Tag Archives: repentance

Judges 20; Acts 24; Jeremiah 35; Psalms 5-6

“You yourselves recently repented and did what was right in my sight by proclaiming liberty to one another, and you made a covenant before me in the house that is called by my name; but then you turned around and profaned my name when each you took back you male and female slaves whom you had set free according to their desire and brought them again into subjection to be slaves.” Jeremiah 34:15-16.

Like the people of Israel, I am known by God’s name and with that comes boundless grace and incredible responsibility. The words that come out of my mouth and the actions that follow have the opportunity to glorify or profane the name of God. These are strong words.

In contrast to the people of Israel, Paul’s life of obedience reflects the character of God: steadfast and true. He didn’t back down and compromise the truth when he spoke to Drusilla and Felix about “faith in Christ Jesus” Acts 24:24-25. Paul clung to the inconvenient truth and it cost him two more years of sitting in a Caesarean jail.

Lord, grant me Paul’s  lack of duplicity, his doggedness and faith. May I represent your name well no matter whether it is convenient or not. I don’t want to be known as a “good”  or religious person, but as one who lives in your grace and truth. Lord, bring me to repentance so that I turn from  petty self interest to worship You in your beauty and righteousness. Amen.

Kathy

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Numbers 31, Psalms 75 & 76, Isaiah 23, 1 John 1

One of my favorite songs circa 1995 starts off with some hard to swallow truth. “I keep trying to find a life, on my own, apart from you.” Independence instead of dependence. Pride instead of humility. John begins the chapter  sharing the importance of fellowship with the One True God. From the beginning, it’s always been about relationship with Him and yet our human nature so frequently wants independence.

We focus on ourselves. Day in and day out we deceive ourselves. Our minds and hearts are put to ease when we compare to ourselves others and think, “I’m doing better at ________ than _________”. I have read the following passage probably one hundred times in my life but there are always new little pieces that stick out with each reading.

Deception. Selfishness. Pride. Forgiveness. Redemption.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 10 If we say we have not sinned, we make him a liar, and his word is not in us. John 1

 

Simply put, this passage reminds me of my incredible need for a Savior! As much as a I want to walk in the light at all times, there moments, days or even seasons when the lights are dim. As I was sitting here this morning reflecting on this passage, the Holy Spirit brought a few questions to my mind.

  1. Is there any area where I am walking in darkness opposite from fellowship with the Lord?
  2. In what ways am I lying to or deceiving myself and not practicing truth?
  3. Are there areas of deception that I need to confess to the Lord?

Confession of sins not only leads to restoration of fellowship with the Lord but also one another. It’s Jesus’ blood that cleanses us from our sin and wanderings in the dark. Each and every day I must ask the  Holy Spirit to reveal those areas of sin that are not acceptable and spend time in self reflection and repentance. Naturally, on my own, I may not see my sin but the Spirit will reveal it.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank you for creating us with a desire for relationship. Thank your for making a way through Jesus Christ to be in fellowship with you forever. Holy Spirit, would you reveal to me those areas where I may be walking in darkness and help me to turn and run to your light! Amen. 

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Leviticus 5; Psalms 3-4; Proverbs 19; Colossians 3

Leviticus 5 describes a sliding scale for sacrifices; the wealthier the repentant sinner, the more expensive the sacrifice. The sacrifice needed to make a significant economic impact upon the one offering it and the cost of restitution was somewhat dependent upon the infraction (Leviticus 5:16). Sin had a price which took the form of livestock, birds and grain.  Blood flowed continually at the altar. The sin of the people kept the priests busy.

Five times in chapter 5 the author of Leviticus repeats, “…the priest shall make atonement on your behalf for the sin that you have committed, and you shall be forgiven.” Repentance, forgiveness and restitution matter to God, the sinner and the community. The process is physical and burdensome, but also seems limited. What about  sins committed that one might have a blindspot to? What then?

“Who can say ‘I have made my heart clean; I am pure from my sin?’ ” Proverbs 20:9

I am powerless to break the power of sin and death on my life. Guilt is wall between God which I am unable to scale, but God the priest bows low to provide the cleansing sacrifice— lower than one could ever imagine. He sends his pure and sinless Son, Jesus to do what all my personal sacrifices can never do. The blood of Jesus flows so that I am forgiven. Jesus brings the wall down so that I  may stand in the presence of the Holy One of Israel.

Confession and repentance are even more important business in the light of what Jesus did on my behalf. God forgive me for ever taking the sacrifice of his Son for granted.

When I Survey the Wondrous Cross  by Isaac Watts

When I survey wondrous cross,                                                                                                       On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.
Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.
See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?
Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

Kathy

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Genesis 31, Esther 7, Mark 2, Romans 2

favor

  1. Something done or granted out of goodwill, rather than from justice or for remuneration; a kind act
  2. The state of being approved or held in regard:
  3. Excessive kindness or unfair partiality; preferential treatment

 

When I read these stories of Jacob’s release from Laban, Queen Esther’s victory over the Jew’s death sentence and the Jesus’ healing of a paralytic and the calling of Levi, only one word comes to mind; favor.

Favor, grace, mercy, love, I knew of these terms much less before I had children. Not to say you could never understand these if you do not have children of your own but there’s something that changed in my life the minute my first child was born. As they grow, I understand these terms to a much greater degree, seeing the Lord through the eyes of a parent. I have always had a difficult time understanding how a perfect God who created everything could find joy in me. How could he know my sin and my failings and still love me. Then came my three….

Just yesterday was a very trying day in our household. Tantrum after tantrum (I thought we were out of the terrible two’s!). Disobedience, disrespect and outright defiance was tossed around our home like it was acceptable. It was the end of a long week with Dad gone for work and a day off school. Tired children and a tired mom did not make for a good combination. With each and every episode, my own anger would increase. What started with a time out, ended up with alone time in their bedrooms and removal of privileges.

As I sat down to read, pray and write, I was convicted of my own sin in the handling of the situation. My natural tendency is to fly off the handle when I am disrespected and move to judgement and punishment. In parenting, it is still important to quickly address and correct bad behavior, teaching and guiding your children in the truth of the Word, but the balance between truth and grace can be difficult to find in the moment. As their mom, my goal in correction should always be heart change.

My conviction came from Romans, a timely assignment!

“Therefore you have no excuse, O man, every one of you who judges. For in passing judgment on another you condemn yourself, because you the Judge, practice the very same things. 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?

My sinful reaction in anger does not get to the heart of my children and it’s not how God reacts to my sin. Like Romans 2:4 says, “It’s the riches of God’s kindness and patience that leads us to repentance”.

By evening, after all the conversations, scriptures and apologies, my heart found favor in my children. Even after a long day, my heart STILL wanted to give my children good things and bestow on them grace and mercy. That is simply a reminder, a tiny glimpse of the incredible love the Lord has for his children and his desire for heart change over better behavior. His favor is not because of our good works and behavior but in spite of them, praise the Lord!

 Dear Heavenly Father, there are not enough words to thank you for your undeserved love and favor for me and my children. You are a good, good Father. Thank you for gently and lovingly pointing out my sin and leading me to repentance and back to you. Amen.

kateredding

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Psalm 102; Revelation 19

My days are like an evening shadow; I wither away like grass. But you, O Lord, are enthroned forever; you are remembered throughout all generations. You will arise and have pity on Zion; it is the time to favor her; the appointed time has come.” Psalm 102:12-13 ESV

I know what it is like to be in a dark place and cry out to God like David did. If my focus is on myself, I continue down that gloomy path. When I remember, “But, God,” my perspective changes. I am reminded that this is not all there is, and I am filled with hope. Ann Voskamp says, “There’s a hope waiting right up ahead right now for you in the dark.” My daughter is afraid of the dark. She sleeps with all of her lights on in her room. I was afraid of the dark at her age too, I would leave my door cracked so some light could get in. Am I letting God’s light flood my soul? Or am I listening to the lies of the enemy? In Revelation, I see Satan’s schemes and how he has a plan for my life as well.

And I saw the beast and the kings of the earth with their armies gathered to make war against him who was sitting on the horse and against his army. And the beast was captured, and with it the false prophet who in its presence had done the signs by which he deceived those who had received the mark of the beast and those who worshiped its image. These two were thrown alive into the lake of fire that burns with sulfur.” Revelation 19:19&20 ESV

But, in Jesus, I already have the victory.

Nations will fear the name of the Lord, and all the kings of the earth will fear your glory; he regards the prayer of the destitute and does not despise their prayer. Let this be recorded for a generation to come, so that a people yet created my praise the Lord: that he looked down from his holy height; from heaven the Lord looked at the earth, to hear the groans of the prisoners, to set free those who were doomed to die, that they may declare in Zion the name of the Lord, and in Jerusalem his praise, when peoples gather together, and kingdoms, to worship the Lord.” Psalm 102:15-22 ESV

Father, Show me where I need to let your light fill up my dark places. So, that I desire you above everything else. Amen.

Hear my prayer, O Lord; let my cry come to you! Do not hide your face from me in the day of my distress! Incline your ear to me; answer me speedily in the day when I call! For my days pass away like smoke, and my bones burn like a furnace. My heart is struck down like grass and has withered; I forget to eat my bread.” Psalm 102:1-4 ESV

Amy(amyctanner)

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Malachi 1-4; Psalm 2; Revelation 9

I have loved you,” says the Lord. But you say, “How have you loved us?” “Is not Esau Jacob’s brother?” declares the Lord. “Yet I have loved Jacob but Esau I have hated. I have laid waste his hill country and left his heritage to jackals of the desert. Id Edom says, “We are shattered but we rebuild the ruins,” the Lord of hosts says, “They may build, but I will tear down, and they will be called ‘the wicked country,’ and the people with whom the Lord is angry forever.” Your own eyes shall see this, and you shall say, “Great is the Lord beyond the border of Israel!” Malachi 1:1-5 ESV

I think about how quickly I can doubt God’s love for me. When I am having a bad day, many times it’s because I forget to be grateful. But, God is still pursing me, showing me how much he does love me… My six year old daughter found a small notebook of mine and started to write in it. As I looked through it, I realized that it was a gratitude journal from 2014. It is small enough that I would keep in my purse and jot things down when they came to my mind. As I started to read it, I was filled with praise over God’s faithfulness in my life. God knew that I needed that reminder, on that cold rainy day. Because not very long after, the garage door broke and my van was stuck inside. Instead of worry, I was able to change my attitude to thankfulness in the midst of frustration. I wish I could say that was always the case in my life. But, just like the Israelites, I am so forgetful.

For I the Lord do not change; therefore you, O children of Jacob, are not consumed.” Malachi 3:6 ESV

Sometimes when I read these verses about the Lord’s judgement, I forgot about his goodness. That he is merciful. And he never gives up on me, never. He wants hearts to turn towards him.

They were allowed to torment them for five months, but not to kill them, and their torment was like the torment of a scorpion when it stings someone. And in those days people will seek death and will not find it. They will long to die, but death will flee from them…The rest of mankind, who were not killed by these plaques, did not repent of the works of their hands nor give up worshiping demons and idols of gold and silver and bronze and stone and wood, which cannot see or hear or walk, nor did they repent of their murders or their sorceries or their sexual immorality or their thefts.” Rev 9:5&6; 20&21 NLT

Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me. And the Lord whom you seek will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant in whom you delight, behold, he is coming, says the Lord of hosts. But who can endure the day of his coming, and who can stand when he appears?” Malachi 3: 1-2ESV

Thank you Father for caring about the small and large details of my life. That you love me with an everlasting love. I eagerly wait for your return. Amen.

As for me, I have set my King on Zion, my holy hill.” I will tell of the decree: The Lord said to me, “You are my Son; today I have begotten you. Ask of me, And I will make the nations your heritage, and the ends of the earth your possession…Blessed are all who take refuge in him” Psalm 2:6-8, 12B ESV

Amy(amyctanner)

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Jeremiah 50-51; 2 Peter 3

When the prophets spoke of things to come, who believed them?

The Lord gave Jeremiah the prophet this message concerning Babylon and the land of the Babylonians.This is what the Lord says:

“Tell the whole world,
    and keep nothing back.
Raise a signal flag
    to tell everyone that Babylon will fall! (Jeremiah 50:1-2a, NLT)

Did listeners sit in their comfort? Did they go about the everyday? When God gave warning to turn from sin, to turn to him–did they not know his power?

Listen, Babylon, for I have set a trap for you.
    You are caught, for you have fought against the Lord. (Jeremiah 50:24, NLT)

He calls armies. He appoints leaders.

“I will come like a lion from the thickets of the Jordan,
    leaping on the sheep in the pasture.
I will chase Babylon from its land,
    and I will appoint the leader of my choice.
For who is like me, and who can challenge me?
    What ruler can oppose my will?” (Jeremiah 50:44, NLT)

What did they think when they heard these things?

People in Peter’s day mocked and scoffed.

Most importantly, I want to remind you that in the last days scoffers will come, mocking the truth and following their own desires. They will say, “What happened to the promise that Jesus is coming again? From before the times of our ancestors, everything has remained the same since the world was first created.” (2 Peter 3:3-4, NLT)

Peter reminds:

The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. (2 Peter 3:9, NLT)

Peter closes:

So be on guard; then you will not be carried away by the errors of these wicked people and lose your own secure footing. 18 Rather, you must grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. (2 Peter 3:17-18, NLT)

Every day I make a decision of whose voice to believe. An enemy speaks over me with scoff and mockery. God’s word reminds–do not be afraid. Do not lose your secure footing.

Lord, truly your approval is the only one I need, and your voice the one that speaks truth. You cannot lie. You are creator and Lord of all. Help me continue to grow in grace and knowledge of you. My Savior.

Courtney (66books365)

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