacob To the ends of the earth. … the Lord shall set up the adversaries against him, the Lord will cut off … Through the wrath of the Lord of hosts The land is burned up. Psalm 58-59, Isaiah 9:8-10:4

              I fear both Your just judgment and wrath as well as losing Your peace, joy and intimacy in relationship with You. I confess to You the realty of my fickleness. I hate sin!

Who say in pride and arrogance of heart: “We will rebuild with hewn stones; We will replace them with cedars.” For the people do not turn to Him who strikes them, Nor do they seek the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 9:8-10:4

              I surrender to You, Lord Jesus Christ, my willfulness to do things my own way, as I see fit without doing Your Word and Holy Spirit counsel. I purpose my mind to “take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” and have my tongue, hands and feet move according to Your Holy Spirit. (5)

Your judgments are clear:

              “Woe to those who decree unrighteous decrees, Who write misfortune, Which they have prescribed To rob the needy of justice, Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners, And they shall fall among the slain.” Isaiah 9:8-10:4

Yet You say FOUR TIMES in Isaiah 9:8-10:4

For all this His anger is not turned away, But His hand is stretched out still.”

             You reach out to me and to all of us – Come to Me!” “For I take no pleasure in the death of anyone, declares the Sovereign Lord. Repent and live!”  Rejecting my usual patterns, turning away from sinful relationships, not wasting time, not looking at useless information, abhorring addictions, habits and weak mindsets is Your Requirement for holiness! Step by step, day by day, I will live Your success by Your Way! (3)

The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance;  So that men will say, “Surely there is a reward for the righteous; Surely He is God who judges in the earth.” I will wait for You, For God is my defense. My God of mercy shall come to meet me; Psalm 58-59

              Repentance’s fruit is Sweet! What Peace, Joy and Freedom to be unselfish and not needy when I walk in repentance! Repentance takes time, practice, pain without regret and a lot of work by Repeatedly Doing Your thoughts and Your Ways. But the Refreshment and Still waters are more than worth it!! Thanks my Mentor and Power, Lord God Jesus Christ! (4)  

But I will sing of Your power; Yes, I will sing aloud of Your mercy in the morning; For You have been my defense And refuge in the day of my trouble. To You, O my Strength, I will sing praises; For God is my defense, My God of mercy. Psalm 58-59

But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace. James 3

 

Crystal (PsalmThirty4)

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Filed under 66 Books, Bible in a year reading plan, Isaiah, James, M'Cheyne Bible reading plan, New Testament, Numbers, Old Testament, Psalms, Uncategorized